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Herniated disc at C5, Shoulder, head, back pains, help!

ButterflyPainBButterflyPain Posts: 289
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:22 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I've had EMG, EEG, C-spine X ray for cervical and thorasic spine, MRI for cervical spine with my Neurologist.

The X-ray showed in C5 and C6 that I had mild to moderate osteoarthritis, with bone spurs growth especially on the left side. With narrowing of the nerve hole impingement. My thorasic x-ray showed minimal scolosis of the lower right side.

My MRI for Cervical Spine showed C5 herniated disc. But not enough my neuro said to go to a neurosurgeon and have surgery.

My thing is I get a lot of burning pains in the back of my neck, upper to lower back, left arm I get some numb or pain feeling that comes and goes, sometimes my left leg feels weak, and I get bad nerve pressure pains on the top of my head. Also have left shoulder pain. Muscle spasms, twitches, and anyhow I first noticed it 10 months ago first at night then it became an all day pain.

What is the best treatment aside from drugs that I can do ? I'm on Amrix, Tylenol with codiene 3, and psyche drugs for my depression/anxiety over this Klonopin, Cymbalta, Lexapro. I have a heating pad for my neck, cervical pillow, therapedic bed mattress.

Any suggestions???
My neuro said to be active to loosen it, but I can't be active all the time. I'm 26 year old female.



  • I know how frustrating it can be when you just want to know the way to make this condition better. I have tried many different things and for what it is worth here is what helped me at different times....meaning that sometimes one would work better than others it just depended on where the pain and or numbness was..

    tens unit - my ortho got one purchased for me by my insurance...sometimes this worked so great and it could be worn out of the house.

    stop pain - or probably other kinds..this is a topical that you roll on I got mine at a health food store...again sometimes this was the best thing.

    meds - before I was using tramadol twice a day (which isn't very much) which helped to kind of keep the pain/numbness in check. I know a lot of people either hate or love this one. I just happened to find it worked for me.

    ice or heat good for temporary help when at home.

    Anyway, those are a few of the things that did help keep some of the pain and frustration at bay.

    I hope you find some relief and something that works for you. :?


  • hi suffer some of the same problems firstly you are on a lot of pain relief . the nite time pain can be worsened by your pillow two flat or 1 high pillow is fine any more and it hurts. also try a gel like traxam, it takes the tabs out of your stomach as they can upset your stomach. the gel works with mild tabs like tradol the painwont go completly but you can learn to control it with meditation, try some deap breaths;breath in deap and release slow this may also help with your depression;try reduce drugs and it will help then find a hobby, if its something you enjoy you dont notice the pain when doing things hope i have helped, surgery releases some pain also and is needed with a herniated c spine disc.
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  • Thanks guys! I will try to look into some of those things. I just have never had this before, and it took 9 months or whatever to get the mri test and conclude basically where the pain is coming from.
    I want to try physical therapy again, but my insurance will only pay three more visits. They have suggested a Tenns machine or traction, but no one did much on it since I saw him last week.

    I think if it gets bad enough I'll call their PA-C about trying other med combos or setting up PT again.
  • Hi ButterflyPain, sounds like we have very similar problems, though your symptoms are worse than mine.
    I'm going to ask for fresh X-rays, as it's been about 5 years since they were done.
    Battling the pain while living your life is a continuous challenge, day by day if not hour by hour.
    You get bad and whatever you throw at it doesn't work. Then you get a high, overdo it and can't sleep-then the sledge hammer hits, and off you go again.
    I asked my pain specialist what my options are. He said:
    1. Do nothing and bear it.
    2. Medicate.
    3. Injections.
    4. Burn nerves.
    5. Surgery.
    I'm up to 3.
    3 monthly steroid injections help, but still need pain meds. Tramadol during the day, codeine/ paracetamol evening and night, as Tramadol keeps me awake.
    For the shoulder spasms and soreness, a muscle relaxant.
    On bad days, it will be a mixture of all 3, as the various pains don't all ease with just the one type.
    All of this leads to gradual physical deterioration due to lack of movement and exercise, and that can cause muscle tension too.
    I have found that my very poor sleep is much improved by taking a muscle relaxant an hour or so before retiring. I usually take 1/4 tablet, but have a whole one weekly so I get at least one good sleep a week.Some nights though I'm a bit wired for some reason and just can't sleep, irrespective of what I take, yet it doesn't cause me any problems.
    I wonder if the body puts out pain endorphins in these cases?
    Good luck with your quest. You may want to look into steroid injections, as they can have a good benefit with inflammed joints. I get 7 injections, particularly C6-7 which affects the shoulders.
    It may take a few tries to find the right areas, but your pain specialist should be able to work it out by the pain pattern.

  • I know what you are going through. I jumped threw all the hoops with no relief. I am haveing surgery on the 19 to fix c5 and c6.
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  • Thank you so much for taking the time to tell me your story. What specialist should I really be seeing for this? I've been seeing a neurologist...Should I be seeing someone else, who would know more about this problem?

    Ive had two injections before. My neuro said it was the stuff dentist use, I guess to numb ? They didn't really work for me.

