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New neck pain.*Fusion Scheduled*

Shell74Shell74 Posts: 300
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:37 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I have had arm/tingling pain since about 3 months after my PLIF (8/09), it was dismissed by the doctors for months and not treated. I finally got my PCP to do an MRI which showed 3 herniations plus stenosis, OK thats why the arms and neck are painful dahhhhh! Sometimes you just want to kick the doctors.

So two days ago I put my head back to pull over a shirt and I felt a scrunch and heard a pop and crackle noise. My arm pain is now constant pain, heavyness and jabs, as well as it going down the middle of the back, around my jaw and up behind my ear. By mid day I can barely hold my head up. The PCP says it must be musclular, but of course I fear differentely. Since I am out of the orthos care for the PLIF, I need to get a new referal to go back, or go to the ER and suck up the $250 charge as a non emergency and get a referal from there. The Fentora 200mcg from the PM doctor isnt touching the pain. It doesnt help that I cant take it easy, I am at a new job and cant take time off, although I can tailor my day to suit my needs most of the time. Today was a lazy day, sitting around most of the time.

Just wondering how you know when the herniations with mild stenosis become something more serious, anything to watch for? I allready have nerve damage and RSD from the PLIF so I have some B&B issues, numbness, tingling and instability from that. Any input or similiar experiences would be appreciated.

hugs to all,


  • Shell

    We all wish we could kick the doctors sometimes. If anything is certain about spine injuries it is that no one is the same and we all react differently to pain, injuries and treatment.

    I had a surgeon look at my damage from a car accident and tell me that since my pain wasn't right he couldn't be bothered with me. I am not kidding! Everyday I say a little prayer of thanksgiving for sending me to the neurosurgeon who is treating me now. He can't find the cause yet but he won't give up until he can make the pain stop for good.

    My problems are in my neck and everyday when I move my neck I hear crackles and pops. Some will hurt for a while but they usually disappear in a few hours.

    You might want to wait through the weekend to see what happens with you. A weekend of bedrest might help. On Monday you should get that referal from your PCP and get to the ortho.

    Good Luck and I hope you have a peaceful weekend.

  • Typically you will know when the pain is just non-stop and the pain meds do nothing to help it. About the only thing that helps is heat/ice and sleeping with your hands over your head. I like to define nerve pain as ignorant pain, has no rhythm no reason, isn't logically at all. Where as skeletal pain is a bit different. The pain is more predictable, comes on with activity and more so when you do the activity. Nerve pain more than likely comes on some time after the activity and you think what did I do? For example I could do something at 3 and set the nerve pain off whoever I won't feel it till maybe 6 when I am just sitting and think your kidding me right, I am not doing anything? But the skeletal pain I can think this is hurting?

    Best advice if you think something is wrong seek medical attention? When they did the MRI did they do a emg on your arms, as well? Good luck and keep us posted.
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  • It is unfortunate that doctors can be so ignorant when it comes to our pain. My initial problem with my Lumbar spine happend when I leaned off a chair to pick up a pice of felt, and my back went into a spasm. Anyway, the ER doctor wouldn't give me an x ray, since "I didn't pick up anything heavy, and I was just in a spasm." Long story short when I finally had x rays and an MRI, it showed that I had herniated 2 discs.

    As for knowing when things change in our spines, I think we can only go by new symptoms and new pain. It is so hard to know without seeking medical advice and having tests done. For me I tited my head down while eating and felt my rt leg and foot tingle. Within a few days my arms were tingling, and the pain was horrible. Muscle weakness follwed and the MRI confirmed things had gotten worse and surgery was now being recomended. I knew that I had DDD, spinal stenosis, and herniated discs since 2001, surgery was Aug 2009.

    I hope you start to feel better soon.
  • My MRI was months ago, I have just been going with the flow since then. The MRI was done months ago. My PCP is very much into waiting, especially when something doesnt present typically. If I dont move for hours the pain goes away a bit, but once I move it is back again. All areas feel different, a little of this a little of that,lol. After yesterday, when I tried to drive, I am convinced I need to call the surgeon back. I am going to talk to the PA and have her call for the referal.

    We will see.

    Thanks everyone,
  • I did talk to the PA this morning and by noon she had the insurance referal and I am seeing the surgeon tomorrow first thing. I hate it when the PCP cant take your word for it, whatever you need to do I guess. We will see what he has to say.

    Thanks All,
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  • This is really very serious problem you should do take a very good care of your self............
    Carrol Spncr

    edited by authority member neck of steel (Cindy). No hyperlink spamming permitted.
  • Good luck with your appointment tomorrow. I'm impressed at how quickly you are able to get in. I hope it turns out to be not too serious.
    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
  • I had my appointment this morning and he said he will be scheduling me for 2 or 3 level cervical fusion in about 6 weeks (of course pending I dont get worse, and have constant numbness, and need it done sooner, dont you love that). I was honest, the numbness and tingling does go away if I lay totally still for hours,lol. My insurance requires that I go through with the 4 weeks of PT before surgery. What a joke that will be.

