Help! I have been to several doctors in the last 9 months attempting to be treated for chronic cervical back pain that started in high school. I am 32 years old now with a prior history of chronic lumbar pain/ cauda equina syndrome/leaking spinal fluid/microdiscectomy.
It took my neurologist 2 referrals to get an MRI approval from my insurance (Medicaid) after 4 months of "conservative" treatment. Below are the results.
Overall Impression: Multilevel degenrative changes, most significant at C6/7 where an extrusion abuts spinal cord. Abutment of exiting nerve roots and severe stenosis of spinal canal and neural formaina. Large osteophyte complex.
C2/3: Disc dessication, loss of height.
C3/4: Disc dessication, loss of height. Central/posterior lateral disc bulge. Moderate narrowing of right neural foramen. Mild uncinate hypertrophy.
C4/5: Disc dessication, loss of height. central/posterolateral disc bulges. Narrowing of lateral recesses. Right neuroforamina is narrowed due to bony spurring and facet arthropathy.
C5/6: Disc dessication, loss of height. Broad disc bulge plus small posterolateral bulges and bony spurs. Right greater than left neural lateral recesses narrowed. Moderate narrowing of right neural foramina. Facet arthropathy contributes to narrowing.
C6/7: Disc dessication, loss of height, and endplate changes present. Large diffuse 9 mm osteophyte complex formation with a large inferior disc extrusion extending 22 mm inferiorly. Severe narrowing of the spinal canal is observed. Abutment of the likely left C7 nerve roots and abutment and deformity of the spinal cord. Mild to Moderate narrowing of the left neural foramina and severely narrowed right neural foramina. Facet arthropathy contributes to narrowing.
C7/T1: Narrowing of the left lateral recess and neural foramina due to above disc extrusion.
Despite seeing my PCP at least 10 times for this problem as well as a neurologist about 5 times plus a neurosurgeon and physical therapy, I am no closer to a treatment or even pain management. My insurance would not approve the recommended surgery. There is not a pain management clinic where I live that accepts my insurance, I would have to drive to Seattle or Spokane. None of the above doctors will prescribe me any kind of pain relief. In fact, after speaking with my insurance, the neurosurgeon delayed the surgery until after a trial period of injections. Then my insurance dropped my coverage, so I have been looking for new insurance and a new doctor, despite being financially unable (unemployed with 5 kids). I can't live with this pain day to day, but I can't find a doctor that is willing to care for the patient and not the insurance. I think I have developed cervical myelopathy in the last month while attempting to get surgery approval before my insurance dropped me, but none of my doctors acknowledged the symptoms because of the insurance hassle.
Here are my current symptoms: constant numbness/tingling in right leg and arm. My left side becomes numb while sitting and after walking around for 30+ minutes. Shooting, sharp pains down my right arm and in my neck when I move or turn it. Range of motion in my neck is severely limited in either direction. Sciatica in both legs. Sharp, electrical pains down my neck when I try to lift my head up, like to look at the sky, same for when I look down. Severe headaches, often times daily. Weakness in my arms, I have trouble carrying my twin 18 months toddlers to high chair then back to their play area. Have trouble reaching high things and gripping things. Really clumsy with hands since they developed an almost constant shakiness/jerking motion. My right leg has a limp because of the numbness/ tingling. Activity and sitting makes things worse, but I have 5 kids to take care of. Really cold feet and hands all the time, even with socks and shoes or a blanket. My hands are swollen and stiff a lot of the time.
I am currently unemployed, but I can't imagine returning to work now with all this pain and numbness and clumsiness. I think I should be classified as disabled now since I can't return to my job as I am now or anytime in the near future, but the doctors ignore me when I put out that I can't carry the equipment I would need to carry at work and I can't use a computer for 8 hours a day. Any ideas an this?
Does anybody have any suggestions? I'll take advice, suggestions, encouraging words, anything to know that somebody out there actually understands what is going on.
Also, I am 32 years old now. What will moderate/severe disc degenerative disease, stenosis, bulging discs, arthritis, and a spinal deformity do to me 20-30 years from now?