Pinched Nerve And Agonizing Pain Please, Help

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Neck of Steel Cindy
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Appointment

Hello Cinnamongirl. Is it possible for the nurse practitioner to get your films ordered and get you in quickly to see a specialist? Possibly you'll respond to injections or a steroid pack to get things settled down. We have a nurse practitioner here in our small town and she has a great work ethic with the local doctors. All she has to do is call one of them and they will see the patient, almost immediately. Try to push for some help. Good luck.

Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!

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Cinnamongirl
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Not Happy

I just got back from my appointment and I'm not happy. The nurse had me hold my arms out and felt along my neck and upper spine. I told her what kind of pain I've been in. She told me she thinks it's a spasm. She told me to increase my ibuprofen to 600mgs to try flexaril, to continue icing and heating and to come back in 2 weeks.

Now maybe I'm just irritated because, I'm in all this pain but, when she said that I wanted to cry. These 2 weeks have been SO painful. She didn't even check the range of motion of my neck. Or she would have seen I can't even lift my chin to look at the ceiling.

My index finger on my right hand is totally numb for 3 days now. My thumb tingles too. As does my forearm. The pain isn't gone. And all the movement of typing and using things like silverware or pens is painful. I have to stop and start because, it hurts. I have muscle weakness in my hand to the point that I couldn't even open the bottle of ibuprofen yesterday.

She asked me nothing about muscle strength or if the pain has gotten worse. I feel insulted. TWO more weeks of this. I'm so, angry. I know I'm not a medical professional.. maybe what she thinks is correct but, it still makes me mad. I even asked her if I could have an MRI and her response was that she needed to see the initial MRI before she could order one. That just made me wonder if she thought I was lying about about bulging and herniated discs in my neck. I mean I'm allergic to opiates. I'm not asking for vicodin. I'm asking for an MRI.

Sorry.. I just really needed to vent. I'll keep you guys posted. And again thank you for the input and encouragement.

sandycreech
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mri

Hi cinnamon girl. Your story sounds very familiar to me. Back in late August I woke from a sound sleep feeling like I had a knife in my back and absolutely no feeling in my left arm. Very scary! I went to my regular doc - she too said it was a spasm. I do believe spasms can be incredibly painful, but with a completely numb arm I was not happy with her comment. She did send me for xrays that day, and that xray did show large bone spurs grown into my nerve root. Even with that, she wanted to try 3 different medications, and physical therapy that did nothing for my pain (I did learn about a TENS unit there, bought myself one on line and that did help a huge amount - if you don't have one, definitely look into one). Anyhow. After a month with me in constant pain my phys therapist recommends steroids, not my doc! Doc does put me on a medrol pack, but I had horrible results?! Only after that did she recommend me to a pain management doc. He recommended epidurals usually done 2 weeks apart - I had 3 of them - some a month apart as he was on vacation. Epidurals did help but only lasted a month before pain was right back. A month after my last epidural I finally got the referral to my neurosurgeon! I was still in crazy pain - I do understand your frustration. You have to keep calling the docs office, talk to the nurse leave messages. I knew the nurse by her first name. It was crazy. In my case my pain started in mid April and I finally had my ACDF on 8-29 - and that was with a lot of pushing on my part. In my case I had completely compressed nerves and bone to bone for 3 disks from a car accident 20 years ago. I had definite proof of major damage and the surgery had made a huge difference. I'm almost 6 weeks post op now. Don't give up, or change doctors. Worse case, you can go into an ER and they will run the tests for you. It all depends of how your insurance is set up. I ended up doing a self referral to a surgeon to get a 2nd and 3rd opinion rather than wait for my doc to give me them. My insurance allowed it. If your does it may save you some time..

Good luck and I hope you are feelin better soon. Might want to see if anyone you know has a TENS and try it. Mine was amazing at helping to block my pain.

Sandy

graciegirl
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Joined: 07/31/2011 - 11:10am
Hi Cinnamon, Hope you are

Hi Cinnamon,

Hope you are feeling better. Uh, I know. Probably not. I do hope you have been finding out some answers to your pain and dilemna. My neck is getting worse again, the nerve pain seems to be all over my body now. You need to take action as soon as you can. I have been a little slow as my husband is not doing the best either.
Perhaps your doctor is following what he thinks is the best protocol for you. If you are in this intense pain however, I might look to see another doctor as well. If you are delegated to only the nurse, which some are really good, if you think you need more help definitely seek it. I am hoping you find some relief from this pain.

Hi Sandy, hope you are doing okay.

