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Any help appreciated!

Hello all! This is my first post here, and will be lengthy, but any feedback is appreciated. I am a healthy 34 year old male. I have had chronic neck pain for the past 20 years. I started going to a chiropractor 20 years ago for neck pain. It never really helped, so I quit going. Over the last 20 years, I have done physical therapy, been on numerous pain pills, went to different chiropractors, tried at home therapy...you name it, I've tried it. The pain pills were the only thing that helped, but every time I would just develop a dependency and go through horrible withdrawals when I stopped taking them. The most recent episode of this was 5 years ago. I swore I was done going to the doctor and figured I would just live with the pain. Over the last couple of years, the pain has moved into my shoulder as well. All 20 years, the pain has ONLY been on the right side of my neck, and my right shoulder. Lately, it has been a strong burning pain at the bottom of my neck (right side) and a burning into my right shoulder. I will feel ok when I wake up in the morning, but as soon as I start raising my right arm to brush my teeth, wash/fix my hair, that is when it starts hurting. Some days it's just annoying, and some days it is almost unbearable. Nothing makes it stop hurting until I lay down to go to sleep. I started seeing a new doctor a few weeks ago, and she ordered an MRI. The MRI results are as follows;
Multilevel disc height loss in cervical and throracic spine
Multi level disc desiccation
Multi level facet arthropathy in C2-C7
Mild D.D.D in C2-C7
Mild left foraminal stenosis in C6-C7
She then referred me to a neurosurgeon, who I saw yesterday.
The neurosurgeon told me that he thought everything in my MRI looked good, and that he didn't see anything that would be causing the symptoms I have. He did tell me that my cervical spine was perfectly straight, instead of curved, but that shouldn't be causing my pain. He told me that if I went and talked to someone else, who recommended surgery, to RUN out of their office, because there was nothing surgical to be done. When he showed me the MRI, everything he said that they look for, based on the way he described it to me, looked good. He didn't mention all of the things that the person who originally read the MRI noted. He told me that he believed I basically had 'chronic whiplash'. He asked about accidents or injuries. Once I got to thinking about it, I WAS involved in an auto accident, the same year the pain started. I was only 14 years old, and didn't have any injuries, that I knew of, at the time of the accident. But it was the same year that I first started experiencing the neck pain. He has referred me to see a pain specialist to talk about Botox injections. He said that some people seem to have good luck with them. He told me that he thinks this is a muscular pain that I'm experiencing. As I'm typing this, my neck is really starting to burn. If I stretch or rub it, it might feel better for the few seconds I'm doing it, but as soon as I stop, it goes right back to burning. Does this sound like muscle spasms? I remember a couple times, years ago, when I went to the chiropractor, my neck was so stiff that he couldn't even do any adjustments. He had me go into another office and get some sort of injections, maybe steroids of some sort, to get my neck loosened up enough to adjust me. This pain is right on that bone that kind of sticks out on the bottom of your neck, and goes on top of my shoulder and down under my shoulder blade. I'm just curious if anyone has had any of these same symptoms or diagnosis, and if anyone ever found relief. Thanks for reading!

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Comments

  • Hi mikegd 678

    Welcome to Spine-health

    That was a long read and you may find a lot of members may not make it to the end unfortunately.  Try to make your posts shorter as suggested by @dilauro .

    I have added two links below to help new members with information and these also contain the forum rules.  There is lots of material to research on Spine-health that will give you the power of knowledge.

    Welcome to Spine Health


    AJ 


    AJGormit

    ---------------------------------------------------------------

    L5/S1 herniation Apr 2013
    nerve root injections Oct 2013
    L5/S1 discectomy Jan 2014
    L5/S1 nerve roo &, facet joint injections & edpidural Jan 2015
    L5/S1 revised discectomy, L4/L5 discectomy & Wallis Inswing Stabilisation L4/L5 May 1st 2015
    L4-S1 TLIF with decompression June 2017
  • Hi mikegd 678,

    I have some similar symptoms of the burning and pain in neck, arm, and down the blade after movement, sitting more than an hour, and as day proceeds. Neck is super tight and weak. I get obvious spasm activity (rippling) in bicep and rib area under shoulder blade. Meds didn't help. Maybe consider posture therapy (egoscue), icing, avoiding sitting, and looking into a possible injury or damage to the shoulder (I had both rotators torn and frozen shoulder but shoulder specific helped decrease pain and lump between neck and shoulder tip). Injections, meds, neck PT, and chiro didn't help me personally. Most days are still unbearable after a day of work.

