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    Neck Pain/ Herniated Disc C6-7 - Lower Back Pain - HELP!
    Rob81x posted:
    Hey all....first time poster here! Hoping someone might have some suggestions or advice for me in regards to my many problems I'm having at the young age of 29 =)

    My main problem currently is my neck pain...but I will get there in a minute. First just want to give a quick history relating to my lower back problem which is starting to become a real headache again as well. About 6 years ago I injured my lower back at work....From what I recall about the MRI results was I had a partially torn disc in the L5 area, Disc Bulging, something with the joints, and DDD. I did physical therapy and got epidural injections, which at the time relieved the pain a great deal. I was declared at maximum medical capicity and sent on my way. Over the last 5-6 years, I've been dealing with pain in my lower back...some days better then others, but for the most part tolerable. Nothing further has been done in regards to my back.

    Now to my neck....I've had slight neck pain/discomfort for many years now, but nothing major...maybe some tightness here and there and just mild discomfort. Never thought much of it...just figured it was normal with daily activities and work...and again the pain was bearable and I just assumed it was pretty much normal, which it may have been. So a few months I get out of the shower and am just drying off and all the sudden I feel this weird, sharp pain in my neck. It then hurt like heck to turn or bend my head. Well I've had this happen MANY times before....where we do something stupid and sprain or injure the neck to wear it hurts to turn it and such....almost everyone I know has had this happen at least once. So because this has happened to me at least 10-20 times in my life, I figured the pain would go away in a few days to a week like it always has....until a month went by and it felt the same if not worse. So I go to the Doctor and he gives me a muscle relaxer and a anti-infammitory and prescribes me Physical Therapy. Neither of those worked so he sent me for an MRI and after seeing the films told me I had a herniated disc at C6-7. And is the exact report because I'm not fully clear on the whole meaning of it:

    "There is straightening and reversal of the normal cervical curve. Vertebral height and signal is maintained. Signal from the cord is unremarkable.
    At the C6-7 level on the left, there is slight narrowing of the proximal nerve root sleeve felt to be due to the combination of uncovertebral joint spurring as well as a probable focal far lateral disc protrusion. The remainder of the disc spaces are intact. There is slight flattening of the subarachnoid space anteriorly through the cervical region most likely positional in nature related to the reversal of the normal cervical curve. The upper thoracic region is unremarkable."

    So then he told me that there would be a good chance I might need disc replacement surgery, obviously as a last resort, but he wanted to be open with me. He then set me up with a pain management doctor and I had my first round of epidural injections 2 days ago. I know I have to give it some time so it's hard to say how its working so far...still feel the pain but slightly less sharp I would say.

    Lastly....just 6 days ago my lower back started acting up again...but WORSE then ever! More pain then I ever recall having and it's almost outweighing my neck pain...go figure. Also getting some weakness in the legs and sharp pains in my lower back when I bend especially.

    With all that said (and sorry for being so long and boring) I guess here are my questions:

    1- Has anyone gone through anything similar with the neck pain before?
    2- Can anyone make more sense out of the MRI report?
    3- Is it possible for the Neck/Back pain to somehow be connected? Or is it just a coincedence the back pain just started back up worse the never?
    4- Anything else?

    I appreciate any feedback!
    Rob81x responded:
    Hope I explained that alright and it wasn't too confusing =) I've really been struggling lately and could really use some encouragement =)

    Again...Thanks to all for any advice/help you could offer!
    davedsel57 responded:
    Hello, and welcome.

    Click on my user name or avatar picture to read my whole story. I have managed moderate to severe chronic back pain for over 30 years. My entire spine is affected. So, let me try and answer based on my own experiences and research.

    1- Has anyone gone through anything similar with the neck pain before?

    Oh, yes. Again - read my story.

    2- Can anyone make more sense out of the MRI report?

    Go to this site for help with your MRI report:

    3- Is it possible for the Neck/Back pain to somehow be connected? Or is it just a coincedence the back pain just started back up worse the never?

    Same answer as # 1 - Oh, yes. Again - read my story.

    4- Anything else?

    My mantra has always been to keep as active as possible for as long as possible. Do your research and be assertive, even aggressive with finding and practicing treatments for effective pain management. Above all else, try to keep a positive attitude. There is always hope. There is always help.

