I was in a rear-end car accident caused by a drunk driver 4 weeks ago and am suffering from a neck injury that is getting really frustrating. I am 24, female and am a college student. Basically, I have lots of dull, constant pain in my right should, which sort of morphs into numbness/tingling down into the thumb and index finger. Depending on the day and what I am doing, I have similar dull pain in the left shoulder. I also can't pick anything up over about 10 lbs. with the right arm and I get what my doctor said were spasms where my whole arm pretty much starts tremoring. I had an MRI last week and it came back as saying there is a clear herniation at C4/C5, but no significant nerve impingement. C5/C6 also is bulging but they said it was not significant (basically not important). I saw the MRI film you can see the herniation, but its not deforming the nerve cord although it looks like its just starting to touch it.
My GP referred me to another GP who then referred me to a neurosurgeon who took a look at the MRI said it was non-surgical. I've been prescribed two months of PT, two times a week. I start that tomorrow. Right now, I am on Soma to reduce the muscle tension/spasms and an NSAID for inflammation. I feel about the same 8 or 9 level pain in the shoulder with/without the muscle relaxers and it does nothing to alleviate the numbness/weakness.
The worst part about this is the frustration and the feeling that I am getting bounced around between doctors. No one seems to be able to explain to me why my arm is still numb or even give me a general timeline for recovery. They kept saying it was muscle tension and that it would go away in a couple weeks but hasn't. Is it possible that the MRI isn't showing all the details? Everyone keeps acting like if it isn't on the MRI, it isn't a problem. Should I find another doctor? Or is PT really successful for this stuff? Should I be worried about permanent damage? I'd like to be able to have my arm back sometime. All I know is that I'm young, in great health, never had a prior back/neck injury and woke up the next day feeling like this. Its not improving and seems to be getting worse.
This really is messing up my life, the medications are interfering with my school (senior year of a ecology degree) and I have had to turn down a good paying summer job in my field because it entailed carrying a 50+ pound pack 10 hours a day.. That basically put my career back another year. Additionally, I can't do my favorite things (kayak, backpack) and I can barely do household chores without aggravating it. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Just running out of patience for doctors, insurance adjusters, lawyers, etc.