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Confused and Scared. Please Help

edited 05/19/2015 - 9:48 PM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Hello Guys I am a new member and 23 year old male. I am so glad I found this site and maybe you can help me out.
My history starts back in January when I was having back and neck pain along with body wide tingles. I though i had a brain tumor or MS so my primary care doctor ordered some blood tests which included auto immune tests which came back clear. Next my PC doctor ordered and MRI of the brain and cervical spine with contrast on a 1.5T machine. The brain scan came back negative of any abnormalities but my cervical spine came back with no bulging disks but some disk bone spurs on my c5/c6 and c6/7. They were small in size with only one hitting a thecal sac. he then ordered an EMG of my Upper extremities which came back clean. I decided maybe it was just anxiety and saw a therapist and was prescribed some anti-anxiety medication for the short term. Eventually all my tingling and pain went away for a 2 months which it came back in full force but only in my left hand. I thought nothing of it and thought it was carpal tunnel or something. The tingling started in my pinky then over a course of a month traveled to the back of my hand and the palm of my hand would burn at times. I took some anti inflammatory and began wearing a brace at night since I thought I had carpal tunnel or radial nerve irritation. It did not go away and I went to a neurologist who ordered another MRI of my brain and cervical spine without contrast in March on a 3t high field MRI. The brain MRI came back clean but my cervical MRI showed disk bulging at c3/4 and c4/c5 without any impingement. However, I had a small herniation on my c5/c6 which was moderately narrowing my neural foreman and touching the thecal sac but with no cord compression or stenosis. But the strange thing was no bone spurs were detected as with the previous MRI and I had an X ray to confirm this.

The pain eventually subsided but came back In May in full force and my right hand began experiencing the same symptoms of my left especially at night. My symptoms are brought on more by rest but activity tend to make it go away. My neuro scheduled another EMG which I had last week which was very through and even included needles in my neck. The results, clean with not impingement any where. My neck has also began to hurt in the past couple of weeks. I was happy the the EMG was clean but was upset in away since I don't know w\hats causing my problems.
Her offered me an epidural but I am to scared to do it since the risks outweigh the positives and I fear i may damage my spinal cord with a need going in there. He told me since I was young and the herniation's are small, that my body wlll reabsorb the disk material in time as he has seen it multiple times. This neurologist is very popular in the city and has received many awards. I want to trust him but this has been going on too long. I still have range of motion in my neck but it is hurting to my shoulder blades and my neck burns. I want to get another MRI but I wont see him until late June. I just hope he gives it to me. This problem has really hindered my sleep and had made me depressed and in pain. I wish my body would heal and I want to avoid the chiropractor as they can make things worse in the neck or even cause a stroke. I tried PT but it just aggravated my symptoms.

What do you think I should do guys, is it possible the two EMGS missed something. I blame my neck issues on poor posture as I was never injured in hard blunt trauma to the neck which could cause problems. I am afraid I may need surgery in the future which I want to avoid. My last MRI was not that bad, but I fear thing\got worse . My Neuro who is also a spine specialist is very optimistic thinking my body will heal but I am very worried that its not despite being small disk herniation and I fear it go worse.


  • LizLiz Posts: 9,720
    please take the time to read this post and refer to it when you have questions

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    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • I'm having similar issues as well. I'm not in any major pain..but my neck locks up and goes numb..my left side of my neck swells up..i have veritgo..my legs ache. My symptoms seem to subside with b12 and potassium. I had horrible tingling in my right arm..back..and neck as well as pain 2 months ago. My doctor just told me to go see Therapy..."you'll be fine." I was feeling great after 3 sessions of physical therapy..but shortly after I started getting right leg pain/tingling..my neck was heavy..and started getting vertigo. He just told me I was fine and things would get better. I saw an Ortho...he did an MRI of my neck..came back normal. I was shocked. I have an appointment with a neuro on Tuesday. The weird symptoms that started occuring a week or two ago oddly seems to be getting better. Have you experienced any of my symptoms? Keep me posted.
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  • itsautonomic said:
    Well I will have alot to comment on this one:

    First, with the discrepencies in MRI's I would seek to have a radiologist compare them and note the changes and why something is on one and not on the other. Radiologists , MRI machines can be wrong or not pick up things and a 1.5T machine is not the strongest machine on market that would be 3T I think. And your MRI are recumbant not upright which could increase the size of herniation or impact on thecal sac.
    Second, nerve conduction testing can also be wrong, it is not an exact science and they do not know the conduction prior to having the issues. ALso nerve conduction testing with needles focuses and will only show large fiber damage, there are also small fiber sensory nerves that many doctors ignore or do not have the training to diagnose. Its a very simple test, punch biopsy. I had somewhere near 6 EMG/nerve conduction tests done and none showed the small fiber issue
    Third, no doctor can guarantee the disc will reabsorb.
    Have you asked the dr why you have bouts of pain free times? If so what is answer.
    Credentials are great, and who you want in a dr, but they do not guarantee success in diagnosis. I saw many heads of neurology that failed to find my issues before I traveled to teaching hospital. I suggest a neuromuscular specialist if that is an option in your area.
    Keep looking , took me 3 years of seeing all the best drs before answers revealed themselves. Burning can be from many reasons but if its neuropathy early diagnosis is the most helpful thing you can have.

    My second cervical MRI was done on a 3t the radiologist also had 30+ years of experience while the other one I had on the 1.5T month prior had a radiologist with 15+ years experience and that is the one that showed bone spurs. My neuro did not see any bone spurs on the 3t images that were sent to him except the small bulges and very small herniation at c5/c6 back in February. I actually did find a neuromuscular specialist that I was referred to and should see in the first two weeks of June. I asked to be put on a waiting list so I can get in earlier as I hope to get answers sooner. I actually went to the ER recently because I could not take it anymore but they did not do anything nor give me an MRI as requested saying I had neck pain and numbness. They said it was not an emergency and that I had to follow up with my neurologist which is going to take awhile.

    I really hope there is some more tests that can be done as I cannot take this anymore. Even a small nerve biopsy like you said but I think another EMG wont do much of help and I think another cervical MRI may be in order. to see if anything go worse. I just need answers and I hate when people blame anxiety for this. Anxiety is being brought up because I dont know what is wrong and its taking a long time to get answers.
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