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mel1977 03-16-2007 11:06 PM

upper back pain update
some of you may know me and for those I am writing to let ya know what is goin' on :) If not, I had a fusion of L4-5/L5-S1 Dec 2004 and consider it a success. I have had issues with my cervical spine. That took me out of work initially, not my back. but, my back was worse so we focused on that. I had a pinched nerve at the cervical level but after an ESI that has resolved. Before, my pain was def low back, with some muscle tightness in the neck/trap areas. But not a big deal. When I would wake up in the am, I'd beg hubby to rub my low back. Not anymore, that really doesn't bother me. Now, I wake up with burning pain between my shoulder blades and this has been going on for some time.
I have used TENS, Botox, myofacial release, PT, zanaflex etc...massage, acupuncture.
Nothing keeps this at bay. I have huge knots from my upper waist to the base of my head and ALWAYS hurt. I call my problem chronic discomfort.
SO, went in today to new doc to see about botox again, I thought it worked a little in the past. So, he asked when my last cervical MRI was-two years ago give or take. He said, in the past in med school, some med students were injected with normal saline at various levels of the neck and were asked to show where the pain was. At my level (C5-7) the pain was EXACTLY where I hurt. My neck, traps, and from my spine over to my shoulder blades. So, he said maybe another ESI or nerve block. I will be interested in learning if my condition has changed. I know there is degeneration and small bulges, but not much else. I really didn't think my muscle pain was related to my C-spine. I guess we'll see
Hubby and I are going to Orlando for seven days starting the 24, so my MRI is scheduled for the 6 of april, injections later that day, assuming I am a candidate.
SO, we'll see. was hoping maybe I was done for now with my discs, but guess not. I just hope I am not looking at another surgery in the next five years!

feelbad 03-18-2007 05:29 AM

Re: upper back pain update
hi Mel,nice to see your still pluggin along.i too have horrid muscle wads that are actually stemming from my c spine inflammation and other assorted nastiness up in my c spine.i have had probably every type of injection up there with probably at least one hundred seperate little trigger point injections just over the past three years in an attempt to get rid of(or knock it down to a humane level) that tightness and muscle crap and the pain.

what you have described really does sound c spine related,it should be interesting to see what pops up on your MRI.i too have really incredible heights of burning along with stinging over both shoulder blades,it's called central pain syndrome.this was another little 'gift' of my spinal cord surgery.if you should actually happen to see any actual spinal cord compromise on that MRI,this could be just one possibility for the burning you are feeling.muscle stuff can also cause some pretty intense burning too.this would be another possibility given the fact it really does sound like you have some very real c spine inflammation going on up there.

my muscle-c spine stuff just never goes away just because i have such a screwed up c spine these days.the best i can do is get it calmed down once in a while then it all comes back really great thing i tried that seems to help,besides taking the tennis ball in a sock thing and running it over my back by placing the ball between the wall and my back and pushing into the biggest trigger points,is that shiatzu massager thing?I LOVE those magic thumbs!i actually asked for this for christmas last year.tho it really wasn't all that expensive,i think it was between 20 to 30 bucks or something?i don't use it all the time,only when things feel really intense up there or underneath my shoulderblade area gets just too uncomfortable,but you can just place this behind your neck or back areas,preferably in a high back chair?it is just harder to move around if you lie on it and in some cases,its just too much pressure when you lie on it.but you can move this like sideways and it really works out those trigger points.i try to do this with my hands but i just get sore hands and cannot apply the appropriate type of pressure for any good length of time,thats when i get out the just goes and goes and goes.this really has been the only thing that helps bring down my pain levels just helping to rid those wads of muscle.just a good suggestion for you to try if you have,like me, run out of options for these little evil wads.i use lido patches at certain bad spots too.this seems to help with that 'gnawing" type feeling you can get from the nerve-muscle crap?just some thoughts for you.hopefully you will find some sort of actual reason on that MRI for all of this stuff you are having to deal with from your c spine.even just plain old DDD can keep creating these little wadded nightmares too.let me know what you find out mel.nice hearing from you again.Marcia

caszyman 03-18-2007 06:49 AM

Re: upper back pain update
Hi Mel.
I'm glad to see that you still consider your lumbar fusion a success. That's one positive. You had your surgery about 6 mo prior to my daughter's fusion. We went for a check on Friday and he still says that she's progressing towards fusion. Not sure why his use of words at this point because when I asked he said all screws look fine and nothing has shifted. He showed me new bone growth along the side and between the discs. I guess we'll see what he says in nine mo when we return.

I certainly hope you can get some answers about the upper back pain. This is the fear I have for my daughter most is because she is young she may have to continually deal with this issue as you have.

Enjoy your time in Orlando and I hope you get some answers and relief with the next treatment plan. Keep us posted. cas

ms_west 03-18-2007 07:08 AM

Re: upper back pain update
caszyman - try not to worry about pain up further for your dd. I had a fusion at 17 and went 23 years without any pain at all and no further problems. My surgeon told me when I was 17 that I would probably have to have another fusion down the road and gave me 20 years and I went further than that. I did everything - lifted furniture, rode roller coasters, ran, etc.

She is young and just has to remember to be very careful in lifting for the rest of her life.

caszyman 03-18-2007 06:14 PM

Re: upper back pain update
That is great to hear. That is exactly what her dr told me prior to her fusion. He hopes that she gets a good 20 years out of this one. I guess that's the mother in me to worry. We're going on a cruise and she's going to parasail, go horseback riding, snorkeling... On Friday her dr said ok to all. He even reluctantly said ok to water skiing during the summer. He did tell her to start on two and see how it goes before she goes back to one ski. I dread that day. I doubt that I'll be on the boat for that ride. Thanks for the encouragement. cas

mel1977 03-20-2007 11:09 PM

Re: upper back pain update
I get a little nervous when I can't find my tennis ball!!! I love the darn thing. I do lie on it, but only when lying in bed. I put it on a spot and just press on it and roll my muscle. I will move my arm around until the muscle "let's go" or gives up. Man, it can sure be intense at times. I even use it next to my fusion where those muscles are tight and often will fall asleep on it there.
I have worried many times about my future, more so as time moves on. Wondering how long I will go wi/o another level being done (lumbar though, not Cervical). I plan on riding a roller coaster or two-was told not the best thing to do, but my new doc (not my surgeon) said it was really up to me. I have to be choosey (rode the "boss" at Six Flags and thought my head was gonna pop off. It was horrible. My brain banged back and forth and I got off in pain-no one seemed to like that ride! But, did okay on Batman. SO, we'll see. Taking all sorts of pain meds with me, just in case (zanaflex, percs and ultram).
I feel pretty darn good and my cymbalta I think is helping too. I have been able to go from two ultram twice a day to one twice a day at work. I take extra B12 and Ginseng supplements along with a prenatal MVI (prenatal for hair growth-makes it grow faster :) )
I still have to hang out on my heating pad when I am home. Gotta make sure I take it with me on the trip.
I will have the lap top with me so might be able to check in here a couple of times. Don't leave for a couple of days, but might not get back on here before then.
Thanks for the support, stories and just talkin'. I do think I did well! I am still not smoking and trying to strengthen up. You all have a nice Hump Day and we'll chat soon!

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