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[B]New here...Accident victim and need advise please[/B]

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Old 01-18-2005, 06:17 PM   #1
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 4
4cats4me HB User
Question New here...Accident victim and need advise please

Hi, Everyone!

I was in a motor vehicle accident on December 7, 2004. I have a broken clavicle (left side), ruptured right ulnar collateral ligament (thumb), and now I've been told by my ortho that I have a ruptured or herniated disk in my neck. I have surgery on December 13th to repair the ligament in my thumb. That seems to be healing fine.

My pain is concentrated in my left side. Besides the displaced clavicle, which continues to bother me, I have had excruciating pain in my left shoulder and upper back. I now have complete numbness over my left deltoid area, with sharp, burning pain at the deltoid insertion point when I move my arm in certain ways.

So far, all I've done is take various pain medications (Percocet, Norco, Vicodin). When I last saw the ortho, he told me he wanted to refer me to a pain management clinic for epidural injections. He gave me no additional information or any details. If I hadn't found this site, I wouldn't have any idea what this was. At least now I have a little better idea of what he's suggesting, but from the experiences I've read here, I'm scared to death to have the injections.

Has anyone else had any experience with this type of numbness and pain? I have an MRI scheduled for next Monday. All they are basing their diagnoses on is an x-ray of the cervical spine and my symptoms.

I thought I may have a torn rotator cuff, but my doctor is convinced all the pain, which seems to be coming from under the scapula and the top of the shoulder, is being caused from a disk problem. My chiropractor is convinced that it's nerve impingment caused by the displacement of the clavicle.

I have done numerous searches online, but haven't been able to find any references to the symptoms I'm having.

Any insight, suggestions, or input is greatly appreciated. I'm going stir crazy, sitting at home since I'm unable to drive or go to work. I want to do whatever possible to get my life back to normal.

Thank you!!


Last edited by 4cats4me; 01-18-2005 at 06:23 PM. Reason: Correct title

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Old 01-19-2005, 10:12 AM   #2
injured betty
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 2,137
injured betty HB User
Re: [B]New here...Accident victim and need advise please[/B]


It can all be so frustrating, especially when the docs leave you in the dark about things.

These days, so many of the doctors are specializing that sending you to a pain management specialist is normal protocol. But, I would pass on the ESI's. There is a lot of information on them out there. There is a great bit of information about them in the on line publication, The Burton Report. It will allow you to think twice about them and to arm yourself with info before accepting them.

I think that the people who started the shots started out with the best of intentions. They were using them for inflammation and as a diagnostic tool. If the inflammation went away, then you were good to go and there is nothing structuraly wrong. But, if the pain stayed, then they go on to more aggressive and more expensive tests. I believe that the steroids, not the procedure, is about $5, if that. There is a insurance protocol that the doctors follow, which increases in price. ESI's are at the bottom.

When my husband went in complaining of neck pain, they did an MRI, CT scan, X-Rays, and then offered him the ESI's. He said no. We had read about them and knew that the package insert stated that they were not intended for the spine. He then had an EMG by the Neurologist and found that he had nerve damage and two herniated discs. We tried PT, but the nerve was still impinged so he went ahead with a two level fusion. He is three months post op and doing great.

There are so many stopping places along the way. You might find relief with PT. It takes months. There are a lot of different pain management modalities that you might want to discuss with the pain management MD. You can refuse the shots.

FWIW: Doctors are just shooting in the dark unless they can actually see what is wrong on a test. They told my husband that he had a rib out of place and treated him for that for a couple of months. They were wrong.

Herniated discs don't always mean pain. And pain doesn't always mean that there is something wrong with a disc. Everyone's discs start to deteriorate and herniate at about age thirty. That is the age when the aging process starts to reverse.

Your MRI should give you some more definitive answers to your questions. If not, then ask for more tests. If a nerve is involved, ask to see a Neuro and have an EMG done.

Since this was an auto accident, everything should be covered.

And remember, surgery should be the VERY LAST OPTION.

Take care,

Old 01-19-2005, 10:40 AM   #3
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 4
4cats4me HB User
Re: [B]New here...Accident victim and need advise please[/B]

Thank you so much for your response! I'll do some research on the Burton Report so that I can be better informed before seeing the doctor next week.

I am all for PT, even though it will take some time to see results. I'm terrified of anything invasive. I avoided spinal surgery years ago for two ruptured disks in the lumbar spine, through chiropractic, PT and deep tissue massage. Hopefully I will be able to follow a similar protocol for this injury.

