When I was 17, I fell while working in a kitchen on a slippery floor and ended up really screwing my back up. I was in excruciating pain from my neck all the way to my tail bone, so I saw my family doctor about it. At the time they only ordered Xrays, which really didn't give them or me a really clear picture of exactly how much damage was done to my spine, other than the fact that I had not broken anything. I was ordered into physical therapy for 3 months following that with regular visits to the chiropractor. Even with the PT and seeing a chiropractor, I got very minimal relief, so I decided that I just had to accept the fact that back pain was something that I was going to have to live with and just find a way to cope with it, and for the last 8 years, thats's what I have done. Every job that I have held since I was in high school has been either labor intensive, or physically strenuous, and it has taken its toll on my back. I'm 25 now, and I'm the mother of an 18 month old little girl, and recently I had a severe flare up in my neck that started causing shooting pain on the inside of my left shoulder blade which then progressed down my left arm causing muscle weakness and numbness/tingling in my middle, ring and pinky fingers. I decided that I needed a firm diagnosis before I did permanent nerve damage so I had a consultation with the Laser Spine Institute, and they ordered MRIs for my cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine, since the pain was not just in my neck, but also my lower back. After my MRI, a doctor sat down with me to review them and tell me what they found.
-C2/3 Posterior disc osteophyte complex, uncinate process hypertrophy with deformity of ventral and leftward greater than right with ventral thecal sac, mild bilateral foraminal stenosis
-C3/4 Bulging disc, osteophyte complex, process hypertrophy, approaching but not clearly contacting the ventral cord, moderate/severe narrowing left neural canal, mild/moderate narrowing right neural canal
-C4/5 Posterior disc osteophyte complex and process hypertrophy, approaching but not clearly contacting the ventral cord, mild/moderate narrowing left neural canal, mild/moderate narrowing right neural canal
-C5/6 Bulging disc, foraminal stenosis, Facet degeneration/hypertrophy, posterior disc osteophyte complex and process hypertrophy with superimposed left paracental/postlateral disc protrusion. This contacts the leftward ventral cord, DDD narrows the left lateral recess and causes severe narrowing of the central portion of the left neural canal, with possible impingement on the left nerve root at this level, moderate narrowing right neural canal
-C6/7 Bulging disc, spondylytic ridging and uncinate process hypertrophy with deformity of the ventral thecal sac, mild/moderate bilateral foraminal narrowing
-C7/T1 Spondylitic ridging and uncinate process hypertrophy with minimal deformity of the thecal sac, moderate/severe narrowing left neural canal, mild/moderate narrowing right neural canal
-Mild reversal of the cervical lordosis
-Multilevel degenerative disc disease/osteoarthritis
-Findings are most pronounced at C5-C6
-Less pronounced findings of the remainder of cervical levels
-Multilevel foraminal narrowing, difficult to accurately characterize on this study
They wanted to operate immediately, but because of the expense and it being so close to Christmas, I opted not to have it done. As of right now, I am scheduled with a pain management specialist in my area to start epidural injections in my neck, but because there is so much going on in my neck, they can't even guarantee that I will get any relief from the shots. Im currently taking prescription strength anti inflammatory medication along with muscle relaxers to try to relieve some of the swelling around the discs, but I am still in constant pain from the time I wake up, to the time i go to sleep at night.
I'm desperate for any sort of feedback, or advice from people who have had, or currently have some of the same issues that I have, what treatments they have tried, what worked and what didn't, and just hoping there is a light at the end of the tunnel.......