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Old 10-30-2012, 12:04 PM   #1
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Cervical Spine - Disc Disease - Please Help.

I recently posted on here, as following my recent MRI scan, I was being made to wait nearly a year from the scan to see a Consultant regarding the findings, and wanted some advice.

I managed to get the appointment brought forward and was seen in clinic today...

Basically after seeing the NeuroSurgeon, I was left in tears.. he spoke to me in a very abrupt manner, and basically told me none of the pain I was experiencing, was coming from my neck... I have summarised the MRI Report again below:

Degenerative Disc Disease is seen throughout the cervical spine, with straightening of the normal cervical lordosis. Broad based disc osteophyte complexes are indenting the theca and contacting the spinal cord between c3/4 and c6/7 levels. At c5/6 the complex is more prominent with flattening of the right side of the spinal chord. Bilateral nerve root foraminal narrowing is identified at c5/6 level with milder left sided narrowing also noted at c6/7.
Degenerative disc bulges are minimally indenting the spinal chord at T5/6 and T6/7.

I explained to him that I am also experiencing, pain in both shoulders, and in my forearms, and also experiencing pins and needles in my hands.

He very abruptly told me, that no way was the shoulder pain connected to my neck in any way, he also told me there was nothing really wrong with my neck, having looked at the MRI image on the screen in front of him. He then proceeded to move my arms round the back of me, and up in the air, which was extremely uncomfortable for me, and said it was nothing at all to do with my neck. I told him, I had seen a copy of the MRI Report, before the appointment (I had obtained a copy through my GP) and was a little confused to his interpretation of the scan, as he was saying there was no contact on the spinal chord at all, yet the report said there was.. he then looked at the written report and then back at the image, and agreed with the report on that, and agreed with all the other findings, but then went on to tell me in a very abrupt manner, that the only reason I was complaining of pain, was because I had read the report??? and that I was never going to be free of pain... I explained to him I had, had an MRI scan in 2007, which had only shown mild wear and tear, and because this scan had been done at another hospital, and he had no access to it, he basically told me, he doubted the first scan was any different to this one, and told me, my pain and symptoms, would have unlikely got any worse in this time, and that the only reason I was complaining of neck pain, was because I had seen and read the report, so basically its in my head.... The strange thing with that to me is, what made me see my GP in the first place?? because I was in pain... it didn't come on, only after seeing my scan report, the reason for my scan was due to me being in pain???

I have been left now, with no treatment being organised, he seems to believe the situation with my neck will not get any worse, its all age related and everyone of my age has got this problem... I had a scan in 2010, which showed no straightening of the normal Lordosis, and the scan in 2007 showed no protruding discs either, I was told by this Consultants Registra at the beginning of this year, my significant neck pain, was explained by the wear and tear shown in my neck alone.. yet the Consultant says different... I have waited for nearly 3 years, for some decent pain relief, I am in pain daily, and just don't know where to go from here..

Does anyone think it is worth me, seeing if I can be seen by a different hospital?

Last edited by teddybearhugs; 10-30-2012 at 03:21 PM. Reason: To add more information

 
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Old 10-30-2012, 06:45 PM   #2
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Re: Cervical Spine - Disc Disease - Please Help..

Tell me, was this doctor born in England (an english man)?.
English ancestors etc....
The reason I am asking this is because if he was born in one of those third world countries they don't take pain seriously. They think it's something you have to "deal" with.

I would definatelly look for another doctor. I dont' think there is much to do with neck pain. I have been "living" with that for 7 years----a pure hell. It's an existence, not really living.
The only thing to help neck pain is pain medications. That's all.
It's unfortunate, but physical therapy doesn't help. nothing helps neck pain other than pain meds.

Are you able to sleep at all at night and how many hours? and how come a young woman like you is having neck pain------were you in a car accident?

I hope you can answer me.

Last edited by nochange; 10-30-2012 at 06:48 PM.

 
Old 10-30-2012, 11:17 PM   #3
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Re: Cervical Spine - Disc Disease - Please Help..

I can only imagine how devastated you must feel after waiting for this appointment for so long, and putting all your hopes in the outcome. I do not understand this doctor's attitude. (sorry, I still haven't figured out the British terms for our American ones.) This man was a neurosurgeon??

I really don't even know what to say....obviously I am not a doctor, but I can't believe he thought it was OK to have something impacting your spinal cord...and that it couldn't be causing you pain. I know we do more spine surgery in the US than in any other country, so I don't feel I should try to second-guess the motives of this doctor...but I really do not understand, nor do I know what you should try to do next.

What are the options available to you?

