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Introduction and searching for hope (neck pain c5:c6 c6:c7)

Started by svendy 1 week 4 days ago

Hello group. I joined this site in search of pain relief as my doctors have not been effective as yet. From what I've read quickly before posting is that I've certainly not exhausted options.
I'll post the same question as I suspect so many others have posted, but I've just started reading and there is so much to read on this site.

Me: 58 year old male.
Occupation: Desk job.
Misc: 6'1", 190 lbs (recent weight loss).
Started: Beginning of August 2020.
General Health: Good, other than I have Myathenia Gravis (so muscle relaxants are not an option).
How I was injured: Kink in neck while driving for hours. Then self manipulation where I tried to make it "pop". This is the only thing I can think of anyway. Again, doctors just nod and leave.

Due to this wonderful Covid pandemic, I've not seen my doctor. In fact, she is on leave and I had to talk to a doctor filling in.
I was told to go to emergency. So be it ..

I went to emergency at local hospital and had an MRI. The following is a portion of the report that I was told were the problem areas ...

"At C5-C6 there is a large osteo-chondral bar with bilateral uncovertebral joint hypertrophy. There is moderate encroachment on the spinal canal with mild posterior displacement of the spinal cord. There is subarachnoid space is adequate surrounding the spinal cord. The cord has normal signal intensity with no evidence of myelomalacia. There is severe bilateral C6 neural foraminal narrowing

At C6-C7 there is a small osteo-chondral bar severe bilateral uncovertebral joint degenerate hypertrophy. There is severe bilateral C7 neural foraminal narrowing. There is no cord compromise."

I understand the English, but the context wasn't explained to me by emergency doctor. It's not clear to me if from a doctors point of view if my case is severe or typical.

I have been prescribed 2 medications, neither worked ... at all.
a) 600 MG of Gabapentin x 3 times per day.
b) 10 MG of Amitriptyline x 1 time per day (night).
I've tried acupuncture, chiropractic treatment, exercise (just movements really, massage, hot/cold treatments).

This is my second month and I'm at my wits end. I can sit in only a couple positions, or lie down curled up in some fetal position. When I stand up, I have to carry my left arm with my right or the pain, tingling and numbness is severe to the point of nausea). I enjoy a couple minutes when I wake up where I almost feel normal. Then I move ... 10 minutes later, I'm spent. The pain in my neck, shoulder, arm is severe enough I cannot concentrate anymore. I fear for my career and certainly lifestyle. At least I'm kind of old so the career has only a few more years left (but i was counting on that income).

Can this really go away from exercise / movements / rest? If yes, at what point should I give up and seek a move invasive procedure. At this point, I've lost faith and cannot see next steps. My young replacement doctor certainly has no ideas.

Any advice, or a shared story, link would be greatly appreciated. Until then ... I'll be researching this site.
Thanks for the time,
Svendy

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Hi Svendy,

Sorry to hear about your pain and diagnosis issues. I’d recommend seeking out a Neurosurgeon for another opinion on your mri.

I’ve had C5-C7 fused and last year placed an artificial MobiC disc at C4-C5. I always tell people that you will know when it’s time to have any surgical intervention. Before my fusion, I could no longer feel my hand and the nerve pain was completely unbearable anymore.

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Thanks MrMango. I have a Nero for my other condition (MG), but he specializes in MG. I'm not sure he'd get involved with something other than that. I guess I should push a little for him or I will definitely have to tart at ground zero again with my temp GP. Where I am from, it can take a while to get an appointment with such a specialist.
I am much more motivated to do the exercises after reading from this site, even though I'd rather just lay on a heating pad.
Fact is, the most effective pain reliever was weed. It's legal here (thank you Justin Trudeau), but darn I don't remember it being so hard on the memory (mind the pun) when I was a young pup. Besides, I had to puff at regular intervals and it left me pretty useless for work ... well anything afterwords except video/television.
I understand what you meant by "knowing" when it's time. I think it's that time, but need to put in more effort myself before I pursue more invasive treatments.
What was your recovery time after the procedure?
Thanks,
Svendy

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Sorry to hear about your issues, one thing you may not know is Gabapentin is only absorbed by the dudenium sorry for the spelling , however lyrica/pregablin is absorbed through your entire intestine. I have used both medications and lyrica is far superior if its something you can take? hope that is helpful?

