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Bulging cervical disc. Can it really cause this many problems? PLEASE ...
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Bulging cervical disc. Can it really cause this many problems? PLEASE help!

A little history: Back on April 7, 2009, my daughter and I were involved in a MVA. We were rear-ended by a guy who failed to yield at the yield sign behind us and, well there you go... Needless to say, his bumper, ended up on top of mine.

Since then, I've been having trouble, pain more or less, turning my head to the left, and looking up and down. When the accident happened, we were pulling into oncoming traffic to the right so I was looking to the left when he hit us.

My symptoms: the pain in my neck when looking to the left, and down, also radiates between the shoulders. I also noticed that the 2nd toe on my right foot goes numb. Or actually feels like it's out of socket. I've noticed it will feel like that when I'm even lying down and not applying any pressure to it. I have had some quick, sharp, stabbing pains on the bottom of my feet that feel like someone just poked a needle in my foot. I also have this really strange twitch in my left eyelid that comes and goes. I also have what feel like my skin crawling all over my face! Sometimes it is just my lips and chin area and others it's my scalp, cheeks, and lips. Others, it's the whole face and scalp.  

Now the good stuff: I had a MRI done last week and my doctor's nurse called me today with the results. She told me that I have a ruptured cervical disc! I was sooooo not expecting this! Usually when I go for x-rays they can't seem to find anything wrong. So this really caught me off guard! My doctor has had me on Relafin since the accident and I dont really think it does much of anything as far as helping. I'm also on Methotrexate for Rheumatoid Arthrits. I'm really scared that that they are going to suggest surgery! I used to work for neurosurgeons and it was not always a pretty sight! When I went into the office to talk to the doctor about the MRI results they told me "we don't want to jump the gun or anything, by your neck is pretty shot." Come to find out I have bulging disc all the way from C-2 to T-1. Seems like it's getting worse every day. It's now to the point where I dred going to bed because the pressure of a pillow hurst my neck. I can't lay on on stomach either cause it hurts to turn my neck! I'm just S.O.O.L on this one..... I have an appointment with a neurosurgeon this coming Monday and am scared poopless to see what he's going to say!

Please give me some of your opinions and suggestions. Anything is greatly appreciated! But can a ruptured cervical disc really cause this many problems?
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Avatar_f_tn
I am sorry to hear of your accident and the resulting medical problems you have encountered.  I hope that your daughter is doing well and did not sustain any significant injury.
Your symptoms are significant and are classic signs of possible injury to the discs of the cervical spine.  The pain and sensory changes you have been experiencing are primarily related to herniation of disc material (ruptured disc) from its outer protective covering and the subsequent pressure/irritation of the adjacent spinal nerve roots.
If the MRI is showing "rupture" of disc material at multiple levels, there is a probability that some degenerative changes existed prior to your accident, but the accident was a contributing factor in the onset of your symptoms.
The intervertebral discs act as cushions between the vertebrae and are primarily composed of water.  As we age, degenerative changes occur and the disc loses water content and becomes more brittle.  The annulus covering can develop tears or breaks which allows the disc material to escape and create the situation of nerve compromise.
It may be that the MRI will also have signs of degenerative changes such as bone spurs or facet joint changes that usually are present with the degeneration of the intervertebral discs.  Your history of Rheumatoid arthritis will play a part as well.
The neurosurgeon will be able to review the results of your MRI in greater detail and discuss the available treatment options.  Some disc bulging may be incidental to a more severe disc herniation and although there are signs of bulges from C2 - T1, there may only be one or two of those levels being the primary source of your symptoms.
Disc bulges, unless they are large enough to cause nerve compromise, are a normal process of the wear and tear on our spine as we age.
Treatment can include anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, or other more invasive procedures (depending on the extent of nerve compromise).

I had an anterior cervical fusion C4-C7 done approximately six months ago due to severe degenerative changes, disc herniations and spinal stenosis.  Your condition may not require such an aggressive intervention.  My surgery was very successful and I have experienced no significant residuals or limitations since my fusion.  So if you are very concerned regarding the potential need for surgery, know that the risk of problems is small and the outcome mostly successful in eradicating preop symptoms.

Best wishes and I hope you find a resolution soon.
Keep us posted on your progress -----
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459853_tn?1283144114
Thank you very much for all the info!

First, my daughter is fine. She didn't have any injuries from the accident. Thank God! I had never had any neck problems before until the accident. Ever since then, it seems as though it's steadily gotten worse. Today was especially rough. I woke up in a lot of pain. We're in the midst of packing and moving and that's not helping at all.