Gracie

Cinnamongirl
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Joined: 02/05/2011 - 7:10pm
Thank You

sandycreech wrote:
Hi cinnamon girl. Your story sounds very familiar to me. Back in late August I woke from a sound sleep feeling like I had a knife in my back and absolutely no feeling in my left arm. Very scary! I went to my regular doc - she too said it was a spasm. I do believe spasms can be incredibly painful, but with a completely numb arm I was not happy with her comment. She did send me for xrays that day, and that xray did show large bone spurs grown into my nerve root. Even with that, she wanted to try 3 different medications, and physical therapy that did nothing for my pain (I did learn about a TENS unit there, bought myself one on line and that did help a huge amount - if you don't have one, definitely look into one). Anyhow. After a month with me in constant pain my phys therapist recommends steroids, not my doc! Doc does put me on a medrol pack, but I had horrible results?! Only after that did she recommend me to a pain management doc. He recommended epidurals usually done 2 weeks apart - I had 3 of them - some a month apart as he was on vacation. Epidurals did help but only lasted a month before pain was right back. A month after my last epidural I finally got the referral to my neurosurgeon! I was still in crazy pain - I do understand your frustration. You have to keep calling the docs office, talk to the nurse leave messages. I knew the nurse by her first name. It was crazy. In my case my pain started in mid April and I finally had my ACDF on 8-29 - and that was with a lot of pushing on my part. In my case I had completely compressed nerves and bone to bone for 3 disks from a car accident 20 years ago. I had definite proof of major damage and the surgery had made a huge difference. I'm almost 6 weeks post op now. Don't give up, or change doctors. Worse case, you can go into an ER and they will run the tests for you. It all depends of how your insurance is set up. I ended up doing a self referral to a surgeon to get a 2nd and 3rd opinion rather than wait for my doc to give me them. My insurance allowed it. If your does it may save you some time..

Good luck and I hope you are feelin better soon. Might want to see if anyone you know has a TENS and try it. Mine was amazing at helping to block my pain.

Sandy

You're right. Our stories are very similar! Thank you for posting! That's horrible that you had to go through as much as you did! And for that long too! I do know what a tens unit is. When I'd go to physical therapy for my L5 S1 injury one of the physical therapists would use a machine just like that on me. It was a little bigger and a little stronger. I'd asked him if I could have one at home and his response was that he wouldn't even kid me.. that a tens wasn't strong enough for the kind of pain I was in. I did end up getting the other machine. I've recently moved and looked all over only to find that I think the machine is in storage 2000 away miles from here.

I'm sorry you had to go through what you did but, your story validates what I'm going through. My injuries are from an accident too. The accident was 4+ years ago now. And for all of the injections and months of physical therapy ..especially, with my L5 S1.. to have to be facing this kind of pain with my neck shoulder and arm is such a defeating feeling.

I hope you're feeling better and that your recovery continues to go well.

sandycreech
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hi Gracie and Cinnamon

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Post Edited by Authority Member Liz

I got mine from LG medical supply direct, this post is from amazon but it is the same thing. True it is different than the one at therapy of course, theirs is commercial - but this is FANTASTIC. I usually only use it on setting #19 or 20 - I think it goes to at least 50 so it is very strong. This one has 2 settings TENS for nerves and EMMS for muscles. I used the TENS since all my pain was nerve related. With the commercial one, it felt just a bit different, but honestly not much. Try putting the electrodes in different places - I always had them right behind my neck and then on my left side by my shoulder blade which is where I had the knife in the back feeling. I promise it is amazing - I don't know how it does it but it blocks the pain somehow. Much better than the crazy pain stuff they had. I would put those electrodes on me in the morning and walk around with wires hanging off of me all day - I looked wierd! The TENS can run on battery and clip to your belt. I work at Full Sail university so there is students everywhere boy would they look at me! who cares.

I've only used it a few times post op and that tells you the big difference in pain now vs before surgery.

I went to doc yesterday - got my xrays (looks so wierd!!) doc says hardware looks good. still get muscle spasms and issues mostly with right arm now - not as bad as before surgery, and pain comes and goes. doc said they found huge bone spurs on both sides and they had to clean all the nerve root out, it was complete compressed in 3 places. since pain comes and goes it is good indication that it will eventually go away. coming and going is a sign of nerves slowly healing. when the arm pain is bad i wrap a heating pad around it and it works great. i still take my muscle spasm meds when needed. try not to take too often as i get the spinning effect like being a chicken cooking. and the floor seems like it is moving!

