Bulging disc C5C6

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Hi all, I am a newbie to this so bear with me, I have had 3 MRI scans since 2008, 1st one carried out as this was due to pain in right shoulder down my arm at first, was given Rx of diclofenac, told it was frozen shoulder.

I then developed a stiff neck with some pain in right shoulder muscle. 2nd MRI carried out in 2009 as pain was now in whole of right arm, this was to rule out trapped nerve, nothing found so EMG done, this showed severe interruption in nerve signals in right arm and moderate in left. 1st Carpal tunnel op done April 2010, second Sept 2010. In the Oct 2011 i began with really uncomfortable pain in my neck and left shoulder with started to travel down to my left tricep, when i saw my consultant in the follow up appt in January 2011 he told me that this could be due to mobility and the way my second carpal tunnel op was carried out (laid flat arm out to the side palm up), and he would see me in 6 months. August 2011 after I chased my appointment up, told him that my symptoms had worsened.

My 3rd MRi was 14th Oct 2011, this showed disc bulge with inflammation in the tendon in my shoulder.

The pain is excruciating, it is now radiating from my neck, into my shoulder, down to my tricep and bicep muscles, i get a spasm in my lat muscle, in my elbow and a sharp stabbing pain in my forearm down to my wrist. I would rather go through child birth ( i have done that twice) than have this pain.

I have been taking Amitriptyline, then Gabapentin 300mg x3 times day, topped up with either 600mg ibuprofen as and when or Kapake. The medication merely takes the sharpness away and leaves me with a dull very painful ache, right down my left arm. I get little or no sleep.

I am due to see consultant again, this month, this was only because i kicked up a fuss at being seen in April to discuss my results and pain management.

Can anyone tell me if you can refuse too see the physio, chiropracter, osteopath, etc because in all honesty, i dont want to be 12 months down the line after trying all of the other channels of pain management only to end up back at square one. I am fed up of taking medication. sad

Any information would be really helpful

Thank you

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13 Replies

  • Posted

    Was looking for another topic when I noticed your post. Not sure if of the relevance, but intuition tells me to share anyway. 1. Your cycle of pain, surgeries and non relief / increased pain sensations reminds me of a decade worth of struggle my mother went through, until they identified what they said was an extra rib to blame for the nerve pain and numbness. Many years later, for different reasons, she was put on Lyrica. Not only did the Lyrica sort out the issue it was meant for, but it also relieved her of the shoulder/arm/wrist pain she had struggled under for so long.

    2. A fall left me with back and other pain issues. I did not heal as expected (based on what they thought the problem was) and was impatient with physio when my symptoms seemed to get worse. On advice I tuned to Osteopathy, in this case through a highly touted sports medicine clinic. I found great relief from just a few sessions and in 6 weeks (after 6 sessions) was hiking the Andes and trying surf lessons. Good luck!

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  • Posted

    I've just been diagnosed with the same thing - bulging disc at C5/6 with root nerve compression. I've just had a CT-guided steroid injection. Whilst it can take a while to work (up to a month) and mine was only a week or so ago, a colleague has also recently had the injection and is much better.
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    • Posted

      The only thing is if they do work most only get relief for 6 wks and everyone is different, what works for one dosnt work for another
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  • Posted

    Hi Jackie, you have my sympathy. It is a nasty thing to have to live with. I am 40 years down the line with it all and tired/fed up and living with dreadful the pain every day. Although you get 'used to it' you never ever really get over it.

    The bottom line is that once you get to the stage you are at there is very little that can be done other than pain medications to dull the pain to a bearable level.

    Steroid/epidurals can help some people for a short while. They usually wear off though at some point. Also too many can affect your liver. (I have liver cysts through having too many a few years ago).

    Pregabalin (Lyrica) is supposed to have less side effects than the Gabapentin. Many people find that it is just the same. However some do prefer it so you could try it and see if it suits you.

    You can try muscle relaxants such as Baclofen/Robaxin, they can make you more comfortable but they do have side effects, like all the medications available for chronic pain. Surgery tends to be the last ditch thing for necks and has variable success rates, sometimes leaving patients worse off.

    You do not have to do anything you don't want to. I have turned down umpteen physio offers as I feel they have never helped me, only made it all more painful. After a few visits to the Pain Clinic my experience is also lukewarm. All they can offer is the usual round of meds/injections and perhaps accupuncture or physio. I am not alone feeling this way I can assure you.

    I have also turned down surgery offers and had others. No one minds, it is your body and you must do what you feel is right for you.

