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Old 11-22-2012, 06:01 AM   #1
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Cervical Spine Disc Problems, reassurance its not in my head needed.

Hello,
I have posted on here before, and have had some great support from people so thank you. I am just having a moment of self doubt and wondered if anyone could help me.
I have a history of neck and shoulder pain, and was diagnosed with a rotator cuff tear in my left shoulder, which was repaired in August 2011. I had an MRI scan done in 2007,on my cervical spine due some neck pain and loss of sensation I had suffered, and was told that the scan showed some wear and tear in my neck. I was offered a nerve root injection, but never took the offer up at that time, and didn't receive any further treatment, and just got on with things, by 2010, I was experiencing severe left shoulder pain aswell as neck pain, and after nearly 9 months, of being tried on various pain killers, was eventually referred to an orthopedic Doctor - who very relunctantly sent me for an MRI scan on the left shoulder and cervical spine. The results showed a tear in the rotator cuff, and showed bulging discs and wear and tear in the cervical spine. Very long story short now, but the shoulder took priority and I had to wait to be seen about my neck, I was seen in January of this year, and was given a nerve root injection in March of this year, that was no benefit at all. I was in May referred for a nerve conduction test (as I suffer with pins and needles in both hands) and a new MRI scan. Following these tests, I was offered an appointment for May 2013 to be seen by a consultant to discuss them. I wasn't happy about the wait, so asked if I could have a copy of the results, so I could see my GP, and see if I needed to be seen sooner. (I will add I having been taking tramadol and paracetomol since November 2010, but am still suffering pain and discomfort).

I got the copies of the results, and the scan reads as follows:

Degenerative Disc Disease is seen throughout the cervical spine, with straightening of the normal cervical lordosis.

Broad based disc osteophyte complexes are indenting the theca and contacting the spinal cord between c3/4 and c6/7 levels. At c5/6 the complex is more prominent with flattening of the right side of the spinal chord.

Bilateral nerve root foraminal narrowing is identified at c5/6 level with milder left sided narrowing also noted at c6/7.
Degenerative disc bulges are minimally indenting the spinal chord at T5/6 and T6/7.
The nerve conduction test report just says: The conduction studies show only some borderline changes which may be of no relevance.

I was able to get my appointment brought forward, but had to resort to making a complaint, unfortunately, as the Hospital repeatedly ignored my GP's requests.
Amazingly they were able to offer me an appointment the very next day after having received my letter...
Anyway, the Consultant I saw, was nothing but rude to me, he told me there was nothing wrong with my neck, the shoulder pain I am still suffering had nothing to do with my neck, all my symptoms, were because I had seen my report.
I decided to go back to my GP to see if I can arrange for a second opinion, which she is arranging for me, and I have made a complaint about the Consultant, he threw my arms around causing me real pain in my neck and shoulders, and was so rude he reduced me to tears.
The reson for me posting today, is I have received a copy of the letter he has just sent to my GP.
He just says, the MRI results show mild degenerative changes but no frank nerve root compression and my conduction studies were unremarkable, he doesn't feel anymore than some stronger pain killers are needed.

Yes, I am waiting for a second opinion, but this letter has just reduced me to tears again, as I feel I am just going to be seen as some kind of hypercondriac, I am close to just not bothering and putting up with things, and really am starting to question my pain and wonder if I am just doing it to myself.
I just wondered really if there is anyone out there, who believes me, and thinks its not in my head.
Thank you for reading my post in advance.

 
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Old 11-22-2012, 08:02 AM   #2
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Re: Cervical Spine Disc Problems, reassurance its not in my head needed.

Next time you go to see a consultant, take a cricket bat with you and tell him that you hurt your rotator cuff whacking the last consultant you saw. That may help.

Unfortunately, your radiologist's report is pretty unhelpful. "Bilateral foraminal narrowing at C5-6"? W/o knowing how BAD the narrowing is, there's not much that can be said. We can only INFER that it's not insignificant, because he goes on to say the narrowing at C6-7 is "milder".

Anyway, from what you posted, I'd say it's possible that your spinal issues are not symptomatic (yet). They look rather borderline to my amateur's eyes, with the possible exception of the C5-6 level. You need an honest and competent neurosurgeon to look at your images (NOT the report) and see if something needs to be done at that level.

