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    Neck pain/myelograms/surgery?HELP!
    tired_of_pain posted:
    Hi. I am hoping to get some good feedback here regarding neck pain. In 2003 I had a fusion and plating done at C5-6 level. Over the past 4-5 years I have had increasing neck pain( 5-8 on the pain scale)with right greater than left-sided radiculapathy & an ever-present headache that ranges from 3-8 on the pain scale. The doctor I see will NOT give me any opiate pain killers due to having been on Dilaudid for 3 months after a lumbar laminectomy this past summer, so he has me on Neurontin. It does nothing for the pain, so he increases each visit. I take 3600mg/day and it doesn't help. For my constant headache I take 2 Excedrin EVERY 4 hours, EVERY day, and it does not do more than take the edge off, but nothing for my neck. The muscles in my neck and shoulders are so tight that I just cry if anyone touches them. I begged this doctor to send me for an MRI if he wouldn't treat the pain, and he did order an MRI. The report says that at C4-5 & C6-7 the discs are bulging with stenosis of the spinal canal and right side foramenal stenosis. The metel plate I have at C5-6 distorted the images at that level so they couldn't see it very clearly. The doctor looked at the report and the images, then said he was sending me to the neurosurgeon(after bumping my Neurontin up another 600mg-still no pain relief!). Saw neurosurgeon yesterday, and he is sending me next Thuursday for a myelogram and a CT-scan to follow. I've never had a myelogram, so I checked it out online. I am scared to have it done! Has anyone else out there had one? I also will be having an EMG next Monday. Surgery looks imminent. Anyone have any words of wisdom or anything for me? What form might treatment of these issues take?
    bj1208 responded:
    Hi and welcome to the support group -

    neurontin is for nerve pains in legs/arms - it is used for mild back/neck pains but does nothing for chronic pains - I take 3600mg neurontin a day for the nerve damage in both my legs - this is the limit of neurontin to be taken in a single day.

    the reason for the distortion in the MRI image is any type of metals will show shadows and hides what is behind it -

    Myelograms use dye in the spinal tap and the table is rotated to try to get all angles for pics - it does hurt when the injection is inserted but after that its okay - i've had 3 of these done on my lower back - after the procedure you are taken for CT Scan which takes about 3 minutes - then you will have to lay flat for at least an hour - this is so that you won't have any migraine headaches or leakage in the spinal tap area.

    What I would suggest is that you get a couple of opinions from either an ORTHOPEDIC SPINE SPECIALIST or NEUROSURGEON SPINE SPECIALIST - before having the myelogram (usually will do this prior to surgery) so it's best that you get a couple of opinions so that you know what your options are. And the surgeons can let you know the best treatment plans too - I would also suggest that you be referred to a PHYSIATRIST PAIN MANAGEMENT - they go deeper into pain management control than regular pain clinics - and they do prescribe strong opiates.

    So you may want to postpone the myelogram until you get a couple of opinions to see what your options are - be sure the surgeons you see are spine specialists as there is a big difference.

    please keep us posted as to what is going on - take care - ^Joy^
    acheybreakybody responded:
    Hi tired_of_pain.
    I had a mylegram done just a few months ago because like you, I have a prev neck surgery. Only I had a replacement disc done instead of the spinal fusion. But I was having trouble with my neck with the same symptoms as before that surgery and the mri because of the replacement was distorted too.
    The mylegram itself is NOT that bad. Just do what they tell you to do before - during - and after. The procedure for me was no big deal. Unfortuately the hole they made with the needle to put the dye in didn't close all the way and I had severe headaches. Had that not happened I would not have had anything bad to say at all.
    The results are much clearer for the dr's to see what is gonig on so I was not sorry for having it done regardless of the headaches.
    I wish you well. Keep in touch if you like. I am here a couple times a week to visit.
    Take care,
    tired_of_pain replied to bj1208's response:
    Thanks for replying. The doctor who prescribes only Neurontin and no opiates IS a physiatrist. He is doing my EMG on 1/31/11. He also referred me to a neurosurgeon after reading my MRI results. The neurosurgeon is the one that ordered the Myelogram, to be done on 2/3/11. The neurosurgeon also asked me who was managing my pain and what they were giving me. When I told him that the physiatrist-pain doctor would only give me Neurontin because he didn't think my pain was as bad as I said it was, he looked at me with sympathetic disbelief and gave me his cell and pager numbers, fast-tracked my myelogram appointment at the hospital, and told me to call him if I just couldn't stand it anymore and needed to have things pushed along even more quickly! By the way, this neurosurgeon is the same surgeon who did my L4-5 laminectomy/synovial cyst removal last summer. I trust him totally. I just need to find another physiatrist, and I will after my EMG on Monday! Is it even legal or ethical for a doctor not to treat pain appropriately when there is plenty of documentation to support my pain complaint?
    tired_of_pain replied to acheybreakybody's response:
    Thanks, acheybreakybody! I will let you know how it went after I have it. It is scheduled at the hospital on Thursday, 2/3/11. Also, what are they going to do for your continuing pain? Did they find the cause, or is it unresolved pain from your surgery? It helps me to talk to others with similar issues because sometimes the pain/inability to do normal or necessary tasks/sheer frustration over all of this is almost too much to bear alone! Thanks for sharing, and for listening! Talk to you after the test. t.o.p.
    acheybreakybody replied to tired_of_pain's response:
    They manage my pain with 20mg of Extended Release Tramadol that I take 1x a day. 300 mg Neurontin 3x a day and Diclofenac 2x a day. I do have Norco as needed for any breakthrough pain. The ER Tramadol really was the life savor for me. I no longer chase the pain so I don't have so much of the up and down of uncontrolled pain. i only need the Norco once in awhile when I over do things. I can't do some things I was able to do before mostly because I choose the change. I really don't want to case any of the bulging disc I have to get bigger and create more trouble than they already do.
    I am doing pool PT right now twice a week in hopes of rebuilding the core muscles. We'll see how that goes.
    Unfortunately I will always have issues with my entire spine just because the discs will always be a re occuring problem. But until they because such a problem as my neck did that required the surgery I will continue to live as I wish. I just have different wishes now. It's not so bad as long as your dr will help you control the pain.
    I wish you all the luck in the world with everything you are going through and will be going through.
    Take care of yourself and I will look forward to your next posts.
    AcheyBreakeyBody (Sheryl)
    acheybreakybody replied to tired_of_pain's response:
    OOPS, That is supposed to be 200mg Tramadol ER.

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