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Headaches with neck and shoulder blade pain

slalb680sslalb680 Posts: 1
edited 11/07/2015 - 7:36 PM in New Member Introductions
Hi all! This is my first time on the forum so here's a little background. I'm 51 with history of rheumatoid arthritis and Sjogren's for 20 years that has been very well controlled with Enbrel. I'm very active and currently a short distance runner with occasional Pilates and yoga. I used to lift weights and was a "gym rat" in my 20's and 30's. No traumatic or acute injuries other than a snow skiing accident back in '99. In 2013 I started getting headaches that were so bad I had to seek treatment. Never had migraines but they were initially treated with Fioricet and muscle relaxers. The neurologist eventually ordered cervical MRI which showed bulging and herniated discs at various levels, arthritic changes in facet joints, and foraminal narrowing C6-7. I then started having left arm radiculopathy but not as bad as the headaches. After he did everything he could, he sent me to pain mgmt where I was started on Norco 5 twice a day with muscles relaxers, PT, and then epidural injections, left and right radio frequency ablation.

Before each procedure, I was so hopeful that they would work because the HA's were now getting progressively worse and increasing in frequency. I also started having severe neck pain and pain around my shoulder blades. Some days everything was so tight from the top of my head to my lower back that I couldn't find anything to relieve the pain. I used PT, massage, TENS unit I have at home, heating pad, and meds. Some days I just felt desperate because the pain was so bad and I'm a pretty tough woman. Through it all, I continue to work 40+ hours in a doctor's office and I exercise daily because it provides natural endorphins to help with the pain.

I've now had a total of 3 MRI's (1 each year) and they each get worse. I now had annular tears, extruded nucleus propulsus and moderate to severe narrowing of left neural foramina at C6-7 among other things. On my first neurosurgery consult, I was told a 1-level fusion would help the radiculopathy but probably not the other pain. He is reluctant to do surgery but encouraged me to get 2nd opinion so I have appt with another neurosurgeon.

My question: Has anyone had similar case and did surgery help?


  • LizLiz Posts: 9,726
    please take the time to read this post and refer to it when you have questions

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    as a bonus, spine-health provides these patient forums. here you can meet thousands of people who understand and can relate to your situation. you will soon become part of the spiney family[/u] who provide comfort and the advantages of a support system. you are now part of this family that is approximately 27,00 international members and growing daily.


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    Veritas-Health Forum Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • I have pretty much the same damage as you on C 6 and 7. The narrowing etc..... I have the head aches, the neck and shoulder pain which causes weakness and pain down both arms. I am lucky I do not have any numbness in my hands or arms. I have had both hips and knees replaced within the last three years and I do not plan to have any more surgery. Especially on my spine- NO WAY! I am 60 and applied and received Disability this last year. I am not able to work retail anymore and as I did for the last 25 years.....

    I am dealing with the daily pain with natural herbs including Chinese herbs for pain and inflammation. I use a heat pad when I feel I need it, soak in Epsom salt baths and other than that, deal with the pain and discomfort without resorting to pain meds which are so bad for you.

    I hope you find what works for you... best wishes!
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