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Spinal Cord Disorders Message Board

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Anyone similar?
Mar 22, 2005
I am trying so desperately to find some resolution, and I keep falling hard on my butt. I am currently healing from a lumbar fusion and that is doing great. However, the thing that initially took me out of work in July is NOT really improving.
I am going to seek YOUR advice and thoughts. Please please share with me. I have posted before but haven't gotten much feedback. I hope it is b/c I just didn't ask the right questions; I have a tendancy just to rant and not ask for help.
July 14 I went to work with a mild left shoulder irritation. It gradually worsened and in three hours my neck was in complete spasm and my left shoulder had pulled up and I couldn't move my arm or neck. A Physical therapist where I worked said I had an elevated first rib (which all drs say can't happen) and he did somthing to "put it back". It hurt so bad I was bawling on the PT mat for thirty mins. I had to go home and that was the last day I worked. My low back had been getting worse, but that is just part of the story.
My primary sent me to a shoulder dr who said it was my neck, not shoulder. He ordered the cervical MRI and lumbar MRI. I won't get into the lumbar stuff-
MRI on neck: small herniation C5-6, loss of normal lordosis, and I think mild central canal stenosis. The first dr I saw said there was nothing he could do but get an ESI and if I wouldn't do that I might as well leave right then. I left crying, but said I'd get the injection. I went for a second opinion and that dr chose to focus on my lumbar spine. He said I had cervical spondylosis and the small bulge. He did send me for an EMG which said I had a pinched nerve. A month after my ESI the neck pain seemed to go away. A month after my lumbar fusion, it came back.
I don't have the weakness or numbness in my left arm anymore, but here is what I still have:
spasms in neck, shoulders and upper back along with knots in all areas especially on scapula. I have tender spots just under the clavical, pain to both shoulders and down left arm. I get headaches. I can't look down for long, I can't look up and being upright for too long causes pain. Sometimes my SKIN hurts on the front side of my neck. I get fatigued very easily now too.
The dr who did the lumbar fusion was supposed to treat my neck, but we had to move from NV to MO. I had to find a dr to treat my neck. I was also planning on returning to work (I worked for this company in MO and NV, previously in MO for five years) and I had to be able to look down b/c I would be taking off drs orders for much of my day, and looking down for five mins causes great pain.
I sought a spine specialist, he did a spine fellowship so I thought he'd be perfect. When I saw him he acknowledged the herniation. He sent me in house for a new xray and said my neck shaping (curve) was normal. He didn't discuss the spondy. He sent me for a new MRI and he said I had the herniation and we scheduled another ESI. I had no follow up appt with him, and I had wanted massage therapy and ultrasound, niether did he order. He instead sent me to a SHOULDER dr. He thought I had a impingement there. Well, the SHOULDER dr said that was impossible and said my shoulder was not causing my neck pain. I am doing PT now for the left shoulder, but more b/c it sits a little low and out from the socket, but that has been from birth, and never has caused too much discomfort.
SO, I planned on just seeing a PM dr. Now I am just not sure. I don't know that I believe this dr, or that he is wanting to really "help". I was told surgery wouldn't help, and that is fine. One a year is good enough for me, besides, surgery of the neck scares me.
I want to know what any of you think. Those of you who have dealt with problems of the neck. I dealt with low back stuff for six years, but only since July with neck issues. I take 10/325 of percs for low back, but now more for my neck pain. Flexeril doesn't help. I am tight and knotted and in spasm 24/7. I left a mssg with my dr saying I wanted a script written for the ultrasound and massage, but he won't be back until next MOnday. I am wondering, should I see a neuro? i don't believe one dr is better than another but so far, I have now had two not so great orthos, and one awesome neuro (he did my fusion and helped when no one else would). OR, should I just get advice from a pain clinic dr? I was going to ride it out and see how my pain levels are when I go back to work, but I know the ESI isn't working yet, and I really need some relief NOW too. Thanks, and sorry this was so long. I appreciate any advice or thoughts on how to handle this.
Oh,for those of you who have had surgeries, what are you like now? Have you lost much ROM? How have your pain levels been? My neuro had said he had no problem doing a micro d on the disc or even a fusion, but he just didn't think it would fix me and make me feel much better. I am so confused. I am sorry if this is a rant, yet again!

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