Sounds like it could be. How long ago was your last MRI? One thing that can happen is that your buldging disks CAN turn into herniated disks at ANY time. It took me 6 weeks to get my old surgeon to order another MRI because he was going by the MRI from before even though I told him I know the difference between herniated disk and nerve compression pain then just pulled muscles, scar tissue inflamation etc...because I have been through all this *hit since 1993. Then I even got hurt AGAIN since the last MRI.
There are other tests that your doc. can order even though the MRI "normally" shows the best and don't lie. It can miss things depending on the situation. There are MRI's that can be taken in a sitting position also that sometimes shows the nerves pinched where the laying down one didn't.
It is my experience that the muscle spasms are normally only there shortly after a new injury or something that upsets the old injurys bad enough.
Those epidurals, PT, etc...help alot of people, but didn't me at all in all my injurys in years. Most the time I hear from others with the same problems that they are only a temporary fix anyway, they don't solve the problems unless its your back being weak that is causing ALL the pain.
Good luck and ask your doc. for pain meds that work if you don't get releif or it seems that your pain is increasing.
Sorry to hear about your accident. My best advice to you is to be patient. I was in a car accident in Nov 2006 and am still suffering the consequences of some other persons's negligence. I don't think you have nerve damage, but quite possibly a pinched nerve. The good news is, although extremely painful, a pinched nerve can be treated with a full recovery. That is what I am waiting for. The way you can know for sure if you have nerve damage (neuropathy) or a pinched nerve (radiculopathy) is through an EMG. This is a nerve conduction test that shows exactly where your nerves are having problems and the severity of that problem. They use tiny needles and electrodes to stimulate your body in certain areas and measure your nerve reaction. It hurts a little, but you can do it. My MRI showed the bulging discs as well, but did not show my pinched nerve; however, the EMG did.
Also, keep in mind that nerves take a long time to heal. Muscles can continue to spasm for quite a long time as well. One word of caution: I was in physical therapy for 6 months, it helped with my mobility, flexibility and in straightening out my pelvic. But...it did nothing for my nerve pain, in fact, I believe it made me worse. I didn't have an EMG until months after PT and by that time, the new damage done thru PT had already been done. Just be cautious.
I am also a student who is scheduled to graduate next year but was forced to withdrawal from the Spring 07 semester because of my pain and debilitation.
Good luck to you : )
THANK YOU.MY LAST CERVICAL MRI WAS 3-27-07. IM GETTING A NEW CERVICAL MRI THIS FRIDAY(AUGUST 3RD).THE ONLY PROBLEM IS BECASUE I AM 17 I AM VERY LIMITED AS TO WHAT KIND OF PAIN MEDICATION I CAN RECEIVE.AND I HAD AN EMG STUDY DONE. I WAS TOLD I HAVE ULNAR NEUROPATHY.
GOOD LUCK TO YOU TOO :)
DOES ANYONE HAVE ANY SUGGESTION? ITS NOW PASSED 5 MONTHS AND THE PAIN IS STILL THE SAME.
Hang in there....have you tried a heating pad on your effected area of pain? You may get soothing relief (although temporary). After my initial injuries and ice packs, I began using heat on a regular basis. Ever since I started using the heating pad, it has been a great comfort for me. It calms the muscles and the nerve pain.
Do you do any relaxation exercises for your neck? Deep breathing? Meditation? Are you able to totally release all the stress in your body? This may sound silly but I took a class on this a long time ago. You close your eyes and try to rid your mind of everything. You then focus on one area of your body at a time (start with your toes), imagine all the stress is being released from your toes, spend a minute there, and then move on slowly to each body part focusing (feet,ankles,knees, etc) by the time you get to your shoulders/neck let all the stress out of them (all the tension and pain as well)....no, it's not a permanent fix, but it does offer temporary relief if you can set your mind to it.
Also, you are not too young for pain medication and should not be expected to live in pain. If your current dr. won't prescribe painkillers, you are either not being taken seriously or your dr. is not concerned about your complaints. In either case, I would get another MD.
Keep the faith, you will get better!
THANK YOU FOR RESPONDING AND ALSO FOR THE ADVICE.I HAVE TRIED A HEATING PAD AND ICE AND YES IT DOES ONLY PROVIDE TEMPORARY RELIEF.BUT NOW THAT I JUST STARTED SCHOOL AGAIN THIS PAST WED. 22ND(I AM A L.P.N STDENT IN HIGH SCHOOL AND THIS IS MY MOST IMPORTANT YEAR AS A SENIOR AND A NURSING STUDENT BECAUSE OF CLINICALS AND PATIENT CARE SO FAR I CANT DO ANYTHING) IT IS NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE TO GET ANY RELIEF.I SAW A NUEROLOGIST A COUPLE WEEKS AGO AND HE SAYS I HAVE LOTS RIPPED MUSCLES IN MY BACK AND HE SUSPECTS SOME NERVE DAMAGE...BUT HE IS NOT SURE OF THE EXTENT OF IT. SO SEPT. 5TH I HAVE A EMG STUDY AND A NCV STUDY.