Unfortunately, the man who ran the red light and caused the accident has lied to the police after realizing there were no witnesses and I was too injured at the time to know what he was doing. So, I only have my personal medical insurance to pay for this. My auto policy has a small amount of medical coverage, but with hospital costs, surgery costs, and the ER visit, there's not much left. Right now, I have to follow what my HMO will allow me to do to treat this.

The numbness and pain deep in the shoulder baffles me. I can't find any reference to what may cause this. I've read on many medical sights that referral pain to the deltoid insertion point is indicative of a complete rotator cuff tear. That's one of the symptoms that has been bothering me since the accident. But my ortho won't agree to let me get an MRI of the shoulder - only the C-spine. BTW - My ortho is a hand specialist. They had me see him because of my thumb injury, and were going to have me see another physician within the practice for my neck/shoulder until they spoke to my insurance company. Know they say that I have to stay with the current doctor.

I'll try to remain calm and not get too upset until I find out what the MRI shows and how they want to address the problem.

Thanks again for posting...I feel so much in the dark right now.

Take care,

Old 01-19-2005, 10:57 AM   #4
injured betty
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 2,137
injured betty HB User
Re: [B]New here...Accident victim and need advise please[/B]


HMO, oh my. I had no idea how bad an HMO was until my mom fell and broke both of her wrists. They are horrid to deal with.

Check to see just how your car insurance works. I know that in both of the states that I have lived in, it was the law that they had to cover all of the medical bills for a full year no matter whose fault it was.

I had a torn rotator cuff about five years ago. Plead with them for an MRI of it. The reason that they are not doing it is because of the cost. Even if it is a torn rotator cuff, surgery only works in about 50% of the cases. They tell you that right up front.

Can you see someone outside of your HMO and either pay cash or have the car insurance cover it? Not an MRI, but see another doctor and have them do some measurement of your movement of the shoulder tests. That would put your mind at ease.

I had the surgery on my shoulder but it still gives me problems. One of the main concerns is frozen shoulder. Make sure, no matter how much it hurts, to keep it moving. Frozen shoulder is very painful and takes up to two years to cure. Then, once it happens once, it can happen over and over again. My mom's shouder froze after her wrists injury. She is still dealing with that. I have had mine freeze three times now in five years. I now have a habit of reaching up over my head every time I go through a doorway to keep it in motion.

There is a lot you can do on your own while waiting, gentle stetches, ice for twenty minutes, every hour, and Liquid gel Advil. That should keep the inflammation down. Inflammation is the first line of defense when it comes to healing, but inflammation that lingers, will cause tissue damage. You want the inflammation down to take pressure off of the nerves.

Good luck and try to do a lot of research. HMO have one goal, money, the number of patients that they can see in an hour's time, and to get you back to work.

Is there any way that you can afford to obtain some additional medical insurance on the side? That is what my mom eventually decided to do. It is well worth it.

Old 08-06-2005, 05:48 PM   #5
Junior Member
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 32
njneuroma HB User
Re: [B]New here...Accident victim and need advise please[/B]

Lynn, How are you doing now?? I was doing a search on ulnar collateral ligament thumb since that is the surgery I had and I came across your post. I hope you are feeling better since it has been almost a year. ...I also had awful troubles with my HMO over a different issue I recently had.

Old 08-07-2005, 04:33 AM   #6
Senior Veteran
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,133
flyonthewall HB User
Re: [B]New here...Accident victim and need advise please[/B]

[QUOTE=4cats4me] BTW - My ortho is a hand specialist. [/QUOTE]

Do NOT let the hand specialist cut your spine. Maybe the insurance company just wants a more 'spine' diagnosis before letting you switch to a spine specialist.

Old 08-07-2005, 09:45 AM   #7
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 55
boobooback HB User
Re: [B]New here...Accident victim and need advise please[/B]


I to was in a MVA and was having bad pain in my neck, shoulder, clavicle and shoulder blade area, I to thought and felt like it was a tear but my drs keep saying it wasn't! My cervical is negative for herniations and my ENG came out negative as well! PM did facet blocks at C5, 6 & 7 and after a wekk, WOO HOO no pain! That lasted about 4 to 5 months so I had another set done and they only lasted 1 and 1/2 months, since I had such great success with the facet blocks I am a candidate for RF and I have been diagnosed with facet joint syndrome. So the pain could be coming from the facet joints! The pain is very painful where I can not lift my arm or move my neck! Feels like there is something sticking out of my heck and arm areas! UGH, very painful! My pain to is only on the left side!

Take care,

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