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symptoms re C5-6 ddd, narrowing and nerve impingement
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TOPIC: symptoms re C5-6 ddd, narrowing and nerve impingement

symptoms re C5-6 ddd, narrowing and nerve impingement 2 years, 9 months ago #1864

I’ve had severe pain in neck, arms, shoulders and lower legs for more than 2 years.
Other symptoms include need to bend forward or lay down. Even when sitting, I often need to lean forward with my chest practically touching my thigh.
I have significant but intermittent weakness in arms and legs. (loss of strength and difficulty moving)
I have migraines which always start with pain in back of neck and base of head; the pain travels to back and top of head (often on just one side of head). These headaches which would last 2-3 days and cause nausea and vomiting are now under control with Imitrex.

I’m a 51 year old woman. Previously, I was perfectly healthy.

The pain is agonizing and has turned my life upside down.
I’ve tried dozens of pain medications including short and long acting opiods, nerve medications etc. Currently I take dilaudid, a relatively low daily dose as I’m trying to keep tolerance at bay.

In the last 3 months the pain in my arms and shoulders has worsened/changed. I cry out with simple movements of arm. I now have very limited mobility in my neck. Instead of turning my neck (too painful), I’ll turn my body.

In addition to medications, I’ve tried PT (they saw me and told me to go to the ER, urgh), cervical traction and I’m scheduled to have an epidural in my neck. I’m hoping the epidural will help.

“Severe degenerative disk disease at C5-6 with the space narrowing and anterior ossified formation. Arthritic facet hypertrophy associated with the left uncovertebral joint. Neural foraminal impingement on the left at C5-6.”

I have pain in back and side of neck. What’s baffled many docs however is that for nearly 2 years I’ve had nonstop 24/7 pain in front of neck. (hard, burning, sometimes scratchy). This pain radiates to inner ear and ear canal. 90% of pain in front of neck is on left side. One doc says yes this is due to issues at C5-6 which makes sense to me. Others say this particular pain (front of neck/ear) is not related to cervical issues. ??

It’s clearly nerve pain. do you think it’s related to C5-6?
Also, could lower leg pain be related to neck?

I have appt scheduled with neurosurgeon in june.
If epidural doesn’t work, is surgery in your opinion an option?
Thank you so much.

Re: symptoms re C5-6 ddd, narrowing and nerve impingement 2 years, 8 months ago #1915

Your pain could be partially related to the C5-6 disc. The shoulder pain could be from the disc itself, the facets, nerve impingement or even shoulder origin (rotator cuff syndrome). The need to bend forward for relief could be from foraminal stenosis (see website section to understand the mechanics) or from facet pain.

Front of neck pain could be from the worn disc. Pain that radiates to the ears normally would not be from C5-6 but the C2-3 level is the origin of the lesser occipital nerve (C3) which can cause pain around the ear. You need a good workup from an experienced spine doctor to diagnose the source of your pain.

Dr. Corenman
Dr. Corenman

This answer is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for a diagnosis from a qualified professional. Do not try to diagnose or treat yourself based solely upon reading this material.

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