AND THIS MONDAY I SEE MY ORTHOPEDIC.MY ORTHO SUGGESTED AN EPIDURAL AS THE NEXT STEP THEN PAIN MANAGEMENT.I AM VERY HAPPY WITH MY NEUROLOGIST HE LISTENS TO ME,HE PRESCRIBED ME MEDS SO I CAN FINALLY GET SOME SLEEP NOW. IT IS LYRICA AND LOW DOSE VALIUM SO I DONT GET ADDICTED.....THE LAST THING I NEED IS TO BE SENT TO REHAB LOL
ABOUT THE PAIN MEDS......BOTH DOCTORS TOLD ME BECAUSE OF MY AGE I AM EXTREMELY LIMITED TO AS TO WHAT I CAN RECIEVE. I WAS GIVEN TYLENOL CODIENE NUMBER 3 BY MY ORTHOPEDIC AND NEVER WAS TOLD IT CAN BE ADDICTING... WHICH I SOON NOTICED AND THANK GOD MY MOM DID TOO BECAUSE SHE PULLED ME RIGHT OFF.
GOOD LUCK WITH YOU :)
I come from having c5/c6 c6/7 cervical fusions 11/16/05
I would highly suggest a myelogram or a discography. Mind you neither test is fun at all and can be very painful. However if it wasn't for my myelogram my c6/c7 wouldn't have been noticed, as it took a year to find after my intial surgery. A discography can tell you which disk is causing the problem for you pains. Mind you not all herniated disks cause pain but they do cahnge the dinamics of your spinal space.
For the moment. Remember all the med's you do take yes are habit forming, but i honestly believe if the doctors are as concerned about the meds they all subscrip, then maybe they should be just as determined in thier efforts to stop delaying the innevitable, and actually deal with the root of the problem, everyone would get better results. Consider looking to investigate radiculopathy, facet joints, trigger points (a controversial problem-yet i have many mucles that are felt as well and trigger points do play thier role in all this too. )
I highly suggest you look into these terms becasue i agree with give it back, and everyone else has has said. There are A lot of incidous results to pains in the neck-which has a whole new meaning now to many of us.
These are many common problems involving the neck with injuries. However those terms are by no means an indication of exactly all that's wrong with you, nor is an exhaustive list either. We are patients as you are and i'm very sorry this isn't a club i would wish to join either. So by no means take what we say as gospel. Just some things to look into.
Yes, nerve damage can heal. However the longer a nerve is impingement, the more risk permanent nerve damage can arise, and it will never recover. Any doctor that delays getting to the real problem puts you and thier record of success at risk. Either way you really need to talk to your doctor with an educated approached. Don't let your age be the factor on not getting specific answers nor let your age be the only factor in you and your doctor deciding your treatment options either. Like it or not. Your injured and you can get better or you may only get limitly better. The only chance you have to get significantly better is to have a good doctor and for you to know, understand and actively pursue what is going on with you and never cease getting your true diagnosis. Not all doctors are likeable, but many of them are very good doctors. Not all likeable doctors are good doctors either. So pick based on what's best for you, preferrably one with a good bedside manner of coarse becasue your whole health is important and a doctor must treat all of you becasue all of you is being effected.
Here's some things you should respectfully expect from your doctor and if your not getting them though you like him, then please get another doctor.
-An objective and candid discussion of your neck pain treatment & it's long history.
-A simple, thorough explanation of your diagnosis or multiple diagnoses, e.g., cervical injury, neck strain, cervicalgia (means pain in the neck period-that's it), cervical sprain, or bulging disc, nerve damage etc...
-An understanding of various diagnostic tests for your neck injury & your pain everywhere.
-An experienced assessment of cervical pain treatment options for neck pain relief and recovery including cervical fusion, pain injections, therapeutic modalities and pain medication.
-A description of possible types of pain injection, e.g., cervical facet joint injections, epidurals, trigger points, Botox, and selective injections for nerve pain.
-An understanding of the role of pain medication and when and when its no longer appropriate to use narcotics for neck pain relief.
-Discussion of spine surgery such as laminectomy, cervical fusion, or disc replacement; your candidacy for neck surgery, with options and success rates and your doctors record with this and especially for cervical fusion.
-all Practical tips for healing cervical injury and relief of both cervical pain and cervicogenic headache.
-Insight into the difference between acute cervical pain (less than 6 months) and chronic neck pain (more than 6 months) and how that must affect treatment.
-ask your doctors the ways to get the best orthopedic rehabilitation for cervical injury, neck strain, cervical sprain, herniation nuerapathy etc...Suggestions for alternative treatments for neck pain relief, e.g., acupuncture, Yoga, message, aqua therapy, neuromuscular re-education, injections, surgery etc...