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Thanks AAandDDD, I will mention this. I managed to get my MG nerologist to speak to me / prescribe for my neck problems ... by Tuesday if he cannot get to it today and I'll certainly ask about Lyrica.
I've been tapering off Prednisone (should have mentioned that in my intro - will edit), and the pain and stress from pain is interfering with that tapering (meaning the MG symptoms are coming back).
Sigh, 5 years ago I was an athlete, strong as a bear. Now I drop coffee cups. How horribly the mighty have fallen.
I never understood the pain level some people live with. So strong! It's rather humbling.

Svendy.

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Update: my neurologist called me back on the Friday evening of our Thanks Giving weekend. I won't forget that favor. So he switched my medication from Amitriptyline 10mg to Nortriptyline HCL 25mg. His opinion is the emergency doctors didn't prescribe a suitable dosage of the Amitriptyline. So, short term, this is what I'm doing.
Long term, he wants to send me to a specialist to consider next steps (that would be to be fused). This takes about 4 months ish to get arranged here. I have until then to try to find a means to take matters into my own hands and build up some muscle in the neck.
I've used physio therapy techniques to fix arthritis in my shoulders before, maybe I can get some relief that way although I expect the neck might be a little more difficult than the shoulders were. I have to try.

Edited: to correct the medication change, removed redundancy.

Thanks for the time,
Svendy.

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Sharing treatment in case someone else finds it helpful someday. Maybe a question at the end ;)

I woke up with a dry mouth that rivals any hungover morning I ever had ... but, the new script (Nortriptyline HCL 25mg) had a somewhat positive effect. It numbed about 30 or 40 percent of the pain and arm burning. For a one day turn around ... I'm delighted. I was worried about the physio / don't move paradox, but believe now I may be able to do slowly start the physio (home only, I've not sought out an actual physio therapist. If I can't manage on my one, then I will pursue help.

The maybe question I wanted to ask ...
Anyone had a similar problem as mine and sought the cortisone injection?
If I have to munch pills for a few months, am I better off with the cortisone treatment?

I've had it done on my shoulders a couple times. One worked very well, the other was a terrible experience (severe pain for a couple straight weeks). I ask this as I would not want to cause more damage than what is already there.

Thanks for the time,
Svendy.

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Hello, regarding the cortisone shot. It has been my experience that depo-medrol is used quite a bit, but if that is the one , I highly recommend going to health canada website and looking up the product monograph on this drug, Doctors are perfectly legal to use it in quote"off label use" . However pfizer the manufacturer has a big warning not for interthecal or intervenios use. This drug was banned in Europe, Austraila, New Zealand in the 80's So for what reason is it still used in Canada and the USA , how about 300 billion a year . I personally think some drugs are necesary for certain things. But for pain I think they are a temporary measure. I research all drugs that are prescribed, most of the time there is a natural substance that will work. I after trying meds of all kinds for twenty years came to the realisation that they are a mask and not fixing the problem. Granted some problems are unfixable, but having Adhesive Arachnoiditis and DDD in my cervical, thoracic, lumbar, sacral spines, my goal is to do all I can naturally now to get my body to rehydrate my discs, Its been 4 months of rehab and nutrition and I think its working, at nine months i will get more mris to see if there was change? Im 52 and live in Canada as well. Dr Mandell, Motivational Doc is on youtube and has a lot of intersting ideas. Good Luck

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Thank you again AAandDDD for another detailed, informative answer. Your answer convinced me to not pursue the cortisone injection therapy. Three days later, I'm more sure than ever.
After my shoulder experience, I was hoping I would hear something that would convince me this is not a viable option.

The pain relief for me with the medications has allowed me to exercise a little. I will look into changing my diet as well. This makes sense to me too.

I've long ago accepted that when you have a problem so severe and tricky to solve, you must attack it with every means at your disposal.
So, posture modifications, medication, physio, and a chiropractor are what I'm juggling to get somewhat past this horrible impediment to an enjoyable life.

note: the chiropractor is not the bone popper type (to heck with that), but rather focuses on body alignment. I feel a little better when I leave (until I'm tired again). I believe it helps a little.

Regarding the physio aspect ... I'm avoiding any exercise that causes the pins and needles in my arm. Sadly, this includes walking very far. I can do maybe a kilometer or so before I'm nuts with very severe pain / needles in my left arm. As it is, I have to carry my left arm with my right to even achieve that measly kilometer. During the night, after the walk, I pay for it regardless of the meds. So ... I see walking (at least at this time for me) as the wrong thing to do.

If anyone who reads this see's me making mistakes / false assumptions, please, I'm all ears ... they still work :s

Thanks for the time,
Svendy.

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