Hello, I am new to this forum and blogging as well. I guess I should start by saying that at age 17 I was in an car accident where I hit the windshield twice afteer hitting another car and then a tree. At the time I did not have a neck injury.
Since then, at age 38 I started to have severe pins and needles in my left hand while training to be a nurse in the operating room. I had some neck pain but mostly shoulder pain. My boss at the time told me that it was my neck and I went for an MRI which did show a herniation at C4-5, was treated conservatively with NSAIDS,traction and PT.
Over the past few years I had some episodes of neck pain that would go away with NSAIDS,rest and heat. However in late April of this year while at work one day I just turned my head to the left quickly and heard and felt a crack. I worked in agony for two weeks until I could not take the pain from my neck into my shoulder and down my arm. My arm was so weak I felt like I had a stroke, I could not hold onto anything and had no reflexes in my upper extremity on the left. I went to the ER, they gave me something for pain. I saw my orthopedic two days later, she sent me for am MRI and PT, gave me Percocet and Naproxsyn, kept me out of work for 1 month, and I use home traction as well.
My MRI showed: C4-5 mild disc bulging and osseous ridging with moderate disc space narrowing.
C5-6 moderate disc space narrowing with moderate disc bulging and osseous ridging from the uncinate processes/uncovertebral joints,fairly focal and consistent with chronic disc osteophyte, which moderately narrow both nueral foramina. Additionaly on the left there is a disc space herniation component to the disc osteophyte complex protrudes beyond the margins impinging on the left C6 nerve root in the left foramina.
C6-7 is pretty much the same except moderate to severe left and moderate right neural foramina stenosis. The disc bulge component to the broad left posterolateral disc bulge and osseous ridging further extends into the foramen impinging the C7 nerve root and considered a herniation as well.
I have been on two oral steriod doses, PT and traction 5 days a week for a month and then 3 days a week for a month, had two steriod injections, and NSAIDS and Percocet. I do have more ROM since this all began but now I have bad nerve pain in my neck and sometimes throughout my whole body. My legs at times are weak and my bladder has some urgency, however this comes and goes. Sometimes when the nerve pain is bad I have trouble talking,headaches and ear aches. I started having pins and needles in my left fingers about a month ago but that comes and goes as well.
I have an appt with a NS in August and an EMG this Friday. There is alot cracking noise coming from my neck and just the other night I was stretching my arms out, heard and felt a loud crack, yesterday morning I went to wake up for work and could not turn my head to the left and had tremendous pain. I called my ortho, who I totally trust and respect, to see if she could get me into the NS quicker. She talks to me as if this is not a life threatening situation and just says I have DDD and arthritis. I had to remind her that I herniated two discs. She still did not seem that this was not a big deal.
I am totally frustrated. My symptoms are all over the place. I am on light duty at work, sitting at at desk doing pre op assessments, which also gives me neck/nerve pain. Although, this week I am out again. I hope that the NS looks at this situation in a different light, than from an ortho perspective. Has this been the case for many other people? I am afraid that the NS will also look at this as though I am a baby. My ortho did order another MRI and said she would call the NS to see if they could see me sooner.