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    Old 09-27-2009, 05:46 PM   #1
    moparman70440
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    mri shows 2 bulging discs

    3 or 4 weeks ago i started experiencing a pulling like pain in my left forearm when walking and arm hanging to my side. Then i started having an awful burning pain in my left bicep along with pain in elbow and pain and tingling in thumb. Next it went to my left shoulder and finally up the left side of my neck and now the back of my neck. Dr originally prescribed steroids and vicodin. This had no effect except to maybe take the edge off the pain. He then gave me stronger steroids. The pain got worse and i went to er. They gave me percocet and they do about as much as the vicodin. The slightest head turn can cause extreme pain anywhere from neck on down the arm. I had an MRI the other day and he said I have 2 bulging discs. I5t was a c spine mri. I am in pain all the time and get about 4 hrs of sleep a night maybe adding volume with the percocet. It's seem like i'm taking tylenol or something. My thumb and forearm has been numb constantly it seems like. My left arm and shoulder are almost useless and it hurts when i walk and have to try and keep my neck very still. Anyone had problems like this?

     
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    Old 09-28-2009, 12:55 AM   #2
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    Re: mri shows 2 bulging discs

    Hi there,

    Yes, this time last year I was in excrutiating agony - I remember the not being able to turn my head thing and that dragging pain, mine was under the arm and the tingling in the fingers (turned out to be C6/7 with me) and that spasm of agony in my back - brings tears to the eyes when it goes on for a while!

    What has your medic recommended? You may be recommended physiotherapy which, in my case, left me in even worse pain. I started earlier on in the year with EM therapy, neck exercises and massage. I was in agony after each session but when I started the traction - I can't even describe the pain about two hours afterwards. I understand it does help some people and the bulging discs often retract on their own. However a minority of people will need surgery and it often depends on whether there is spinal cord involvement. I was told that if my disc hadn't got better within a year of symptoms (on and off but mostly on) and 6 months of PT that it was unlikely that it was going to get better - at the end I felt that I done everything in my power to avoid surgery.

    Follow your medic's advice and be really good to yourself - rest when you have to, take whatever pain relief and muscle relaxants, gels etc that you are prescribed and which suit you, use heat, cold packs, get a comfortable neck pillow. I tried a tens machine which might have helped a bit - try it first before buying though to make sure it suits you!

    I would say that at least when you get the MRI result your pain is sort of 'vindicated'. I had been moaning and groaning for months with my family and colleagues and I was beginning to feel that they thought I was some kind of hypochondriac.

    I hope you get some relief soon and I would say that most of us on this board and empathise with the type of pain you are describing.

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    Old 09-28-2009, 10:05 AM   #3
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    Re: mri shows 2 bulging discs

    if you have a copy of your MRI could you just type out what was actually in the summary at the very end of that report for us? it REALLY helps alot to see exactly word for word just how any rad actually describes a hard finding, it tells alot about the severity of and also the possible areas it is impacting too.

    if you do not actually have your own copy of it, you really DO need to get one, and also any further types of testing from now on done on you too. this stuff needs to be gone thru by us whenever we have testing done since in wayyy too many cases, many docs, espescially the specialists, do not always even bother to tell the patients about EVERY finding that is even in the report. its sick but it happens wayy too often. but if you could post that summary here, many people will be able to see it and offer you the best help this way.

    with what you have described as some very profound symptoms, there should be some pretty significant findings in that summary. Marcia
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    Old 09-28-2009, 02:05 PM   #4
    moparman70440
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    Re: mri shows 2 bulging discs

    Thank you for your replies. When I go back to the dr later this week i think i will try to get a copy of the report and let you know everything i can find out. Thanks again

     
    Old 09-29-2009, 03:33 AM   #5
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    Re: mri shows 2 bulging discs

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by moparman70440 View Post
    They gave me percocet and they do about as much as the vicodin. The slightest head turn can cause extreme pain anywhere from neck on down the arm. I had an MRI the other day and he said I have 2 bulging discs. I5t was a c spine mri. I am in pain all the time and get about 4 hrs of sleep a night maybe adding volume with the percocet. . My left arm and shoulder are almost useless and it hurts when i walk and have to try and keep my neck very still. Anyone had problems like this?
    Hello moparman70440. well, I suffer from constant neck pain also. I'm trying (really hard)NOT to turn my neck to any side(keep it still). Cause every turn will make the neck pain worst. I'm on percocet 5/325, are you on percocet 10 now?. PLease let me know, perhaps percocet 10 will allow you to sleep better?. I also have serious sleeping problems. It's the pain in the neck it causes serious sleeping problems. Since taking percocet I"m better. If you read my last posts like a year ago I was not able to sleep at all. I"m adding to percocet 2 cups of cold milk at night so it helps some. I also take neurontin that seems to help with sleep but I'm on it for only 2 weeks so I can't tell for sure. My advice: try percocet 10, if that's not help than it has to be oxycontin to help you sleep or/and sleeping pills, but those will wear off if the "cause" which is the pain is not treated. you see what I mean?. sometimes doctors DO NOT understand that.

