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Back Problems Message Board

Back Problems Board Index

Hello! I just joined and this is my first post.

I've browsed through many questions and answers on the message board and could not find anything that would explain a possible cause for my particular symptoms. Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

A couple years ago I was in a car accident. At first I did not have any pain that was serious enough to be taken to the ER so, at the time, I refused medical treatment.

A few months later I turned my neck wrong. I felt a stabbing pain, could not move my neck at all, and completely lost my equilibrium. My husband thought I was being dramatic when I could not walk in a straight line to save my life. After two hours the symptoms did not go away and I went to the ER. An X-Ray was taken and I was diagnosed with a neck strain, and arthritis of the neck.

A couple months later, I was back in the ER as a result of relentless severe pain in my neck and lower back, numbness in my hands and tingling in my forearms, pain down through the back of my legs, tingling in my feet. I had a CT scan done on my neck. The results were: No acute finding; C5-6 Disk Space Narrowing and Small Posterior Disk Osteophyte Complex; Left C2-3 Facet Near Fusion. I was referred to a specialist. My main concern at the time was my neck because since I had been diagnosed with neck arthritis, I thought that was the cause of all the other pain, so they did not CT my back.

I went to a Spine Institute and saw a surgeon. They did an MRI of my neck and lower back. The MRI of my neck showed that C1-2 were fused, C5-6 were almost fused, and that there was significant deterioration of the disks between C3-4 and C6-7. He said that if medication did not help, that he wanted to put me under to give me a steroid injection in my neck.

The MRI of my lower back showed no abnormalities, which was shocking given the amount of pain I was constantly in. During the physical exam, my doctor pressed on areas of my back. From my pelvis up to my rib cage the pain was unbearable. Even without pressing on it, the pain was severe. My doctor kept trying me on different pain meds to be taken with 800mg Ibuprofin: Flexerall and codeine (not sure of the dosage) every 4-6hrs; 750mg Robaxin 1-2 tablets every 6hrs; 800mg Skelaxin 1 tablet twice a day; 75mg Voltaren 1 tablet twice a day; 300mg Etodolac 1 tablet three times a day; and Zanaflex (not sure of the dosage) 1 tablet up to four times a day. Nothing helped at all! No position lessened the pain, not even sitting or lying down. So then the surgeon had me come in for an outpatient steroid injection which he injected into the middle of my back. For a week, every single joint in my body screamed in pain! I felt like a decrepid old lady :( Because of my awful experience with the steroid injection in my back, there was no way I was going to get one in my neck. After that, I gave up and have been doing the best I can to get through the day.

I wanted to give you the background (sorry for the length :( ) Hopefully someone can help me. My question is: What could possibly be causing my back pain that would not show up on an MRI? The pain is chronic and severe. It hurts the worst first thing in the morning, with the numbness, tingling, and stiffness I mentioned earlier (which mostly goes away by around 1:30pm or so). The pain barely lessens though. I'm 34, have had 3 kids (all by C-section), am extremely healthy and have no other health issues/diseases at all, am moderately active, and I am my target weight of 105lbs (I have a very small frame and am only 5'2"). I don't spend too much time sitting because then it takes over an hour for the stiffness to subside enough to get anything done. And I'm very concerned about my neck...I couldn't get a clear answer from my doctor regarding prognosis, treatment, etc. Are all the vertebrae in my neck going to eventually fuse together and I won't be able to move my neck? Will the thoracic disks between the vertebrae start to deteriorate until they fuse together too? What can I, or should I do? Thank you so much for listening to my rant, and for any help or suggestions you can offer! I am absolutely open-minded and feel like it's hopeless :( **Also, I've had the back pain for as long as I can remember, but the neck pain only started a couple yrs ago after the car accident**

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