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Back to PT, thoughts anyone?

Hi, have posted before about the horrendous neck pain from a car accident a year ago + (Had a severe concussion, cervical neck injury etc)

Long story short, went through PT last year, motion got better but still pain, then the pain (flare ups) were so bad and lingering every second of the day for days and days, got an MRI which showed a herniated disc at C7-T1, loss of normal cervical lordosis, degenerative disc disease, disc loss, effacement at front of spinal cord...

My Dr. said my discs have "shifted" in the accident, next time I saw her she said your MRI was normal, what's the problem....ugh!! trying to get her changed so I can see someone else.

She also said she was not going to send me to any specialist as I do not need to go to one, put me back in PT so now I'm going twice a week and we are working very conservatively.

Dr. is pushing me to go for steroid injections but I don't know whether to go? I'm worried if they work they are merely masking what's actually going on, also heard about the side effects which don't sound fun, one of which can be severe depression, last summer I became so depressed and was suicidal, meds had to be increased so it's scary to me.

Does anyone think more PT will help? Is this the right therapy to be in? I am beyond frustrated and cannot remember when I was not in pain. :(

The flare ups are beyond agony and it's so difficult to hold my head up, it actually feels too big for my neck! then the pain will subside to just under the surface (which is actually bliss compared to the flare up's)

I just want this pain to be gone and be normal again, I was so active but now only walking as anything else...I pay for it the next day.

Any help/advice, thank you :)


  • Hello Tannis
    I am in a similar situation as far as the neck, PT, depression. I went through the PT for 6 weeks and I got a bit better, probably from a pain level of 9 to about 2 or 3 most days now. I then had my first Epidural shot last friday and leading up to it, i read everything i could about the injections and scared the crap out of me of all the horror stories. I was feeling depressed and had anxiety as i have been dealing with that issue for years and I had recently weined myself off of the zoloft that i was taking, so i thought in my head will the shots make me more depressed and have to get back on my medication. Well i dont like needles and usually pass out even with a flu shot. Anyway i went in and my anestisiologist was great, i barely even felt the first one and didnt feel anything else except a little pressure just about where i think the issue was and it was instant relief.

    After going home i seemed to have no side effects to the shots, I cannot really say whether they help me or not as there was not much difference in the pain level since the shot and i am on day six. I am sure they will do another round of shots and i am up for it.

    One thing that i do know even after the shot i was still a little depressed, not much more than i was already so i started taking B-complex and has boosted my mood i think.

    I gave the therapy 100% and also changed my posture and use a traction device and believe i have gotten most of my relief from doing so.

    I wish you the best!
  • Tannis, Sorry to hear that you are experiencing pain.

    Depression from steroid injections -- I've never heard of this side effect. Where are you getting your information?

    PT can help loosen up soft tissue in your neck and back, and help you regain any range of movement lost in the accident, both of which can reduce pain.

    Have you tried TENS?

    Use of a soft collar helps when neck pain flares up. Have you tried one?

    How about an NSAID like ibuprofen 400mg -- any help from this?

    When all else fails, getting the weight of my head off my neck by laying on my back usually helps my neck pain. I make sure to roll my pillow to support my neck when doing this.

    Best wishes.
  • Thank you both very much for your replies, not been able to reply until today for some reason, could not log in correctly.

    mikeymike: Hope the injections help you, I have scared myself to death reading about the side effects some people get!! I am super dooper sensitive to any kind of meds, also I believe they are only temp?? so am putting the injections off for right now.

    Am in PT again twice a week, neck and back flare up every time but hopefully as time goes by the PT will help.
    For no reason these flare ups happen, every night I sit with a warm "bean bag" contraption around my neck, the warmth feels good but it also holds my head up. Could not go for a walk yesterday, every step killed me.

    So hope you get relief, I too suffered from terrible depression and anxiety last year, I know the pain is doing it though.

    philnoir: I read about the depression side effect from a few people who'd had the injections done (I was on Google! I know...shouldn't do it...!) I've suffered very severe depression so it scared me.

    We've tried all kinds of pain pills, Vicodin, Norco..none worked, also muscle relaxers which also don't work. I have a TENS machine and unfortunately that did nothing for the pain at all. Hoping as you say that going thru PT again will help.

    This has been going on for over a year and the pain is worse than ever, every day all I think about is how to relieve it, walking, sitting, sometimes sleeping all make it worse.
  • Not sure what's happening but the above post is not from me! lol don't know who wrote that! ?? I had just written something and tried to post it so maybe things overlapped, not sure.

    My posts are not being entered correctly...
  • mikeymikemmikeymike Posts: 21
    edited 03/25/2014 - 3:00 AM
    Tannis I had the same issue on another post. I believe something is messing up on this forum.
  • that being said, physical therapy is always a good idea to help restore range of motion, increase and improve strength and stamina and increase tolerance to pain.
    There is a link at the bottom of my post- read it. It's called the step by step to getting treatment for Chronic pain......
    The injections are a standard step in the treatment protocal, and can provide great relief of inflammation and swollen areas, by bathing the areas with steroids and numbing medications . Some people get relief for weeks or months , some completely and some don't but there is no way to know what your experience will be until you give them a try.


  • Tannis:

    McKensie therapy has been a huge help to me! Most PT is worthless in my opinion, but once I found a physical therapist trained in McKinsie therapy my pain improved dramatically. You can locate a local physical therapist that has gone through McKensie training at their website. I am not endorsing them - just sharing my personal experience over the last 20 years.

    Regarding the injections, I have had multiple series of injections for both my lumbar and cervical vertebrae. You are right that it only masks the pain, but I found it relieved my pain enough to continue to delay surgery for over a decade. I am glad I did the injections, and I did not experience any major side effects.

    Unfortunately, I am most likely headed for major surgery this year, but I was able to avoid surgery for almost 20 years thanks to injections, a really good physical therapist and pain medication.

    Hope this helps. Best of luck. It is a long road.
  • McKenzie method didn't work for me. I had lower back issues two years ago and also saw a therapist trained in Mckenzie. I felt the exercises were too aggressive for me. Left me in more pain than ever. I did read, however , that if nerve compression is involved, to proceed with caution.
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