    THat's one thing. I also have 2 bulging disks in my neck. Just like what you have. I'm just wondering if you have ever been in a car accident in the past(even 10-20 years ago)had a whiplash or something? THat's what I"m wondering. It might be you have muscular problems also. THat's why I'm wondering.

    Did they do EMG? I've never done that cause I don't feel numbness in my hands and they never offered me to do EMG.

    Please let me know how you doing? I'm really interested to know. Cause I know how you feel. I'm going through this also. all the best and god bless!

    Last edited by nochange; 09-29-2009 at 03:36 AM.

     
    Old 09-29-2009, 09:40 PM   #6
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    Re: mri shows 2 bulging discs

    Also, if you have not already, get a referral to an orthopedic spine surgeon or neurosurgeon for further evaluation.
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    Old 09-29-2009, 11:06 PM   #7
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    Re: mri shows 2 bulging discs

    Hi - look the first thing is get a referral like said before. Even without the MRI text - I so know what you are talking about! Been there and done that. When it first happened to me I had to be knocked out for almost a week waiting to get into the Orthopedic Surgeon I had selected. Not sure how bad you are I was in 10+ pain and not functioning in the first weeks of it.

    Those bulges sound like they are pressing on the nerve roots at C4,5, 6. The only thing that can realy make a difference right now is to stop activity and bed rest, ice, ibuprofen (the prednisone again), and pain killers. There is no PT (other than ice and heat) or anything that is going to make you feel better now, until they see if the bulges will retreat. The more you move the worse it is going to get. I kept working after I got the pain managed to a 6 and waiting 6 months to have surgery which was recommended in my case.

    big mistake! I have permanent nerve damage from this (long story) Just get good advice from doctors. This is not something that just clears up. Get us the MRI text and we can tell where you fall on the scale.

    One thing for relief is to not let the arm hang down on side, rest it on pillows, watch your sleep positions. Ice your forearm!!!! It helps alot.

     
    Old 09-30-2009, 08:02 PM   #8
    moparman70440
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    Re: mri shows 2 bulging discs

    Thanks again for the help. I go back to dr tomorrow and will request a copy of mri report. I had a neck injury about 6 years ago that was diagnosed as self-inflicted whiplash. i was joking around and slung my head back and it took about 6 weeks to get over it. I have an unrelated and yet undiagnosed condition of nerve related pain in my front torso and sides for the past 4 years and have been taking 4800 mg of Neurontin since then. I am now down to about 2 hrs of sleep a night with the percocet 5-325 and add a volume at night to help. I have to sleep in a sitting position pretty much. Will report my mri findings to all you good people as soon as possible. Thank youi alll so very much.

     
    Old 10-01-2009, 06:58 AM   #9
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    Re: mri shows 2 bulging discs

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by moparman70440 View Post
    I had a neck injury about 6 years ago that was diagnosed as self-inflicted whiplash. i was joking around and slung my head back and it took about 6 weeks to get over it. I have an unrelated and yet undiagnosed condition of nerve related pain in my front torso and sides for the past 4 years and have been taking 4800 mg of Neurontin since then. I am now down to about 2 hrs of sleep a night with the percocet 5-325 and add a volume at night to help. I have to sleep in a sitting position pretty much. Will report my mri findings to all you good people as soon as possible. Thank youi alll so very much.
    Hello again moparman70440. sleeping in a sitting position for 2 hours a night?.
    That's what I thought. We have the same type of injury. How can you live like that? did you tell your doctor you are sitting all night???.

    I also cannot rest my neck on the pillow at all times. Every time I try to rest my neck on the pillow at any given position it hurts so badly. Percocet is the only med which allows me to rest my neck on the pillow. Now I'm on 5/325 but slowly it's wearing off. not sure what to do next?. probably ask my doctor for percocet 10.

    I believe me and you will end up with morphine. I just don't see any other way out of this. I believe when you take morphine you will be able to sleep in your bed and not in a SITTING position. What you are going through is called existing, not living.

