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Hi everyone,

wow what a site, quite amazing the amount of testimonies on here, I hope I can find some good advice. I'm a 30 year old woman, fit and healthy apart from a painful left back and arm for a year and a half.

My doctor told me 4 times to go away and come back in two weeks if it was still a problem. He made me feel like a nuisance and I hated going back in every time! I finally got referred for an MRI in September that showed some problems.

I have disc dessication in C 2-3 to C 6-7 in my neck.
C 5-6 is the worst, there is a bulge on the left. Its sticking into the nerves at the side and also into my spinal cord. there is foraminal stenosis and nerve impingement and ostephytic changes.
my neck always aches, and the pain ranges from a dull tired ache everywhere to a sharp pain radiating from neck to shoulder to arm to hand.
I've no idea how this came about at all! Very strange and quite difficult for me to get used to, My GP called me in with the results, and said that I would definitely have to have surgery. he said that the long term outlook was surgery, pain relief and probably a wheelchair at some point and I just went home and cried and cried. I've never had anything wrong with me before which is lucky, but I couldn't believe how quickly he had written me off.

I was referred to a spinal specialist who took 3 minutes to decide, based on my arm strength, that I wouldn't be a surgical candidate. He said it would have too high a risk of paralysis. He said basically the policy is to wait until the point at which my arms go floppy and then operate. He told me i would be in pain my whole life and would have to find a way to deal with it! He then discharged me!
I had to return to my GP to beg for more help which finally resulted in a referral to a physiotherapist - who tells me to do the exercises that I'm already familiar with; I've done pilates and yoga for some time so these exercises seem a bit basic and general. This seems to be the extent of help I can get unless I have money to pay!? the NHS seems to have no help available. I am on a low income and would have to be very careful if I wanted to pay for anything.

I've now got pain in my lower back and legs too. I wonder if they scan my lower back is it going to be a mess down there too? With all the pain, I am starting to lose my grip on reality, I struggle to sleep, I struggle to concentrate at work and its affected my life quite severely. My neck makes all sort of cracking noises when I move it (eek!) and various parts of my body go in and out of numbness and pain from time to time; fairly unpredictable.

I am frustrated at the lack of options or transparency, the inconsistency of service, but also I am scared and I just want to know what my long term prognosis will be - what can I do? what should I avoid? what kind of doctors can help me?

The idea that my spinal cord is getting damaged, and that I just have to suffer in pain until I am eventually paralysed fills me with a dread that I do not know how to contain. I think its something quite scary to get used to.

I have come on this forum to see if there is anyone who has been in a similar situation, who knows about what options there are. If anyone has any ideas about long term prognosis that would be great. I am really surprised by the lack of information from doctors and the inaccessibility of specialists. I want to feel like I have all the information available to me, and I would be really grateful for anything you can share.

For now I'm trying to stay positive; from reading some of the experiences on here, I have got things slightly more in perspective and feel less alone.

Kind Regards
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