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  • bulging disc...neck and shoulder blade?

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    Old 04-05-2003, 10:41 AM   #1
    Join Date: Apr 2003
    Location: Fort Scott, Kansas USA
    Posts: 9
    andybolton HB User
    Post bulging disc...neck and shoulder blade? really glad to have found this site!!! here's my story - for the last six months ive been living with a dull but constant pain in the right side of my neck and in my right shoulder blade. i cant do anything to make it stop. ive done pt, ultrasound, nsaids, etc, and am now doing epidural injections. in addition, the muscles around my right shoulder blade are getting weak and the shoulder blade itself has dropped about an inch and a half. i dont know what else to do! i had an mri which showed a bulging disc at c6-c7, with slight stenosis at the same level. im thinking about talking to the doc about surgery, but am afraid that he'll say no since the pain is just dull and not severe. i feel like im going out of my mind!!! any help or advice would be great! thanks...

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    Old 04-05-2003, 03:19 PM   #2
    Senior Veteran
    Join Date: Feb 2003
    Location: New York
    Posts: 577
    BWL HB User

    Hi Andy,

    Welcome to the board.

    Based on your description it sounds like you're in pain, but not disabling pain. If it were just a pain issue I would wait and keep searching for some relief. Have you tried accupuncture? I think your weakness in the shoulder might be the bigger issue, what does your doc say about that?

    take care,


    ACDF with plating and donor bone C6-7 (1/29/03)
    ACDF with plating and donor bone C6-7 (1/29/03)

    Old 04-05-2003, 04:01 PM   #3
    Join Date: Jan 2003
    Location: St Catharines, Ontario, Canada
    Posts: 576
    joprud HB User

    Hi Andy,

    Welcome Aboard!!

    I don't know if this is true of all docs but the impression I've gotten from the ones I've been dealing with is that the pain level is not a big issue with them. They seem to be far more concerned with weakness and/or loss of reflexes...that sort of thing. They just keep telling me..."well,no permanent nerve damage so far" (is that what they're waiting for? ). My feeling is that you in deed should talk to your doc about this and see what his opinion is. If he says no to surgery and you still are not sure that this is the right decision for you, you could always get a second opinion. Just my thoughts.

    Hope you find some answers soon.

    Take Care,

    • Sept‘63,fall on back on stairs,compression fractures of T6 and T8
    • 1993 X-ray Diagnosed DDD
    • Nov,2002 MRI C4-C5 posterior osteophytic bar effacing ventral thecal sac, stenosis of neural foramina.C5-C6 posterior disc protrusion effacing VTS. Stenosis of neural foramina.C6-C7 posterior disc herniation effacing VTS.stenosis of neural foramina.C7-T1perineural cysts in both neural foramina.left convex scoliosis mid thoracic spine.wedging of T7. wedging of T5.degen.end plate changes at T8-T9. L4-L5 diffuse disc bulge effacing VTS.hypertrophy of facet joints,central spinal stenosis.L5-S1 posterior disc protrusion with associated tear of annulus fibrosis. hypertrophy of facet joints.S1-S2 Perineural cysts involving S1-S2 nerve roots.
    • So far have tried: meds,physio,acupuncture all to no avail.

    Old 04-05-2003, 05:18 PM   #4
    Junior Member
    Join Date: Mar 2003
    Location: Kasson, MN, USA
    Posts: 12
    2MnyHats HB User

    Welcome on board Andy!

    I am sorry that you are going through constant pain. I recently had a ACDF (Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion) for a severe rupture of the C5/6 disk. For almost 2 years prior I had a dull (but mild) pain in the middle of my shoulder blade. I mentioned this to my doctor but at the same time I dismissed it as a variety of different things (sleeping wrong, posture, bed...). I also had intermittent spells of weakness in my legs. Nothing earthshattering but enough to make me wonder what it was. Unfortunately the neurologist that my primary doctor sent me to, dismissed it as stress. About two weeks before my legs became totally useless and spastic, I felt the pain in that exact spot become like a knife twisting all the way through. The pain subsided as the leg symptoms came on. I currently have cervial myelopathy causing my legs to have spasticity and remain weak. I use a wheelchair 60-70% of the time and walk with a walker/cane as I'm able.
    I certainly am not telling you this to scare you. I am one of those atypical people who usually fall into the 1-2% category when medical statistics are talked about.
    Most neurosurgeons won't operate for just pain unless it is excrutiating but if you have or get any neurological signs(numbness, tingling, muscle spasms, bladder/bowel problems), even if they are intermittent...don't wait. My neurosurgeon was very honest with me. He told me that they don't operate to get function back. They operate to stop function from degrading more. Anything you get back is icing on the cake.
    Hope this helps and hope your pain resolves completely!

    Old 04-06-2003, 02:07 PM   #5
    Join Date: Mar 2003
    Location: USA
    Posts: 87
    BDW2 HB User

    Welcome Andy,
    Your story sounds almost identical to mine. My pain was left sided, top/bottom shoulder blade/ bottom bicep, across elbow, top of forearm, down to two middle fingers. When I bent my neck down, or leaned it over to the left that nerve lit up like a lightning bolt. In addition I had dull, aching, burning, pain all the way down that track at differrent places and times. I did have some numbness and tingling on both hands and minor weakness. I did all the conservative stuff for the last year with no help. As of 3-1-03 I had 1 ortho who said surgery would help and 1 neuro who said he was unsure if it would. On my tie breaker to a neuro recommended by my Family doc, Pain Doc, and P/Therapist we got another mri. He told me the disc was herniated at C 6-7 and he could and should fix it. As I have a very physical job I consented. I am 10 days post op ACDF C6-7 with plating. I am still having some pain issues and have not regained my voice yet. This is not totally uncommon I here and am trying to keep the faith. I don't know what advice to give you as there is no easy answer, you know your own circumstances better than anyone. This is not an easy road we are on. Good luck and God Bless.
    ACDF C6-7 with plating and donor bone (3/28/03)

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