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Neck pain

Hi there, new to this site but not new to the pain! I want to tell you about what I'm going through at the moment and would like feedback from people with (or have had) similar pain and what treatments they had, about 6 months ago I arrived at work got out of my car and my neck felt a bit tight, over the space of a week it got bad enough for me to go to the doctors and take a week off work, acute pain in the middle of my neck, the doc didn't give a cause just gave me some co codamol and said to rest, after a week or so the pain went and I was functioning fine again. About a month and a half later the pain came back, started the same way just a slight pain which increased, recognising this I went back to the docs and got more painkillers, tramadol and diclofenac this time as co codamol wipes me out, within a week I was in agony took more time off work, and basically didn't move off the sofa for 2 weeks, painkillers didn't do much, during these 2 weeks I had pain in my left arm, each day it got a little lower down my arm and stopped mid forearm, after about 2 weeks the pain had gone again, I gave it a couple more weeks b4 heading to the gym for the first time, started with a warm up bench press of 20kgs and I struggled to lift that (I normally lift 80-100kgs, I thought it was a bit strange, then I worked my triceps, my right arm I did a 20kg press but my left arm couldn't even lift 5kgs! I of course went straight to the docs, still no explanation but he did order me an MRI scan, nearly 2 months later I've just had it and am awaiting the results should b next week, I have been in pain for over a month now with my neck but feels more like a muscle strain this time, but it's a constant mild pain, snooping about online and speaking to other people I'm pretty sure it's a buldging or herniated disc, most people say it should b ok after 3/4 months but I'm at nearly 7 months now, do any of u think this is reparable by itself or will surgery b needed? If anyone else has had similar experiences is like to hear. I will post my MRI results when I get them and let u know what action will b taken. I'm not worried about having an op by the way I'd rather be in pain with that and get back to normal. It's just a bit of a pain in the neck (pun intended!) looking forward to hear some of your answers/experiences


  • First let me say welcome to spine-health. Have a look around and you will find many whom have arrived here by the same means as yourself. Of course others it was quick on set from a accident of sorts. Anyway as far as treatment goes if it is a herniated disc, my suggestion is to always try the conservative approach first. The good surgeons will also tell you the same, surgery should be used as a last resort. Surgery is no magic pill and as many can a test it can make you worse. But surgery comes with the risk of one surgery causing the need for more surgeries. Something I missed on the dotted line, however I would have done anything to get out pain myself as I was not functioning at all. There are many whom come here and take the conservative route and to never be heard from again. Keep in mind that members typically only post the bad out comes not the good out comes.

    If you should warrant surgery it is not the end all, as there are many successful surgeries done everyday. Of course we don't want to put the cart before the hoarse in talking what might need to be done, till you get the results. Be sure and have the doctor explain the results clearly to you. None of us are doctors, however we can speak from are only personal experience and there is a lot of experience running around on the boards including myself. So once you do get the results please do let us know what they say.

    There is a chart that you can look at called a dermatone chart which shows all the nerves and what parts of the body they effect. You might find the exact pain patterns your describing. During this time I would also check out the video's on the spine how it works and learn the terminology as it will be helpful when you meet with the doctors again. Also be prepared to ask questions. In the FAQ section at the top of the page, there is a link preparing to meet with a spine surgeon and also 38 questions to ask a spine surgeon. You can read those links and formulate questions to ask from there. Just be prepared for the appointment as we often don't get the time we need, so it helps to be prepared.

    Just thought I would stop by and welcome you to spine-health. Look forward to reading more of your post.
  • FrancineSFFFrancineSF Posts: 318
    edited 01/07/2013 - 8:18 AM
    First, welcome Splenge. You will see that as people on here respond, there will be a variety of reactions, symptoms, actions and outcomes. Hopefully, you get more than one opinion whatever you are told.

    For me, I never had excruciating pain that laid me up, but I did have an annoying throbbing in the deltoid of my left arm, with tingling down my arm to the first three fingers of my left hand. I also had a burning sensation in my left hand and wrist, which was annoying. Additionally, I occasionally lost feeling in my left big toe. But, I was never in pain, per se. I did lose strength in my left arm, too.

    Eventually, I went to an neurologist, then an orthopedic surgeon and a neurosurgeon and another orthopedic surgeon. I went in for a test to see if it was carpal tunnel syndrome. They ruled that out because my nerves were still functioning and active. Then, they tried an epidural, which got rid of the burning sensation, thank goodness. That was annoying. It did not, however, correct the tingling.

    I never had pain in my neck and other than the tingling and throbbing, I was very functional. I never took any drugs. A few times I took some aspirin to see if that would help, but it did not.

    The x-rays and MRIs showed that two discs in my neck (C3/4 C4/5) disintegrated, pretty much and it was the bone of the vertebrae crushing my nerves. I got very busy with my business and 2.5 years went by. I knew I was on borrowed time, but I also knew I was going to need about 2 months to recover - and I intentionally wanted to wait until I finished a few projects and for the winter, knowing that I was going to have to wear a Miami J Collar during the healing process - summer and this collar do NOT go well together! haha

    I was prepared mentally that if any symptoms at all increased or new ones appeared, I would drop everything and have the surgery. I, like you, was not adverse to the surgery, but also read enough to know that it might not correct everything - and HOPED it would not create new problems.

