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Old 04-02-2010, 07:24 PM   #1
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cervical problems

Okay gang, need your input here. I tried posting this on the spinal disorders boards and got absolutely no where...maybe someone here can relate alittle?

I have some cervical problems which are not that major- herniated discs, buldging discs- things like that. They have consistently caused me pain over the past few years. Ive had MRIs like all of you do- both C spine and Brain, which have consistently shown the same neck issues. My onset symtom of MS, which led me to the ER and a very quick MS dx, was numbness in my fingers and hands. No lesions on my spine, over 50 in my brain, now being accompanied by the dreaded "black holes".

So, my pain in my neck/shoulder area is worsening. I was referred to an Ortho doc (surgeon) who sent me for yet another MRi of the Cspine- again, no real changes. However, the pain is intensifying. Stress? Posture? MS? I know there have been other posts on back and neck pain with MS- has anyone ever gotten a conclusive answer on whether or not MS can cause this?

Ortho wanted me to go to PT, Neuro doesnt want me to go because years ago, I tried it and with my crazy schedule, shoe-horning that into my life caused all sorts of MS symptoms....not to mention after 2 months of extensive PT, my pain was twice as bad and there was no improvement.....so now Neuro wants me to see pain specialist to talk about epidural type injections- which Im not ruling out- but Ortho says its a waste of time. Ortho thinks pain is MS related, Neuro isnt sure...and Im fed up with conflicting opinions!

Ive seen another Ortho, just to hear what his opinion was, and actually walked out of his office when he insisted that surgery was my only option....so, Im still in pain and stil at square one. I truly trust my Neurologist completely, and lean towards the fact that he cant be sure if the pain is MS or spine related..but I also trust that he doesnt recommend surgery and does recommend a pain blocker.

Im just fed up and venting, but Im also curious- have any of you with similar type back / neck pain actually ever been told it was MS related??

Thanks for listening...
nikki
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Old 04-02-2010, 09:05 PM   #2
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Re: who can relate?

I had severe back problems that were MS related. Due to muscle weakness on one side of my body, my overall balance was unbalanced. With different muscle groups trying to compensate for muscles which were not doing their job, my condition worsened. I spent time using forearm crutches until my weak muscles had re-strengthened and I had better balance. The pain vanished as a result.

I get pains in my leg due to muscle fatigue on one side too. Time off my feet helps.

So, essentially, it is MS related, but it is only in origin.
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Old 04-02-2010, 09:14 PM   #3
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Re: who can relate?

Hi Nikki,

I am sorry you are dealing with neck and back pain. My Dad had bad pain in his shoulders due to pressure on the spinal cord. They did a procedure where they put a hot probe in an area of his neck that would help reduce the amount of pain he was having. It helped reduce the pain a lot. Pain is always difficult to pin down what is causing it. I have gone through different pain, sharp pains to dull pains throughout my body. The pain seems to come and go for me. Let me know if you want me to get the name of the procedure my Dad had?

Wishing you the best, I hope you feel better soon,
Postivethinkin-Brenda

 
Old 04-03-2010, 06:40 AM   #4
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Re: who can relate?

Hello Jayhawk and Brenda. Thanks, sincerely for your words of advice.

Jayhawk, Ive been exercising, and in fact trying to do the strengthening exercises which PT showed me, hoping that your theory would apply to me. I am still not convinced it does, but I havent ruled it out completely either. It makes sense, that favoring the body would cause muscle strain and weakness...and I do have balance problems- but overall, mine are not significant. That in mind, Ive tried strengthening the traps and the muscles to the outside of my neck, even my shoulders- but all its doing is causing me MORE pain. And, yes, I went back to make sure I was doing it right! I think I need to keep trying though, because even if nothing else, my lower body is tightening up and firming up!

Brenda, I would be curious to know what the procedure was called so that I could research it further. The injections they are talking about doing for me are pretty standard, but they do not include heat. Since I have a month until my consult, Id like to have alot of questions to ask, and that would be one of them if you can find out...

Both of you are wonderful for taking the time to answer. As I said, I had tried on the spinal columns board, but they dont know enough about MS over there to help me, the standard answer was to seek narcotic pain relief, which is the furthest thing from my mind.Im looking more to find out what is causing the pain- living with it is simply a way of life!

Hugs,
Nikki
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Old 04-03-2010, 01:48 PM   #5
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Re: who can relate?

Hi Nikki,

My Dad had a procedure named radiofrequency ablation. I was talking to him today about it and he said pretty much all the pain went away for the area they worked on but the pain is slowly coming back. The Doctors told him he could do the procedure every 6 months but he is concerned because it is a very expensive procedure. He was saying with his insurance he is paying out of his pocket around $4500 per procedure. One other of his complaints is they focused on his pain in his shoulder so they did the radiofrequency ablation for the area of the nerves that were involved with sending pain to his shoulder, the problem is he has pain in many areas of his body. The procedure only helped his shoulder pain. I hope you find what works to reduce the pain for you.

