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Starting to lose my mind

Started by Red2111 on 06/15/2017 8:20pm

Okay so about 7 months ago I was working in the produce department and I lifted 2 stacked boxes of celery (50 lbs each) wrong and ended up hurting myself. A large herniation at the C7 and a minor herniation at C6, plus a fiber tearing of the super spinatous tendon in the shoulder.

The herniation is pushing on my spinal cord which is leading to all sorts of wonderful things. Numbness in the fingers, and lower arm, my upper arm always feeling like I'm flexing it, constantly feeling like I've hit my funny Bone, fingers going cold, razor blades digging into different places in my back, muscle spasms and neck spasms galore to name the most prevalent.

I'm stubborn, so instead of talking to my doctor and taking off work until I'm healed I went back to work, which has led to a life of 40hr weeks running Self Check Out (8 registers by myself with an outdated and anti user friendly passive aggressive interface). I'm trying to keep from having surgery, at 32 I don't fancy having screws and plates in my body. But I feel like I'm about to lose it.

3 weeks ago was when stuff started to go downhill. They upped my dosage of Nuroton to 600mg a day, and added 20mg of Baclifen as week for the spasms (don't mix these together btw). On top of the 800mg Ibprofen 3x Dailey and 20mg Tramadol 4x dailey. The tramadol does crap all for pain relief and now the Baclifen doesn't as well.

Both my doctor and physical therapist suggested an epidoral to try as the last step before surgery. Well, I'm hugely needle phobic; I say this neither jokingly or lightly. 5 days before I was to stop my Ibprofen. Legit misery after doing that. TBH I had no clue what all Ibprofen did for you. As the day came loser, my anxiety became worse. The doc I was seeing couldn't prescribe me any anxiety meds and I don't have a normal doc yet as I haven't gotten around to it. It got so bad that my work actually sent me home because I was pacing back and forth in tears and unable to focus while shaking physically the day before I was supposed to get it.

The day of there was a mix up in paperwork and they couldn't do it, which lead to me breaking down and crying as well as throwing up. I still have yet to have the shot. So since then, I've had a small ball of anxiety in my chest because while I still know it's the best option before surgery, I also know my anxiety next time will be worse and might actually lead to a nervous break down.

2 weeks ago, I platued at Physical Therapy and the switched me to a different exercise; where I sit in correct posture in a chair and lean back to let my head hang backwards and give it a slight shake then lift my head up. All slowly and repeatatively. This has led to a 1 step forward and 3 steps back for me. While it's helping with the arm pain, it's causing my neck to stiffen and hurt constantly and has led to me losing a lot of sleep. On average I get maybe 4 hours now and that's with waking up every hour or so. I've actually fallen asleep at work and come back from breaks late.

At this point I'm almost to the point of giving up. The pain has escalated from a 2-4 constant with a 6 on bad days to a 4-6 constant with an 8 on bad days. Add into it, the lack of sleep and stress of work ... I find it harder and harder to get the motivation to get out of bed or fighting against surgery. Most days I want to just lock myself in a room and cry.

Everything up until not in Physical Therapy has been aimed at pain management and correcting posture, but now she's switched it to something cause more pain and taken away three of the biggest things I've been doing to manage my stress this far (reading, writing and crocheting). She almost took away video games but even now I feel less of a drive to play them than I used to. When I sit, it has to be in correct posture, so my neck feels like it gets no rest. Even laying down I'm using a neck pillow.

The pain meds don't work, I've told my doc repeatedly about the tramadol not working and he just smiles. I feel like the stapler dude from Office Space. Work is just getting worse, before I got hurt I was moving up. I got away from the front end and was getting set to get a pay bump and officially switch departments ... Now I'm stuck back at the front end and in the most stressful position we have, constantly having to man 8 registers by myself even tho it's supposed to be 1 person per 4 registers in SCO. And things I can do that don't go against my restrictions (like putting out price tags or checking products for being out of date) they constantly pull other cashier's for.

And my husband is no help. I express to him these things and he just nods and tells me that I'm not giving myself enough credit, that I have a lot more strength left. But I don't feel it. I no longer see the light at the tunnel and I'm starting to let the pain win. I feel like a wilting flower.

I don't see how correcting posture will help cure the discs.
I don't see how causing more pain with this new stretch will lead to healing it.
I don't see how physically therapy is going to cure what I have.
I don't see how this won't keep it from re herniating later in life or if I go back to lifting items to start moving up again.
I don't see how I can get a better job now that I'm damaged goods.
I don't want to be on meds for the rest of my life, but I don't know how I'm not going to be.
I don't want to have caused perminant damage to my nerve cord, but I'm afraid I have by putting off surgery so long.
I'm scared that I'll reinjure the area and workers comp will no longer cover it once the doctor releases me.

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2 Responses


Hi, Red2111--we are so sorry to read about all you've been through over the past 7 months. We honestly can't imagine what you've had to endure on a daily basis.

You mention a lot of different painful aspects of your life and questions in your post, but one thing we noticed throughout everything you mentioned was a feeling of anxiety. And having anxiety, depression, and all the emotions that are wrapped up in those two things are so common in people who have back and neck pain. You are definitely not alone there.

If traditional non-surgical spine treatments that address physical pain are not working for you right now (physical therapy and medications, in your case), maybe it's time to focus on the mental and emotional side of your pain. We should note that we're not medical professionals, but perhaps addressing your anxiety around your pain will help bring physical relief. We have a ton of content around this in our Mental and Emotional Therapy Center ( Depression is Connected to Back Pain ).

Our best advice for you is to see your doctor, tell your doctor everything you're feeling (both mental and physical pain), and follow his or her treatment advice. And, if you don't feel like your doctor is acknowledging your pain or the experience you're having with your current treatment regimen, you can always seek a second opinion to help find a better fit ( Second Opinions: Five Things About This Patient Right ).

Spine surgery doesn't have to be in your future--you just have to find the right conservative treatment plan that works for you. We hope you get the relief you so deserve very soon. Best of luck to you!


Hi, I'm so sorry your suffering but totally understand how you feel, can I suggest you go see a very good chiropractor.
I had l4/5 fusion 14 years ago which resulted in a thoracic arachnoid cyst compressing my spinal cord and now have c6/7 bulging disc but have 7 through out my back and neck, cervical lordosis and bone spurs and live with chronic pain at level 8 or above daily,
I was 32 and fit when I had surgery now 46 and can barely walk down my path, can't stand, sir or walk, but as I sit typing this I have the worst pressure where the cyst is and could just cry but not sure there's any tears left, can't have the cyst removed or I'll be paralysed at the very least.
For your neck have you tried ice packs, acupuncture, flat pillow so your head is level and not raised or lowered, and just recently peppermint essential oil m, now it doesnt get rid of the pain but it numbs it a bit and distracts you, also rub it down your arms where you have nerve pain,hope this helps but please try everything possible before surgery, I wish you well