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Hello from Ohio

I am a 43 year old mom dealing with a whole host of specialists, none of which seem to be able to give me any hope or any real answers. I am preparing for a trip this week to the Cleveland clinic. After being born in a position where my arms, legs, and head were all bent towards my back, I always figured my back would become an issue. But I feel like there is something that could be done that isn't. I am just looking for someone to help this make sense.Here are my most recent findings (the are definitely keeping an eye on things):

In comparison to the prior study dated 4/20/2010, mild straightening of the cervical spine appears similar with multilevel disc desiccation. No suspicious marrow signal alterations have developed.

At C3-C4, there is a minimal central disc protrusion touching the ventral spinal cord without significant mass effect, not definitely changed.

At the C4-C5 level, there is a broad-based central disc protrusion causing mild ventral cord indentation with no posterior cord compression. There is mild central stenosis at this level with AP canal dimension of 8 mm.

At the C5-C6 level, there is a focal central disc herniation causing mild ventral cord indentation and no significant posterior cord compression. There is mild canal narrowing at this level to an AP dimension of 9 mm. This disc herniation is similar to slightly more conspicuous compared to the prior study. Slightly increased disc herniation is questioned when comparing sagittal imaging.

At the C6-C7 level, there is a mild noncompressive diffuse disc bulge. The cervical neuroforamina remain patent. There is no evidence of neck mass or adenopathy on this examination.

MRI cervical spine impression: Multilevel cervical degenerative disc disease with questionable slight increased disc herniation at C5-C6

THORACIC 10/2011:
Multilevel degenerative changes are noted as follows: At T5-T6, there is minimal disc bulge with hypertrophic changes.

At T6-T7 there is a small to moderate central left disc extrusion with superior migration resulting in mild cord compression. The extrusion also has a small component of central right inferior extension. There is a superimposed mild disc bulge.

At T7-T8, there is a small central right protrusion/extrusion with a suggestion of slight superior extension and minimal flattening of the cord

At T9-T10 there is a moderate left subarticular and foraminal disc extrusion with hypertrophic changes. This results in moderate left foraminal narrowing.

Impression: Multilevel degenerative changes as described above most severe at T9-T10

LUMBAR 4/2010:
At L3-L4, there is minimal diffuse disc bulge and mild right facet hypertrophy resulting in minimal right greater than left foraminal narrowing.

At L4-L5, there is a minimal diffuse disc bulge and mild right facet hypertrophy resulting in mild bilateral neural foraminal narrowing.

At L5-S1, facet hypertrophy results in mild bilateral foraminal narrowing.

I am currently prescribed Zanaflex 2xday, Flexoril 2xday, Cymbalta 2,1xday (nerve pain). I also take pramipexole and Sinumet for a neurological condition they aren't sure of yet, maybe early onset Parkinsons but my gut tells me no. And the shrink they made me see to keep it all together has prescribed ambien and limictal.

I have had ulnar nerve displacement surgery in my left arm, and am currently seeking therapy for recently diagnosed bilateral carpal tunnel. I also had a surgery to implant an Interstim to help with incontinence which was followed by botox injections in my bladder a few months later.

My back muscles are like cement even while on all the muscle relaxers. I also experience strange 'shock' type sensations eminating from my head or mid chest area... I can't really tell.It's like a burst and happens very quickly. But when it happens, it shoots down my arms and it makes my tongue even tingle like I touched a 9 volt battery to it. Didn't we all do that as kids? :) Most recently, the pain management guy said that sounded neurological.When I called the neurologist, the message I got from the nurse said that it sounded like something for pain management. I feel like there is a vice-grip squeezing my spine, the pressure being its worst half way down my back all the way down. The endless burning radiates between and around my shoulder blades. None of the doctors really say much though, other than there isn't really anything that necessitates fixing. My discomfort tells me differently.

Pain management said he could do epideral injections but it would likely make the spasms worse. Having not seen my most recent thoracic MRI he said that most likely things had healed and were better than before, but as you can see, they are not. He is also not comfortable prescribing any opiate narcotics because of the possible neuro involvement.

So I am a medical mystery. According to social security, I have arthritis and could work however and whenever I wanted. Which tells me I am clearly missing something. Funny thing is not one of the doctors have mentioned arthritis. I have heard DDD, Facet Atrophy disease, spinal stenosis... but no arthritis. Are they all the same?

I am just looking for some insight. Nice to meet you all and I hope I can talk to some others who make me not feel like I'm crazy for being in constant pain. I really just want someone to fix me so I can go back to talking 2-3 miles a day, enjoying the weight room at the Y, maybe lose the 50# I have gained in 2 years, and ride the big roller coasters at Kings Island. I'm too young for all of this.


  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,111
    I love Kings Island however rollar coaster days are over for me. Welcome to SH. There are many members here that their medical answers never seem to come fast enough. Keep trying. Hopefully with your trip to Cleveland Clinic a doctor there will be able to find the answers you are seeking. Good luck. I can remember I had the worst back and leg pain but no one could find the reason and finally I was sent to a Neuro surgeon who discovered after a cat scan, mri, and emg that my disc had herniated inwards instead of out and everyone kept missing that. That took a year for someone to figure out. I know you are frustrated right now but hang in there and the answers will eventually be found. Good luck with the Cleveland Clinic. What part of Ohio are you from? Myself and small town outside of Dayton
    Keep us posted
  • Small town in Brown County. With any luck, we'll be neighbors soon... just interviewed for a job at Wright State. :)I Thanks for the encouragement!
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  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,111
    Good luck with your interview! Wright State is about 15 minutes from me. Nice area too
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