I'll be 6 weeks monday. i got back to work at 8 weeks - 10/24. he said best to start part time working no more than 4 hours a day for 3-5 days a week. that gives me lots of flexibility to see how I feel. he left it open that for the first month that is my schedule and i can work more hours if i feel up to it. I called my job, they believe my disability can be extended for part time work based on how much i work. Win win situation for me! But my husband just got laid off, so it will be good to have a bit more money coming in..

Scariest for me is driving. I tried it yesterday - hard as of course I can't turn to see behind me! I did buy a huge 17" rear view mirror before surgery - again on amazon and boy does it help. I can see blind spots on each side. I'm in a convertible so I have huge blind spots where the material is to make the top go down in the back! I do not feel comfortable with reverse! I'm going to look into a rear view camera, but have to find one that doesn't install the viewing part on my roof and I sometimes don't have a roof! : ) I'll start physical therapy in another month and go for another set of xrays and see doc again on 11/15 at 3 months.

That is my update - I hope some of that info helps you both! I still sleep with heating pad as it really helps with back pain while trying to sleep. I'm on a futon as our waterbed is bad news for me. I may have to look to buy a new mattress and give up on waterbed. Do you have any suggestions on a good but not ungodly expensive mattress type?

Hope you have a sunny day!

Sandy

Cinnamongirl
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Joined: 02/05/2011 - 7:10pm
Still In Pain

sandycreech wrote:
the TENS unit I got is from LG medical supply - LG Elite - here is a link

Link removed, solicitation not permitted

I got mine from LG medical supply direct, this post is from amazon but it is the same thing. True it is different than the one at therapy of course, theirs is commercial - but this is FANTASTIC. I usually only use it on setting #19 or 20 - I think it goes to at least 50 so it is very strong. This one has 2 settings TENS for nerves and EMMS for muscles. I used the TENS since all my pain was nerve related. With the commercial one, it felt just a bit different, but honestly not much. Try putting the electrodes in different places - I always had them right behind my neck and then on my left side by my shoulder blade which is where I had the knife in the back feeling. I promise it is amazing - I don't know how it does it but it blocks the pain somehow. Much better than the crazy pain stuff they had. I would put those electrodes on me in the morning and walk around with wires hanging off of me all day - I looked wierd! The TENS can run on battery and clip to your belt. I work at Full Sail university so there is students everywhere boy would they look at me! who cares.

I've only used it a few times post op and that tells you the big difference in pain now vs before surgery.

I went to doc yesterday - got my xrays (looks so wierd!!) doc says hardware looks good. still get muscle spasms and issues mostly with right arm now - not as bad as before surgery, and pain comes and goes. doc said they found huge bone spurs on both sides and they had to clean all the nerve root out, it was complete compressed in 3 places. since pain comes and goes it is good indication that it will eventually go away. coming and going is a sign of nerves slowly healing. when the arm pain is bad i wrap a heating pad around it and it works great. i still take my muscle spasm meds when needed. try not to take too often as i get the spinning effect like being a chicken cooking. and the floor seems like it is moving!

I'll be 6 weeks monday. i got back to work at 8 weeks - 10/24. he said best to start part time working no more than 4 hours a day for 3-5 days a week. that gives me lots of flexibility to see how I feel. he left it open that for the first month that is my schedule and i can work more hours if i feel up to it. I called my job, they believe my disability can be extended for part time work based on how much i work. Win win situation for me! But my husband just got laid off, so it will be good to have a bit more money coming in..

Scariest for me is driving. I tried it yesterday - hard as of course I can't turn to see behind me! I did buy a huge 17" rear view mirror before surgery - again on amazon and boy does it help. I can see blind spots on each side. I'm in a convertible so I have huge blind spots where the material is to make the top go down in the back! I do not feel comfortable with reverse! I'm going to look into a rear view camera, but have to find one that doesn't install the viewing part on my roof and I sometimes don't have a roof! : ) I'll start physical therapy in another month and go for another set of xrays and see doc again on 11/15 at 3 months.

That is my update - I hope some of that info helps you both! I still sleep with heating pad as it really helps with back pain while trying to sleep. I'm on a futon as our waterbed is bad news for me. I may have to look to buy a new mattress and give up on waterbed. Do you have any suggestions on a good but not ungodly expensive mattress type?

Hope you have a sunny day!

Sandy

I'm glad to hear you're doing so well! That's encouraging. I miss my HWave machine. It's the one I mentioned before that is like a TENS.

I'm so bummed out with this pain that I'm almost depressed. My index finger is still numb. And now my thumb is starting to feel the same way. Today I noticed the pain pretty intense in my elbow. I spent the day watching movies with the heating pad.