    My surgeon was conservative, wanting to do surgery as a last resort. And, that's what happened.

    I finally had the surgery October 26, 2012 (just 10 weeks ago) and am in the process of healing. At my 6 week post-op visit, my surgeon and I could tell that I regained my strength in my left arm again, but the tingling remains. He had already cautioned me that the tingling may not go away, or go away immediately. Time will tell. I have resigned myself that the tingling will be there and if it does heal itself over time, it will be a bonus.

    I knew that if I didn't have the surgery, I was at risk of even more damage and unlike most on here, I have never felt any pain from the surgery. I am still flabbergasted by that. Even in the hospital, I had them take me off of the morphine after the day of surgery because I was feeling no pain and I hate medications. I did lose my voice for 35 days, but I didn't even have a sore throat.

    Anyway, other than wearing this collar, I have been very functional since I have been home. I am fortunate to be able to work from home as needed and other than going a little stir crazy because I cannot walk long distances (I am used to 2 miles every day or other day), I have surrendered to the healing process and I think that is important.

    I see so many people on here thinking they are super human and do things that eventually sets their healing back by weeks and I know I just don't have the time to do that. I figure, I get one shot to get this right and I don't want to blow it.

    So, once you find out what the MRIs show, I will be curious to hear what your doctor recommends.

    Good luck to you!
    10/26/2012 ACDF C3/4 C4/5 surgery
    No pain; no pain meds - thank goodness!
    04/01/2013 - 5 months + 1 week - FUSED
    Doing some physical therapy for even better range of motion
  • SplengeSSplenge Posts: 8
    edited 01/09/2013 - 5:26 AM
    These comments are great, I'm still waiting for the results they seem to have been lost in the system somewhere, just my luck. I've put on lots of weight since having to stop going to the gym, the daily pain I have is totally bare able so tonight I'm going to go to a kickboxing and taekwondo class (no sparring I course) and ill judge tomorrow if being more active is a good or bad thing, I'm not going to I to the gym and lift weights yet as I don't see the point if I can't work a lot of muscles and not being able to lift much on one side around a load of big blokes makes me feel silly! I will post tomorrow and let u know if tonight's exercise was a good idea or not!
  • Ok te results are finally in, turns out its not buldging/ruptured discs after all there's a boney fragment between c6-c7 pinching the nerve (osteo something) which is odd as everyone thought it was around c4-c5, my doc is referring me to a neurologist as he said although it is pinching nerves is shouldn't have caused rapid loss of strength to my left tricep as it has, I haven't seen the results myself yet as it was a phone call from the doc but he said I should b able to avoid surgery, not sure if that means it will correct itself in time or its something I have to live with for the rest of my life!
    As for the kickboxing yesterday I did a session of taekwondo b4 that an feel ok today, now I know why, if it was a disc problem I would b in pain more, so I'm gonna try and b more active hopefully I will get my strength back quicker, I will keep u posted when I see a neurologist and find out what the next step is, until then painkillers will b a stable part of my diet!
  • davrunnerddavrunner Posts: 478
    edited 01/10/2013 - 11:13 AM
    I believe it's an arthritic bone growth. I had a similar issue and they didn't confirm it was from the osteophyte until they did a myelogram. Laminectomy brought the strenght back to my left arm but have permanent nerve damage due to the time lapse and difficulty pinpointing the cause.
    If the neurologist doesn't help relatively quickly I would ask for a myleogram to try and prevent long term damag.e
    laminectomy c4/c5 2008, ACDF c4-c7 Jan 20 2014 sched
  • The NHS is not known for their speed! I'm sure I will b notified relatively quickly from the neurologist though as there could obviously be long term risks, I'm hoping there's no surgery involved as I'm only 33 and relatively fit and healthy, I am slowly gaining strength in my left arm so hopefully I haven't done permenent nerve damage, but I've been in pain in some form or another for 6 months now so if the damage is probably done, apart from the few weeks the pain totally wiped me out, it hasn't effected my way of life too much, I do quite a physical job and as I've stated in my posts I've taken kickboxing up again, it has effected my mrs though, she's fed up with me moaning about it! She has a "bad back" and thinks she knows what I'm going through, I woul gladly swap bodies with her for a day to show her what it really feels like, I'm actually glad the MRI results showed something like this as I'm pretty sure people thought I was faking it!
  • SplengeSSplenge Posts: 8
    edited 01/18/2013 - 5:20 AM
    Neurosurgeon appointment booked for 20th of feb (NHS waiting time standards!) so will have more info then
  • Tamtam, thank you for pointing out the 38 questions and links!
  • Ok so I saw the neurosurgeon today and to b honest I'm not really any clearer on what's wrong, the MRI showed a bit of damage to c6/c7 but nothing major he said that may cause the tricep wasting but not the chest which he thinks is worse, he seems to think it could b a virus of the nerves similar to Bell's palsy, no operations, no treatment just gotta try and build it up again, this guy is a professor in neurology so I'm guessing he knows what he's talking about, I'm just disappointed that I'm in the same position with a weak arm and chest and also not really any the wiser why. I'm gonna start a new thread to see if anyone else has heard of this nerve virus
  • ricymardonarricymardona Posts: 16
    edited 02/20/2013 - 10:09 PM
    I think you need to consult with the good Neurosurgeon, and i believe it's an arthritic bone growth. Its happen after a certain age so no need to worry.
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