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discouraged...need to know others experiences

spinaltapsspinaltap Posts: 50
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:26 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
This will be long......hope you have a minute :). After years of being diagnosed with everything from heartburn to Mitral Valve Prolapse complaints that would take me to the dr are pain between shoulder blades, vertigo, shortness of breath, all over achy feeling, pain in arms, wrist and fingers) I have finally found the source of my issues (I think). I have a central herniated c5c6 disc. I have had a nerve conduction test done (with the needles?) in my arms that showed nerve damage in both arms that matches the c6 herniation. First plan of attack, celebrex, atenelol (chronic headache) and PT 2 times a week. I will have a nerve block done on 1-8-09 and then ....who knows. My Psiathrist said that because of the nerve damage, We will have to treat this "aggresively". I also hae a winged scapula due to muscle wekaness which I feel like is the major source of my pain and pulled a muscle in PT which put me on Soma along with Hydrocodone. I avoid using my arms becuase of the pain. Here are my questions. I hope someone can help.

1. What does agressive treatment for nerve damage mean?.
2. Anyone ever felt worse after PT that they did before they started?
3. Anyone ever noticed jerky movements in hands. I have a hard time typing because my fingers jerk so much that I hit the wrong keys. (could it be the Soma or nerve damage)?
4. Does anyone know if a winged scapula and a herniated cervicl disc are related or are these 2 different issues?
5. What is the average time off work after a disc removal surgery in the neck? ( I have an hour drive to get to work everyday)

I don't know all of the terminology...sorry. I really need some advice or to know others stories. I feel so alone. Even if it means someone telling me to suck it up and stop whinning, I just need advice.

Thank you.


  • I can't offer any help about your symptoms, but I know it can take a journey to find the people who can help us, it took me 4 years.

    No one here will ever tell you to "Suck it up and not whine" everyone here knows how bad it gets, and want you to know you are not alone...WE ARE HERE and understand!

    This site can help you with alot of information, just take a little time to research your symptoms.

    I have found that the more I've learned, the better I can find professionals to help me...and I wish the same for you!

    JUST REMEMBER.....YOU ARE NOT ALONE we are here with >:D< when you need it!

  • Hi :H Sorry you are going through this. I am new here as well so I don't have solid answers but I can say yes, I have felt worse after starting pt. I've been doing pt on and off for a yr and when I am off for a while and go back it is always worse at first. You may have answered my earlier ? about nerve "clipping". I believe you call it a nerve block. I'll be interested to hear how that goes for you. As for the hour drive, ugh! I cannot tolerate long drives- it hurts too much. I would imagine the winged scapula driving will be difficult. You will probably have to learn new posture tecniques, as I have. I wish you lessened pain and strengthened scapulas! My pt recommend I lay on a towel rolled up on the floor with the towel positioned along my spine. That makes the scapula fall and hopefully will teach it to like that position. My problem is every time I lay on the floor my toddler jumps on me!
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  • Reading your signature, I see we have a lot in common. I didn't really start having a lot of issues until I had a car wreck about 2 years ago. The PT said he thoght a lot of my issues also were related to the facet jt syndrome as well. I can also relate with trying to lay on the floor with the towel, except I roll mine up and put it behind my neck. I have lost the natural curve in my neck and it seems to "help" with the constant tension and headaches. I have 4 children, but Thank God they are all too big to jump on me! I have actualy had so much pain after PT that my docotr said it would be okay to wait until after I have the block done to go back. From what I understand, the block that I'm having is similar to an epidural?? Which is also scarey since I ended up with a spinal headache from a botched epidural during my second childs labor...... ~X( Thanks for the answers guys....it helps to know someone is going through the same things you are. Good luck....
  • First off....you are not whining, you are in pain! Constant chronic pain is one of the most debilitating things that can happen to a person. IMHO aggresive treatment for nerve damage would be surgery, to remove the disc, which is pushing on your spinal cord causing nerve damage. Unfortunatly since it has been going on for a long time, you may end up with some degree of permanent damage. Typing problems can easily be from the nerve damage. Do you have problems with your wrists too? Your chronic headaches can be from the neck too. In fact, you may see a lot of improvment if you have surgery. The first thing I would recommend is to see a neuro-surgeon, one who specialises in spinal problems.

    I had disc removal and C5-6 fused a little over a year ago. I am a courier who drives for a living, 8-9 hrs a day. I was back to work in a month, but still had weight restrictions of no more than 10lbs for another 2 months. But everyone heals differently. In my case PT did absolutly nothing for me. As long-term as your symptoms are, I would pursue surgical intervention sooner than later. Good luck, and don't be afraid to ask anything here. We all help each other as much as we can, even if it's only listening. Good luck.

