I am a 32 year old female with no history of major illnesses or injuries. I have been healthy during my lifetime and have birthed 6 children. In late June 2009 I became very ill with facial pain on the left side. In July 2009 it was diagnosed as trigeminal neuralgia and I was prescribed Tegretol. Shortly thereafter, I began having pain all throughout my body and my doctor was concerned that I had a negative reaction to the Tegretol and switched me to Gabapentin. The facial pain was relieved and the nerve has since healed; however, the pain throughout my body has only worsened. In mid September the pain had increased such that my employer suggested that I go on short term disability to try and figure out what is causing the intense pain in my body.
I have seen two different rheumatologists who say that I do not have an autoimmune disease. I have seen a neurologist who says I do not have a neurological disease. I have had three MRI's since July. One of my brain, my back and my cervical spine. The results are as follows:
MRI of cervical spine without contrast: Mild reversal of the usual cervical curve, which the radiologist says may relate to patient positioning or muscle spasm. Mild disc bulges and cervical spondylosis from C3 to C6. No evidence of gross central canal stenosis or foraminal compromise.
MRI of lumbar spine: Degenerative joint disease is mildly seen at L4-L5 and L5-S1. No significant central canal stenosis or neural foraminal narrowing is identified. At the L4-L5 level, Mild broad-based disk bulge present with mild left paracentral proinence as well as mild facet hypertrophy. Mild bilateral neural foraminal narrowing is identified. At the L5-LS1 level, minimal broad-based disk bulge is present.
I saw a pain specialist after I had the MRI of the lumbar spine and he says there is no way that the radiologist's findings were causing my pain.
I am scheduled to go to Mayo Clinic in Arizona in December. I am currently on Fentanyl 50 mg (pain patch), percocet 5/325 three times a day and 300 mg of Lyrica. My pain level is very high and does not go away even with pain medications.
I have pain in my upper and lower back, in my arms and in my legs. The pain in my lower back and arms is worse than in my legs. My hands go numb sometimes. I also have joint pain and stiffness. It is difficult to bend down or strech out my arms. I am not sensitive to touch or massage.
Does anyone have any advice on what could be wrong or thoughts on the findings on the cervical spine MRI, which was just recently performed?
I am in such significant pain that I cannot clean my house or exercise because my pain level will greatly increase with activity.
I am at a loss and don't know what to do. I've seen so many doctors and feel like I've hit a wall. I have no answers and am hopeful that Mayo will find something.
My 6 children - wow that takes a toll on a body. All I can say is I think you will find the Mayo experience a good one. They are very thorough and ran lots of tests all at once to help me get information quickly.
The doctors have repeatedly told me MRI is just a guide - it isn't the end all and as we all know MRIs have been wrong or missed vital things that were not seen. The thing they need to be working on is to correlate your symtpoms with the other tests - including an exhaustive look through your bloodwork. There are so many levels of even blood tests that aren't done by most practitioners.
There also some additional type tests that can be run to help further evaluate your spine condition. Mild findings on one person depending on your anatomy could be like severe findings on another person.
I am on same medications - I have had two spine surgeries and have bad degeneration in the remaining unfixed spine, my activity is limited, and pain medications do not take away my pain either and I fit within about a 4-8 on a regular basis - depending on activity. I feel for you, Iknow what it is like to be at the beginning of the journey to figure out what is wrong. I wish you good luck, once you figure out what it is then you can figure out how to live with it.
My personal guess for you is that it might be your spine. You have had 6 births, your body might respond differently to pain than the person next to you. This type of pain just doesn't come from nowhere - there is a cause and I pray they will get to the bottom of it for you.
Hello there, NP gave you excellant advice, especially about the MRIs. I have somewhat the same with the cervical & arm pain & the lumbar & lower back pain.
Of course noone here can say for sure but yes it does sound like it can be spine related. I went to doctor after doctor to only to find out what was considered mild on the first MRI of the cervical turned out to be much more by the time a second MRI was done. Dont get discouraged. The fact that anything has shown at all is a starting point. In no way can any doctor say that an MRI is completely accurate so keep that in mind. Pain coming from the spine can be hard to control.
The good thing is these boards are great support & full or knowledgable people who have walked the same path you are. I hope your vist to Mayo is productive & I also hope you'll come back & share. God bless & good luck, Sammy