My Primary Care doctor had placed me on a round of Prednisone to try and reduce some of the inflammation, Mobic for the spasms and another long term anti-inflammatory. It felt like the Prednisone worked for about a week then the pain came back full force.

I'm so tired of the pain, I just want it to go away... I hurt in the middle of the night when i try to sleep. I can't lay on on stomach cause I cant turn my head. It hurts to lay on my back because the pressure of the pillow hurts on my neck. The Lortab the doctor has me on doesn't elevate the pain at all; just kinda makes me feel loopy so I don't really take it. At this point I think I'd welcome surgery if it would make the pain go away.....   :(  
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1071028_tn?1255373424
I'm not sure what caused my herniated disc other than degenerative disc disease.  But I first started having weakness and numbness in my right arm and when I would look up, my arm would tingle.  Found out this summer that have a herniation at c5-6.  It's amazing to me the weird symptoms this can cause.  I can have pretty severe shoulder pain.  I guess the disc is bulging onto the main spinal nerve and also on the nerve going to my right arm.
I do hope you can get some help and relief for your symptoms, and I'm also glad your daughter was ok!
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Avatar_f_tn
My husband has been suffering from neck pain since Feb. 2011. Was asked to take an MRI exam by an ortho doctor. Result of an MRI was stated below. Was advised by his surgeon to do surgery. At present we are now having sessions with  PTs for neck & lumbar traction and massages. We do not consider surgery at this time. I would like to ask for your opinion if we could still cure this thru conservative treatment? Please see below for your reference. I would gladly appreciate hearing for your advise on how to improve his situation / relieve him from  pain .
May I also ask if protruding disc can be healed in time? For some experts do we really need surgery for his case? Please enlighten us .

Thank you in advance.
  
MRI – CERVICAL
1.        LARGE DISC PROTRUSION LEFT PARACENTRAL COMPRESSING THE LEFT NERVE
ROOT AS WELL AS INDENTING THE VENTRAL THECAL SAC AND CORD AT C5-6 LEVEL
2.        POSTERIOR DISC BULGES WITH CENTRAL DISC ANNULAR FISSURE FORMATION
AT C3-4, C4-5 AND C-7 LEVELS
3.        CENTRAL DSISC ANNULAR FISSURE FORMATIONS ARE NOTED AT THE C6,7, C4-5  , AND C3-4 LEVELS.
4.        STRAIGHTENING OF THE CERVICAL SPINAL CURVATURE IS NOTED
5.        THERE IS A DIMINUTION OF THE VERTICAL DIMENSION OF THE C5, C6, & C7 AND T1 VERTEBRAE
6.        THE SPINAL CANAL AND EXIT FORAMINA ARE NARROWED
7.        THE LIGAMENTUM FLAVUM AND POSTERIOR LONGITUDINAL LIGAMENTS ARE NOT HYPERTROPHIC
8.        THE REST OF THE INTERVERTEBRAL DISC VERTEBRAE BODIES , PEDICLES, TRANSVERSE AND SPINOUSPROCESSES, ATLANTOOCCIPITAL, ATLANTOAXIAL, UNCOVERTEBRAL AND FACET JOINTS ARE UNREMARKABLE.
9.        THER ISNO EVIDENT COMPRESSION DEFORMITY NOR SPONDYLOLISTHESIS
10.     THE PRE AND PARASPINAL SOFT TISSUES ARE UNREMARKABLE.

MRI – LUMBOSACRAL SPINE
1.        LUMBOSACRAL SPINE IN MULTIPLANAR VIEWS WITH CONTRAST GD. DPTA INJECTION DEMONSTRATES SCHMORL’S NODE FORMATION AT L5,L4,L3 AND L2 VERTEBRAE
2.        THERE IS A SLIGHT DIMINUTION OF THE VERTICAL DIMENSION OF THE L5,L4 AND L3 VERTEBRAE
3.        THE CONUS MEDULLARIS , CAUDAL ROOTS AND DISTAL CAUDAL SAC ARE INTACT
4.        THE SPINAL CANAL INCLUDING THE LATERAL RECESSES AND EXIT FORAMINA ARE NOT NARROWED
5.        THE LIGAMENTUM FLAFUM IS NOT HYPERTHROPHIC
6.        THE REST OF THE INTERBERTEBRAL DISCS, VERTEBRAL BODIES, PEDICLES LAMINAE , TRANSVERSE AND SPINOUS PROCESSES AND FACETS JOINTS ARE UNREMARKABLE
7.        THER IS NO EVIDENT SPONDYLOLISTHESIS
8.        THE PRE AND PARASPINAL SOFT TISSUES ARE UNREMAKABLE

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