    It helps me to move and go out, but there is still pain. I can sit anywhere and have the pain start to build up. Laying down helps, showers sometimes help for a short bit, I'm on Amrix and it seemed to help at the beginning, but now I'm not sure, since my body is used to it by now...Soma seemed to work best for pain, but it didn't last long.

    Right now I have ice on it, then I'm going to use my heating wrap. I want to try to do this with as little meds as possible, but this burning pain is so hard for me to deal with. Sometimes I just feel like sleeping all day or can't wait for the night, when I don't have to deal with it.
  • I'm sorry to hear of your pain, and having to go in for surgery. I hope it helps you. My neuro said mine isn't enough for surgery, that I will forget it exist once I go back to school and I'm out moving. See at home we don't do much, but sit around all day, which probably doesn't help the situation. But it's like I can't be active all day, and on the drugs I'm on that sometimes make me sleepy.

    It definitely is a battle.
  • Well, in Google I found that a neurologist is a specialist of the central nervous system, so he should be able to treat you.
    I go to a specialist anaesthetist, who is also a specialist in pain management. As such, he treats only pain problems, so to my mind would have more of a working experience with pain causes and treatments. All oh his patients are there for pain treatment, and he has them back a few weeks after for a follow-up.So he has a good knowledge of what works and what doesn't.
    Steroid injections include a short lasting pain killer as well. The main relief is from the steroid lessening the inflammation.
    With a lot of these things, it takes a bit of perseverance to find just what works for you. There may also be little that can be done, so bear that in mind, as unpleasant as it sounds. There is always very strong pain med, but keep that up your sleeve.
    When I told my specialist where my pains were, he immediately knew the causes, as they were so typical of cervical nerve irritation.
  • I've been dealing with unbearable neck/shoulder/arm pain on left side since I woke up one morning in March of '07. Ever since it is very painful to lay on left side (in shoulder). Some days are absolutely unbearable and others are just really painful. Have been to Orthopedic Doctor, and 2 neurosurgeons. Nobody agrees with each other. Have ostophyte between c6-c7 I believe. Some want to operate, some don't think it's significant enough. One doesn't even think pain is from that... Also, just found out from CAT scan for jaw problems that c1-c2 are WAY too close together and may have bone fragments...Have not been in an accident so how does that happen? Wish my orthodontist would stick to teeth and jaws :) Anyway, I take Lexapro and my husband who is a nurse just discovered that this can cause neck/shoulder problems as well as increased muscle tension. I have Fibromyalgia and have been going to PT since Jan. but pain is only helped by the PT, never relieves completely and now wondering if the lexapro is making it worse. My PT said she doesn't know why the trigger points never let up.

    Does anyone else take Lexapro and have anything similar going on?

    I'm new to this website. Good to hear that I'm not the oly one going thru this stuff but also sorry that so many people are!! Constantly being told I'm too young for so many problems (31yrs old).

  • ButterflyPain:

    I know how you feel. My left shoulder had more pain than my right, at first it was just all over from my shoulderblades up through my neck. I tried 5 months of Physical Therapy. At first, because my muscles were so tight, they did trigger points and e-stem. We tried ultra-sound with e-stem and it just made everything worse! I did some traction and it felt good, they just have to go at a low point when you start out and then go up to the right amount of lbs. that is tollerable for you. My doctor put in a referral for pain management and physical medicine and rehabilitation with an Ortho. My Ortho surgeon was my first appointment. The referral was a suggestion to do botox injections in my muscles to relax everything out, sine regular doctors looking at my MRI results didn't think that it was a serious enough situation to do anything else about it. They were WRONG!!!! :O At this point I had about no strenght left in my left arm. If you took your pinky and touched me lightly in the shoulder with it, it was like someone stabbed me with a pen!

    The doctor I saw only had a brief discription that said ongoing pain in shoulders and neck from my doctor. He didn't even know about all the pain I had down my arm or how intense the pain in my shoulders were etc. He just looked at the MRI pictures and already thought before I met him I need surgery. It turns out from the time my MRI was taken to my surgery (about a month and a half) it had gotten worse! Boy was he RIGHT in saying I needed surgery sooner than later! I had my surgery 12days after I met him! He showed all the confidence in the world, was very knowledgable, etc. Maybe I am crazy for not getting a second opinion, but that would have just prolonged my process. Turns out the disc was severely degenerated and the nerve along my spine was in the shape of a kidney bean! He didn't even expect to see that!

    In the end, it is your body. If someone is telling you it isn't reason enough for surgery, and you feel nothing else is helping and you aren't getting better, then seak out another professional. Many other people's experiences on here show sometimes the doctors can't agree with one another. Listen to each one and make an ed. assessment. If nothing is working then maybe surgery is for you. Maybe seeing an Ortho doctor would help because he/she specializes in these sorts of things. Personally, any hope of getting better, feeling better, and returning to a normal life eventually was a blessing in itself. The whole time I knew there was something more to my problem than just a stiff neck and barely noticable arthritis in my neck.

    Even the surgeon himself said that I am 1% of his patients- only 1% he sees needs this type of surgery, and even more he has never seen someone so young need it. Usually this happens to people in their 40's-60's.

    Well I know this was long but I hope it helps. Let us know what you decide to do!!

    Best Wishes! >:D<
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