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Mid-20's and in constant pain

BMurray90BBMurray90 Posts: 1
edited 12/02/2015 - 4:21 PM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Hey all, I'm in my early / mid 20's and have been dealing with a C4-C5 herniated disc for just over a year now and need some advice. Sadly no one quite understands what I'm going through around me.

It all started the day after going to the gym. I woke up with really bad pain in my shoulder / arm pit. It got constantly worse over the course of a couple weeks and wouldn't go away. So my doctor recommended I get an MRI. The MRI showed 2 slight herniation in my cervical spin, I immediately tried Physical Therapy but it made me worse. I then tried Chyro treatments, and it helped manage the pain for awhile, but the flair ups became more and more frequent. I then went back to the doctor and he recommended Epidural injections, I just had my first one under 2 weeks ago and nothing has changed.

I wake up with a stiff neck and pain in it and my shoulder. On most days it goes all the way down my arm into my hand. If I do exercises like chin tucks, both of my hands tingle. To make things worse, within the last month my left leg has begun to show symptoms of a lumbar issue, giving me tingling in my foot and pain behind the knee.

I don't know what to do, a disc replacement surgery has been talked about with my doctor as a possibility, but I'm just turning 25 next month! Is having a major surgery like that advisable at my age? Also, with a recovery time of 1+ month I don't know if my job (freelance) will fire me if I need that time off. I'm living with my parents currently but was hoping to move out by the summer again, they are not supportive of me talking about the possibility of needing this surgery. All they can think of is my job and what it would mean if I lost it.

I don't know what to do. I don't know if it's worth delaying a surgery for even another year or if I still can do something less invasive to fix the issue. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I've been reading through these forums and it's somewhat comforting knowing that I'm not alone.

Welcome to Spine-Health

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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:

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  • . Physical Therapy
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Providing answers to questions like this will give the member community here a better understanding
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What could be good for someone could spell disaster for another.
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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 : 12/02/15 22:20est



  • Motor1MMotor1 Pittsburgh, PaPosts: 552
    I would research & find another spine doctor & get a second opinion.
    Your young age could also be a good thing in terms of recovery if you do have surgery.
    I would also caution against seeing a chiropractor if you have herniated discs.
    Good luck to you.
  • megswan27mmegswan27 Posts: 12
    edited 12/10/2015 - 6:15 PM
    I'm 22. Since I was 16, I have had issues with my neck. Like you said, it started in my shoulder. Then progressively my arm would tingle, then go numb. It got to the point where I was losing function of my arm. I was 21 while that was happening. I tried everything under the sun to avoid surgery but it got too serious too fast and nothing was working. I was in excruciating pain. My pain averaged an 8 daily. I finally decided to do the surgery. 6 months ago I had an artificial disc put in. I woke up from surgery and I could feel my arm again. I hadn't been able to feel it for months. I slowly regained movement in my fingers that I had lost. I was and still am no longer in pain. And my recovery was only 3 weeks. Your job cannot fire you for needing anything related to your health. The surgery is worth it. Had I not done the surgery, I would be typing this message one handed because my arm would be paralyzed. Don't let it get to that point.
  • ksage15kksage15 Posts: 10
    edited 01/01/2016 - 3:45 PM
    Just wanted to sympathize with your age! I'm 22 and woke up during the middle of the night a month ago and thought something was going on with my heart and found out I had bulged discs in my neck. Not a clue how it happened and every doctor I've been to tells me I'm way too young for this to happen without a notable injury. My doctor is going conservative on treatment because of my age but physical therapy hasn't done me any good so far. It's extremely frustrating being in chronic pain and being so young! If I am recommended surgery in the end I think I would go for it. I'd be hopefully for results from surgery rather than continuing to deal with this at my age. I'm scared to death of having nerve damage long term and on my last therapy session me therapist mentioned he was concerned I may already have some damage. Good luck to you. It's mentally exhausting being perfectly healthy and all of a sudden I have this spinal problem out of the blue and no one knows why.
  • chopsuicchopsui Posts: 12
    edited 01/05/2016 - 9:05 AM
    Man I am 26 had a herniated disc for 5 years now c5-c6... The regular epidural injections didnt do jack for me. I finally went to a new doctor after years of dealing with the shittiest doctor ever, new doc has me in way better shape than I ever was. I'm still considering surgery because I want to be 100% pain free and yes I still have pain and take painkillers&nsaids but it seems like you need to find a better doctor. The Facet Block injections really helped me he did 3 levels- c4--c5. c5-c6, c6-c7 just to be sure. All the burning in my shoulder stopped, I actually felt no pain for a while it is temporary but damn its nice to get relief from all that burning and pain when you finally get the anti inflammatory in there.

    I would highly suggest you try and find the NSAID that works best for you. I had to try like 4 before I found the one that worked for me, funny how the body is different like that. I currently take Nabumetone. Ibuprofen and Cox2 Inhibitors did nothing. They even tried to push anti depressants for the pain relief but I am on enough drugs already. I was perfectly healthy going to the gym, boxing, MMA, free running, then one day I wake up with pain out of the blue... other injuries I've had you fall and break your arm and you know what it's from but there were so many things I always wonder exactly what caused my injury. I honestly dont know I'm just dealing with life the best I can right now.

    I'm sure you can get disability if you have to take some time off work dont let money come before your health, though you seem like a responsible guy. Let me know if I can help you with anything I was exactly in your place a few years ago. It's hard to think straight when you're in pain, or on painkillers, but I feel the power of this forum is talking things out between eachother and helping eachother. I'll definitely be staying on this forum to help people even if I recover. I really feel for people this invisible injury really steals alot from us everyday normal people who just want to live normal lives.
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