I'm afraid you're trapped in a medical establishment that is insulated from any kind of competition, which unfortunately fosters excessive levels of arrogance, indifference and incompetence. On the other hand, it IS free. All you can do is stand up for yourself and refuse to be put "in your place".

BTW, regarding the symptoms in your hands, are they affecting particular fingers, or just the whole hand in general?

 
Old 11-22-2012, 09:36 AM   #3
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Re: Cervical Spine Disc Problems, reassurance its not in my head needed.

Thank you for your reply, It was my middle and ring finger initially on the right hand, now it seems to be the whole of both hands, comes on, at various points, I wake up with pins and needles sometimes,in both hands, if I hold the phone to my ear, I get severe pins and needles in the hand I am using. Not sure what causes this. Also if I rest my wrists on a hard surface I get pins and needles, (just mild resting on a surface, and the pins and needles comes on instantly). With regards to the image of the scan, I drew the Consultants attention to the report, and he looked at that and the scan image and agreed the straightening of the Lordosis, the narowing and the contacting on the spinal chord, but wasn't happy with me, for mentioning it, and still maintained there was little wrong with my neck, I had what all people of my age (42) have, and any shoulder pain, was nothing at all to do with my neck in any way.

 
Old 11-22-2012, 09:40 AM   #4
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Re: Cervical Spine Disc Problems, reassurance its not in my head needed.

Well, just because the consultant is insecure and obnoxious doesn't mean he's wrong. Based on what you say, I'd be looking for nerve entrapment (or even circulatory entrapment) in wrists and elbows...

 
Old 11-22-2012, 10:46 AM   #5
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Re: Cervical Spine Disc Problems, reassurance its not in my head needed.

Thank you again for replying. I agree with what you have said, with regards to his attitude not necessarily meaning what he has said to me is wrong. I just don't know at this point, what to think, if I am honest. My original post was long enough, so I didn't mention absolutely everything. I have been in pain and discomfort since the beginning of 2010, and have in my attempt to just get some relief, seen several Doctors, initially just for pain relief as no-one wanted to actually find out what was causing my problems. After my scan in 2010, the Orthapedic Doctor, told me, my neck didn't look too good, and he referred me to a neuro surgeon, that couldn't read a scan image, and missed the rotator cuff tear completely and just injected my shoulder with a steroid injection, that nearly sent me through the ceiling. My neck was put on hold, whilst I waited for my shoulder op, and my shoulder felt so much better once fully recovered from that. (It's now extremely tender and painful again, and 2 Doctors have told me, it is coming from my neck). I saw a Neuro Specialist in January, who looked at my images, and said, the scans revealed quite a degenerate neck, with multiple levels of disc prolapse, towards T5/6 but predominantly towards the right and at C6/7, he felt the significant neck pain I had, was due to the wear and tear present. After the scan he arranged, all I wanted was some treatment to help me, I don't want surgery, and I would sooner not just have to rely on pain killers, I just want a few answers to some questions and some treatment. He made me feel, like the pain was in my head, and had nothing to do with my neck at all, and now I just feel confused. The orthapedic surgeon who repaired my shoulder, thought I needed a discectomy as the discs were diseased and unrepairable (I would sooner not have surgery, if I can help it). but I just don't know, who to believe at the moment, I know how my pain is, but I suppose after so long of me trying to just get some treatment, and a few answers, and now feeling totally back at square one, I am scared that the second opinon following this last appointment, isn't going to help me move forward either. I hope that makes sense, and sorry for another long post.

 
Old 11-22-2012, 11:04 AM   #6
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Re: Cervical Spine Disc Problems, reassurance its not in my head needed.

OK, sounds like you are way ahead of me here. I'd just say that (1) surgery is sometimes the best option, even the only real option, and (2) it would helpful for you to be as systematic as possible about this, that is, cataloging symptoms and possible causes and treatments, and coming up with the most rational plan you can... rather than bouncing from doc to doc and getting confused.

 
Old 11-22-2012, 10:10 PM   #7
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Re: Cervical Spine Disc Problems, reassurance its not in my head needed.

