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    Old 11-09-2006, 03:19 PM   #1
    SKZ
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    I am one step away from neck surgery

    Hi everyone,
    I am new to this board. I have been suffering from neck pain for close to 5 yrs. now. I have bulging disks at 3 levels and arthritis all over the place. I have done every single conservative measure possible. (no exaggeration). My physiatrist (who I trust alot... after going from Dr. to Dr. being jerked around), said we are at the end of the line and he suggests surgery. Yesterday, we tried one last ditch effect and did facet injections at C5-6 and C6-7, since I have never had injections at C 6-7. I have had so many facet injections I have lost count. The next step is to see my Dr. on NOv. 20th and most likely get referred for a discogram and then surgery. The problem is that no one is sure exactly the MAIN source of my pain. The biggest pain I have (among others) is on my left side it constantly hurts and goes all the way to the middle of my left trapezius. My Dr. said my right side is tighter than my left, but my left hurts much more. NOTHING in the last 5 yrs has gotten the muscles spasms to subside. I have had 3 MRIs and they think I have pinched nerve at C6-7, but no one is sure exactly why the main problem is. It also hurts alot at the top middle of my back where the bone is. I am 50 yrs old, feeling more like 70. When I sit or stand for any length of time it gets really bad. I am at the stage where I am feeling semi-disabled. I substitute teach elem. school and I can hardly get thru a day. I seriously hope the discogram gives us the info we need, because I surely do not want surgery unless they are SURE what exactly to do. My latest MRI had something new on there that I had never seen before. Apparently, I have Grade 1 Anterolisthesis of C4-5 and C5-6. Never saw that in any other MRI. Another weird thing is that the last 2 MRIs said I had mild spinal stenosis and C4-C7 and mild foraminal narrowing on the right at C4-5 and on the left at C6-7. Do you guys think that discogram will FINALLY get to the bottom of the source of the worst part of my pain. I also have numb hands when I sleep, so I have to wear wrist braces. One Dr. said one thing, then another siad something contradictory to the frist guy. (radiculopathy vs carpel tunnel). I really feel jerked around for so long. My current Dr. is really trying, so that is a big help. I am scared surgery will make things even worse. Any feedback would be really great.
    Thanks,
    Sue

     
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    Old 11-09-2006, 06:19 PM   #2
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    Re: I am one step away from neck surgery

    Do your pinky fingers numb when your hands numb at night?

     
    Old 11-09-2006, 07:03 PM   #3
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    Re: I am one step away from neck surgery

    It feels like my whole hand, actually (from what i can tell)

     
    Old 11-09-2006, 07:20 PM   #4
    SKZ
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    Re: I am one step away from neck surgery

    Sorry, I am getting senile. LOL. I forgot to say that on my most recent MRI, it didnt mention anything about foraminal narrowing or spinal stenosis like the 1st two MRIs. That is what I meant by it being weird. Also they added that I had the Grade 1 anterlisthesis, which I never heard of and I do alot of research. Has something to do with the vertebra being misaligned (for me at C4-C6. How can those other things not even be mentioned on my most recent MRI when 2 others mentioned them. OY. (as my mother would say).

     
    Old 11-12-2006, 05:22 AM   #5
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    Re: I am one step away from neck surgery

    skziemann----so sorry to jump into your post since i am in a dilemna myself and have no answers. i have 3 bulged cervical disks, stenosis, they "think" a pinched nerve at the C7 and some large bone spurs at the C5-C6-C7. this is a work related injury so no one is really answering my questions. i have been going to PT for 6 mos. for an impinged rotator cuff on the left shoulder and tendonitis and tarsal tunnel in right foot and ankle. these are all from the same injury. i also have 4 bulged disks in my lumbar that have bee pain free since aquatic therapy. as far as my neck goes i have had no injections and no therapy as of yet so i have no idea how they think it will get any better.

    NYD-----why did you ask about the pinky finger? i have noticed that some days i wake up and my thum, index and middle fingers are all numb and other days just my piny and ring finger are. what is the difference? i have no idea in my case what is coming from my neck and what is coming from the impingement in my shoulder and all of my dr.s say the same thing. "continue therapy and see me in 6-8 weeks." any ideas?

     
    Old 11-12-2006, 08:14 AM   #6
    SKZ
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    Re: I am one step away from neck surgery

    ICC:
    I can imagine how you must feel...probably close to what I feel. Here I am almost 5 yrs. into this and trying everything and they still are not sure what exactly is causing my left side to hurt so much. I have a feeling a discogram will be the thing soon to narrow things down. I was a t party last night, sitting at the dining room table with 10 other ladies. I ended up hurting so much I laid on the floor in a long black dress. What can ya do? I Hope WHATEVER they do can help the muscle spasms in the neck, traps, and upper back. Those seriously hurt. Thanks for the sharing.

