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Stiff neck and shoulders, headache, tingling, loss of strength in arm. Takin pain killers and muscle relaxers. Best treatment?

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Internal Medicine Specialist
Practicing since : 1998
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hi doctor my name is XXXXXXX I recentely had x rays done and an mri. I have curvature of the spine and vertebral subluxation complex the chiroprator told me. The pain got worse after three weeks of adjustments. my neck and shoulders are very stiff. My thorasic spine hurts. I have terrible headaches and tingling and loss of strength down my left arm. My mri said I had probable bulging in C3 C4 through C5 and C6 without involvement of the spinal cord or exiting nerve roots . It said impression is mild spondytic changes through C3 C4 C5 and C6. I have been in soooo much pain I am relying on Pain killers and muscle relaxers to even function. What does this mean and what is the best way to treat it???? they wanted to do spinal decomprsion thereapy and more adjustments but those have made me even worse. I dont know what to do. Please help
Posted Mon, 30 Apr 2012 in Brain and Spine
Follow-up: Stiff neck and shoulders, headache, tingling, loss of strength in arm. Takin pain killers and muscle relaxers. Best treatment? 4 minutes later
Do all bulging discs hurt or just ones that hit something and what is the spondylitic changes? will I need surgery or injections? how can this be fixed???
Follow-up: Stiff neck and shoulders, headache, tingling, loss of strength in arm. Takin pain killers and muscle relaxers. Best treatment? 1 minute later
Should I also get a MRI done on the thorasic and lumbar spine? I carry pain there as well thank u sir
 
 
Answered by Dr. Jasvinder Singh 3 hours later
Hello XXXXXXX

Thanks for posting your query. I understand your health concern.

According to the MRI reports, there is a probable bulging or slipped disc at the cervical levels and mild spondylitic changes. Regarding spinal disc herniation which is also called slipped disc, it is a condition affecting the spine, in which a tear in the outer, fibrous ring of an intervertebral disc allows the soft, central portion to bulge out.

In your case, since you are having parasthesia (tingling and loss of strength) as well, it might be causing compression of the nerves. Even cervical spondolysis can cause such symptoms.

The majority of herniated discs will heal themselves in about six weeks and do not require surgery. Non-surgical methods of treatment are usually attempted first, leaving surgery as a last resort and in this non-steroidal drugs (which you are taking), cervical collars and back support and steroid injections are very useful. Surgery should only be considered as a last resort after all conservative treatments (non-surgical therapy) have been tried and these include fascetectomy, foraminotomy, intervertebral disc annuloplasty, intervertebral disc arthroplasy, laminoplasty, laminotomy, microdiscectomy or spinal laminectomy.

Cervical spondolysis is due to the 'wear & tear’ of the vertebrae and discs in the neck region.This can cause compression of the nerves and hence pain and tingling sensations.

Now what you should do is apply warm compresses on the area and take the prescribed anti-inflammatory pain killers. Application of topical muscle relaxants will also help. Cervical spondolysis also responds to cervical collars. It is also very important to make sure that the pillow you use under your head is the correct size and thickness for your body. Avoid stretching of shoulders and apply warm compresses on the part. More severe cases may need steroid injections.

Only if all these measures fail, is surgery opted.

If you are having pain in thoracic or lumbar spine, then it is better to get a whole spine MRI done.

Regarding the curvature of spine, in most cases, physiotherapy, casting and bracing are sufficient but surgery is usually recommended by orthopedists for curves that have a high likelihood of progression (i.e., greater than 45 to 50 degrees magnitude) or curves that would be cosmetically unacceptable. So you can opt for casting and bracing of the spine also.

Please consult an orthopedic surgeon and discuss these treatment options with him. Till then you can wear a cervical collar and back brace after consulting your doctor.

Hope this answers your query. If you have additional questions or follow up queries then please do not hesitate in writing to us. I will be happy to answer your queries.

Wishing you good health.

Regards,
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: Stiff neck and shoulders, headache, tingling, loss of strength in arm. Takin pain killers and muscle relaxers. Best treatment? 15 hours later
I am curious sir if the discs are bulging or just herniated i am a little confused. In patients you have seen with vertebral subluxation, disc bulging and sponylitic changes usually require muscle relaxers and narcotic pain killers? I cant do anything with out them. Is that normal with these conditions?
Follow-up: Stiff neck and shoulders, headache, tingling, loss of strength in arm. Takin pain killers and muscle relaxers. Best treatment? 3 hours later
Doctor I was just curious if my case sounds mild or severe to you as a professional this has been an ongoing problem for about three months now. Therefore it has not healed itself. Everything you have wrote to me is a great tool I will be going into a pain management doctor here in Arizona where I suppose they can determine whether or not I need the steroid injections. Oh I forgot to mention that my shoulder blades hurt as well. The entire area up from there gets very aggrivated. Thank you for your help.
 
 
Answered by Dr. Jasvinder Singh 15 hours later
Hello,

Thanks for posting your query.

There is no difference between the terms bulging and herniated discs. Bulging is a layman term and herniation is a scientific term.

In patients who have even mild spondolysis may require muscle relaxants and NSAID's (narcotic pain killers. Depending on the severity of pain even narcotic pain killers may be required.

Your symptoms would fall in mild to moderate category rather than severe in which there are continuous shooting pains and difficulty in even moving the neck and limbs.

Hope this answers your query. If you have additional questions or follow up queries then please do not hesitate in writing to us. I will be happy to answer your queries.

Wishing you good health.

Regards,
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: Stiff neck and shoulders, headache, tingling, loss of strength in arm. Takin pain killers and muscle relaxers. Best treatment? 26 hours later
Thank you so much doctor this will be my last question. With out the XXXXXXX and percocet I have a hard time moving at all. The pain is chronic and takes up my whole life. What would you say about lifting things and restrictions I should take into account before I see the physiciasn soon.
 
 
Answered by Dr. Jasvinder Singh 20 hours later
Hello,

Thanks for writing back.

I can understand the pain that you must be having if you have to take XXXXXXX and percocet daily.

First of all, for bulging discs, pelvic tilts, curls and hip rolling are important exercises but they should be done under a physiotherapist's guidance.

Apart from that, avoid strenous exercise or any strenuous activity for a while. Also avoid lifting weights or any heavy bucket etc which may put an additional load on the back.

Hope this answers your query. If you have additional questions or follow up queries then please do not hesitate in writing to us.

I will be happy to answer your queries.

Please accept my answer if you do not have any more queries.

Wishing you good health.

Regards.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
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