Take Care,
Positivethinkin-Brenda

 
Old 04-03-2010, 02:28 PM   #6
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Re: who can relate?

Hi Brenda. I have actually heard of this procedure used for facet joint pain in the back. Due to my job, I run across all sorts of unusual procedures for Palliative Care (comfort care). Nevertheless, its interesting.

Since my pain is coming from herniated discs, and not facet joints, I dont know if Im a candidate or not- but I will certainly talk to the pain specialist more about this. Im also wondering, since heat is used, would it be counter-productive for a MS patient? I cant even put a heat wrap or a heating pad on my body without bringing on all sorts of symtoms. IM just wondering if that would affect me, too....more to ask!

Thanks so much for taking the time to ask your dad- and honestly, I hope he feels better. I can really empathize with back pain! Mine is mostly located in my neck/shoulder area, but pain is pain...and I understand doing whatever needs to be done to help allieviate it!

Thanks again! Happy Easter!
Nikki
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Old 04-03-2010, 08:27 PM   #7
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Re: who can relate?

Nikki, I don't know if I can help but want to try since you have helped me so much in the past.
Before I was diagnosed with MS, I dealt with back pain. I had several of the epidural injections. The first one seemed to help, the second didn't. It might be worth the try, because although the second one didn't it didn't hurt either. They also suggested a spinal stimulator to help with the pain. I am like you in that I don't like taking all the narcotics.

During this process I was diagnossed with MS and never followed up with the pain management doctor. I still have a lot of pain but my MS doc says it is related to MS and we are treating it with meds.

I am sorry I don't have much to offer. I hope you find your answers. If you have any questions about the epidural inj. I might can help.

 
Old 04-04-2010, 06:40 AM   #8
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Re: who can relate?

Bhmom- thanks! Every little piece of feedback helps! Its horrible. Im way past the point of thinking "every little thing is MS", which is quite normal in the beginning of the diagnosis; however when I start dealing with specaialists who are contradicting each other, I start really wondering..... Is this a MS thing?

So hearing about others who have had similar experiences really does help.

Appreciate you taking the time to throw your experience out there....Ill see the pain specialist armed with all this information and see what happens!

nikki
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Old 04-07-2010, 06:36 PM   #9
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Re: who can relate?

Hi Nikki!

I also had issues with severe lower back pain about a year before I began having symptoms of what I now know to be MS related. I had MRI's and CT scans of my back and my discs were fine, the doctor felt it was mild arthritis.

My lower back constantly hurts in an aching kind of way with sudden shooting pain in the area. I also have a lot of pain in the back of my neck and shoulder area. I have no idea if any of it is MS related and I have nothing really to offer in terms of answers for you. Just chiming in that I too have the constant agonizing pain that has just become my version of normal that I just, well, ignore I guess.

I hope you get some answers. And maybe, just maybe, if you get answers, it might just help me too!!!

 
Old 04-07-2010, 07:02 PM   #10
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Re: who can relate?

Thanks Wilc- appreciate your response. Unfortunately, since my back pain is upper neck and cervical and since I do have several ruptured discs, I have a feeling mine isnt going to turn out to be MS related....apparently Ive got some serious defects going on! My Ortho surgeon has me going to see a pain specialist in May, to see what can be done injection wise to ease the pain, but my Neuro is still saying that MS is aggravating it....the whole thing is a catch22.

ill keep you all posted when I hear more....but thanks to all of you for your responses and suppport!
Nikki
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Old 04-09-2010, 12:07 PM   #11
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Re: who can relate?

Hi Nikki,
I have damage to C4 - 7 , bulgeing, not ruptured discs.

Resistance training did increase pain for me too, but only in the beginning. I had to start really slow, silly slow. I can tell you it has helped me. If I slack off, like go on vacation without my weights, I can feel intense pain creeping back rather quickly.

I have a special D-shaped pillow, that keeps my neck straight when I sleep. I tilt back the car seat when I drive so my arms are almost straight, and rest my head on the head rest. That helps to minimize vibration from the road which causes additional pain. A good mattress is essential. Have you tried to sleep on different mattresses, to see how much difference it makes?
Misaligned curvature might be helped with shoe lifts.

Ruptured discs are painful no matter what other dx you throw into the mix. Does barometric pressure make a difference?

 
Old 04-09-2010, 03:01 PM   #12
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Re: who can relate?

Hi Biminia-
thank you so much for your words of wisdom! First let me say that I have a temperpedic mattress, and I love it! While on vacation, trying to sleep on a regular mattress, I was seriously in pain! The D pillow, i have to look into...im a "side sleeper" so I have to see if that will work for me, but Ill definately look into it, thanks!

As for the exercises, yup. I can concur. When I dont work out, I feel worse, but Im stil not entirely sure that working out doesnt sometimes aggravate the issue as well. Im trying to strengthen the area, so I put less pressure on it. Any suggestions of exercises to do? Ill try anything at this point!

