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Old 10-06-2009, 01:15 PM   #1
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In pain and trying to find answers

Hello. I am new here and am happy to have found this forum. If my post seems long, please forgive me I have been through it and back over the past 8 weeks and really need some advice. I will start from the beginning. Over the past year I have been having really bad problems with my lower back when I walk. The pain is crushing. I am overweight so I figured that was the reason why and I basically have lived with and let it go. I am also a migraine sufferer since the age of 12.

About 8 weeks ago though I woke with this horrible pain in the back right side of my head. It was different from my migraines in that it didnt pulse it was just there, constant but not blinding like a migraine. Pain meds didnt touch it. I decided that I would try to take a shower and lay down. Immediately after I got out the shower a sudden "burst" thing happened in my head and all I could see was white lights. I decided to lie down and noticed that if I lied on the back of my head it became worse. So I rolled over and laid there in severe pain until I fell asleep. When I woke my head was still hurting and so was my neck. That was the beginning of it all. I went to the doctor who sent me for a head ct in case I had an aneurism. All clear. Everyday for the past 8 weeks with the exception of maybe two days I wake up with a headache and neck pain. Vicatin doesnt touch it, amitryptiline doesnt touch it, neither does flexerill or the other muscle relaxants they put me on. The only thing that seems to provide relief is good ole 800 mg Ibuprofen. So to me thats a clue, right?

Since that day I have had tingling in my hands in my legs and in my head. The pain radiates from the back of my head down the neck into the shoulders and down my arms to my elbows. I have really bad night sweats and will sweat in the middle of the day for no apparent reason. I am 37, and havent had a period either since July. I have nausea and slight dizziness. My doctor ruled out any type of tumors because the ct scan was clear. they ran blood test after blood test. sedation rate was raised a little but not for concern. So, he said it must be in your neck and your neck must be causing the pain in your head. Meanwhile my lower back is getting worse and I am telling him so, but he doesnt seem to care. They dont know what to do they are at a loss. I suggest maybe a neurologist referral and they agree. The neurologist does a quick little neuroligical exam, never looks at my neck and says its muscle no need for an MRI. He tells me that he would be more concerned with the fact that I havent had a period in two months. I tell him yes, I agree but I think it is symptomatic of what is going on. He shakes his head and says here is a prescription for a stronger muscle relaxant and physical therapy for your neck. He hands me my prescription and says " here now I am done with you." I was horrified.

and I am not satisfied. The muscle relaxant wipes me out but doesnt take away the pain so I go back to my regular doctor. Help me please. After many arguments with my doctor and my insurance I finally get an MRI of my neck only. better than nothing I will take it.

I will not bore you with all the minor details of my results except that it says there is loss of the normal cervical lordosis and that at c5-c6 and c6-c7 there are diffuse disc bulges which touch the spinal cord however there is no frank spinal stenosis and there is no foraminal narrowing. My doctor tells me that this type of bulge is common and that because there is no stenosis or narrowing that I shouldnt be in pain. He asks me if I am depressed....I was floored. I said yes I am depressed, since August 15th when this happened to me. I had to quit going to school (I was going at night to get my degree), my job is suffering I am an HR Director and my job is highly demanding my manager is upset that I am not at 100%, I am a single mother drugged up with pain pills and I spend my entire weekends in bed. His response was sarcastically "because of this? What kind of pain do you think it is?" I told him I wasnt sure but if I had to guess, it would be nerve pain because of all the pins and needles and numbness. He gives me a b-12 shot then says stop taking all other meds. Lets put you on a prednisone, neurontin, and tramadol and check back in 10 days. I now have a pharmaceutical department in my bedroom.

I didn't like his response. So I set up an appointment with a neurosurgeon on October 12th-well his PA anyway. Am I on the right path? Any advise?

 
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Old 10-06-2009, 03:06 PM   #2
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Re: In pain and trying to find answers

I read this and there is a lot to think about before reply. Maybe before I come back someone else will chime in. I just want you to know you have support here. Back later.

 
Old 10-06-2009, 03:54 PM   #3
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Re: In pain and trying to find answers

Hi dawn,
You will get some great advise here for sure. I just wanted to say that you really want to watch the ibuprofen. I took tons of it, 4 at a time for many years. Then one day new pain sensations and blood (lots of it) in the stool. I cannot take any nsaids now. I took it on empty stomach and little water.

I would suggest having your meds with two 8oz. glasses of water and food.

Something else, my trusty advil never even touched my neck/back/headache disc thing. My docs. think my main pain is caused by cervical discs.

Your mri won't be boring here. If you type it out you never know, somebody might be able to turn it into useful info. for you.

Hope this helps a little. Keep checking back, you have smart people here. It may take a few days.

 
Old 10-07-2009, 03:13 PM   #4
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Re: In pain and trying to find answers

it is now recognised that the actual discs can cause pain where it was once refuted
your pain is called radiculopathy and is not a normal muscle type pain-it is classed as a nerve pain.
normal pain killers do not work on this type of pain-and never will.
ask your doctor to prescribe gabapentin which is used to treat neurological pain.
i use 600mg 3 x daily and it works
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Old 10-07-2009, 10:35 PM   #5
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Re: In pain and trying to find answers

Thank you so much everyone. Support is what I need right now. My reg dr. made me feel like I was a exaggerating the pain and the neurologist he referred me too...made me feel worse. BP - thank you so much for the information. do you think I am on the right path by seeing a neurosurgeon. There is so much else going on right now. Can this cause pains in my lower back and in my head as well?

