Losing My Mind C5/C6

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  • jmc1982
    Participant
    Post count: 9
    #26311 |

    Hello, I am a 34 year old man with a history of being healthy. About 9 months ago I experienced a fall going down a set of steps, striking my head and back. I was temporarily knocked unconscious, when I came to I was experiencing a great amount of pain and nausea. I was transported to the ER where they kept me for a few hours and ruled out any fractures and sent me home. The ambulance report noted I had left sided / left arm weakness.

    Since my injury I did about 40 visits to physical therapy, I’ve had a MRI in March and was referred to a spinal surgeon who in turn ordered me to do a Myelogram and an EMG.

    My current symptoms are: lower neck pain on the left side. Upper back pain in between my left shoulder blade and spine. The top of my left trapezius will spasm intensely. The outside of my left shoulder will ache and that pain will go down most of my bicep and along the top (thumb side) of my forearm into my wrist. When the pain isn’t there I feel a tingling sensation like the hair is wanting to stand up on my skin in the affected area. About 7 inches below my wrist on my forearm is a patch of skin that is 99% numb. I can scratch it with a stick pen, pull the hair out and I might as well be poking a dead piece of meat. When the overall pain is most intense I’ve had a sensation of warm water running down my arm. I am scared to sneeze, cough, or even strain myself using the restroom because on many occasions I get a crushing intense pain down my left shoulder and arm. My balance has been affected, I don’t get a dizzy feeling its just I am very wobbly sometimes and have to hold onto a wall to walk through my house. Sometimes if the pain catches me by surprise I have a hard time holding my head up as if it weighs 100lbs and the muscle in the back of my neck are just so fatigued. When I get like that there is usually an insane upper back pain and my legs are very shaky and I am barely able to stand. Headaches are pretty common I have a couple of intense ones a week, and a lot of little nagging ones. Some nights I get 4 hours of sleep some nights a little more or a little less just depending on how I feel. I spend 80% of my day or on a recliner with a pillow behind my head. Randomly throughout the day and night I’ll just get very flustered and sweat profusely. When I do get some sleep, I’ll wake up feeling bad and my pillow will be soaking wet.

    My job requires me to climb ladders, and bend over alot. I have to be able to regularly lift up to 30lbs and infrequently lift 80lbs. When I’m not doing physical labor I am required to sit for several hours and maintain focus. I am going nuts with depression and worrying about taking care of my family. I have 2 small children I cant even pick up let alone provide for right now.

    Sorry for the long rant, I’m just sick of complaining to the wife and needed to vent a little. Thanks

    jmc1982
    Participant
    Post count: 9

    I’m no doctor but here are some of the pictures I think are pertinent to my issues.

    c5c6

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    c5c6

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    c5c6

    Dr. Corenman
    Moderator
    Post count: 5533

    You have symptoms of myeloradiculopathy possibly due to a chondroosseous bar (a combination of disc herniation and bone spur) somewhat compressing the spinal cord and exiting C6 nerve root. The canal narrowing (stenosis) is not severe but cord draping over this spur can sometimes cause myelopathy.

    See https://neckandback.com/conditions/radiculopathy-pinched-nerve-in-neck/ and https://neckandback.com/conditions/cervical-central-stenosis-and-myelopathy/ to understand these two disorders.

    Your symptoms of “lower neck pain on the left side. Upper back pain in between my left shoulder blade and spine. The top of my left trapezius will spasm intensely. The outside of my left shoulder will ache and that pain will go down most of my bicep and along the top (thumb side) of my forearm into my wrist” fit with this C6 pinched nerve.

    The symptoms of “My balance has been affected, I don’t get a dizzy feeling its just I am very wobbly sometimes and have to hold onto a wall to walk through my house” can fit with myelopathy.

    You need a consult with a spine surgeon.

    Dr. Corenman

    PLEASE REMEMBER, THIS FORUM IS MEANT TO PROVIDE GENERAL INFORMATION ON SPINE ANATOMY, CONDITIONS AND TREATMENTS. TO GET AN ACCURATE DIAGNOSIS, YOU MUST VISIT A QUALIFIED PROFESSIONAL IN PERSON.
    If this forum has helped you, please let Dr. Corenman know!

    jmc1982
    Participant
    Post count: 9

    Hey doc, thanks for taking the time to give your input. I’m sure your a busy man.

    The Myelogram report said: at c5/6 there is small osteophyte complex with superimposed posterior central, left central disc bulge indenting the corresponding ventral thecal cord associated with effacement of the ventral thecal sac and mild to moderate stenosis of the ventral lateral recess. The neural foramina are patent.

    I’ve been to a neurosurgeon. He’s the one that ordered these additional tests. I’ve got a follow-up scheduled after the EMG. As far as advocating for my treatment. I don’t want to put the cart in front of the horse, I’m assuming this is something that either now or sometime in the future that might need addressed surgically. After the last couple of months I feel that it would be in my best interest that if that’s the case to go ahead and address it. Everything going on in my life and that of my family seems to revolve around my neck. I missed my daughter’s soccer games. I haven’t gotten to pick her up from school. I don’t go out and socialize with my family. It’s just as important for them as it is me to get this lined out. I’ve never been one to take much for pain, I’ve got 2 young children so I can’t lay around the house medicated heavily. I take 300mg of neurotin 3x a day, 4mg of zanaflex up to 2x a day and Zoloft for depression. When it gets unbearable I’ve made a couple trips to the local ER and get treated like anyone else who claims they are having pain. They give a shot of morphine and send me home. Ive done that a couple of times in the past few months.

    I understand that different doctors have different personalities. And this sorta thing involves a little bit of subjectivity. Should I just flat out tell him I’m sick of this and just want it fused? It’s not like it’s going to compromise my range of motion anymore then what it already is. Every time I sneeze I’m just waiting for that crushing arm pain. I just feel like it’s a time bomb.

    Again, thanks for the time. Sorry about the rant.

    Dr. Corenman
    Moderator
    Post count: 5533

    I would agree with the radiologist’s reading. I don’t think the EMG reading will be helpful in making surgical decisions but at least it won’t hurt. It would be helpful for you to have a diagnostic selective nerve root block to prove your pain is generated by the C5-6 level. Temporary relief would prove this level is the pain generator and you could more reliably undergo an ACDF surgery (see https://neckandback.com/treatments/pain-diary-instructions-for-spinal-injections-neck/ and https://neckandback.com/treatments/diagnostic-therapeutic-neck/).

    Dr. Corenman

    PLEASE REMEMBER, THIS FORUM IS MEANT TO PROVIDE GENERAL INFORMATION ON SPINE ANATOMY, CONDITIONS AND TREATMENTS. TO GET AN ACCURATE DIAGNOSIS, YOU MUST VISIT A QUALIFIED PROFESSIONAL IN PERSON.
    If this forum has helped you, please let Dr. Corenman know!

    jmc1982
    Participant
    Post count: 9

    Thanks Doc, I’ll see what the surgeon says and try to respectfully mention that.

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