Hello again. I am sure you know it's not in your head. Like I said before, neck pain is a nightmare. That is why they have this saying:"what a pain in the neck"....but those people who say that....they have never experienced that.

There is no "treatment" for neck pain. Physical therapy does nothing for neck pain.

You know, they only do surgery if you are in a danger of being on a wheelchair.
I guess they figure you are not.

Problem with neck is that is has nerve intersection and every little thing like bulging disks can cause pain. That is my opinion anyway. (I do know, neck has nerve intersection and back doesn't have it-----back has nerves but not nerve intersection).

So you can still do a neck surgery and have pain. So the question is: do you really need a surgery. Keep in mind, doctors never do surgery to get rid of neck pain.

What about trying oxycontin for example? tramadol doesn't help you, then it's time to try something else.

Too bad they don't have a cure for neck pain. too bad.

Last edited by nochange; 11-22-2012 at 10:12 PM.

 
Old 11-23-2012, 06:53 AM   #8
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Re: Cervical Spine Disc Problems, reassurance its not in my head needed.

Hello again,
I am in a catch 22 with the Tramadol at the moment, because I don't want to take another drug, together with the Tramadol, and I have tried to stop the Tramadol, with no luck, I know I need to taper it down, and the restless leg syndrome I get is undescribable, when I reduce the dose, I dropped 50mg a while back, but the pain was too much, so I ended up increasing it again. My Gp has suggested other meds, and said they would be ok with Tramadol, and my pharmacist has refused to dispense it, telling me, they cannot be taken safely with Tramadol, it is a nightmare for me, because, they don't really help, but I don't find it easy to reduce them.

 
Old 11-27-2012, 01:43 AM   #9
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Re: Cervical Spine Disc Problems, reassurance its not in my head needed.

I feel for you. When I started to have problems last year I was referred to some idiot who told me my problems weren't from my neck and diagnosed me with torticollis and inflammation of the C-6 ligament. I looked up the "C-6 ligament" and there is no such thing.

I live in the US so you have incompetent a-holes here too. I really hope every thing works out for you and you are able to see someone who is competent.

 
Old 11-27-2012, 01:54 AM   #10
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Re: Cervical Spine Disc Problems, reassurance its not in my head needed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nochange View Post

So you can still do a neck surgery and have pain. So the question is: do you really need a surgery. Keep in mind, doctors never do surgery to get rid of neck pain. .
They do surgery for pain when all conservative treatments fail as in my case. When I saw my neurosurgeon last year for the first time he told me that I had a significant spinal cord compression that needed to be addressed. It was basically being flattened at two levels by herniated discs. At that time I had no neurological deficits so he told me that they like to try the conservative treatments first(which I already had been trying for 7 months) He then told me that surgery was the next thing, he told me I could go home and think about for a couple of weeks or I could just go ahead and have the surgery if I was "sick of the pain" as he put it. I decided on the surgery that day.

Like I said before though, my condition changed over night and I did have neurological deficits the day of the surgery. But they won't do surgery just for surgery as an initial treatment for pain until you have tried everything else.

 
Old 11-27-2012, 05:41 AM   #11
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Re: Cervical Spine Disc Problems, reassurance its not in my head needed.

Hello, Thank you for your reply, I hope things are ok with your condition. I have an appointment through now for 14th December, to be seen for a second opinion, I am fortunate enough to have a copy of the MRI scan image from 2010 - I also have a copy of that scan and most recent MRI Report, as well as letters from other Doctors etc etc, so I will have them with me, incase needed. I know I have a problem with my neck, I think unfortunately, most people believe what they are told when they see someone that supposedly specialises in a certain field, and I had a wobble moment of doubt, to how I actually do feel... I have never ever been spoken to as badly as I was in that appoinment, and then to have a copy letter sent to me, that is basically telling my GP there is nothing wrong with my neck too, just made me feel pretty bad for a bit... what makes it worse, is I have been waiting for nearly 3 years now for some proper help with this. Luckily, my GP was sent a copy of my MRI Report, and she has some knowledge herself and has already contradicted some of what the Consultant said to me, so that is a start. Thank you to everyone who has replied to my post, it really does mean a lot, to know there are other people out there, with similar problems, and also that care enough to reply, so thank you so much again.