Perhaps this doctor is not aware that laymen can now read just about anything online, including medical textbooks, case studies, the latest articles in professional journals, etc and we no longer just believe whatever a doctor tells us and take everything the doctor says as the gospel truth. We are now (or can be, with a little research and study) educated consumers.

You can look online for a "dermatome map" and you will see just exactly what part of the body is innervated by the C5 nerve, or C6, etc...and you will see that it is very possible for shoulder pain to be caused by a cervical spinal nerve....I would find a different spine specialist if at all possible.

 
Old 10-31-2012, 12:28 AM   #4
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Re: Cervical Spine - Disc Disease - Please Help..

I have recently been diagnosed with the same thing although it took me 3 years to get my dr to finally do something other then x-ray my back, he finally ordered a MRI and when he found out I had disc disease he is making me go to physical therapy and possibly pain management. You should probably go to someone who takes your condition more seriously I know its very painful. Good luck finding a dr!

 
Old 10-31-2012, 01:12 AM   #5
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Re: Cervical Spine - Disc Disease - Please Help..

Thank you so much for your replies. I woke up this morning, and had a panic attack, because I have got myself into such a state over this, I still feel so emotional today, I had pinned all my hopes on the appointment yesterday, and to be spoken to the way I was, and be sat here now, not knowing how much longer it is going to be, before I get any proper treatment, just makes me want to cry.
In answer to nochange, the Doctor was British Born, but he had a terrible attitude in every sense of the word, he took a phonecall during my appointment, and the way he spoke to the caller was disgsuting too.
I really feel that maybe because I had dared to complain about the length of time I had had to wait for my appointment, and my GP had been chasing too, possibly ruffled his feathers.
I have seen numerous Doctors,in the past couple of years, all of whom have agreed I have a neck problem,and also feel my shoulder pain is connected to my neck, I too have done plenty of research - I also saw this Consultants Registra at the beginnng of this year, and have a letter from him, which states "my significant neck pain, is explained by the wear and tear present, and that the scans reveal quite a degenerate neck"..he was suggesting Conservative management, physio and for me to be seen by a pain clinic, the physio only lasted for 3 visits, as a new MRI scan was requested, following a nerve root injection not working, and physio was suspended, pending me being seen by the Consultant to determine the next step.......
This appointment was supposed to be, to see what was going on now, and move forward with my treatment plan.
The scan I had in 2010, shows no straightening of the normal lordosis at all, whereas the recent one does, yet he was adamant there are no changes at all in my scans.
With regards to what has caused this neck problem, the only thing it has been pinned down to, is I worked for a company for nearly 5 years, that were not into health and safety in any way, I worked at a desk with a computer, that I had to tilt my head up to look at for hours during the day, and I had a broken chair that caused me to sit awkwardly, I tried complaining but didn't get far, it was only towards the end of my time working there, I started to get real symptoms of my neck situation, and feel now I only have myself to blame, for not leaving the company sooner.
I am have made an appointment to see my GP next Monday, and am going to see if she can refer me to another hospital for a second opinion, I can't carry on in this pain. I just wish I didn't have to keep fighting, all I want is some quality of life back.
Thank you again so much for your replies, I will keep you posted.

 
Old 10-31-2012, 05:11 AM   #6
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Re: Cervical Spine - Disc Disease - Please Help..

Neck pain sux and doctors DO NOT understand that.
Neck pain is debilitating and can make you depressed. But really, debilitating more than anything.

There is NO quality of life with neck pain.

Let those doctors feel for one hour your pain and then see their "attitude".

You didn't answer me if you are able to sleep at night and how many hours?
I mean, you don't have to answer. It's o.k.

 
Old 10-31-2012, 06:41 AM   #7
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Re: Cervical Spine - Disc Disease - Please Help..

Hello again, sorry I meant to mention the sleep side of things, I sleep very badly, I can no longer use what you would class as a conventional pillow, I use a v-pillow, for what use that is too, but it is definately better than a normal pillow, I have tried, orthapedic type pillows, memory foam etc, which all make my neck much much worse, I wake up every single time I move, and have to sit up every time I need to turn, I have a handle support now attached to the side of my bed to help me up, I have to re-arrange my pillow all through the night, in an attempt to get comfortable, and believe me, I don't stay comfortable for long at all, I also wake with pins and needles in my hands frequently. On average I sleep for around 30 mins or so, before waking to move, some nights I am lucky and get back to sleep fairly quickly, other nights, I just end up getting up, but I haven't slept properly now for well over 2 years. I also find it hard travelling in a car or on a bus, I seem to feel every bump in my neck, if I sit on a chair that doesn't support my head/neck, for anything longer than a few minutes, I suffer for hours...
Like you say Neck pain is just the worst thing ever, somedays, I fear I will just loose it totally, and have a breakdown, I don't know how I keep my head some days... But trying to get someone else who doesn't/hasn't suffered with this, to understand is near enough impossible.
Some days I just feel like I can't support my head at all, and no matter what I do, I get no relief, it goes across my shoulder blades, and I could literally cry all day. I take Tramadol, which is supposed to be a strong painkiller, but all it does is take the edge off my pain.
I am so sorry that you are suffering too, I just wish there was something that could be done.