I feel bad because, the pain is pretty much all I talk about lately. Maybe because, I feel constant intense pain. But, I'm pretty sure my family is getting used to hearing me say "it just hurts so bad".

At one point today I decided to switch from the heating pad to an ice pack. And I learned that my neck wasn't happy with that. Almost immediately the pain started intensifying. I'm guessing it's because, my muscles got all tense around the nerves from the cold.

I put the heating pad back on and then sat there and started crying. I don't cry easily at pain. It was a combination of how bad it hurt and knowing that I've got another 2 weeks of this before I can take the next step. It makes me feel almost defeated.

It's frustrating that the lightest touch to my fingers, hand, wrist, arm, elbow or shoulder make the nerve react immediately. Not to mention gravity if I have my arm resting one way or another. And if I turn my head too far to the right ..forget it. I just want to scream. Or cry. Or both.

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Post Edited by Authority Member Liz

Cinnamongirl
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Joined: 02/05/2011 - 7:10pm
Still going through it

I'm in so much pain I can't stand it. I just need to vent for a minute. It's days away from being in this pain for a month. There's no position that I can hold my head where it doesn't hurt my neck. I've taken 2 bottles of ibuprofen in the past 30 days trying to get relief. All it does is take the edge off and make it somewhat bearable if I don't move or tilt in one way or another. Friday I have another appointment with the nurse practitioner. If I could afford the trip to the ER I would go right now. I have actual swelling that I can see. That kinda freaks me out. I don't know what to do anymore. I can't take this pain anymore. I ice. I heat. I take ibuprofen. I rest. I sit in a hot tub. Nothing is helping. I'm desperate for medical help. This is terrible. And I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy.

junipurrwind
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I'm there

You are not alone. I TOTALLY feel your pain!!! Sounds like we are both in a very similar situation.
I just moved a few days ago & my OS was supposed to get me a referral here but is being painfully slow about it...and in the meantime wouldn't refill my pain meds, so it's just an extremely frustrating waiting game being in between doctors. And it took me a month just to get into to see THAT doctor. So I am fully expecting to have to wait ANOTHER month.
I am in so much pain that I am not sleeping & can barely get out of bed in the mornings. I am experiencing the same problem with pain in my neck/shoulder blades radiating into the arms. Like you, I don't know what to do. I don't know how much more I can stand. I hope it helps you to know that I understand what you're going through, because believe me, I do. I feel for you, I know how you must be suffering. Keep in touch, I will pray for some kind of relief for you.

Junipurrwind

ACDF C5-C6 01/2002
ACDF C6-C7 12/2011
Prognosis: Permanent nerve damage in hands/arms, all treatment options exhausted-- lifetime CPP

Cinnamongirl
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Joined: 02/05/2011 - 7:10pm
Thank You

junipurrwind wrote:
You are not alone. I TOTALLY feel your pain!!! Sounds like we are both in a very similar situation.
I just moved a few days ago & my OS was supposed to get me a referral here but is being painfully slow about it...and in the meantime wouldn't refill my pain meds, so it's just an extremely frustrating waiting game being in between doctors. And it took me a month just to get into to see THAT doctor. So I am fully expecting to have to wait ANOTHER month.
I am in so much pain that I am not sleeping & can barely get out of bed in the mornings. I am experiencing the same problem with pain in my neck/shoulder blades radiating into the arms. Like you, I don't know what to do. I don't know how much more I can stand. I hope it helps you to know that I understand what you're going through, because believe me, I do. I feel for you, I know how you must be suffering. Keep in touch, I will pray for some kind of relief for you.

Thank you so much. I'll say a prayer that you get relief quickly too. I know that other people deal with this too and people deal with worse things too but, in the moment when I'm in excruciating pain it feels like I'm alone. I talk to my family but, there isn't anything anyone can say or do. So, most of the time I put on a brave face if I can. And sometimes I come here and try to vent and get some support which has been wonderful to get.

I too recently moved. And getting set up with new docs when dealing with something like this is hard. And I have to say that I really didn't like telling a nurse practitioner about the pain and numbness and how I have two bad discs in my neck in the SAME LOCATION where I'm having the pain in my neck now ..to have her tell me it's probably a spasm. I know spasms hurt but, really? A two week long spasm that causes numbness and tingling? Ugh. Something has to give. I laid on my bed and cried for 20 minutes from this pain a little while ago. And I should be going to sleep. At least then I can almost feel like I've escaped the pain for a little while. But, my neck is doing that thing where it's aching really strong and feeling like there's a hot coal being pushed against it. Ouch.

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