 
Old 11-27-2012, 07:07 PM   #12
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Re: Cervical Spine Disc Problems, reassurance its not in my head needed.

Hi. This is my first post/response on this message board. I wanted to write to you to tell you that I am going through the EXACT same thing as you. I could have written your post word for word. I have been experiencing pain for over a year now. I was originally diagnosed with fibromyalgia which it turns out that I do have but the last 6 months I have had extreme pain in my low back and my neck. I finally was able to get an MRI of my lumbar area, it showed 2 buldging discs as well as DDD. My doctor said "its normal and that would not cause me pain". I've spent several nights in the ER due to the pain levels and both ER doctors have said that I have issues with my back and neck. My lumbar MRI showed 2 buldging discs and DDD, my thoracic MRI showed DDD as well as a 0.6cm hemangioma (which I was informed of via email). My neck MRI and xray show DDD, buldging discs, backwards curve of my neck (cant remember the actual name) and something called DISH disease. Again, my doctor said this is all normal and should NOT be causing me pain. I know what I am feeling and I can tell you that it is PAIN!!! I'm in the process of getting another doctor but I need a referral and they are taking their time. In the mean time I sit and suffer.
Please know that you are not alone and that it is NOT in your head!!!!!

Last edited by Administrator; 01-06-2013 at 12:16 AM.

 
Old 11-28-2012, 07:12 AM   #13
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Re: Cervical Spine Disc Problems, reassurance its not in my head needed.

Hello, thank you so much for taking the time out to reply to my post, I think it's really sad, when we have to go through having to get second opinions etc. It's not good enough at all. My Father in Law, was wrongly diagnosed, with an over active thyroid gland, when he actually had cancer of the lymph glands, by the time he was correctly diagnosed, the cancer had spread to other parts of his body. My husband, was told he did not have a Deep Vein Thrombosis, by a so called Specialist, after he broke his leg, and refused to do a venogram, he saw another Doctor, who discovered a DVT so large, it actually took 9 months of taking warrfarrin to reduce the clot. When we complained, we were told Doctors are human, and make mistakes from time to time. But at what Cost? Unfortunately, the Consultant I saw, was so so rude to me, he made me feel like I was making everything I said to him up, and just dismissed everything I said, he even said I should go back to the Consultant who repaired my shoulder injury and ask him to do a proper job, when I received the copy of the letter he sent my GP, it just made me feel again, like I was making things up. I know I am not, I do know how I feel, but it is horrible when you get treated like that, I have lots of other things going on in my life, right now, and have days, where I do feel really down, and at the point I received his letter, it really made me feel like "what's the point". People on here, have given me the strength and encouragement, to realise, I need to pursue this, and I am really grateful to every person who has replied to my post, thank you so much, and I hope and pray you get sorted too, soon. xxx

 
Old 12-14-2012, 06:11 AM   #14
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Re: Cervical Spine Disc Problems, reassurance its not in my head needed.

Went for my second opinion appointment today, regarding my neck. And what a difference, the Doctor I saw, was so friendly, and was happy to sit and explain in great detail what was going on with my neck and shoulders, he answered all my questions, and said he was happy for me to go back and be seen by him, anytime.... He has referred me for some proper physio, discussed new painkillers with me, and has given me a chance to consider his suggestions, he is arranging for some use with a tens machine. And has also, looked at my nerve conduction results, and carried out some further tests today, and diagnosed Carpel Tunnel Syndrome, in both hands, so is arranging for me to have some splints to wear at night - this has fully explained, all the pins and needles and dropping things etc, with both hands... I really feel at last, I am being taken seriously, I am aware, that I will probably not be fortunate enough to be totally pain free, but at least am being offered some constructive treatment.
Thank you again, guys for all your past replies, and I wish everyone out there, lots of hugs and best wishes.

 
Old 12-14-2012, 07:41 AM   #15
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Re: Cervical Spine Disc Problems, reassurance its not in my head needed.

I'm glad to hear that you may have found an easy solution and I hope it works out. (I also don't mind hearing that I was probably right in saying that the nerve entrapment was not in your neck).

 
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