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20 years old scared/in pain

edited 03/15/2015 - 8:03 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Hi everyone! So last weekend I ended up completely rupturing my c3-c4 disc through the center, not out the side, by literally doing nothing. I was on the phone and my neck felt a tad heavy/stiff so I gently turned my head to the right to sort of stretch/crack my neck. Which is something I do quite often without any problems and usually feels great.

But this time, I heard an immediate hissing/crackling pop sound and felt immense pressure like something was deflating/exploding right at the base of my skull. It was excruciating pain and my boyfriend had to hold my arms and legs because i was flailing around in so much pain he was worried if I couldn't not be so tense I would injure my neck more. Decided to go to the ER after an hour because it was worse and I have a complicated medical history right now which includes thoracic lung surgery about two months ago to remove a t1-t2 nerve root tumor - schwannoma - that was growing at the apex of my right chest. Already having most likely permanent nerve damage throughout my right arm/hand from that we didn't want to risk anything else and I also was afraid because of how I felt it deflate it was a blood clot.

Sure enough MRI showed the acute c3-c4 disc rupture and the doc was baffled as to how it happened without significant trauma or previous bulge/degeneration. All my images from very recently and past show no problems with the cervical spine. I am scheduled to see a neurosurgeon this coming week. Basically I'm just also trying to figure out how this happened from absolutely nothing. The doctors seem to think it's weird how high up it is and how young I am and don't know what to make of it. We aren't sure if it fits into my current diagnostic puzzle of what is wrong with me. Along with the tumor I have chronic fevers which actually showed up as chronic inflammation all throughout my axial skeleton on PET scan, extreme fatigue, anemia. The schwannoma was non-metastic not causing any systemic symptoms except tachycardia and shortness of breath.

Would really love any advice from you guys about dealing with this at my age/what I should ask the neurosurgeon. I'm currently in a soft collar and on pain pills/prednisone. It seems to make me feel really full/pressure in the back of head/neck and I have constant ear spasms and weird ringing in my left ear and more spasms in the front of my neck and around my collar bone on the left. And weakness/pain shooting into my left front of shoulder. Sometimes i feel like I can't even push my shoulder back on that side, like it just flops forward.

Any help would be much appreciated!!



  • 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
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,427
    I can understand, as you said you are very young and afraid. Perfectly natural, esp. While you are in the process of trying to get symptoms under control.

    Not being familiar with your conditions and complications... I thought of couple things were helpful to me..
    I learned it to be so important and helpful re' having a support system. Friend or family who could maybe accompany you when you see doctors or receive reports.

    For me, trying to control symptoms when out..very difficult to really take in all the information. My sister would even take notes for me to refer to later...when I was physically more comfortable.

    Also, you friends and family can help you with questions re' neurosurgeon. Often times they see things..symptoms or situations they bring to your attention..you may not be aware of... Friends can also be sounding board for the decisions you will have to make...people who care for you brainstorming with you.

    I also carry with my insurance card...list of meds..docs and their icontact info...and list of conditions..if ever in too painful situation where I unable to speak for myself for matter of time. Also, medical personal can make copy of info and help you save your strength to handle the pain..

    So good you have doctors you trust and although diagnosis and treatment may take time..and for some this can be frustrating...but to take things as they come and remain hopeful. It sounds like you have positive attitude and that is great strength .
    Please keep us posted with how things are going for you!
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

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