    Praying this helped in some way and you can find the answers you need.
    Blessings, -Dave
    greg8846 responded:
    Hey Rob;
    Welcome to the Pain Exchange Board my name is Greg and i have worked in the Emergency Medical Field for
    28 years and then taught during that time. Please be careful
    when you start to think about surgery. There have been so
    many folks here on the board that are worse off now after
    surgery. I think you no there are no guarantees. With the disc
    that is protruding, injections may help and the may not. Now
    depending on the type of surgery they want to do it is risky.
    There are always nerves in the spine that have to be considered at all times. This is how we know were having pain
    its sends signals to our brain to tell is that we are hurting.
    Its sounds as though you have two different problems first being its a mechanical problem in your back and it also sounds as though your having nerve problems also. With
    the injections and what they are using the are trying to shrink
    the swelling that you have around the nerve roots that are signaling the pain in your back. And your not being long or boring, i thought you gave a very good history of your problems
    that your having now. Everything is interconnected in the spine and the nerves that enter and leave the spine. Now you were saying about your MRI The upper Thoracic Region is Unremarkable this is good, if it said remarkable there would have been a problem there and they would have explained in medical terminology.See your report goes on and further states that you have a herniation at C-6 and C-7 all the C means it is in your Cervical Vertebrae or neck area. It goes on to say that the Spinal Cord is unremarkable which is another good thing. The MRI shows a lot of different things. But with the pain that your experiencing you need to have also a nerve conduction study (EMG), this way you can see if the nerves are showing any abnormal Foci's, this is important, because in the area of C- and 7 you could have some nerve impingement in that area. The other things that the MRI showed was like the curvature of the spine had a slight angle to it to keep it simple, you vertebral column in starting to become a little more straight its hard to explain but the cervical area has a small curve to it is what im trying to say. See if the whole spine has DDD your going to have increased pain in your back. And the medications that they have you on now are very conservative at this time. They are just trying to relieve some of the swelling in those areas. Also if you continue to have problems a Myelogram would also be in order to rule out any other problems with your neck and your back. At some point if the pain remains bad they are going to have entertain the thought of putting you on some pain medication. Depending how you respond to the injections will determine the path that your going to go down. Just remember if your going under the scalpel i would get a second opinion from another doctor that is not associated with the doctors that
    your seeing now. Well good luck and if i can help you farther please let me know.
    Greg Armstrong
    greg8846 responded:
    Hey Rob:
    One other thing i wanted to warn you about try and stay away from Chiropractor's they don't carry a medical
    license and i have transported many people from the Chiropractors office and they ended up needing emergency
    surgery because of the attempt to realign the spine very
    big mistake. Or after the so called adjustment you end up
    having severe sciatica because they end up impinging nerves
    in the back. That's just a little heads up. These are my feelings in fact you can read some of the horror stories here
    that Chiropractic care has caused. Well good luck, i hope things turn out okay for you.
    Greg Armstrong
    davedsel57 replied to greg8846's response:
    Greg, I understand your position on chiropractic adjustments. I have had quite the opposite experience, though. About 7 years ago I found an excellent chiropractor who gives my whole family periodic adjustments. He is part of my pain management efforts and my neurosurgeon supports him fully.

    The original poster, as well as all members, simply need to be aware of all options and what works for them as far as pain management. You did state that those were your feelings based on what you have seen, and I agree that not all chiropractors are created equal. Perhaps I have been unusually blessed, but I've only had positive experiences from my adjustments.

    I just felt it was important to make this clear. Thank you.
    Blessings, -Dave
    greg8846 replied to davedsel57's response:
    Hey Dave;
    I'm glad that your Chiropractor has not injured you yet, see over the years i have seen so many serious problems
    arise from adjustments, i don't even agree with DO's attempting to do realignments because i feel if your going to be doing these adjustments they need to be done in a very
    controlled environment because once the damage has been done sometimes it can't be reversed. As i said this are my thoughts and experiences. But im glad its working for you and
    if you found someone you can trust that great. That why i said its my opinion and mine only. Well any way have a great day
    Dave and welcome to the board, i will look forward to be hearing more from you, after all were here to help one another.Well later Dave
    Greg Armstrong
    Rob81x replied to greg8846's response:
    Just wanted to thank you guys for your replys....FYI I was seeing a Chiro for probably about 2 years. I was going once a month for the first year or so and have been going once every 6 weeks since. I haven't been back to him in the past 3 months or so, once the neck pain really started becoming severe, in fear that it might make it worse. Figured it was a smart bet to wait and see what's wrong with me and all before continuing any treatment like that. Today is the 3rd day since the first injection and it's still hard to grasp how I'm feeling overall. The injection was only for the C6-7 Herniation to help the neck pain, and with the back pain just starting to act up really bad again last week, I haven't even had a chance to tell the Dr about that. I know these things take time, and that's probably the most frustrating thing...but I'm trying to keep faith =)
    Thanks again....I REALLY appreciate the feedback and concern!
    greg8846 replied to Rob81x's response:
    Hey Rob:
    I have been through most of the injections or pain blocks, Epidural Blocks,Facet Blocks. I found that i did not
    get any relief at all in fact in made the pain and swelling
    worse. See when you have a herniated disc they think that
    the steroid will help to relieve some of the swelling in that
    area and relieve any nerve pain you may have in that area of
    the herniation. I think it makes it worse because your injecting
    more fluid into that area of swelling that is there already. That's
    my take on the injections thing. I wanted to give you the heads up so if you don't have much relief its not your fault it did not help. Some doctor have a way of blaming there patients and pain injections don't relieve the pain and will make comments like it helped the other 20 patients i injected. Well no two people are ever alike and also no two people perceive pain the same and don't get the same amount of pain relief from some medications that they are prescribed because they may not be strong enough or other genetic factors. So don't let the doctor blame you if things don't work
    out right. Well if i can help you with any other questions please let me know.
    Greg Armstrong
    Rob81x responded:
    Well it's been exactly a week since my injection, and today sucks! I was really being optomistic because I felt much better this past week, but today it's back to square one. The pain is back and exactly the same as it was before the injection. I don't go back for my follow up until next will just keep my fingers crossed til then. I figure all the doc will tell me is that I need to have another injection, then I'll get to wait a few more weeks to have that done, then a few more for another follow up and so on and so on. It's just so frustrating having to wait months and months just to get back to where you started from...but I'm sure I'm preaching to the choir here =)

