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neck injury vs.brain disorder

  Thank you for your time, I am a 54 year old who has been an RN for 25 of these years, so lifting is a hazard of my profession. On 5/6/98 I was assisting to turn prone a grossly obese pt when I felt a pop and heard a popping sound at the back of my neck, I had pain in the base of my neck with numbness and tingling running down my arms and into my fingers especially the middle three also facial numbness around the left side of my mouth.    The symptoms resolved with the use of a tens unit ,ice packs to my neck and occosional motrin and/or darvocette as ordered by my physician.  and I was able to return to work after 6 days.     However, intermittenly until Aug. 19 I would feel some strain some electrical type impulses at the back of my head and transcient numbness as before.   On the 19 of Aug, The symptoms recurred in a very dire way , severe electrical impulses in the back of my head and down my arms also dowm my legs with numness to my extremities,and numbness to my face, and as an extra added attraction to the left side of my tongue. I was put out of work ,basically on bedrest, and given an MRI and an appointment with a neurosurgeon. He was "not impressed''  with the results that said I have buldging at C45 and compression at C67 with "bony spurs'' and slight pressure on the spinal cord.  He then ordered a soft collar to be worn with symptoms, Daypro every day and rest,he suggested an MRI of the head to rule out a brain tumor or MS,  suggested I might want to talk to a psycologist to r/o depression ,and sent on my way, ''see you in a month''.   Needless to say I am very discouraged, I cannot drive as I cannot turn my head without Shocks to my neck and  head and without feeling very nauseous.    I have a consult pending with my medical  and a neuro surgeon at our nearest medical facility. the workup sofar has been done by workmans comp and our employees healt care provider,  Please advise  the most intelligent question I can ask and any diognstic tools  to obtain a diagnoses and begin treatment.  thanks again,  MEME
Dear Karen,
From what you describe, it sounds like you have some degenerative changes
in your cervical spine that became symptomatic when you exerted yourself.
Typically as patients age, women in particular, there is loss of bone density,
discs lose their elasticity and cushioning effect and bony spurs form.  Exertion
can cause the protruding disc and bony spurs to pinch on the nerves as they
exit laterally from the spinal cord, giving a shock of pain and numbness in the
distribution of the nerve.  If there are significant neurological deficits
or intractable radicular pain, surgery may be considered after a trial of
conservative therapy, namely rest.  
When you see the neurosurgeon, ask him what his impression is of your symptoms
in the context of what he sees on your MRI.  If there is a 'fixable' lesion,
he may consider surgery.  Otherwise he will likely recommend conservative
therapy with rest and anti-inflammatory medication.  See if he doesn't agree.
Good luck.

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