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Neck pain - please help

Lanzahottie39LLanzahottie39 Posts: 6
edited 02/11/2015 - 4:48 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I am new to the forum so please bear with me, advice would be greatly appreciated.

First I better explain my problem. I have been having neck problems for 18 months which have progressively got worse. I have had an MRI scan 13 months ago which shows wear and tear in c6 and c7. I do not feel the MRI is showing how bad the situation is and have had physical therapy and am now in pain management having physio again not helping. I do not feel the doctors are listening to me even though I have always been healthy and hardly ever visited doctor. I am struggling to work part time in an office as looking down for long periods is causing upper back tightness, pain in shoulder, tingling in neck and down shoulders and tingling pains in chest. Looking down is worse when I am standing up and it feels as though my shoulders do not hang properly, it is painful, as if my neck can't take the weight of my shoulders. It also feels like something is stuck in neck when looking down almost like everything is touching too close. I am struggling to do simple tasks because of looking down. I have also got muscle twitches in whole body which docs have said anxiety but I totally disagree. I am also getting low back pain and tightness which I feel is related to my neck.

I know after this long list it seems like I am a hypocondriac, but trust me I am a rational person who has never been preoccupied by illness. I am becoming increasingly more depressed as I feel my life has changed dramatically as I struggle to work mornings and then am at home resting my neck whereas before, after work I would go everywhere to shop, etc, but now shopping has become painful. I can't carry items as I feel pain across my neck and shoulders and can't even do the food shopping on my own anymore. I have two kids aged 17 and 13 and do not want them to see me miserable as I was always a happy, fun person.

Is this just wear and tear if it is ruining my life? Should I demand to see a specialist and how bad do you have to be to have surgery? I would be greatful for advice from you knowledgeable people.


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
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    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • BlessedMom74BBlessedMom74 Posts: 322
    edited 02/11/2015 - 4:24 PM
    All I can tell you is that you have to be your strongest advocate. I am I the same boat as you. I am a healthy, fit 40 year that was rear ended 18 months ago, sustained a double whiplash injury. After 4 months of chronic pain I got an MRI study done and it shows I have 2 herniated discs at C4/5 & C5/6. I get debilitating headaches, I feel like I have a knife in my neck and I experience burning and the sensation of rubber bands snapping on my right upper trap and scapula area.
    I have been to 1 Orthopiedic doctor and 2 neurologists. I have done a year of physical therapy, 6 months of acupuncture and nothing gives me relief for more than 2 days. All doctors do is prescribe meds, meds and more meds. Prednisone didn't help. I didn't want to do the cervical epidural because I felt the risk didn't outweigh the potential small benefit.
    I am going in for a facet injection on February 27th, which the neurologist says is a disgnostic necessity to narrow down the problem. I have had to continue to push and be a "squeaky wheel" because 2 of the 3 doctors I have seen have told me that my herniated discs aren't operable. They aren't bad enough to warrant surgery. But my question is, if someone has herniated discs and has pain consistent with those discs why wouldn't you fix it now before things get worse and recovery becomes harder? This has been so frustrating and exhausting. We know our bodies, we know what's is "normal, for us and what isn't. Hang in there and keep being persistent. And if your doctor isn't listenig, go find another one.
  • Thanks for your comments BlessedMom74. You are young as we'll, I am 45 and feel like I shouldn't be in this situation at my age. I had a car accident 14 years ago and suffered for about 8 months with whiplash. Over the years I had a slight twinge when lifting heavy bags and had to be careful of what pillow I used but other than this it is not something I thought about. Then 18 months ago I sneezed and felt an almighty pain from neck to lower back. Sat down for 15mins and then felt fine. Next morning I had a terrible stiff neck and couldn't look from left to right. Had physio after keep pestering doctor but over time it has got worse. I can now look left to right, although it isn't normal but it is the looking down. Prior to this I did Zumba for 2 years and felt absolutely fine but think it may have added to wear and tear. Docs say whiplash injury nothing to do with this as too long ago. My doctors won't give me further tests as they say X-ray won't show anything MRI is better. My question is my MRI was 13 months ago and was done in a lying down position, which I am fine when I lie down. Do you think it is possible that due to lying down it does not show true results as it makes sense that gravity when standing up is a more realistic picture of what is truly going on. It is nice to have others to talk to in same position so any replies are much appreciated. If you have any other condition, you can have an op and it will hopefully be put right, but with spinal problems the outlook seems bleak and learn to live with your life never being the same again. I can't do this.
  • Take two..... Lost my last reply.
    Lanzahottie39 my advice to you, is find a neurologist or an Orthopiedic doctor, not a general doctor. If your last MRI was over a year ago it's time for a new one. A lot can change in a year, especially if you aggravated your injury with sudden movement like a violent sneeze. I know I had a terrible flair up of my pain after having a bad cold and coughing and sneezing for a week. It set me back four months in the progress Inhad made with PT.
    It's very frustrating to have doctors dismiss you. I think infinally found a neurologist whoops willing to investigate and help find the cause of lo my pain. The other specialists I have seen just prescribe more meds, which just mark the problem. I need a fix. Not a bandaid. My frustration is that my MRI showed two bulged, possibly herniated discs at C4/5 and C5/6. The burning sensation I have on my scapula is consistent with the C4/5 dermatome. But because my MRI and nerve study don't show significant nerve impingement they dont want to do anything about it. The PT I have been working with for the last year believe my issue is twofold. I have spinal instability at C4 which X-ray confirmed, and the disc problems. He feels my vertebrae is moving too much and sheering the disc thus irritating the nerve. So the nerve isn't impinged but it is constantly being irritated and inflamed. He often finds my C4 vertebrae to be completely rotated when he works on me. I get debilitating headaches, neck pain and the constant burning pain on my scapula. I am going in on the 24th to get a facet injection to C4 to see if that is the cause of my pain and I guess depending on the results of that injection the neurologist will know what to do. I will keep you posted. In the mean time, find a new doctor. And know you have someone who feels your pain. I used to spin 3?times a week, walk 2-3 miles 3 times a week, ski... And now I am constantly exhausted from the chronic pain and it takes all I have just to take care of my family. Hang in there....
  • Pardon all the typos. I was on my iPad and the spell check changes most of what I wrote. So annoying.
    Hope you can still get the gist of my message.
  • itsautonomicitsautonomic LouisianaPosts: 1,816
    edited 02/12/2015 - 7:32 AM
    Blessed mom, its pretty cool what a PT can feel sometimes with their hands and evauluating your movements.
    Also recumbent MRI done when lying down may not show everything, gravity does impact things. The only problem is magnets in the upright MRI are weaker than recumbant. Some doctors swear by them others think the recumbant shows enough, but if you are pain free lying down it may be something to consider in future.
    If you feel doctors are not taking seriously advocate for yourself and ask for a referral. Who would not have anxiety if they had a problem worsening for 18 months with no answers? That does not mean its causing the twitches.
    Do your due dilegence, trust you know your body and question everything if it does not fit. Advocate for yourself and you will be suprised what will be revealed trusting your body and instinct.
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