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  • Mike, quite a long but informational post. To begin with, you will not find many fans of chiropractors on here. All they see is a standard AP and lateral X-ray and say your out of “alignment in the majority of cases”. The neurosurgeon you saw gave you great advise when he said RUN if a Doctor jumps straight on the surgery conversation. You might want and request a CT with contrast or a mylogram and nerve conduction test which can pin point any nerve impingement. He’s correct in saying a normal neck has a curve to it and not straight. There just happened to be a show on last week about young people your age and younger that have same symptoms as well as a abnormal lordosis and is reffered to as Tech Neck. Which certain physical therapy exercises are helpful for. I phone, tablets, lap tops , etc. etc. are the main cause for it. Regardless, follow up with your MD and let him guide you. And remember , surgery is always the LAST option......David

  • Thanks for the responses.  It's just so frustrating.  I have wondered if this could actually be a shoulder problem and not a neck problem..or possibly a shoulder AND neck problem.  I find it hard to believe that the pain in my neck and shoulder aren't related, though.  The pain has been in my neck and shoulder, only the right side, for over 20 years.  Does anyone find it odd that the neurosurgeon didn't mention the D.D.D. that was shown in my MRI specifically, and instead only mentioned "straight neck" and "chronic whiplash symptoms"?  Or could it just be that the D.D.D. is what has caused the straight neck and even though there are no surgical solutions, what is causing the "chronic whiplash symptoms"?  I guess what is so frustrating is that it sounds like Pain Management is going to be my only option right now, where I really thought I would see these doctors and someone would have an actual "FIX", not just dealing with the pain for the rest of my life.


  • Mike, Like you, I had major episodes of spasms under my left scapula and argued with the surgeon that it was my shoulder and not my neck. Only after multiple MRIs, CTs with and Without contrast, Nerve conduction test , mylogram and I cant count how many PT sessions. I went through did I finally accept his Diagnosis! Finally got tired of having pain in my shoulder, spasms in my arm as well as numbness to my fingers did I concur. Ended up having ACDF of C5 through C7 which ended up as a non fusion ( Psuedoarthrosis ) with left sided radiculapthy ( permanent damage to nerves left side) .Now I have daily pain, go to a pain management Doctor for it. Have neck pain now where I didn’t have pain before! Your young, have time to correct the problem BEFORE having surgery! So listen to your neurosurgeon! He gave you the best advice you can be given. Talk with your MD and find the appropriate Physical therapist . Please keep us informed!.....David

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  • DavidG, I am not sure I understand your post (probably because I am in pain at the moment) but are you saying that ACDF was not recommended for you but eventually you decided to have the surgery and now you are in more pain than before the surgery? How long ago was the surgery?  Did you get any relief at least for awhile?  I am still deciding whether to have ACDF surgery on C5 and C6.

  • Shotsey, no the ACDF was what the surgeon wanted to do. We had allready tried all conservative treatments prior to the ACDF.

  • Sept 2 2014, C5 through C7 failed fusion ,left radiculapthy and yes more problems and pain since surgery.

  • Hey guys! So today took a turn towards the unexpected. I went to see the pain management doctor about the Botox shots. I was with him for about an hour and a half, and have never had an appointment with a doctor who seemed so genuinely concerned. He did a ton of physical tests on me, after a ton of questions and back and forth. He finally had me take my shirt off, stand facing a wall, and put my arms out and push the wall. As soon as I did, he called in his nurse practitioner for what seemed like a learning experience. He told me I had a winged scapula. He said that with my symptoms, and a winged scapula, that about the only thing that would cause it was an issue with my thoracic nerve...and with that, plus all of the questions, he says he believes that I have hereditary neuralgic Amyotrophy! He said it is pretty rare, and almost always mis-diagnosed. I am going back next Monday to get an EMG test done. He actually told me to “Google it, read about it, and let him know what I thought.” The way he said it, was like he knew I would read about it, and it would make sense. Well, I read about it, and it makes a TON of sense! Even though it isn’t a good diagnosis, I would love to just ACTUALLY KNOW what is causing the problem, and follow treatment accordingly. I’m pretty much a pessimist, so I’m counting on going to get the EMG, and that not being the issue...but who knows! I know that reading about the HNA sounds pretty damn close to what I have, except for most people end up getting it diagnosed with a couple of years, not 20! I will keep everyone, who cares, posted! Thanks all!

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