Friday, April 11, 2014

Pain in the neck: Diagnosis

After several visits to the chiropractor for adjustments, electronic muscle stimulation, stretching exercises, and therapeutic massage with little relief, my chiropractor sent me to have an MRI done yesterday.

The MRI was not a big deal to me.  I just kept my eyes closed the entire time so I couldn't see how close the machinery was and I didn't feel claustrophobic.  Unfortunately having to lie on my back with no head/neck support for 20 minutes was extremely painful.  A few times I could feel muscles in my left arm spasming and I hoped the movement didn't mess up the scan.  But 20 minutes was better than the 45 minutes it takes with the less powerful scanners.

The MRI doctor reviewed it with me immediately afterward.  He spoke to me like a physic medium, telling me where and how long I've had the pain!  It was like having an MRI done by John Edward

I have a herniated disc in my neck.  The disc presses on nerves that run down my left arm and shoulder blade, which is why I've been having so much pain there and not in my neck.

So today I saw the orthopedic doctor to review the MRI and he also took 2 x-rays, which confirmed the herniated disc.  He said that since the chiro visits weren't helping, the next step is physical therapy. 

He referred me to a PT specialist nearby and I have an appointment for Mon.  If that doesn't work, the next step would be an injection in my neck near the disc, between the 2 vertebrae.  This must be done with a lot of precision in order to be effective, so they reserve it for when the chiro and PT treatments don't work.  The last resort is surgery, but I have decided that is NOT going to happen.

So the 'mystery' is solved.  Unfortunately it is proving to be a painful one to deal with.


Breenlantern said...

I'm sorry you're having do much pain and discomfort. I know how disrupting that can be. I hope you find relief through the PT.

anne marie in philly said...


Anonymous said...

I hope you feel better soon and that it doesn't come to the shot - they can be very painful (my sister has had needed them several times).

The MRI doesn't both me either but when I have my liver scanned (the entire abdomen area actually) it takes 45 mins, 20 mins for no contrast and then 20 mins with contrast. The problem is that I have to stop breathing for each of the pics so for the entire scan time I receive breathing instructions and sometimes I have to hold my breath (on the exhale which is much harder) for a minute or more. And I have to do this ever 9 months or so to check for cancer.

Ron said...

So sorry. I hope you're able to resolve this soon. A condition like this you can't get away from, as you know. I too would definitely stay away from surgery. Good choice.

Mark Wallace said...

Glad you chose to not go the surgery route. I have a herniated disc myself and it has been giving me grief for years. Bin working closely with my chiropractor to get it sorted out and to strengthen my weak abdominal muscles. Has been working really well. Keep staying positive, things will be good if you go to treatment regularly.

Mark Wallace @ Chiropractic Memphis