    Maggie :H
  • I too, have a very similar story. Many yeaars of shoulder/back/neck pain diagnosed as fibromyalgia. Recently, found out C-5,c-6 retrolisthesis, bone spur protruding into 50% into nerve, discs are almost on top of eachother. I, too have/had alot of shoulder problems, which is what I thought was the latest issue and went to Ortho doc, who took xray of my neck. I now believe ALL these years it has been the degenerative disc. As in your case our nerves are pinched causing all the numbness, scapular nerve ( runs along shoulder) causing the winged or pulled in affect. Muscle spasms have pulled the body out of alignment in a response to protect the cervical problems. Causing a ripple effect. I tried PT a couple of weeks ago and they did traction on my neck (I never went back). I am waiting for appointment with neurosurgeon. Currently, the only thing which helps, is heating pad, cervical neck collar and hydro and Ibuprofen. the hydro is becoming ineffective as i have used it on and off over the years and have a tolerance. I, too need to work and function, sleep is difficult and daily movement is now becoming exhausting. I have researched everything and have joined this site as it seems a place to get and give support. I know exactly what you are going through..and you are not alone. I will look for your posts and will be available, since we seem to be at the same stage in our diagnosis.
    On the wings of the raven I pray for your healing.
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  • Spinaltap, I wanted to PM you about your problem because it was the exact problem i had. I had a central disc herniation at C5 C6 also. I started having severe pain and severe weakness in my left arm. Long story short, i was not diagnosed and treated quickly which has now left me with permanent nerve damage and weakness. Are you seeing a Neurosurgeon? If you are having weakness , the treatment usually offered is a ACDF and a fusion. They have to decompress the spinal cord to prevent symptoms from becoming worse. I was told by a leading NS and ortho spine specialist that whenever you have weakness that is a BIG RED FLAG! If you are only having pain they are willing to be more conservative with antiinflammatories and physical therapy.
    Yes, PT hurts like hell. It is especially worse hours after. I had to put my PT on hold for 4 weeks because it made my pain worse. Your jerky hands are probably related to the nerve damage as I had the same problem.
    I also have the winged scapula and was told it was from all of the muscle spasms and guarding of pain when you have the spasms.
    The ACDF surgery is usually pretty simple and not all that painful. It also depends on if they use your own bone to graft or use a synthetic plug. I have had 2 fusions. The first one was more painful because they removed a bone from my hip. That caused more pain than the neck surgery! It also is is a pain if they put you in a hard collar. I was back to work light duty in 5 weeks after the 1st surgery. The second surgery on my C5 C6 with central disc compression was much easier. I had it at a major university hospital. They used a plug for the graft, smaller incision and came home with no neck brace. I was also back to work in 5 weeks. I did not find driving particularly hard to do. What do you do for a loving? some jobs and employers might make it more difficult to return too quickly.
    Don't feel you are whining. I had a terrible journey to get treated. I had no idea of this site until my problems started.Everyone will help answer your questions from their experience. i am not a Dr but I just wanted you to know that our experiences are similar. I had an HMO insurance and bad Drs. I had to fight,get nasty and write appeals just to get treatment.
    I hope I can help you. Please PM if I can help you in anyway. I feel your pain and don't feel anyone should suffer. If it is affecting your quality of life,you need to get aggressive. Sooory this is so long. Bethy
  • Your cervical issues and winged scapula are two different issues and they are treated separately. There is someone on here by the name of haglandc. She can tell you all about winged scapula. She has been through it all. You might try PM'ing her and she will respond. She's been a great help to me.
    As for being out of work. I was kind of a strange case. Because of my job I was able to work from home until about 7 weeks and then I went back to the office. It's kind of all over the board really. I've heard people who go back after just a week or two and others who are off for three months or more. Everyone is just so different it's hard to predict. But I would venture to say that around 6 weeks or so if all goes well you should be able to get back to work that seems to be pretty typical.
    Oh and with your condition no one here is going to tell you to just suck it up and deal with it. You're in pain and we take that very seriously around here and will do all we can to try to help.
  • Maggie, I just had to comment on one of the points that you made. Nerve damage is not only caused by the disc pressing on the spinal cord. The disc, or an osteophyte, can press on any number of nerves going to the arms and cause the same symptoms. This is not the same as spinal cord compression. Both nerve and spinal cord compression can occur at the same time as well.

    I don't mean any offense to you Maggie but don't want the wrong information out there! Only a doctor can tell us if the nerve compression is coming from the spinal cord or somewhere else.

  • I think aggressive is to do all treatment as possible right away to help alleviate your symptoms including medications, pt,injections just as your Dr is doing right now. After all these are done the Doctor will re-evaluate and discuss other options with you. These options only the Doctor can give you after all other treatment and meds are done. I hope you're feeling better and getting positive results with your treatment. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
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