The driving thing also is curious to me. Im in sales, I drive anywhere from 50-300 miles a day. I do sit "away" from the steering wheel, however road vibration is a way of life for me. I live in one of the most traveled states in the Union, half way between NYC and Philly, and my territory is all highways..so, I need to really think about how I can be conscious of this. Thank you for bringing it up. Ive started using a lumbar pillow when I drive and havent had any relief at all, but I do know on especially long days of driving, I come home in pain (tears, really).

And bariatric pressure - that I never thought of. Especially since Im so incredibly subject to pain from bariatric pressure in my hands/ fingers. Always, when its humid and raining, I get the numbness and tingling in excess. You think it might hurt my Cspine as well? I never thought of that! Youre probably right. Ive always just written off those days as bad MS days....now, yeah- thinking about it, my back hurts worse too. Why is that?

Thank you so much for giving me all this to think about and research. Keep me posted on any other thoughts you have about things that might help. IM all ears!!
Nikki
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Old 04-10-2010, 07:45 AM   #13
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Re: who can relate?

Nice mattress, I'm jealous. I'm a side-with-occational-rollover sleeper. The D is raised and firm on the left and right, straight and curved edge has different thickness and is thinner, the middle is thinnest. I recommended it to a friend with C-spine damage from triple rollover accident and it didn't work for her at all. She rolls up towels, pain makes inventive.

Core exercises aggravate my neck no matter which way I try. PT, ortho and chiro recommended chin-tucks, that just increased my pain. Maybe it works for most with identical damage, no rhyme and reason why it didn't help me.

Caution, I don't know if any of this would be harmful to herniated discs.
Instead the chin-tuck I pull/push an elastic yoga band placed on my forehead, back from facing the wall and forward turned around facing the room. Pressing my hand against a wall palm up, alternate with the top of hand while palm down. I can't describe the weight exercises I do, 5lb max. free weights for me. Different flexing and extending maneuvers for neck muscle groups. Milk jugs work, I should market water fillable weights for traveling. Pain keeps making inventive.

You drive a lot, wow. Highway is the best, the surface is more smooth. I live in pothole city with too many traffic lights. I don't get relief from lumbar pillows either. I'd like to take off the head rest and turn it around so the neck stays aligned and doesn't curve forward. It is designed that way to minimize injury in accidents, didn't do me any good in my non-dummie test.
How do you do after watching a movie in the theater? I wish I had a head rest there too. Moving is good, holding head up in same position bad.

 
Old 04-10-2010, 02:26 PM   #14
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Re: who can relate?

B- thanks for the tips. I hate movie theatres for the same reason....I have NOT tried the head rest in the car trick, that one I might have to try! Although I drive on highways, this is JERSEY, where the pothole is the name of the game, so honestly, it is rough riding! More then that, its just plain uncomfortable climbing in and out of the car all day, dealing with the heat and humidity of this state, wearing professional clothing all the time. MS is bad enough, having a neck injury is twice as aggravating.
I have to look for that pillow. Ill check it out this week.....and as for the Tempupedic, if you ever get the chance, invest in one. Its the smartest thing we ever did. Yes, they are expensive, but they also have 20 year warranties and honestly, its incredible for your body...even my husband, who can sleep standing on his head, loves this bed.

inventive you are. I have seen portable weights, which you fill with water, to travel..but maybe we could do them with sand for beach trips, water for people who cant find sand...and rocks for mountain dwellers!

Thanks for the tips, and the smiles!
Nikki
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Old 04-15-2010, 08:57 PM   #15
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Re: who can relate?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MSNik View Post
Hi Brenda. I have actually heard of this procedure used for facet joint pain in the back. Due to my job, I run across all sorts of unusual procedures for Palliative Care (comfort care). Nevertheless, its interesting.

Since my pain is coming from herniated discs, and not facet joints, I dont know if Im a candidate or not- but I will certainly talk to the pain specialist more about this. Im also wondering, since heat is used, would it be counter-productive for a MS patient? I cant even put a heat wrap or a heating pad on my body without bringing on all sorts of symtoms. IM just wondering if that would affect me, too....more to ask!

Thanks so much for taking the time to ask your dad- and honestly, I hope he feels better. I can really empathize with back pain! Mine is mostly located in my neck/shoulder area, but pain is pain...and I understand doing whatever needs to be done to help allieviate it!

Thanks again! Happy Easter!
Nikki
Hi Nikki,

I don't personally have MS but read these boards to get a feeling of what my dad is going through.

I do have back issues though. What Brenda is describing sounds like radio frequency ablation. Its basically A Basal Branch Nerve Block but they add in a little electricity tuning it to the same frequency as your pain signals then increasing the amplitude to cauterize the nerve for about a year.

You are awake and guiding them through the whole procedure because even with real time x-rays they need your feed back to find the pain sensory cluster and to find the right frequency and know when to stop the amplitude.

I have a whole discussion of back injections on the Back Problems boards.

You can also find me posting in pain management and chronic pain.

~Myo

 
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