 
Old 10-31-2012, 09:39 AM   #8
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Re: Cervical Spine - Disc Disease - Please Help..

Tramadol is not a strong pain killer. You can try tramadol extended release. It caused me side effects and couldn't sleep one hour. It was like drinking coffee. But everybody is different and you can try it.
Who told you tramadol is a strong pain killer? not at all.

We have people in our forum who take morphine for neck pain(neck pain is that bad so it doesn't respond well to mild pain killers). Perhaps that will be the route you will have to take. It sounds crazy but yes. People with neck pain take morphine even in high doses.

I have been "living" like that for 7 years since 2005.
Doctors don't take me seriously.
They call what I have spasm. I have two bulging disks and pain doctor thinks it's nothing that can cause so much pain. or when I say I cannot rest my neck on the pillow, no doctor belives me!!!!!!!!.

Clonazepam worked the best and also helps to sleep. Perhaps you can ask your doctor.
My problem is that I have high tolerance to pain medication and so it lasted for 9 months.
So 9 months of my life were o.k and felt fine. Perhaps you don't have high tolerance to pain medication(we are all different) and I really recommend you try that before going the morphine route.

There is oxycontin also. But before you start on narcotics try the clonazepam.

Last edited by nochange; 10-31-2012 at 09:58 PM.

 
Old 10-31-2012, 11:03 AM   #9
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Re: Cervical Spine - Disc Disease - Please Help..

My Doctor told me, that Tramadol is one of the strongest pain killers in the uk, that is used for severe pain, and it says on the leaflet for moderate to severe, but have to say it doesn't help much at all. I have been offered Morphine, in the past, but didn't want to go down that route and was foolishly hoping that I could be offered some other form of treatment, but its not looking likely... I am going to speak to my GP and see where I go from there... Its not fair that we have to suffer this way, and not be taken seriously..

 
Old 11-01-2012, 09:34 AM   #10
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Re: Cervical Spine - Disc Disease - Please Help..

[QUOTE=teddybearhugs;5081659]My Doctor told me, that Tramadol is one of the strongest pain killers in the uk, that is used for severe pain, and it says on the leaflet for moderate to severe, but have to say it doesn't help much at all. I have been offered Morphine, in the past, but didn't want to go down that route and was foolishly hoping that I could be offered some other form of treatment, but its not looking likely... I am going to speak to my GP and see where I go from there... Its not fair that we have to suffer this way, and not be taken seriously..[/QUOTE]

I am in recovery from neck fusion surgery C5-6 and yes i had shoulder arm pain, and pins and needles. I still have some tightness and stiffness.
You need a new Dr asap. I hope you can find a sympathetic one who can help you.
I too have been on tramedol and lyrica for neck pain and nerve pain. Who ever thinks tramedol is a strong medication is sadly mistaken. Its very mild and only takes an edge off...sometimes. I am awaiting L-5 TLIF surgery in a few days and am in a lot of pain from the low back and hips.
Do you have access to a pain management Dr? They can make all the difference to those of us who suffer with chronic pain.
Know there are many on here who sympathize with you. good luck.

 
Old 11-01-2012, 11:03 AM   #11
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Re: Cervical Spine - Disc Disease - Please Help..

Thank you for your reply, It helps me so much, to know there are other people out there, who really do understand. When a doctor makes you think, something is in your head and you are making a fuss over nothing, it is easy to think, you are going mad, and start questioning whether you are doing it to yourself, if that makes sense. I came out of that appointment and just felt devastated, I thought I was finally going to get some much needed help/treatment, but instead was made to feel like some kind of hypercondriac. Thank you again so much, I am going to push to get seen by someone else, and will keep you posted.

 
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Old 11-01-2012, 10:04 PM   #12
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Re: Cervical Spine - Disc Disease - Please Help.

Rest assured, you have reason to be in pain....Don't give up. Keep looking until you find someone who can help you.

We're here to offer support so post any time you need some encouragement or have a question. Hopefully someone will have some suggestions.

 
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