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Bulged Disc 5th and 6th

ksage15kksage15 Posts: 10
edited 12/13/2015 - 9:41 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical

I am a 22 year old female and about a week and a half ago woke up during the night with cooling numbness and pain on the left side of my chest and a numb left arm. It went away fairly quickly so I went back to sleep. The next night it occurred again and didn't go away, so I went to the ER had a CT scan done and was told I had bulged disc in my neck. I was given a steroid pack anti inflammatory meds and Tylenol 3. While in the ER pain started in my neck and the aching and numbness went everywhere.. Shoulders back chest arms. My whole torso has been affected. Legs are the only thing I'm not having problems with. The pain was making me crazy, but after 48 hours on steroids I had significant improvement but not 100%. About 8 hours after I took my last steroid pill the pain came back and was worse than ever. I got in the next day with an othropedic surgeon who specializes in the spine. I had an MRI done and the discs are still bulged but nothing really serious going on. I was put on lyrica and a stronger anti inflammatory.. It's keeping the pain away as long as I stay on meds but still very achy. After a physical exam the muscles in my left were found to be very weakened and I'm having carpal tunnel in my right wrist which is not something I had previously. My left shoulder is also very sore and weak. I was told because of my age that we wanted to avoid injections in my neck unless the disc just wouldn't heal. I've been put on 6 weeks 2x a week physical therapy along with the meds. I haven't yet started that and will be going in Monday to get set up.

I'm wondering if anyone has similar experiences to share? My doctor doesn't know what to expect but we are hoping therapy will do the job. I have no idea what caused this and neither does my doctor. I'm not athletic and wasn't in any kind of injury or done any heavy lifting lately. My posture is fine as well. Any ideas as to what could of happened and why? If you've had this problem.. Please share what caused it! Appreciate any advice.

All new members have their initial thread/post go through an moderator approval cycle before it is published. Normally, this can take from 4 to 8 hours to complete. On weekends, it can up to 72 hours depending on the availability of the volunteer moderators. I saw that you duplicate your thread several times. I delete the others and am publishing this one.

One thing that puzzled me in your thread, was that the doctor does not know what to expect. Expect from what? Medications, Therapy?? What you have described is something that so many people experience. It is pretty common. The steroid pack gave you relief primarily because it helped in reducing some of your inflammation. Some times that can be enough to start a patient on the natural healing of a mild disc problem. Its really too difficult to even guess of what could have happened to cause your problem. But you have youth on your side and that is a huge benefit in terms of healing , mending and responding positively to physical therapy.

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.

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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

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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
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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 : 12/13/15 15:35est



  • To clarify by comment, I meant that my doctor just meant that he couldn't say for sure if the combination of medicine and physical therapy would heal the problem or if I would still have the issue after finishing therapy. His main concern with it seems to be that this happened to me at a young age with no cause that I'm aware of. I actually contacted this doctor on the first day it started and told him what the ER did for me. He was hopeful that the steroids would clear it up and I wouldn't have any more problems. But, that was before he ever saw me in person or saw an MRI or even the CT. I ve never experienced neck or back pain so this is all new to me. I've never really experienced any kind of injury either. No car wrecks in the past etc.. Nothing. No family history of such problems either. I just happened to wake up in the middle of the night a week and a half ago experiencing pain and numbness.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,859
    edited 12/13/2015 - 4:30 PM
    impossible to pinpoint where the problem started from or how...

    But at this point, your emphasis needs to be on how to remedy the problem.

    Again, I will stress the point that you have youth on your side.

    But the most important thing right now is for you to have a formal diagnosis of what the problem is. Once that is established, then the appropriate action plans can be put into place. I would hope that the everything would go along the path of conservative treatments.
    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
  • ksage15kksage15 Posts: 10
    edited 12/13/2015 - 4:57 PM
    Thank you, the lyrica and anti inflammatories for the last couple days have taken away the majority of the pain. No sharp intolerable pain with the medication, just still very sore and achy all over. I can for sure feel when the medicine does start to wear off though. I will be bringing in my paperwork tomorrow to get started with the physical therapy place I will be going to. My doctor put me on 6 weeks of therapy and stated that he hoped to see improvements after a few weeks. If not, will look into injections. I've just been very frustrated and confused with this as I said I've never experienced these problems and would love to know why in the world it happened.. Especially never imagined I'd have this out of nowhere at 22.
  • I'm now halfway through physical therapy with no improvement. I'm taking lyrica tramadol and voltaren daily and still having pain. Therapy leaves me exhausted.. My therapist says my muscles are pretty much shot. My chest is extremely tight and I'm having bad muscle spasms in my shoulders back neck etc.. That they can't break. I'm extremely tense and tender. My left side has been weakened. They're doing shoulder therapy as well as my neck. I've got carpal tunnel on my right now as well which I've never had before. I'm still having numbness as well. The meds keep away the sharp unbearable pain but I still feel like I've been ran over. Lately the soreness has been worse than ever. In the mornings I can't hardly stand up straight and go straight for a hot soak in the tub to try and loosen my back up.

    I'm mostly concerned about the nerve damage possibility. With the combination of my left arm numbness and weakness and my muscles so bad my therapist said he was beginning to wonder. Today I shut a car door with my left hand and it instantly went numb and has been weak now all day. My doctor referred me for an EMG test when I first saw him but told me to wait and see if therapy worked for me. My therapist is sending me back to my doctor if I don't improve in the next few visits and recommends the EMG. I'm doubting I'm going to see a turn around.

    Has anyone seen significant improvement with therapy? How many weeks did it takes to improve? Would like to hear any experiences with nerve damage as well. Thanks
  • Physical therapy may or may not work. As for your therapist saying your muscles are shot, that kind of bothers me. Your only 22 years old, and you have your youth on your side. That's a big plus! Stick with the physical therapy and give it time. Disc issues don't resolve themselves in a short amount of time.
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