Disc Herniation or Pain from Scapular Winging?
My physical therapist and the orthopaedic doctor I saw can't seem to agree... Since I was a teen I've experienced some pain in my upper back/lower neck area. I've experienced pain in between my shoulder blades for about the last 4 years. Up until maybe a year ago, it was a burning pain that I would have often after studying long hours, and it would subside in a couple hours. It has gotten much much worse over the last year. In October I experienced a pain like I had never felt, my muscle burning pain instead was a sharp pain that would come in spasms and almost entirely incapacitated me (I couldn't do anything but lie on the couch and cry, sob story I know). I experienced a strange numb, tingling sensation all down my arms as well to my finger tips. I saw an orthopedic doctor who took an x-ray and found my spine to be perfectly healthy (except for the fact that my neck was completely straight like a board, not curved like it should have been, he said it was due to all the spasms I was having and was similar to a neck he'd see in a serious whiplash incident). He concluded it was a cervical herniated disc, possibly between C5-C6. I was prescribed painkillers and a steroid, and referred to a physical therapist. The intense sharp pain gradually subsided, but that all too familiar burning pain didn't go away.
Fast forward to my first physical therapy session the following week.. (mid-October) My physical therapist basically told me it was horse-**** that I had a herniated disc and instead believed it was due to scapular winging, and that I needed to strengthen my scapular muscles and work on my posture while studying/working (I have really good posture...). I did physical therapy with him twice a week for 2 months and hardly noticed a difference. He told me to keep up with my exercises but I've definitely been slacking... Within the last 2 weeks the pain has been getting terrible and I'm afraid I'm going to have that intense sharp pain I had for 2 days straight before I first saw a doctor. I've been trying to do my exercises to alleviate the pain, but it hasn't helped and the pain is only getting worse by day.
Do I just need to up these back strengthening exercises as recommended by my PT or is this a disc issue and I need to get an MRI?
For background info I'm 21, 5'11", and a small-medium frame. Pain alternates between being burning muscular feeling pain to a sharper pain between my shoulder blades and up to my neck.
Last edited by GatorGirl916; 01-23-2012 at 10:01 PM.