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Need help understanding my neck and nerve pain

I have had 4 bad falls down stairs over the past 6 years. That last one was in October 2012. I have on and off lower back pain with nerve pain down my right leg. Trouble with concentration, speech, and headaches dizziness. All of which I have told my doctor but feel goes on deaf's ear.
Now I have chronic neck and right arm pain. It all started with a sneeze and the next morning I could not move my neck. Doctor put be on viocdin and muscle relaxers. She also had me start physical therapy. She ordered and xray of my neck but it showed nothing. I had to take a trip to the er because I started to have nerve pain in my right arm and leg and pain in my upper chest with dizziness . ER doctor ordered an mri of my neck and ct of my brain after a short wait er dr came in and said no diagnoses and to follow up with my dr. My doctor said my mri was normal and to continue with physical therapy and meds. Now i'm feeling as if this is all in my head. I go back to the dr because the nerve pain in my neck and right arm are so bad I cant move my arm. She tells me nothing showed up on the mri to say a nerve is pinched and to give it time. She put me on neurontin for the nerve pain. I am taking 300mg twice a day. This has help but do not want to be on this because of the side effects. She also referred me to a pain doctor and said she did not feel i need to see a neurologist. Won't see the pain dr till the end of Oct.
Now I am out of work because I am unable to sit at my desk because the pain is so bad. My muscles are so tight they hurt too.

I requested a copy of the mri report and this is what I got.

1. Disk osteophyte complex c4-c5 and c5-c6 causing effacement of the ventral subarachnoid space and anterior aspect of the cervical cord at these levels.
2. There is mild neural foraminal narrowing on the right C4-C5 and most pronounced at C5-C6 but no definite neural impingement.
3. There is no central canal stenosis

After reading this I am confused as to why my dr would tell me that my mri was normal. Both my chiropractor and physical therapist fell I should see a neurologist but my doctor does not.
Today my chiropractor called my doctor to see about getting a referral to a neurologist for a EMG test because now I have lost of strength in my right arm and hand. My doctors nurse called me and said no because the mri did not show a nerve is being pinched.

I dont feel I am getting better after 2 months. I feel like I am getting worse.

Guess my question is can a mri tell if a nerve is pinched? If not a pinched nerve why did the neurontin give me some relief ?

Im thinking I need to get another dr for a 2nd opinion but just started short term disability and dont want to mess that up. So stressed and feel so confused.


  • Welcome to the forums! Sorry to hear that you are having such issues. The only advice I can give you is to see another doctor and take your MRI with you when you go. Is the Dr you are talking about your Family doctor/general practice? You should find a specialist asap. Your disability can be extended by any doctor you see. Please find a specialist to review your MRI as soon as you possibly can. If there is nerve damage that needs to be looked at sooner rather than later. You could probably call your medical insurance company or go online and find a Neurosurgeon that is in your network.

    Let us know what happens!
    36 yr old with one degenerative disc (L5-S1)
    3 rounds of Epidurals in 2013
    6 PT visits in 2013
    Microdiscectomy L5 S1 on 9/5/2013.
    Re-herniated in January 2014.
    Epidural on 3/3/14.
    A/PLIF (L5-S1) 6/3/14
  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
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    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • I am just throwing this out there to see if you get relief. Try massaging the SCM (sternocleidomastoid) muscle or the scalene muscles. You can easily search on the internet for videos or images of the location of these muscles. See if that gives you any relief. I get dizziness from my SCM muscle spasms. The scalenes are also tight and I also get pain in my chest and biceps when they spasm. My acupuncturist helps to deactivate them. You can try going to see a massage therapist. Good luck!
    2011 ACDF C5-6 for Spondylosis with Myleopathy
    2012 L4-5 herniated disc and hernated disc at C4/5 2013 Taking Amitriptyline for headaches
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