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  • Cord effacement and bulging discs

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    Old 11-08-2019, 01:09 AM   #1
    Join Date: Jul 2016
    Posts: 6
    Yellowroses23 HB User
    Cord effacement and bulging discs

    I was involved in a car accident 3 months ago where the car I was travelling in was T-boned. I was in the back of the vehicle on the side that received the full impact. Following an MRI on my neck the results stated that I have disks bulging at C5/6 and C6/7 with moderate cord effacement.
    I am in considerable pain every single day. The pain goes down to my fingers, with it being felt quite badly in my bicep area. I have had medication, physiotherapy and steroid injections to try to stop the pain and was then referred to a neurosurgeon for review. He viewed my results and said that since it appeared that the nerves weren't impacted at all that he could see no reason for me to be in such pain. He even went as far as stating that a lot of car accident patients "think they are in pain!" Or that my pain is from a pulled muscle. Trust me, this pain is real!
    My question is, can the cord effacement and bulging disks cause considerable pain even though nerves are not impacted? The MRI showed I have moderate effacement of the spinal cord - could this be causing the pain?
    I have since booked in for a second opinion due to this doctor's attitude.
    Has anyone else had a similar injury with substantial pain like I am in?
    Thank you.

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    Old 11-10-2019, 05:27 PM   #2
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    teteri66 HB Userteteri66 HB Userteteri66 HB Userteteri66 HB Userteteri66 HB Userteteri66 HB Userteteri66 HB Userteteri66 HB Userteteri66 HB Userteteri66 HB Userteteri66 HB User
    Re: Cord effacement and bulging discs

    Welcome to the board. You know your body better than anyone else, and your tolerance to pain. I am happy to hear you are getting a second opinion. I would suggest you also consult with an orthopedic spine surgeon. Even though their training in the spine is similar to that of the neurosurgery training, ortho spine docs sometimes look at issues differently. I found them to be more flexible in their thinking.

    Cord effacement can be a serious issue...certainly worthy of exploring further. The disc bulges are pushing into the thecal sac, which can put pressure on the nerves of the spinal cord. Depending on the extent of the effacement, it can cause quite a bit of nerve pain. Also, a doctor cannot really judge how “big” a disc bulge needs to be in order to cause symptoms. Sometimes issues that don’t appear to be of much significance can cause a great deal of pain.

    Don’t give up. Keep looking for answers. Sometimes it takes awhile to find the doctor who will listen to you and think “out of the box” if necessary!

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    Old 11-25-2019, 05:54 AM   #3
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    Join Date: Jan 2012
    Location: Ohio, USA
    Posts: 27
    Mega75 HB User
    Re: Cord effacement and bulging discs

    Hi Yellow Roses.

    Sorry to hear about your accident. The trauma of a car crash causes lots of issues and inflammation and thus can cause considerable pain. I definitely agree with teterri66 about getting another opinion from an Orthopedic surgeon who specializes in spinal issues. I'm so sorry your first doctor took that attitude with you about it being in your head. I was in a car accident in 2017 and I'm still experiencing daily pain and discomfort.It's definitely not in my head, though I've come across that attitude too. It's very frustrating, and you have more than enough on your plate right now. Anyway, I went through a few different practices until I found my current Ortho, who has been awesome. He's very thorough, and not only has he been great at treating the pain (injections and PT), but also he is committed at figuring exactly where the pain has been coming from, too. I agree with Teterri that ortho's seem to be more "out of the box" thinkers, and since the pain generators from car accidents aren't always straight forward, you need someone willing and able to be a medical detective for you.

    I hope you've been able to get an appointment at another practice, and hopefully you found a doctor who is empathetic and listens to your concerns. Keep us posted! Hang in there! --Mega

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