     
    Old 11-12-2006, 10:29 AM   #7
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    Re: I am one step away from neck surgery

    Here's the deal.

    You can rule out Carpel Tunnel if your pinky goes numb.... Well you may have Carpel Tunnel but you for sure have another issue. The nerve that creates Carpel DOES NOT EFFECT THE PINKY FINGER.

    My pain is now gone post op. but I still get that damn numbing in my left hand. They had thought it was carpel but I saw the surgeon and I do not have carpel. I just found this out on Wednesday!

    My neck pain is gone but I still have this issue. I only get it when I sleep. It's a pain in the neck (get it? harharhar) as it wakes me up. My hands that is. I've found that there are so many twists and turns in this thing that if I don't keep a sense of humour, I could get depressed pretty easy.

    All in all, being pain free is awesome. Sometimes you can't have your cake and eat it to!

    Good luck!

     
    Old 11-12-2006, 10:38 AM   #8
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    Re: I am one step away from neck surgery

    skziemann-----my rheumatologist gave me a trigger point injection in both trapezius muscles in august and they still feel good. if i do too much on the computer my right side hurts but goes away in minutes when i stop.he also told me i have carpal tunnel in my left hand and gave me a shot in my wrist which really helped but months later i am told it's noncense that i don't have carpal tunnel even though on any given night my whole left hand is numb when i wake up. have so much going on with the neck and shoulder that it's anybody's guess where what is coming from. had am EMG 3 weeks post-injury and was told i MIGHT have a pinched nerve at the C7 but that the test was done too soon. UGH!!!

    NYD----thanks for the pinky info. with a bad neck and inpimged rotator cuff it's anybody's guess.

    Last edited by ICC; 11-12-2006 at 10:38 AM.

     
    Old 11-12-2006, 10:38 AM   #9
    SKZ
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    Re: I am one step away from neck surgery

    I could live with the numbness if my pain got better! I think tonight I will sleep without my wrist braces (how sexy....not!) and when I wake up with numb hands...try and focus in on what exactly is numb. I think my (and the Drs.') biggest problems with me, is that I am having one heck of a time focusing in on what is the causing my pain. When i get facet injections, things still hurt. When I get epidurals, things still hurt too. I cannot seem to pinpoint whether this stuff if more facet related or disk related since I have both. I am seriously PRAYING that my discogram will finally do this. How on earth could they operate under these circumstances. A friend of mine had neck surgery and he thought he was having a 1 level fusion. When they got in there they ended up doing 3 levels. I wonder if when they open me up, will they see spurs galore....remove those.....unpinched a nerve or 2, and God knows that else. (fusions). I havent met a surgeon yet. First I am getting the discogram in about 2 weeks, then the surgeon. ANyone have a discogram and can shed some light for me? Will it narrow things down. I am really getting bummed out from 5 yrs of this.

     
    Old 11-12-2006, 10:43 AM   #10
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    Re: I am one step away from neck surgery

    ICC:
    I have been having trigger point injections in the neck, trapezius, and upper back since June. (every 2 weeks.) Those things hurt! They do help, but I only get a few days relief, then its right back to square one.
    The physical therapist in my physiatrist office ( I saw her all summer too). Had to have been at least my 7th PT go round in 5 yrs. (I think more). This PT is a cert. Pilates therapist. I have been working hard on these exercises for my core. They seem to aggravate my neck. I asked the Dr. and he said that it may be so, but in the long run I need to strengthen my neck and improve my posture. I am really hoping its not making things worse. If I do have that pinched nerve in the neck.....I hope its not making my life even worse!

     
    Old 11-12-2006, 10:46 AM   #11
    SKZ
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    Re: I am one step away from neck surgery

    ICC: I forgot to ask you.....do you get worse when you sit or stand still long? Sitting about kills me for any length of time.
    Thanks for all your responses. You are helping me alot....all of you. I am really feeling bummed out with the frustration of not knowing EXACTLY what is causing me the most pain.

     
    Old 11-12-2006, 01:45 PM   #12
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    Re: I am one step away from neck surgery

    skziemann____yes sitting or standing for any length of time makes everything worse. i also can't sleep right. am up off and on all night because i'm laying on something that shouldn't be layed on. did that make sense? my left hand(that's the side of the shoulder impingement) has a big bubble between my knuckles at the index and middle finger. i am so frustrated at not knowing what is causing what. have MRI's of so many body parts and they all have something wrong. i understand how you feel and wish you the best.

     
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