 
Old 10-08-2009, 12:26 AM   #6
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Re: In pain and trying to find answers

disc bulges should eventually reduce and stop touching the cord-unless it is bony growths(osteophytes)
pain from the cervical area can transmit all over your body arm's back head and leg's following the nerve paths.
the route of the pain helps your doctor determine which disc etc may be guilty
usually lumber problems cause lower limb problems although cervical pain can travel to to lower limbs
A cervical herniated disc will typically cause pain patterns and neurological deficits as follows:

•C4 - C5 (C5 nerve root) - Can cause weakness in the deltoid muscle in the upper arm. Does not usually cause numbness or tingling. Can cause shoulder pain.
•C5 - C6 (C6 nerve root) - Can cause weakness in the biceps (muscles in the front of the upper arms) and wrist extensor muscles. Numbness and tingling along with pain can radiate to the thumb side of the hand. This is one of the most common levels for a cervical disc herniation to occur.
•C6 - C7 (C7 nerve root) - Can cause weakness in the triceps (muscles in the back of the upper arm and extending to the forearm) and the finger extensor muscles. Numbness and tingling along with pain can radiate down the triceps and into the middle finger. This is also one of the most common levels for a cervical disc herniation (see Figure 1).
•C7 - T1 (C8 nerve root) - Can cause weakness with handgrip. Numbness and tingling and pain can radiate down the arm to the little finger side of hand.
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Old 10-08-2009, 09:34 PM   #7
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Re: In pain and trying to find answers

dear dawn,

as truly sorry as i am to hear about what has happened to you, i am actually relieved to read the description of the onset of your injury since it is an absolute mirror of my own. i had the same sudden onset of pain at the base of my skull, except mine was on the left side, the same burst sensation and seeing white lights, night sweats accompanied by nausea, etc. ( i still feel dizzy and have trouble with headaches and eye pain, and other visual weirdness after 9 months.)

after a trip to the ER which resulted in a negative CT scan, and 2 long months of being told by my GP that i was under stress (read...refillable prescription for valium) or had a virus, i finally got in to see a neurologist who ordered brain and c-spine MRIs. the latter revealed cervical spondylosis with bulges at c3-4, c4-5 and a c5-6 herniation that is encroaching 2.5mm into my spinal cord.

i believe you are on the right path by seeing a neurosurgeon (NS), just make sure it is someone who is reputable and someone with whom you can trust your total well being. to date, i have seen 3 different surgeons--one orthopedic and two NSs--and i recently had one of the most devastating medical experiences of my life with the second NS i saw that i detailed in an earlier post from last week. as you experienced with the neurologist, there are calloused physicians out there dealing with people who have compromised nervous systems which makes little to no sense to me.

i will likely be scheduling surgery in the next month or so after many months of trying to avoid it. i have tried conservative treatment, including acupuncture and PT, and have experienced little to no improvement. you may have luck with the conservative approach since it is true that disc bulges may recede from the spinal cord, and you do not appear to have significant impingement on the cord from what your MRI indicated. continue to advocate for yourself, as it sounds like you are good at it, and as for the depression--who the heck wouldn't be depressed given the circumstances??? sometimes i find myself crying and i am afraid i won't be able to stop. these spinal injuries are devastating.

i am relatively new here myself, and i have found that the people on this board are incredibly wise and helpful--you are in the right place. i look forward to hearing about your progress toward wellness.

best wishes.

 
Old 10-11-2009, 06:53 AM   #8
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Re: In pain and trying to find answers

Quote:
Originally Posted by BP2RC View Post
it is now recognised that the actual discs can cause pain where it was once refuted
normal pain killers do not work on this type of pain-and never will.
ask your doctor to prescribe gabapentin which is used to treat neurological pain.
i use 600mg 3 x daily and it works
hello. that's very interesting. this is the first time I hear that. Did they really think disks don't cause pain?. So gapaentin is enough for you?. I"m also taking neurontin(gabapentin)but not as much as you. I wonder why they don't give you over there in england percocet and or/oxycontin together with it. For me, it's not enough the neurontin. I'm only 3 weeks on it. So I'm on 1200mg a day. I wonder if I should increase it?. anybody here knows?.

 
Old 10-12-2009, 05:57 PM   #9
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Re: In pain and trying to find answers

ok so now I am really confused. I went to the NS today-he treated me like a real person! but he said he saw where in my neck that there was arthritis bulging disc and a slight problem with the curvature but that it was minor at best and was not blocking off the spinal cord. so we begin talking about all my other symptoms. Massive pins and needles in my hands, feeling like the floor is coming out from under neath me and so forth and he says I am concerned that there may be something going on in your brain even though the CT scan showed it as clear. I would like to do an MRI of your head and put you on Lyrica for the time being. they sent me off with a copy of the MRI report and told me that they would call me when my insurance sends off the ok...another long wait probably

Anyway I am reading his MRI report and under the diagnosis code it says Chiari I. What the heck is that? So the investigator that I am starts reading and it is something like the brain pushing down on the spinal cord and blocking it off??? what in the world wouldnt he have seen that in my C-spine MRI? I am so confused.

Oh yeah, something else that came up that was kind of strange I normally have excellent blood pressure last time taken was 4 days ago 122/80 and the time before that it was 117/78. It is always commented on-great blood pressure. Well today my BP was 159/98 WAY opposite side of the spectrum could this all be related?

Last edited by dawnjyc; 10-12-2009 at 06:36 PM.

 
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