    Please let me know what your doctor told you. Thanks.

    Last edited by nochange; 10-01-2009 at 06:59 AM.

     
    Old 10-01-2009, 04:30 PM   #10
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    Re: mri shows 2 bulging discs

    Bad day at the doctors office. I am on medicaid and have been losing a disibility claim for the past 3 years. I had to go through the
    illinois medicaid system just to find this dr to see me. He actually told me he didnt think he could help me and when i asked him who could he told me that the hot shot specialist don't want someone they can't get rich on. This is like a clinic situation. He is the only dr I have been able to find that would even see me. He didn't even have a copy of the MRI report that I wanted for myself. They said they called the hospital to get it faxed to them and would mail it to me later today.He gave me a 3rd round of steroids that he admiutted wouldn't work, more perocet and added a muscle relaxer. Actually ratteled on about waste and theft doctors get away with in the system. Said to come back in a week or two. I'm beginning to think it's some sort of place to appease uninsured people as cheaply as possible . When I get my report I guess I'll have to try and find someone somewhere. I really don;t know what to do. I am so tired but I am awake 22 hrs a day for at least 2 or 3 weeks. I spent 4 days in hospital last week and still didn't get any more sleep and he told me he was under a lot of pressure to get me out of there. I can't talk about this anymore right now. I don't want my kids to come in here and catch me crying. Bye for now.

     
    Old 10-03-2009, 10:05 AM   #11
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    Re: mri shows 2 bulging discs

    I am really sorry to hear that you are feeling so down. It is no wonder with the ongoing pain and lack of sleep. I am not sure how the system works in the USA as the UK has the national health. I was in the same position as you this time last year. I had visited my family doctor, crying in agony. He diagnosed a muscle spasm and gave me an anti-inflammatory injection. When I told him that it had done nothing for the pain he effectively said he was sorry but that there was nothing more he could do. The waiting list to see someone who would then refer me to a specialist would have been 4 months and then the referral probably another 6 months, the MRI many months after that and an operation if required would be another lot of months. I couldn't see a future free from pain and decided to pay privately. In the end and was glad I did and that I was in a position to do that.

    Keep trying any avenues you can under whatever system you are with. Did you get the results of your MRI?

    Kind regards

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    Old 10-04-2009, 04:42 PM   #12
    moparman70440
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    Re: mri shows 2 bulging discs

    Findings: cervical spine normal in size and signal intensity. No abnormal spinal mass or fluid collection noted. There is mild straightening of the normal cervical lordosis. Vertebral body heights are fairly well maintained. Intervertbral disc space height loss in noted from C4 through C6. Disc desiccation is present at these levels as well. thhere is no bone marrow edema identified. C2-3: no substantial disc bulge or neural foraminal stenosis. C3-4: mild posterior disc bulge effaces the anterior thecal sac without evidence of central or neural foraminal stenosis. C4-5: Mild to moderate posterior central disc bulge effaces the anterior thecal sac, abuts the anterior spinal cord but does not cause central canal oe neural foraminal stenosis. C5-6: moderate posterior disc bulge is identified with a large left paracentral componet. There is no central canal stenosis. Moderate left neural foraminal stenbosis. C6-7: Mild left paracentral disc bulge is identified without central canal stenosis or definite neural foraminal stenosis. C7-T1: no substantial posterior disc bulge. No central or neural foraminal stenosis. IMPRESSION: Multilevel degenerative change within the cervical spine from____________________, there is evidence of _____________neural foraminal stenosis. What's with the blanks. They seem like they would be pretty inportant. Thanks for any help

    Last edited by moparman70440; 10-04-2009 at 04:45 PM. Reason: forgot word

     
    Old 10-04-2009, 06:35 PM   #13
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    Re: mri shows 2 bulging discs

    Most likely the findings were dictated and when the medical transcriptionist was typing he/she could not discern what the words being said were. The doctor who ordered the MRI (or the doctor you'll be seeing for follow-up, should be able to help you with the findings.
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    Old 10-04-2009, 07:27 PM   #14
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    Re: mri shows 2 bulging discs

    Hi - I can help you out here. I will explain and they give you a couple ideas for questions for the Dr. at the bottom of the page. I will break it down sentence by sentence. I know you hurt quite a bit, but the good news is there are much worse things that can go on in your spine and you don't have them! The sooner you knock down the inflammation the better you will be. Of course the doctor reading the actual films when you meat will know the exact nature of the problems but here it is in general terms.

