Hello. I am 25yo. I had a somewhat sore back for a week...I woke up yesterday, took a shower, and did a quick little neck stretch (turned head from side to side) and sustained a major injury. Immediate sharp pain @ top of spine, left shoulder blade, up back of neck.
I went to the doc today and here are the results of the x-ray below. I am Active-Duty military, and this was a civilian ARNP. She said that because I have full use of my hands and arms, that this probably isnt serious. I insisted upon a full MRI (as the radiologist reccomends- which my Tricare WILL cover), but she said that she doesnt know if its justified. She told me to go to PT and see what they think.
The pain is sharp and un-relenting, from the back of my neck, down my spine, through my shoulder blade. Someone PLEASE give me their opinions on what to do.
Procedure: AP, ondontoid, obliques, and lateral views.
Findings: There is loss of the normal cervical lordosis with a focal kyphosis centered at the c5-c6 level. Vertebral body heights are normal. No facet subluxation or dislocation. Prevertebral soft tissues are normal, no acute fractures.
There is no facet or uncoverterbral hypertrophic changes. No neural foraminal narrowing.
There is a mild narrowing of the anterior aspect of the c6-c7 disc space. THIS COULD REPRESENT DISC DISEASE.
1. No acute fractures.
2. Loss of the normal cervical lordosis with kyphosis centered at the c5-c6 level.
3. Mild narrowing anteriorly at the c6-c7 disc space that could represent disc pathology. Consider MRI for further evaluation.
An MRI would show the soft tissue and can possibly show any nerves that are being compressed. Most physicians will in the short term give medications and recommend physical therapy. For most people with significant disc/nerve issues in the cervical spine they experience pain, numbness, and/or tingling down one or both arms. Depending on the level of the problem (as there are 7 cervical vertebrae) the pain can just go to the bicep or further down. Do you have any of those kind of symptoms or more of a pain in the neck area? Did they provide you with any muscle relaxants? The change in lordosis can be due to muscle spasm.
Keep in mind that "Disc Disease" is not really a disease in the typical sense. The term “disc disease” sounds like a progressive and threatening condition. However, this condition is not strictly degenerative and is not really a disease. Disc disease is not really a disease at all, but rather a degenerative condition that at times can produce pain from a damaged disc. All of us, as we age, even in our mid to late 20's, tend to show some degeneration of the discs. If your symptoms improve it's not something you'll have to worry about but may want to keep it in the back of your mind so you don't overtax your neck and you do things ergonomically correct.
did they give you any pain medications or muscle relaxants? Even a small supply for 7 days would possibly give you some relief and help you see if it works. Just a thought. I know it's a holiday weekend so if the pain is sever I'd say head to the urgent care center. An emergency room could have a long wait so urgent care might be better. Just be sure to bring with them the xray information you shared with us. I hate to say it but sometimes a visit to an emergency room/urgent care helps the doctor realize the level of distress you are in.
Sounds like you have a good plan. Take the ibuprofen regularly to help any inflammation that may be there and the flexeril to help alleviate spasms. Vicodin can help if the pain gets sharp or worsens. Let me know if I can help in any way. Best of luck to you.
I would like to ask if the pain is alleviated if your arms are not dependent (as hanging by your side). I know that my injury occurred as I reached over to slap the alarm clock one morning. I was told also that 10 weeks of medication and 10 weeks of Pt were the norm for this type injury. However, as my pain did not subside after several weeks, I insisted on an MRI and I subsequently had to have surgery to repair the discs involved. I do know that "nerve pain" is unrelenting no matter what you take or do. If your pain does not subside or if you see that it is relieved somewhat by raising your arms, then I would definitely push for the MRI.