    Sorry for the venting!
    Geradine4733 replied to Rob81x's response:
    If the injections are not working, do not have more. Cortisone is hard on your body. I had them in 2002, 2004, and 2006. I am a slow learner but I finally learned never to have them again.

    These injections are pushed because the pain doctors make a great deal of money on
    jackieblue58 responded:
    Well I had the back issues went through everything and ended up doing surgery helped alot, but still get pain when I do I go to a chiropractor only relief mostly massage therapy is wonderful, as for the neck know the feeling pain hurts bad had both shoulders done 10 years apart and also had my neck done 3 discs herniated they did the C6-7 neck fusion when I went back for checkup after surgery he says oh no I'm like what's oh no we should have done the other disc cause it's now gotten worse I am so pissed off I said you will have to wait and beleive me it hurts, the neck I don't have the severe pain in collar bone but that stabbing pain in neck hurts bad. So I am waiting it out to have other disc done in Jan. 2011 hopefully .
    jackieblue58 replied to davedsel57's response:
    I agree especially if you can get massages they help you relax and helps with the pain.
    transcriber52 replied to Rob81x's response:
    Hello Rob81x with herniated cervical discs I agree with Greg stay away from chiropractors for now. With nerve impingment it can get much worse. I have c5-6,6-7 herniated discs, have had it for 10 yrs now and no surgery. I've had the injections and the best result, I felt less pain for 4 hrs. Not worth it to me. I do have a very specialized PT that does myofacial release for the cervical neck. It actually feels wonderful and I am doing great with it now. Any time my neck acts up I go back for myofacial release.(that is very specialized not all PTs know how to do it so check it out good before you have it done) Also I get accupunture and that really does help with relaxing all the muscles involved with my neck and back injuries. Relaxing those muscles helps with the inflamation also. My PT does both procedures for me and it is wonderful. I just can't do the accupunture right now because I've had a pain pump implanted this past Jan to relieve the arachnoiditis pain that could possably be the result of 2 previous back surgeries or injection dye or any other procedures I've had done. Your Dr should have explained it can take up to 1-1 1/2 weeks for the injection to work, if it will work. And each injection can be different. I've had several and it has not been my answer. Also, it is a possability that your posture changes for you to function with your neck pain and it can cause spinal problems also. That does not mean they are related here, I am just saying as your natural neck curvature changes the discs in your spinal column also have to change and that can cause more pain and problems along the way. Have you had a myelogram done? Any other kind of tests other than the MRI? As Greg stated an EMG really might be helpful. I wish you the very best of luck. Please come back and let us know how you are doing.
    I hope you can have a better day.
    Rob81x responded:
    Thanks for all the replys and feedback! Just to update my status....My neck is KILLING me, maybe more then ever. I just went to the doctor yesterday for my follow up to the epidural injection. In a nutshell, he told me he doesn't want to try another epidural due to the fact that I only felt minor relief for just a week and he doesn't feel another would be effective, and he explained why. He went over a few options (didn't seem like I had a whole lot to choose from) and we decided that the next course of action will be to try a facet block injection (hope I spelled that right). This will be to determine if it's the actual disc problem causing the pain, or possibally the joints. He told me that due to my young age, his gut is telling him it's the disc and that if I was a 70 year old man he would lean more towards the joints...but ya never know. He told me that with the herniation being at the C6-7 level, that it's most common to have the pain shooting down the arm and tingling in the fingers and stuff, which I have yet to have, and that just because I don't have it now doesn't mean it won't start at any time. He said that some people have disc herniations and don't have any pain from it so they don't even know, and there's the possibility that the pain started from something else and then the herniation was discovered. With that said, we decided to try the facet block and either it will work or it will rule out that aspect and basically guarantee that it's the disc. I asked him in the worst case scenario and the injections don't work and we determine it is definately the disc, what would be my options because it seemed like I wouldn't have many left other then maybe surgery which I would poop my pants. He said "there's always options" and named a few...he did mention accupuncture, traction (which I actually already had in PT and only hurt more), and he also mentioned some machine or something that chiropractors use....I can't remember what it was, think it was like a letter and some numbers...not sure.

    Anyways...that's my update! Still having ALOT of pain and not many answers and getting frustrated with having to wait weeks if not months at a time to go to these appointments. I just want to take care of this....but don't we all! haha

    Thanks again everyone and hope I did a good job explaining =)

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