    Findings: cervical spine normal in size and signal intensity. No abnormal spinal mass or fluid collection noted. (You can probably tell this is good news)

    There is mild straightening of the normal cervical lordosis. (This could be from your positioning on the table or a muscle spasm. Lordosis is a medical term to describe the curve of your cervical spine)

    Vertebral body heights are fairly well maintained. (Means there is good spacing between is the upper part of cervical spine. In your cervical spine you have levels C1-7. Although there are seven cervical vertebrae (C1-C7), there are eight cervical nerves (C1-C8). All nerves except C8 emerge above their corresponding vertebrae, while the C8 nerve emerges below the C7 vertebra. )

    Intervertebral disc space height loss in noted from C4 through C6. Disc desiccation is present at these levels as well. thhere is no bone marrow edema identified. (We have discs at every level of our vertebrae, they separate one level from another. The discs are kind of rubbery, the outer part of the disc has a fibrous ring band that surrounds a gel like inner material that is made up of chemical nutrients and water. Dessication means they are drying out - this is common as we age. When the discs dry they become more prone to bulge or herniate (that means when the inner material escapes the band and leaks where it doesn't belong - like on a nerve root. Edema is swelling - you have none.) By the way these are exactly the levels I predicted you had problems with so I totally understand this as this was one of my problems.)


    C2-3: no substantial disc bulge or neural foraminal stenosis. (good)

    C3-4: mild posterior disc bulge effaces the anterior thecal sac without evidence of central or neural foraminal stenosis. (One of your discs is bulging out- it doesn't say how large it is, effaces means rubbing up against, the thecal sac surrounds our spinal cord and contains the cord and fluid that protects it. But there is no evidence of compression or pinching, but there could be some irritation from stuff like this.)

    THESE ARE THE AREAS YOU HAVE THE MOST PROBLEMS:

    C4-5: Mild to moderate posterior central disc bulge effaces the anterior thecal sac, abuts the anterior spinal cord but does not cause central canal oe neural foraminal stenosis. (As before you have a bulge but at these levels it is not compressing any important structure so that is good news. It might be rubbing and causing some irritation though).

    C5-6: moderate posterior disc bulge is identified with a large left paracentral componet. There is no central canal stenosis. Moderate left neural foraminal stenosis. (The foramins are like little canals where nerve roots peel off the spinal cord and exit to go to body parts, like your arms, etc.. When something makes the opening smaller, like a bone spur (osteophyte) or a disc bulge, then there might be some compression of the nerve root and cause pain down a path on your arm. This is called a dermatomal pattern and there are body maps on the internet you can see the path for each of the cervical levels C1-7. Mostly when the formins get closed and compress a nerve you get pain that shoots down your arm and can go all the way to your fingers. This is called radicular pain. )

    C6-7: Mild left paracentral disc bulge is identified without central canal stenosis or definite neural foraminal stenosis.

    C7-T1: no substantial posterior disc bulge. No central or neural foraminal stenosis.

    When the transcription people can't understand they leave blanks that get corrected later. but there isn't anything in the blanks that isn't already called out in the text above - so don't worry!


    IMPRESSION: Multilevel degenerative change within the cervical spine from____________________, there is evidence of _____________neural foraminal stenosis. What's with the blanks. They seem like they would be pretty inportant. Thanks for any help


    Ask the doctor if there is anything he saw that makes him feel you need surgery. There is no mention of bone spurs (osteophytes) which is pretty uncommon for widespread disc problems so ask him if there are any. This is what might be missing from the text. Ask him if your pain correlates to the MRI findings. Ask him if it is definitely disc material pressing on nerve roots?


    Next Dr. will probably offer some things that fall under conservative therapies. When it is disc pressing on the nerves it is good to wait and do the therapy because sometimes disc bulges can retreat back and open up room again. If it is a bone spur pressing on nerves then there is nothing that will take the pressure off for most people but having surgery. Every once and a while someone has traction and that helps but those are not many in numbers. The nest conservative therapies to try are oral prednisone, rest, ice, heat, and epidural injections. Sometimes an injection can really help knock down the inflammation and pain.

    Once you read over this you can ask quetions - hope it will help! NP

    Last edited by PNo; 10-04-2009 at 07:32 PM.

     
    Old 10-04-2009, 07:34 PM   #15
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    Re: mri shows 2 bulging discs

    Neckpatient:

    I just have to say...you are awesome! What a wonderful explanation of everything!
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