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Whiplash ???

DianafanDDianafan Posts: 5
edited 04/16/2013 - 2:56 PM in New Member Introductions
My name is Wendy, and I live in Oklahoma City. I am a registered nurse, mostly caring for sick newborn infants. I don't know a whole lot about backs, but I am an expert at newborn care if anyone needs it. :)

On Feb. 6, 2013 I was rear-ended by a 17 year old in a car accident. I was stopped behind a car that was turning, and did not see him coming. He hit me at a speed of 40mph and pushed my car into the one in front of me. I was driving a new car that had only 7k miles, and was declared a total loss due to a bent frame in 2 places.

I have severe neck and upper back pain. My MRI shows "nothing but a bulging disc" at c 6-7. I am going to physical therapy 3x a week, and not progressing very well. I was referred by my family physician to a pain management physician. I have had 2 epidural steroid injcetions (ESI), the most recent 4-12-13. The first ESI seemed to help with the pain, but the one on 4-12 is causing a lot of soreness.

My pain management physician perscribed Neurontin, I am taking it, and yes, it does help a lot with the pain. The problem is that I hate the way it makes me feel. It has severe negative effects on my memory and makes me "twitch", and my thinking abilities are very reduced.

My questions to the group are...has anyone here had "whiplash" that just will not go away. I'm unable to work, dizzy, have severe neck, shoulder, upper arm and collar bone pain. Could there be a disc issue that is not visable on the MRI? I'm miserable, and only leave the house for physical therapy. I'm only 42, but I feel like my life is over. I know this type of injury normally resolves within a few weeks, but obviously I'm not normal.

Any information from anyone that has experienced this would be very much appreciated. I really don't know where else to turn for information.

Thanks to all in advance.....



  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,858
    I am sure that you will find your time on Spine-Health very rewarding. This site is a powerful and integrated system that is dynamic and continues to grow.
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    To make your threads more effective, I suggest reading our FAQs and looking at some of the threads under New Member.
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    Ok, that was our welcome to this site. I know you will find good information here.

    Whiplash situations can be very difficult. Sure, they may not show up on any MRI or CT-Scan or X-Ray test. But that does not say, the pain is totally real. When I hear bulging disc, that means so many different things. It can be something that can be treated by some rest, PT could put it down, etc To me, as long as the disc is not pressing on a nerve root, you have options.

    Nuerontin, is a super medication. I've been on it now for about 3 1/2 years without any negative impacts. Well, there is some weight gain and my short term memory can go out the window at times. So, now, heck what was I talking about to start with!.

    With Whiplash, there can be a lot of muscle/ligament strains. That being said, and without any major disc problem, I might even say that a chiropractor could help. But then again, my first response was to see my Thai Guru. He knows more about the total body then most doctors. Some massage or light manipulation may help.

    Long term whiplash problems slowly start to become headaches and then from there numbness and who knows what

    Bottom line, what have your doctors laid out in terms of an action plan for you.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Hi Ron,

    Thank you so much for the information. I had no idea whiplash could be like this. The research about "chronic whiplash" I have read seems to indicate that a large portion of medical providers think it is all in our heads.....let me tell you I wish that were the case.

    I did have the finger numbness prior to the first ESI, but it went away.
    I am fortunate to have good medical care (I think). My pain management MD placed me on the Neurontin and Mobic, with Percocet for breakthrough pain. I really try not to take much Percocet. She has taken the view that hopefully physical therapy will fix it in time. My PT is wonderful (got lucky). Her opinion is that I will likely be in PT through the summer, but will eventually heal. The cervical traction has been very helpful. She is also great with cervical manipulation.
    So, I'm doing the exercises and hoping for the best. I do think there is a Thai Healer that is well thought of by friends. Other than accupuncture, do they do anything else???
  • Unfortunately the neurosurgens see absoutley nothing wrong with the MRI.
    Regarding Lyrica, do you know what the side effects are compared with Neurontin? Do you have "lofty thinking" on the Lryica?
  • charryccharry Posts: 5,657
    edited 04/17/2013 - 11:29 AM
    I took Lyrica and never tried Neurontin but found Lyrica worked well but unfortunately caused so much weight gain for me and dizziness and felt sleepy. I take Cymbalta which is used for my nerve pain and it helps without the concentration issues.

    I had whiplash that lasted 9 months but did well with the muscle relaxant diazepam for 9 months and the whiplash finally got better with Physiotherapy using ultrasound and ice/heat and inferential and exercise from the PT. I was taking the Neonatal Intensive Care Nursing course at the the time but had to stop due to the medications and only worked in my Drs office for those 9 months.

    I hope yours doesn't take as long to heal though. Take care. Charry

    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • Hi Charry,

    Thank you for the post. I fully expect it to take 9 months, and just hope it does heal eventually. My PT has not used ultrasound, can you tell me how it worked/helped. Do you have any whiplash symptoms now?
    I have worked in the NICU for the better part of 20 years and am an RN-C. I completely understand the not working in the critical care unit. I should complete my MS (education) in 3 weeks, but fear I can't complete the oral comp. portion of the test.. I just can't think straight.
  • RangerRRanger on da rangePosts: 805
    edited 04/17/2013 - 5:35 PM
    Hello Wendy and welcome to S-H. I had taken Gabapentin/Neurontin for nerve pain back in 2010. I remember that it had negative effects on my short term memory and it would affect my job performance hence I discontinued using it. My neck
    issues are a lot different than what you have but from what I have experienced through the past several years there are ways to find out the true source of your discomfort. Not sure if your Dr's have considered an EMG test or a CT Myelogram with contrast but sometimes these tests can define a nerve problem a lot easier.
    Try to stay positive and be your own advocate to get to the root of your problem. I understand your frustration but your active
    lifestyle is not over, you can beat this.
    Take care,
  • charryccharry Posts: 5,657
    edited 04/17/2013 - 6:26 PM
    I do have issues with my neck like possible nerve impingement and DDD at C5-C7 and sometimes get bad elbow pain and find manual traction helpful but it's bearable right now. My main issues are my lower back. It was over 20 years ago I had whiplash. I still get a flare up and that's when I try ultrasound and inferential for pain for a couple of weeks but with whiplash it was mainly muscle issues.

    Maybe see your Dr. about another nerve pain med until you can get your oral exams done? My Dr. had me on Amitropyline at night before Lyrica then Cymbalta which has really helped me.

    I stopped working 5 years ago when I injured my back and herniated a disc doing a difficult assignment at work in the ER.
    I had some neck issues throughout the years but nothing like my lower back.

    Ranger above has good ideas above and do let your Dr.know if you have any arm numbness.

    I hope the ESIs will help. Did you have Physiotherapy yet? Take care and hope you get some relief soon. Charry

    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
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