    He looked at my MRI from June, so who knows what changes have happened since then.

    Then here comes the bad part, actually horrible (if surgery isnt bad enough). He ask what meds I am taking, of course I am honest and said that the PM has put me back on the Duragesic and Fentora. He flipped! He said I was a "drug seeking addict looking to get high from the narcotics" (his exact words, not mine)and the only way he would continue to treat me is if I went to an addiction councilor to get off the meds. I hadnt needed the duragesic after the lumbar surgery because I was taking other things every 6 hours and not doing anything (except walking on the treadmill), once I went back to work the scar tissue really took hold and has made a mess out of the lumbar surgery site. I have more pain after surgery than before. I am taking the least ammount of meds to make it that I can tolorate the day and be somewhat productive. I use minimal break-thru meds and can honestly say that I can count on 2 hands the ammount of times I have absolutely needed to take them during work hours in the last 3 months. I have never called for meds early, and usually the month prescription lasts me for well over a month. I am big into sucking it up and working with high pain levels, I dont have much of a choice,lol.

    So then he goes on to saying that I should just stop all meds, get over it and accept that I will always have intractable pain, NO EXAGERATIONS! Fibro, RSD, arachnoiditis, DDD and DJD, take your pick where the pain is coming from! Of course the person he wants me to go to is not covered and will cost me $300. I left there in tears and called my husband to tell him what happened. He was ready to come out and tell the doctor off. I know sometimes it takes an outsider to make you realize that you may have a problem so I was willing to consider that he may have a point. But after calling and venting to several family members they assured me that they see me as being very, very far from being a drug seeking addict. I really wanted to go to the addiction councilor so that he could report the truth, but I just cant afford the extra money right now.

    I went straight to the PM docs office still in tears to speak to him but they were not in for the day. I think I will fax them tonight so a message is waiting for him. The ortho said he would be handeling the situation direcetly with the PM doc tomorrow. I want to make sure he gets my side too.

    Guess I will be looking for a new ortho, I really dont feel comfortable dealing with someone who wont listen or has that little trust in what I am saying, but unfortunetley I am sure he has written a book about me as of now so my chart will probably not be a good reference. I just wish he would document all I have been thru, but it seems that part of it is very selective.

    If you have made it this far I am surprised, but I really thank you. I am just so angry, its good to let off some steam. Hopefully, a good nights sleep will help me to cool off.

    Anyway, thank you all for your well wishes!

  • That was just uncalled for! How dare he say that to you. . . I wonder how well this doctor would fare with all of the same symptoms that you suffer from. This is the type of doctor who should not be dealing with "people"! Don't worry about what he thinks, there are plenty of patients just like you who are standing behind your injuries and we all want to give you our support. I have also considered the fact that some people I know may think I am some sort of drug addict. It's really difficult not being able to have others understand your "very real" pain. Hang in there!

    I am waiting to see my pain doctor about my MRI I had last Thursday. I will find out Friday what his interpretation of the report is. Then, I will have my neuro-rehab doc look at the report and perhaps even another doctor before I make a decision on my next step. I had a 2 level cervical fusion in 2004. I was recently in a near miss where I was pulled by my seatbelt in a very quick stop and have had increased pain down my right arm for the last 3 weeks. Prior to that, my pain level was already at an average of 6. I have been asked, by the pain doc, to consider the SCS; but I'm very wary of it.

    Good Luck!
  • I sat and wrote a letter to the PM doctor last night, and I am not sure if I want to send it or not. It just states what happened, what the ortho said and asking him what he would like me to do. I thought giving it the night would make me calm down about the visit but it really hasnt,lol.

    Yes, if I dont use my duragesic for an entire day (on occasion I have forgotten to reapply after a shower)my pain levels increase and I require addition PRN. I do understand that that is considered physical dependance. I said to him that there is a big difference between someone who is physically dependant to have a decreased pain and a drug seeking addict, with a "Big Problem", abusing pain meds to get high. OK, I am getting defensive,lol. I know this is something that most people with chronic pain get hit with at some point, I just always thought I was so responsible in my PM.

    Pain in the Neck- I sure hope your MRI results are OK. Hopefully its just a muscle pull from the seatbelt. I always hate the waiting part of things. I am guilty of picking up the disks early and taking a peak. Even if there is no report I know basically what I am looking for being an OT. Good Luck.

    Thanks all! I need to get moving to work.
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