Pinched Nerve or Damaged disc?

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Hi! I've had a pinched nerve in my back, neck, shoulder, and arm for three years. It's a terrible shooting and burning pain. I can't stand or sit for periods of time without awful pain. I can't lift or bend down either. I got an x-ray because they thought it was a damaged disc. X-ray appeared to be fine, but I'm still in horrible pain. Should I get an MRI? Is it something other than a pinched nerve? Thanks.

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  • Posted

    You should definitely get an MRI. And don't walk, run to the MRI. I cannot believe your doctors haven't done it yet. The only thing I have to say about your pain that seems inconsistent is that he's telling you you have pinched nerves in your neck and upper back which would explain the arm pain but you're telling me also that you have trouble sitting and that indicates lower back problems. So I think that in order to figure all this out you need an MRI of your entire back and neck. An x-ray does not show you all kinds of things that could be wrong with your back from bulging discs to degenerative disc disease I could go on and on with what it doesn't show. But an MRI will definitely show these things.

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    • Posted

      I think you need the MRI. I had no idea you can see it bulging disc and tell if it's impinging on a nerve from an x-ray. It's my understanding that it only shows up in MRIs and maybe a cat-scan. Good luck to you whichever way you decide to go. Living with chronic pain is like a jail sentence and it's horrible.

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    • Posted

      Sorry, my mistake but I meant you can only see the disc spacing between the vertebrae. Not the disc itself. I was diagnosed with cervical radioculopathy at the ER and getting an MRI soon.
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    • Posted

      Ye you need an MRI, in the mean time I would go see a chiropractor and maybe acupuncture, if it is a "pinched nerve" chiro treatment would help sort that, if it's anything more serious than an MRI should detected it. A bit of advice...if your results are non emergency (and I don't say that lightly as I understand the pain your in) then try everything possible to prevent surgery, so many people think if they have pain and it shows a bulging disc that surgery will fix it and youl be normal again, unfortunately this is not the case, there are so many treatments, physio, acupuncture, chiro.....that can sort you out, an operation may never take the pain away and could even make it worse but let's wait and see what an MRI shows up, hopefully it can be sorted soon, good luck and let us know how you get on😊

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  • Posted

    I have to say that I agree with Carolineq8 about the surgery. I belong to several pain groups for chronic pain patients and I can't say I've ever talked to anyone who's had surgery that was successful. The most successful ones I ever hear about take the pain away for a year or two but that's it. And the risks are high to have a failed back surgery. In fact it's so common they have a name for it and it's called failed back surgery.

    However I cannot recommend going to the chiropractor until you have the MRI done. I think it's the safer way to go in the meantime you can do your acupuncture. I tried it and I thought it was a joke myself. I mean it works for some people but for me I got nowhere with it.

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