I need help, 3 years and no answers, pain at base of my neck, etc.
Almost 3 years ago I suffered an injury while lifting a box (40 lbs.) overhead. Initially I had a lot of burning pain around the top of my shoulder with some sharp pain mixed in. In addition the muscle along the top of my shoulder and up the side of my neck got stiff and sore. Time went on and the pain increased with more sharp pains, dull aches, stabbing pains, etc. The pain was in more areas as well. I had pain in my armpit, across the front of my chest on the side of my shoulder that hurt, and along my shoulder blade. After that I also got shooting pains from my armpit down along my ribcage when I did a lot of lifting. The muscle along the top of my shoulder and up my neck also got tighter and had a burning feeling a lot more often.
I had several X-rays and an MRI done of my shoulder and nothing was found. I did physical therapy and tried different anti inflammation drugs and even had a cortisone injection. Nothing helped and eventually the doctor told me to just keep doing my PT exercises and it would go away eventually. He only wanted me to come back if I had pain doing certain movements or had trouble sleeping.
After this, more than a year later, the pain had only continued to get worse, especially involving my neck. The burning and tightness along the muscle between my shoulder and neck was the most constant pain, and every time it flared up, the pain in my shoulder and surrounding areas got worse. My neck also started to pop and crack rather severely, several times a day. My neck never used to pop much at all, maybe once every 6 months or so, and now it was doing it all the time, and it was loud, jarring cracks and felt like it was just being ground up. I was finally able to go back to the doctor, unfortunately, the same one who completely ignored everything I told him and told me the exact thing he told me before, just do my exercises and all will be well.
I got a second opinion and he thought it was probably my neck and had a neck x-ray and cervical MRI done. He found a couple of slightly bulged discs on the MRI and had me get a cervical epidural. After the seeing the Dr. after the MRI the pain in my neck became much more focused, particularly around the base. The epidural did not help at all, and I was sent for more physical therapy. This also was of no help. I was given some Zanaflex which only made me sleep and didn't help the pain. Then I was given an EMG, only to my arm where I rarely had any pain, nothing at all near my neck. It came back normal.
It's been almost 6 months now since I had the X-rays/MRI on my neck and it has gotten tremendously worse in that time. I'm am now at the point that I miss about 2 days of work a week because of the pain, and the time I do spend at work is spent mostly at my desk, unable to do much of anything, except try to block out the pain. The pain is not just my shoulder, surrounding area, and along that one muscle. I have severe pain and pressure at the base of my neck where it bulges out. I'm not even sure if that's technically my neck or my back really. Pain radiates from there to both of my shoulders now. I have sharp pains all across my chest and shoulder blades and on the top of both shoulders, and in both armpits. I am even starting to get some popping in what I assume is my spine slightly below that bulge at the base of my neck. I get headaches that go up the back of my neck and up into my head, accompanied by tingling around the outside of my head. I have trouble sleeping as most positions cause pain. I have had several times where I got waves of numbness traveling either down the middle of my back from the base of my neck, or out to my shoulders. I get tremendous pressure in my face when the headaches get bad. I can't lift anything heavy anymore. Anything that has me looking down causes pain. Whenever I get active, there is pain, even from just walking into work. I am getting more and more pain every day and it's going a little lower in my back all the time. Now I have pain from the middle of my neck (not counting headaches) all the way down my back to about 7 or 8 inches below the base of my neck. If I put pressure on the base of my neck it usually triggers a lot of the other pains I've mentioned.
The last Dr. I saw, going by what I told him, and the old x-rays/MRI said he didn't see anything orthapoedically wrong with me and just told me to get more active. He said he didn't see any reason why I'd be missing work. I don't think he understood the pain I've been having. I admit I'm overweight, but I've tried being active and all it does is make it worse. The only reason I'm not more active is because of this pain. If I hadn't been promoted to supervisor at my work, I would not be able to do ANY of the activities that would have been required of me, things I used to do all day, every day.
So, can anyone please offer some help? I'm kind of at the end of the line as far as what I can do. This is a work injury so I have to play by those rules and they want to settle things now. I just want to get better. I wonder if having an X-Ray/MRI a little lower would help? I just know there has to be something that can be done. Something is definitely very wrong with my body.
I have about 70-80% the same symptoms from a car accident (11/11/08) I, too, went through all you wrote. I had additional Rhizotomy, simply, nerve burning (an option that last mostly 8-12 weeks, but not permanent). Did you read your MRI real good? My injury is on C4, C5, C6, and C6 has "Protrusion" I figured it out all by myself. I have a post traumatic change at C4-C5 and "Disc Protrusion" which most likely is affecting the C6 nerve root. Did a doc nothing mentioned about a protrusion or spurs? I have neck-shoulder (burning) and headaches and just discovered on the last MRI the word RADICULOPATHY. I looked it up, and I was right, therefore, nothing could have helped me. It means:A problem in which one or more nerves are affected and don't work normally or pinch the nerve root. Since we have almost the same pains, NOT all, but much, maybe you have either spurs or a protrusion that could pinch the nerve root, try to figure that out.
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