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Frustrated and Confused

autigerfanaautigerfan Posts: 2
edited 09/17/2015 - 4:01 PM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I was in a car accident last December. Immediately following the accident I was treated for whip lash. As the months went on the pain I was having only got worse. I have a burning in the upper/middle part of my back and upper back pain that goes throughout my shoulder blades. I also have a general weak feeling in my arms and my arms often go to sleep. I wake up 3-4 times a night with my arms asleep. The pain in my upper back/neck/shoulder area keeps getting worse rather than better. Sitting for a long period of time at work is terrible. I also have 3-4 headaches weekly. After physical therapy with no change my orthopedic doctor decided to do an MRI. Mr results are as follows:

MRI cervical spine shows no soft tissue injury in the paracervical region. There is marrow signal change in C3 consistent with a hemangioma. No expansion of the cortex. C5-6 shows mild degenerative height narrowing as well as a right small disk protrusion with mild right foraminal stenosis.

I had a follow up with my doctor yesterday and he told me that my symptoms do not correlate with the results of my MRI. It was if he didn't believe me when I told him what my symptoms are. He stated that the slight protrusion should be not be causing my issues to the extent I am having them.

Has anyone else ever dealt with this? That the MRI results did not match the severity of your symptoms?

Thanks for any input you may have. I am a single mom and it is frustrating to be hurting every day and trying to take care of children and working. I just want to feel better.

Welcome to Spine-Health

One of the most important things that members can do is to provide the rest of the community with as much information about themselves as possible. It is so very difficult for anyone to respond when we do not have enough information to go on. This is not meant to indicate that you are doing anything wrong or violated any rule, we are just trying to be pro-active and get the information upfront so that people can start responding and your thread is more effective.

So many times we read about members who have different tests and they all come back negative. The more clues and information you provide, the better chances in finding out what is wrong, The fact that your test results are negative does not mean that you are fine and without any concerns. Many times it takes several diagnostic tests and procedures to isolate a specific condition.

Here are some questions that you should answer:

  • - When did this first start?

    . Year, Your age, etc
- Was it the result of an accident or trauma?
- Are there others in your family with similar medication conditions?
- What doctors have you seen? (Orthopedic, Neurosurgeon, Spine Specialist, etc)

  • . Which doctor did you start with? Ie Primary Care Physician
    . Who are you currently seeing?
- What Conservative treatments have you had? Which ones?

  • . Physical Therapy
    . Ultrasound / Tens unit
    . Spinal Injections
    . Acupuncture
    . Massage Therapy
- What diagnostic tests have you had? And their results (MRI, CTScan, XRay, EMG, etc)

  • . Summarize the results, please do not post all details, we cannot analyze them
    . How many different tests have you had over the years? Similar results?
- What medications are you currently using? (details, dosage, frequency, etc)

  • . Name of Medication
    . How long have you been using this?
    . Results
- Has surgery been discussed as an option? (If so, what kind)
- Is there any nerve pain/damage associated?
- What is your doctor’s action plan for treating you?

Providing answers to questions like this will give the member community here a better understanding
of your situation and make it easier to respond.

Please take a look at our forum rules: Forum Rules

I also strongly suggest that you take a look at our FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) which can be found at the top of the forum menu tab or by going to FAQ There you will find much information that will

  • - Help you better utilize the Spine-Health system
    - Provide pointers on how to make your threads / posts
    - Tips on how to create your avatar (your picture), posting images, etc
    - General pieces of valuable information

Please remember that no one at Spine-Health is a formally trained medical professional.
Everything that is posted here is based on personal experiences and perhaps additional research.
As such, no member is permitted to provide

  • - Analysis or interpretation of any diagnostic test (ie MRI, CTscan, Xray, etc)
    - Medical advice of any kind
    - Recommendations in terms of Medications, Treatments, Exercises, etc

What could be good for someone could spell disaster for another.
You should also consult your doctor to better understand your condition and the do’s and don’t’s.

It is very important that new members (or even seasoned members) provide others with details about their condition(s). It is virtually impossible to help another member when all the details we have are

I’ve had this for years, it hurts, I cant move my shoulder – what could this be, what treatment should I get?

Diagnosing spinal problems can be very difficult. In many ways it’s like a game of clue. Especially, when the diagnostic tests come back negative – no trouble found! Then it’s up to the patient and the doctor to start digging deeper. The doctor is like a detective. They need clues to help them move along. So, you as the patient need to provide the doctor with all sorts of clues. That is like it is here. Without having information about a condition, its impossible for anyone here to try to help.

Specific comments :

Personal Opinion, not medical advice :

--- Ron DiLauro, Spine-Health System Moderator : 09/17/15 22:01st



  • Same thing happened to me. Had two MRI's. Also after a double whiplash injury from being rear ended. Long story short, MRI showed herniated "mild" disc at C4/5 with no cord compression. Was told I shouldn't be in so much pain based on what MRI showed. I was having debilitating headaches, burning pain in scapula, pain across shoulders and stabbing pain in neck and tons of muscle spasms, hand numbness. After 19 months of conservative treatment and symptoms almost identical to yours, I ended up having a discectomy and fusion and my surgeon said first thing he saw when he went in was that I had a torn ligament. He then said my disc at C4/5 was obliterated and basically smeared all over the spinal cord. My MRI showed none of that. In my research MRI's are about 70% reliable.
    My advice is keep a log of your symptoms and pain scale and go get a second, or third medical opinion. In my experience it took me going to doctor #3 to finally get the help I needed. The first two specialists treated me like a hypochondriac. Has your doctor recommended any conservative treatments to you? Usually they have you start there and re asses after.
    It's amazing how doctors all see different things. They may have to do more testing in you, like an EMG (nerve conduction) study, etc... Be patient, stay the course and don't give up! Good luck!
  • Yes, I have received physical therapy and now he is ordering epidural injections. I just hate being made to feel like I am not telling the truth. All I know is that before the accident I was fine and now I am in pain every day.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,865
    edited 09/30/2015 - 7:07 AM
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • itsautonomicitsautonomic LouisianaPosts: 1,816
    BlessedMom74 said:
    . I ended up having a discectomy and fusion and my surgeon said first thing he saw when he went in was that I had a torn ligament. He then said my disc at C4/5 was obliterated and basically smeared all over the spinal cord. My MRI showed none of that. In my research MRI's are about 70% reliable.

    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.
  • itsautonomicitsautonomic LouisianaPosts: 1,816
    Yet the doctor was treating you based off only the MRI , shame. If spinal cord was pinched , bruised by any of it you can have full body symptoms.

    Doctors use " you should not be in this much pain" as a negative instead of a positive. A good, trusting doctor will follow up that statement with " their must be something going on we are not seeing, lets get to the bottom of it" and doctor you don't care to see any longer will use that statement as to imply you are lying or pain is in your head.
    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.
  • I had a bad experience where Xrays, and MRI supposedly did not show I was misaligned 50% on one side of my c1 and c2 and bone on bone. Don't know how this was missed but the worse part was that I did a lot of complaining at the beginning and the Dr. just ignored me. He treated me like a complainer and only wanted to medicate me. My recommendation like someone else said ,is keep a journal and tell the Drs. all your problems. Also, if you can get a 2nd or 3rd opinion go for it. In my situation I did get a 2nd opinion which took longer to diagnose me but at least I knew I wasn't making things up. Will keep you in prayers.
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