In addition to the whole hand impalement thing, my neck is acting up again. A couple months ago I went to the ER with horrible neck pain, they said I had a “muscle spazm”. While I tried to tell the ER folks that I could hear the joints in my neck making noise & that it has to be more than just some sore muscle they disregarded it, gave me some muscle relaxers & sent me home.
Fast forward to this last weekend, had a camp out with the guys, slept with a good pillow, but probably should have used two. Woke up with mild neck pain & by Sunday night I couldn’t even roll myself out of bed to go to the bathroom. Went to my normal doctor (Dr. Christopher Hayes great guy) and he immediately recommended an MRI after seeing the pain I was in & hearing the snap crackle pop of my neck while listening to my deep breaths with a stethoscope.
Now its Thursday, been in horrible pain for 5 days, still in a neck brace. Every time I make a slight movement at night it shocks me awake. Exhausted & tired of hurting. MRI is scheduled for 12:30 this afternoon. Will update later with results.
MRI results: disc protrusion (bulging disc) between C5 & C6 (see example picture below) on the INSIDE of the spinal column so that it’s putting pressure on the left side of my spinal cord & pedicle nerve off-shoots from the main spinal cord.. That explains the numb/tingly left arm & shaky left leg thing. Treatment is to continue taking anti-inflammatory, muscle relaxer & steroid pack till pain goes away, then to take it nice & easy as to not damage it again to where it bulges out real bad again. For the long term if it continues to be a problem and doesn’t completely go away there is some other steroidal treatment that will be done with a specialist.
I’ll try to get copies of the MRI scans & put em up.
(not my neck, just an example. bulging disc is between C5 & C6)
I read the December 2011 post. I’ve had the same symptoms, and subsequently the same diagnosis after doing an MRI. My doctor is a neurologist and seems to only treat my pain symptoms. (She’s been treating me for pain from occipital neuralgia as well as an SI joint problem for the past two years.) I was wondering what other methods of treatment your doctor may have suggested???
as for medical treatment – during the horrific disabling pain caused by the disc protrusion he put me on heavy anti-inflammatory, heavy steroids & muscle relaxers. the steroid & anti-inflammatory meds are what did the trick. within 2 days it had gone almost completely back to normal. when i feel a mild bit of pain coming on now i take an anti-inflammatory to keep it from flaring up & so far that has done the trick.
as for prevention methods – make sure i take ibprofin or some other anti-inflammatory at the first hint of pain. make sure i do NOT sleep on hard surfaces where my neck is bent in a bad way. lots of sleeping on either my back or right side to keep the left side from pinching that disc where the protrusion is. sleeping on my left side is fine, i just need to make sure my head is propped up higher than center a bit. don’t face plant during paintball. don’t get kicked in the head during martial arts sparring, don’t jump off the house, don’t do anything jarring on my neck. basically take it easy, supposedly im not invincible anymore or something.
for example – yesterday i drove my boat around in 34mph winds and the SLAM SLAM SLAM SLAM jarring of the waves with the motor on full throttle is the likely cause as to why i am feeling mild pain this morning. i just opened a mountain dew & im about to take a couple ibprofin. i expect the pain to be gone within 4 hours.
I can definitely relate to your frustrations with ER doctors and their lack of effort in the “care” department. I’ve been through that so many times….
Five days of not being able to get out of bed (without physical help), followed by another five days of not being able to hold my head up unsupported for longer than 10 minutes, is what I experienced about 6-1/2 years ago after rolling over in bed and feeling a ‘snapping’ sensation from my neck to my left shoulder blade. Two years of dumbfounded looks by my doctor, along with numerous prescriptions for anti-inflammatory meds as well as pain meds practically left me in a state of depression. I sought other methods of treatment like massage and acupuncture, and even demanded PT (since my doc never offered!), which provided temporary relief. A lot of my work duties, which involves repeated upper body movement and strength contributed to the continued relapses of intense pain. But over the years I’ve learned to change how I do things at work, and continued with anti-inflammatory meds on a daily basis just to get through the day. After four years my regular doc sends me to a neurologist. Neuro doc was almost a deja vu, except she didn’t give those dumbfounded looks. She just typed everything I stated into her computer (my medical record) then sent me on my merry way! Fast-forward to two weeks ago when I TOLD her to order an MRI because of pain/numbness down my left arm. The results so far have come back with a bulging disc between c5 and 6 on my left side. I’m now wondering how long that really was there.
Thank you David, for sharing your experiences. And thank you Natalie for sharing those of your father. While I’m truly sorry anyone else has to suffer what I’ve been suffering, it does help to know I’m not alone. Hearing other peoples experiences certainly sheds some light on my condition, and will help me seek the proper treatment. That is, after I TELL my neuro doc what my diagnosis is, what tests to order next, and who to refer me to! (Surprisingly, the neuro doc seems comfortable with me doing her job…)
also, he discussed with me the option of a local steroid injection into the protrusion area if the meds didn’t work. it was bad enough that i was experiencing numbness and tingling all over the left side of my body.
the disc protrusion was obviously caused the the mild curvature of my neck in the first place. it was just a matter of time before age caught up with me. i was screwed from the get go, nothing i could have done to prevent it for ever. wish i had known about the curvature before the age of 32. i prolly would have taken it easier on myself.
anyway, aside from treating the pain – which is IMO covering up the problem not solving it – the steroid & anti-inflammatory made a HUGE difference in actually treating the problem. steroids are a very strong anti-inflammatory & should be reserved for flare ups. a good dose of ibprofin is great for stopping it when you can tell one is coming on.
pain meds for comfort.
anti-inflammatory(ibprofin) for first sign prevention.
steroids & ibprofin for treatment.
the muscle relaxers i mentioned mainly just helped to sedate me so i could rest. hadn’t slept in 3 days due to the pain at the time. haven’t taken them since.
My dad has the same injury as you. He is trying to heal his bulge without surgery. He would like to know how many millimeters your bulge was. His is 13mm and was told that he has a severe case. He took the steroid pack and is going to physical therapy regularly. Its helping, but the pain is not completely gone. We are happy to find someone with the same injury that did not have to have surgery. It gives us a little hope.
i wish i had an answer for you, im not sure what the measurement was on it, i dont think that was discussed with my doctor. the severe pain was gone in a couple days, but the pain did not completely go away for about 2-3 weeks. i could walk around & drive after the severe pain was gone, but i couldnt turn my head more than maybe a half in in either direction the first week after. it took about a full 3 weeks to get full range of motion back. kind of a ~pain in the neck~ when you sit at a desk with four monitors.
surgery was discussed but only as a last resort. that kind of surgery can be very debilitating even with a successful result.
the amount of pain i was in for those 5 days was so bad i literally could not sit up in bed, or even roll off the bed to my knees without help. it’s absolute torture being home by yourself in bed like that when you cant hold your bladder anymore. this was actually the 2nd time it happened. the first time the guy at the ER didnt take me seriously and just gave me some sort of pain med shot and sent me on my way. it felt like they were just going through the motions to get someone their med fix and send them on their way. didnt go back to that ER the 2nd time. incidents were about 3 months apart.