    The problem is we become Chronic patients instead of Acute. Acute patients are usually easily treated and signed off. Chronic patients go on forever and there is a set procedure that once you have been through the hoops there is nowhere else to go, except round again.

    There are other things that you can do to try and make your life more comfortable. Applying heat or Ice, whichever you prefer can ease the pain a bit. A decent pillow that cradles your head comfortably. Keeping your neck warm at all times, scarves etc. Sitting in chairs with a high back and small thin pillow behind your neck. A soft collar can ease the pain for a while. They can be worn for short periods but not all the time as the muscles become weak. Hypnotherapy can help some people with pain control. It is a very personal thing and not for everyone. though.

    I'm sad to say that it sounds as if you need to get a better pain control regime going.

    There are all sorts of combinations and finding the right ones for you takes a while. Then there are the side effects of the meds. It is quite a nightmare at times. Most of us settle for far less than we would like and pain and insomnia become part of our lives.

    I would urge you to read up as much as you can so you are well informed when you next see the consultant. Make sure you explain how bad it is for you and ask him straight what your options are.

    I truly understand how you are feeling. There are millions of us out there suffering in the same way.

    It is very hard to come to terms with.

    My very best wishes, best of luck with your appointment. I really hope that there is an answer for you, take care.

    Fanny Jane.

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  • Posted

    hi, according to internet there is no blood supply to C5/C6 discs,so i bought gym exercise ball the one you just sit on and bounce up and downto try and force blood supply to C5/C6, trouble is it hurts the thigh musclesbut it does seem to help me :D
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  • Posted

    Hi kazgee. Never thought of that one. Just be careful you don't over do it or fall off and hurt your neck!
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  • Posted

    I've got the same . Sounds like yrs has always been due to yr neck . Did the ops help for carpal tunnel?If not it would be of no surprise,prob treated you for the wrong thing. Iam 40 I've had bck trouble for the last 20 yr . I've had tests on my shoulders which did show minor issues, but mainly all coming from my neck. I've had unessecary bladder investigation s. As in the end it proved to all be down to my lower bck. I had an emergency op in

    2013 for l4/L5 both disc had collapsed and burst. I have disc diease . Also fibromyalgia, at first all my symptoms were apparently because of the fibromyalgia so the doctor s would say with out further investigation.Once they diagnose you they are reluctant to look for anything else. In the last 4 year I've had at least 7 MRI . I've been to physo on and off for 20yr + with no real benefit s, I've also had steroid injection in my bck no benefit ether, they alwAyz go for the cheapest options. All the injection does is numb the pain for a short while, that's if it even works. It's not going to mend the disc. I s had to cancel 2 physo apps lately as couldn't get due to severitiyof pain am in they throw me of the list and said I'd have to be referred again 😡. My last 2 MRI showed a bulge disc in neck, also a bone spur in neck, and 3 dried out disc in lower bck . On crushing nerve in pelvis . Waiting for another injection (pointless) but if I don't try doc may refuse to do 2nd decompression op. My latest appointment is with a neurosurgeon. That's what u need. I instead my doc sent me to a private hospital via the nhs and he did . By law patients now have that choice, just I find things get done quicker and more efficient. Good luck . All hospital have a pals complaints procedure. I've used this on 3 occasions now and I've been dealt with very quickly including one MRI where as I only waited 5 days for

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  • Posted

    Hi I can reall empathise with you as It sounds very similar to my situation. Without going into all my experience I will try and keep it short. After over 15 months of pains in shoulder which was diagnosed as frozen shoulder and treated with 3 lots of steroid injections and pain medication and physio I have only recently reached the point of having an MRI scan which as far as I know has shown a bulging disc in neck which has pinched nerves to shoulder. This was only given to me by the physiotherapist who rang the hospital for results. I have been given a follow up appointment for another 3 months to get the full results from the consultant. My GP is surprised At my having to wait so long just for results as am I as I am in so much pain. I retired from a good job in the NHS in December 2016 as I could not manage to drive. This situation is so debilitating and making feel so low in mood. Physio osnly seems to agrivate matters and if I do try and push through the pain on a relative good day I suffer even worse the next day. I am trying to manage the pain the best way I can but if you or anyone else has any suggestions until I can see the consultant I would appreciate it. 
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    • Posted

      Yes google yr hospitals pals complaint s line and explain yr in so much you can't wait 3 months s for yr next consultation. I did and was seen with in days a Also received a letter from my consultant explaining the results .

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    • Posted

      Hi thank you for your reply. I contacted the "concerns" team and told nothing could be done basically as I had the consultant first available appt date. My GP has written to him again. I will contact PALS as well thanks for your advice much appreciated.

      M

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