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Back Problems Message Board

Back Problems Board Index

Perhaps I should go back and give you more detail. I actually began having muscle stiffness and loss of range of motion 2 years ago. Chiropractic didn't seem to help anything so I had an MRI April of 2000 which revealed
1.) Degenerative disc disease and arthritis with posterior disc spur complex at C5-6. Not causing stenosis or nerve root impingement.
2.) Small posterior bulging disc at C4-5.
3.) High siganl lesion in the right lobe of the thyroid.
I had had a whiplash 25 years prior to this. I ended up going through some tests and had surgery to remove half my thyroid in May.
I was sent to physical therapy for the muscle stiffness and loss of ROM. Therapy helped me regain my ROM, but I continued to have flare ups of pain. The fact that I unknowingly broke my rib while coughing didn't help me progress very well in PT due to the extreme pain I was in with my rib. After my rib healed and I was starting to do better I reinjured it and so was sent for BMD and learned I have severe osteoporosis. So physical therapy shifted some....we continued the massage, but my excercises took a shift more towards wieght bearing excersises. I was finally doing much better with fewer flare ups. Then I got plantar faciatis in my feet from a combination of all the walking I was doing for the bone loss and the drugs I was taking for the bone loss....the drug (Fosomax) caused severe muscle cramping especially in my feet and legs and I believe that in combination with the walking did my feet in. I quit the Fosamax and got new shoes and sole inserts and in about two weeks I was able to walk again without problems. Then I was in a car accident and got the second whiplash which undid everything I worked so hard to gain in terms of my neck/shoulder soreness/stiffness. I had to abandon my wieght bearing excercises, went back to physical therapy and he worked with me on massage and manual stretching excercises for several weeks, then suggested I go see a chiropractor in addition to what he was doing. So I did. Things went along not really getting any better but not any worse until about January. One day in January I leaned my head forward to wash my hair in the shower when a sharp pain went up the right side of my neck and at that instand I lost all ROM in my neck and was in extreme pain. I believe I saw the chiropractor 4 or 5 times over the next 7 days and my physical therapist saw me three times. He started cervical traction in addition to the massage and manual stretching. My ROM improved but the pain did not. So I went to an MD who prescribed Vioxx for me. Since then I have struggled to get back to where I was. I have tried unsuccessfully numerous times to start my upper body excercises and try to do them consistent at just a fraction of the wieghts I had been using before the accident, now I am just trying to do the motions without the weights just to see if I can keep the muscles going and if I can keep from flaring up maybe add just ounces at a time. Anyway, we knocked off the traction at some point because I was really getting agrivated with spasms and my chiropractor thught maybe traction was agrivating me. Looking back, I think she was wrong. But anyway, long about late June I began having these headaches. Sometimes it was just sharp needle like pains that would strike suddenly on the right side of my head and be gone as fast as they came, but it would happen repeatedly for a while and then go away. Other times it was pain up the back of the neck and round the right side of my head. Sometimes it is just a dull ache that comes and is there for long periods of time and pain killers don't seem to touch it. Sometimes I get shooting pain up the back of the head and then I end up with a full blown headache and my neck gets stiff and I loose ROM. So the headache thing isn't always the same pattern. But since I started taking Vioxx daily (I was only taking it when I just wanted a pain break, cause I hate taking drugs) the headache thing has become much less bothersome. But yes, I do have tenderness or trigger points on the right side at the base of the skull. I also have trigger points on the tops of both shoulders. I routinely have knots in the muscles of my upper back/shoulders/neck that my physical therapist really has to work to smooth out for me. It is not uncommon if I look down, say to wipe something off my shirt, that when I lift my head back up I will get a big muscle spasm right between the should blades at the base of the neck. I have to pace myself doing any kind of housework, computer work, driving and take frequent breaks as it will cause me ache something fierce.
Currently I am at physical therapy once a week doing traction, massage, manual stretching excercises and I see the chiropractor about three times a month. I take Viox daily. I walk at least 20 to 30 minutes a day at least 5 times a week and I just decided to try to get back into the upper body excercises again but without the weights....just doing the motions for now. I have been forced to cut way back on the chiropractic because my insurance will only pay for ten visits a year and I have used up my ten. So it gets to be expensive for us. I will continue physical therapy until my insurance figures out it is maintenace therapy. At that point they will cut me off and then I don't know what I will do. I know they will pay for surgery, but they won't continue to pay for this other stuff. But I don't want a surgery if it's not a pretty sure deal it will fix my troubles and I am not convinced it will at this point. It will be interesting to see what the neurosurgeon says on the 17th. Well now you have the whole story!

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