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Odd ball who feels hopeless with MRI of cervial readings

Hey everyone, I hope someone can help me with this *sorry it's soooo long*
I have been in pain for 20 months at this point and tossed from doctor to doctor with some very disappointed treatment/results. I'm only 28 and a female who had a fairly healthy life prior to a sudden onset of pain. I was working a very active job and thought I had merely pulled something at the onset of pain and kept working for a few more days but after 4 of pain my body literally just went stiff and the pain was well... painful, I could not move my legs or flex my back without aggravating my pain. I opened a WC claim and from there the doctors heard my complaints and started conservative treatment that included medications, physical therapy and none of it helped. The did an MRI of my lower back that showed little reason for the pain in my back and cause of horrific spasms in my right calf ( I could not flex my calf to relieve the spasm when it occurred) I was seeing a Ortho. Surgeon. So he decided to try a epidural to my L5-S1 to see if I could get relief. Immediately after the injection (as in within a hour) when I would move my head forward this really bad shock feeling would go from my neck to my lower back. I was scared and called the doctor and the injection doctor. My Ortho. doctor had me go to an ER thinking it may be meningitis or an epidural abscess.
My prominent side of pain was on the right. I could not walk normally and started to use a cane as my balance was off and I had headaches that were getting worse (they would not go away and pounding feeling increased.) I thought I may need a blood patch but that never happened. They did a CT of my head and chest X-Ray at the ER along with blood work and said they found no cause for the symptoms I was describing and sent me home. So the Ortho. saw me again as a follow with the pain still in my neck and lower back. He told me that he could do nothing for me and said that this pain was probably from convergence or related to cancer and dismissed me from his care with a referral to a physiatrist for a full body eval. The next doctor said I was treated wrong and had muscle tears in my lower back region and put me on a slew of medications (did not help except steroid dose pack) and he wanted to put me in aquatic physical therapy as well as do a home exercise using a ball in my lower back against a wall to move my waist to strengthen my back muscles. While in the aquatic therapy my pain got worse as I was in the pool and after going three times a week for three weeks I started getting tingling in my right big toe and the toe beside it on my right foot. The therapist said they could no longer do therapy with me in worry of causing more damage and failed from therapy saying I needed further evaluation. The physiatrist was upset with me and again I heard that my symptoms made no sense and he could no longer treat me. He did order a MRI again of my lower back with and without contrast.
Again no major findings but a herniated L5-S1 with my facets being enlarged at same level and L3-4 but no nerve impingement. So off to another doctor I went, again an Ortho Surg. who now said my facets were the cause and had me do a nerve conductive study (which was said to be normal) and then ordered facet injections to my L5-S1, the first inj. gave me some relief from the lower back but not legs or neck issues. I was complaining of pain my right hand and thought maybe it was carpel tunnel and that this was this pain in the mid part of my back right below my last rib on the right side. The doctor told me that WC would not treat my hand and that I needed to see if I could live with pain my mid back. Aggravated with lack of care I settled my WC case to pursue my own treatment thinking that these doctors were only helping the insurance company keep low cost of treatment. I did have a lawyer but they did nothing for me even though I was complaining of how these doctors were treating me. I also had mental health treatment as I was becoming really depressed and started having anxiety attacks when my pain would become heighten and left me crying. So after the case was closed I did get two more facet injections. The second one gave me a bit of relief for almost a month but still had the other problems. Since I had spent over a year confined to home and minimal grocery shopping I thought a 10 day vacation would be fitting, only thing was I was in pain the whole time and I was still depressed and anxiety attacks kept on despite a happy location.
I stayed with the last Ortho. as he already knew my history. When I had the third injection there was no change in my pain at all. So when I followed up my pain in my right hand/arm felt worse and the pain in my mid back was persistent as well. I had to fight with him to get him to do an MRI of my lower back and mid back to see what was going on. He finally did it after I aggressively expressed that I was spending my own money and insurance to purse the reason for my pain and even though I received a good settlement amount I was truly in pain and not faking on bit. When the MRIs came back the lower back was the same as had been before, thoracic showed bone spurs in mid and lower regions but then there was a small syrinx seen at C6 and now needed a cervical MRI. Still didn't know what was causing my pain, but the doc. was worried about this syrinx.
So when the cervical MRI came back there were findings. The syrinx was only at C6 and 1.2 cm and in no way causing the pain or currently a danger to my spinal canal. However,C2-3 showed mild uncovertebral hypertrophy on the right w/o central canal or neural foramen encroachment. the C 3-4 also had mild uncovertebral hypertrophy but it did result in mild right neural foramen encroachment and had effacement of the ventral thecal sac but no central canal encroachment. The C4-5 has a posterior disc herniation with associated annular tearing, the findings completely effaces the ventral thecal sac and produces mass effect upon transiting cord. Max AP dimension of central canal is 7 mm. with uncovertebral hypertrophy resulting in moderate right neural foramen encroachment. C5-6 and C6-7 had no central canal or neural foramen encroachment. <<<<<<< END OF REPORT>>>>>>>>
BUT when I went back to learn the finding the doc. tells me I am a "MYSTERY" case and was not in need of surgery and I need to go to a Mayo clinic and that he would not see me back unless I needed him. No therapies, no medications, nothing was given to me at this follow up. Left in pain and still not really knowing what is causing this pain I am at rock bottom. I have taken the suggestion and make an appt. to see a non-op doctor at a Mayo clinic 4 hours from my home which the travel will be difficult as I have issues sitting/standing for longer then 30 minutes without aggravating my back/leg pain. Has anyone out there been through any of this pain?? I also should add that cancer and other issues have been ruled out as I had other doctors like PCP and OBGYN look over me this year. I don't have BM but I do I have problems holding it in when I have the urge, I urinate often and do leak and can not hold it in, and sex is out of the question (thankful for a understanding husband who has remained faithful and helpful.)


  • I can empathize with you because I have the same pain. I'm experiencing pain and weakness on the right side of my body, numbness, tingling, and stinging especially under the bottom of my foot, first two toes as well as my hand and fingers. I was diagnosed with cervical spinal stenosis due to a bone spur in my c5 and c6. I've had some of the strangest headaches with dizziness and nausea. When I'm sitting or lying down I hurt but when I stand I feel like I'm about to pass out. I even have motion sickness. Doc says the spur is pressing on my brain stem and causing me to feel this way. I understand about the bodily functions I'm experiencing that too. I'm waiting to see the neurosurgeon to know my options but the ER Doc says I need surgery so no you're not alone. I pray that you feel better and trust God to reveal to your Physicians your treatment.
  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    There is nobody on the forum qualified to advice on an MRI finding the rules state....
    5.13 You agree not to ask for any analysis or interpretation of diagnostic tests (ie MRI, CTScans, EMG, etc.),


    Welcome to Spine-Health and how to get started here

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • sandisandi Posts: 6,343
    edited 05/26/2014 - 9:57 AM
    is considered to a significant finding. Anything that is seen anatomically is listed on the report, but some of those things really aren't clinical findings, meaning that they don't cause the pain, or aren't impinging nerves or the spinal canal......thickened ligaments are just that, thickened, which can mean slightly thicker than normal or significantly.
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