I have had neck pain for 10 years, but in the last 3 years it has been gradually getting worse and worse. I have a high pain tolerance and I am in extreme pain, even though I am on Duragesic 50 MCL and 10 MG Norco (Hydrocodone) for spikes.
3 Years ago, I finally went to a Neurologist at my Primary Doctors request. I had a good bit of pain, but I am able to tolerate more pain then the usual person. He ordered the first MRI. When He called me in for the results, he just shook his head and said 'this is the worse case I have seen in a man your age (40 at the time). That said allot and right away I knew I was in trouble. Basically 4 bad discs 1 severely broadbase with cord stenosis and nerve stenosis on the C5-6. The C4-5 was medium base and the other 2 C3-4 and C6-7 were mild at the time. But my nerve pain was starting to get were I could not stand it, so i asked for help. He recommended PT and Darvecet. Neither worked and I progressed to a home traction machine. My condition continued to decline and Pain got worse. After all kinds of therapy and treatments that did not work, In 2004 he ordered and new MRI. It showed that the C5-6 and C4-5 got worse, as my pain diagnosed before I got the MRI. I was up to 25 lbs on the traction machine. The Neurologist recommended I stop the traction and got to Pain Management, since I was not going to have fusion with 4 bad discs.
When the Pain Management Doctor looked at my MRI's, he's said that traction could have actually made my problem worse because I have annular tears in my disc that fluid is leaking out. The traction may have stretched the discs so the tears got bigger and leaked out further. He recommended Epidural injections. I was in enough pain at that point, I said do it.
I think I would have done about anything that had a chance of helping, because the pain level was so high.
Remember, I can handle pain, Played football as a QB with fractured ribs once. I had torn ACL, broken ribs and other painful ailments and did not phase me much (or I hided it very well).
I went through 3 of those Cervical Epidurals with very little relief for about 3 weeks. Then it got worse again. So He recommended the Facet Blocks. I had 2 of them. after the second one it gave me about 60% relief on my right side for 1 day.
Then the pain came back full force. So the Pain Management recommended Radio Frequency Ablation, because the facet block work for a short time and he thought he could burn that nerve and relieve the pain. I had that done the first week of January 2005. After the Surgery I had quite a bit of increase in pain and now, 6 weeks later, I am really hurting.
I went back last week to see the pain management PA. I told him of my increase in pain, so much so that I passed out. I said I need more pain meds to handle life (I am working from home and want to continue to work). He was very short and in an angry voice said I should have went to the emergency room when I passed out. I said I was home alone and the pain had slowed, so why take the chance of passing out behind the wheel of my car .Duh. So he said We need an MRI right away to be sure the RFA procedure did not create additional problems. I was in extreme pain in the office and asked him to increase my pain meds so I can work and take a shower. He left the room to talk to a surgeon. When He came back he gave me a prescription for the same pain meds I was currently on (25 MCL Duragesic and up to 4 Norco a day in which I had to take all 4 every day, so I still had no pain spike meds). I said to the PA 'You are going to let me leave this office today in severe pain and leave me like this, suffering'. He said 'Yes.. the Doctors will not increase my pain meds since there are so many law suits and we treat pain with procedures not meds'. I WAS SO ANGRY!!!
I called my Primary and complained big time and he said If I wanted to drop the Pain Doc that he would handle my pain meds until he could find somebody who does that. In the mean time I have to take 5 or 6 Norco to get close to managing regular life. This is on top of the 25 Duragesic (Fetynal).
I had the MRI done and had it sent to my Neurologist and the Pain Doc. This week I got a call from the Pain Doc to come in. The MRI Results are alot worse, since 3 years ago they said. They suddenly changed they're minds and increase my pain med to 50 MCL Duragesic from 25 and 1 Hydrocodone a day for spikes. It is not cutting it. I am in severe pain still. I am also wondering why the had a change of heart and want to treat me with pain meds now.
Could it be the MRI showed something went wrong with the last procedure and they are worried? I don't know, but I have all my films. I don't want to sue anybody, unless they make me worse and I have to suffer. Then I may need the money later in life.
But for whatever reason they are saying they will treat my pain with meds all of the sudden. I'm deciding whether to drop them anyway and ask my primary to give me the pain meds, since the Pain Management PA and Doctor are not helping enough and I am still suffering. The pain is all the way down my right arm to my hands, down the left side shoulder and up and down my spine from the top of my back to my head, The pain is worse on my right side neck and shoulder. The Headaches can get really bad, as well. Why are they so scared to give pain meds? I would sign anything to show I won't sue if they are worried about that. The pain is worse than any pain medicine addiction. I had a couple doctors tell me that and believe it.
I am going to see a Neurosurgeon, Highly recommended by my Primary and Neurologist. To see what options I have. I am really worried about fusion since I have 4 bad discs. But in the mean time I don't know who to see to get help with my pain. What I have is not cutting the pain nearly enough.
Also, should I be worried about the increase in pain after the RFA procedure and get a Lawyer. Is it smart to have a Lawyer to protect me from descimination on my job, as well?
Any input would be greatly appreciated.
The latest MRI report says the following (some I understand and other part I don't). Any help or advise would be greatly appreciated.
At C5-6 there is broad-based posterior disc/osteophyte complex, with mild deformity of the ventral cord. The canal is mildly stenotic. There is left greater than right foramina! stenosis due to uncovertebral spurring, best seen on axial image 15, impinging the left C6 nerve root and encroaching on the exiting right C6 nerve root.
At C4-5 the canal is borderline narrow. There is posterior disc/osteophyte, more pronounced on the left where there is
contact of the cord surface. This Is best seen on axial Image 11. There is mild biforaminal stenosis due to uncovertebral
At C3-4 there Is mild posterior disc bulge, minimally separated from the cord surface. The canal is borderline narrow, in
part due to short posterior elements. There are mild zygapophyseal degenerative changes, but the- foramina remain open
At C6-7, there is posterior disc bulge, touching the cord without deformity, the canal is mildly stenotic. There is mild left
1 At C5-6, there is mild canal stenosis. Posterior disc/osteophyte complex produces mild effacement of the ventral
cord. There is significant left greater than right foraminal narrowing, encroaching on the C6 nerve roots.
2- Mild stenosis at C6-7, with posterior disc bulge touching the cord surface without significant deformity.
5. Borderline canal stenosis^tC3-4-anqhC4-5-without cord-deformity.There is mild biforammat-nafTowing^t^4-57
4. Straightening of the mid to upper cervical lordosis, suggesting muscle spasm.
Thanks in advanced for you help