-Cut Through the Confusion and Misinformation about Neck Pain, don't let any doctor tell you your age and then allow that to excuse them for being absolutly non-informative in everything just to buy you time becasue you are young.
---Confusion and misinformation are the rule with neck pain. Almost inevitably, there isn't one cause but multiple cervical pain triggers in combination. You may receive several diagnoses including bulging disc, cervicalgia, nuerapthay, nerve impingement, degenerative disc disease, cervical facet joint problems,trigger points, neck strain, or cervical sprain.
Pain Relief for Acute, Severe Neck Pain
----Neck pain relief for acute, severe neck pain (from cervical sprain to bulging disc) should be aggressively provided through pain injections, physical therapy, and pain medication, including narcotic pain medication. You do not have to suffer! Spine surgery, including cervical fusion, is a last resort option in orthopedic rehabilitation and cannot help for lingering neck strain or cervicalgia; only for bone or discogenic based pain. Moreover, chronic neck pain, depression, and anxiety go together like Larry, Moe, and Curly, without the humor. With chronic neck pain, inaccurate diagnoses, failed treatments, family conflicts, and legal issues from personal injury, social security, or worker's compensation combine to foster depression and/or anxiety and your treatment, healing and success.
If you've had chronic neck pain or neck injury for longer than a year, research says that 30%-70% of your pain may not be caused by tissue damage but by other factors including: body mechanics; bracing and guarding; wasting of the muscles and cervical facet joints; nervous system arousal; impaired sleep; medication side effects; decreased activity and exercise; overcompensation; and even physical therapies. This is true for diverse problems like degenerative disc disease, bulging disc. or other neck injuries
The bottom line is that you may not have to suffer as much as you are! You can control these extra pain triggers that make your cervical pain worse. You can help yourself get better neck pain relief. You can also approach your physicians educated and then teach them how to provide better neck pain relief for you, not just commonly for everyone elses problems. For chronic neck pain, a trial of cervical facet joint injections is almost inevitably necessary and that's where your heading. But Remember, physicians work for you even when they don't act like it, so know a little about everything so that nothing will get overlooked, but be careful not to overwhelm yourself or read more into symptoms or get in moy destres for things that may not be wrong with you. Trust your doctors, buit trust yourself in how you feel, and know your not alone.
Find out strategies for recognizing the difference between increased cervical injury and increased cervical pain. Keep your support and encouragement through your orthopedic rehabilitation and neck pain relief, not just good lip service. By us or your doctors. lol
ice can help, heat can inflam but help. Stretch though it hurts, tens machine can help temporily. Anti-inflammatories along with pain meds. don't rest too much, but walk-walking can help the rest of you get stronger and for your neck to be stronger if you ever need surgery, and to help stregnthen all the other things that are having to compensate. Soothing relaxing bathes. Messages--ask about trigger point releases. Some do say acupunture helps. If injections, meds and all the other stuff doesn't bring relief, then surgery is the nect unfortunate option but surgery can and does help. It helped me, but i don't think any of us ever get complete relief. Keep your chin up-litterally. Pay attention to your posture.
Don't get duscourage, or be afraid. You can get better and you can rise above this. Many people have great relief through injections and i wish you the best of it. Many poeple get better with surgery and i hope you don't get there. Live--live---live--don't ever give up, never ever give up being positive no matter how each step doesn't bring the results you wanted. You have to believe in your treatment for it to get you better, period! If all else fails, pray. But maybe we should all be doing that from the beginning. Seeing we all have a greater physician whocan heal us better than we can ourselves.
I REALLY APPRECIATE THE INFORMATION YOU PROVIDED ME WITH, IT IS VERY HELPFUL.I WAS REFERRED TO PAIN MANAGEMENT TODAY AND NOW SEE THAT DOCTOR SEPT 11TH.
I WAS TOLD BY THE ORTHO SURGERY IS NOT AN OPTION BECAUSE IT IS JUST "MILD BULGING" . MY PARENTS ARE NOW LOOKING FOR A 3RD OPINION.
THANKS FOR THE WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT
I SAW MY NEUROLOGIST SEPT. 10TH AND GOT RESULTS FOR THE EMG AND NCV STUDY IT CAME BACK NORMAL. BECAUSE THE PAIN IS STILL VERY SEVERE I RECIEVED 4 CORTISONE INJECTIONS. I SAW PAIN MANAGEMENT TODAY AND I AM SCHEDULED FOR A CERVICAL EPIDURAL NEXT FRIDAY. MY NEUROLOGIST DOESN'T WANT ME TO GET THE EPIDURAL......BASCIALLY IM NOT SURE WHAT TO DO,ONE DOCTOR SAYS DO THE EPIDURAL AND OTHER SAYS I SHOULDN'T.I AM NOT SO GOOD WITH NEEDLES........SO IM PRETTY MUCH SCARED. DID ANYONE HAVE ANY SUCCESS AFTER THE FIRST EPIDURAL OR DOES IT TAKE THREE TO FEEL THE FULL EFFECT?