bulging/herniated discs in the neck and nerve pain

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Red_34
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Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 23413
   Posted 8/21/2009 5:03 AM (GMT -7)   
I haven't posted on this forum in quite some time.  But I have a question(s) for you all if you are able to answer it that is.
 
I have two bulging discs (possibly a third with slight herniation) in my neck.  Last year I went thru 3 epidural injections and that worked for about 6 months.  But then I started getting some massive nerve pain in my hands so I had a series of 3 more this year.  The shots worked great but I am TERRIFIED that the nerve pain will come back!  That was the most horrible feeling/experience ever! 
 
So my question(s) is for anyone that suffers from bulging discs and nerve pain:
 
1.  Was there a point in which the cortisone injections stopped working?
2.  How many injections did you receive and for how long?
3.  Am I destined to have neck surgery at some time in my life?
4.  Can bulging discs "cure" themselves?
5.  If you have suffered nerve pain, did the pain become permanant over time with the bulging/herniated discs?
 
 
 
 
 @--->--SHERRY--<---@
Moderator for Allergies/Asthma and Co-moderator for UC
~Left sided Uc-'92-Colazal(9 daily),6mp(50-100mgs),Bentyl, Prilosec,Biotin,Forvia,Pro-Bio**Unable to tolerate ALL mesalamines**~Allergies-Singulair, Zyrtec~Secondary Reynauds Syndrome-'04-Norvasc~Sacroiliitis~bulging and herniated discs C5/C6 & C6/C7~Epidural injections (2 series of 3), OA-Celebrex, Tylonel Arthritis and Voltaren Gel
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infinite
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 84
   Posted 8/21/2009 6:45 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Sherry,
 
My struggle with back issues started almost 20 years ago, with a couple of broken lumbar vertebrae and a fusion.  A few years later this was followed by a couple of blown disc in the same area, and then a few years after that, an auto accident left me with some cracked cervical vertebrae and fusion. So, I can certainly feel your pain! I now have chronic flank pain, as described by my PM Dr., that is nerve pain in the intercostal region.
 
As for your questions:
1) I have never had a successful cortizone injection, at least in my back.  I had an intercostal nerve block done a few months ago that gave me about 3 weeks of decent relief, but that was all.
2) I have not had too many (5 or 6 total?), especially since my lumbar fusion made a large bone mass down there and makes it difficult to get needles in there.  The last L5 block they tried they had to go through the tailbone - that freakin hurt!
3) I never had surgery for disc issues, but I know that times and procedures have changed since my issues in the mid 90's.  I wouldn't look at it as a bad thing if it is proposed.
4) I don't really know the answer to this one, but my guess is that the cure is it "blowing out". 
5) Nerve pain is the worse pain for treating I have ever experienced.  I am going to start sounding like a drug rep here, but I have found 10x more relief with Lyrica than with any narcotic.  My "normal" is far from normal, but we have to adapt, and I am sure you understand that.  I accept that I am never going to be 100% pain free, but anytime I find something that makes my days liveable (Lyrica), I certainly appreciate it!
 
Take care of you, and please keep us posted on your progress!
 
N8

Mrs. Dani
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 2787
   Posted 8/21/2009 7:50 AM (GMT -7)   
 
 
   Dear Red,
 
     Good morning. My name is Dani. It is very nice to meet you. :-) I do not know if I can provide all the answers you looking for but I will try. My doctors do not know a cause yet. "We are not certian at this time." In any case my bones are crumbling. All small bone areas were / are severly damaged. Lots of issues with spine.
 
So my question(s) is for anyone that suffers from bulging discs and nerve pain:
 
1.  Was there a point in which the cortisone injections stopped working?
 
I have been recieving spine injections for about a year and a half. They are still working. At first the procedures were quick (when bone loss was in its early stages) and only in an area called lumbar. Now half my back is done, charged for x2 procedures each time.
 
2.  How many injections did you receive and for how long?
 
Many now. Just because of the bone loss thou. "Structural Issue" they say.  I am approved for every 3months. But! The last few times I have made it just under 4months. No kidding. *high five*
 
3.  Am I destined to have neck surgery at some time in my life?
 
I donno. Sometimes I ask, you know, if everything is okay back there. They say "Do not worry about  that right now."
 
4.  Can bulging discs "cure" themselves?
 
... I do not know. So far, for me, I do not have a cure. But I am very comfortable and pleased with my level of activity and quality of life now that my pain is "managed".
 
5.  If you have suffered nerve pain, did the pain become permanant over time with the bulging/herniated discs?
 
My pain is permanant.  So far. But, that is okay. Technology is progressing at break neck speed and I am excited to see what the future may hold for back pain patients. Once apon a time the eye doctor told me I would never see out of my right eye. Was only 7yrs old... Then came Lasik and Synthetic lense implants! So never know!   smilewinkgrin  
 
It was really veyr nice to meet you.  I am sorry I wasnt able to better answer your questions. Hope you have a good day :-)
 
*Warm huggs*
    dani
  
 
TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,  
And sorry I could not travel both  
And be one traveler, long I stood


Gretchen1
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 3459
   Posted 8/21/2009 8:16 AM (GMT -7)   
Hey Sherry!
 
I am right there with you.  I have a herniated disc with impingement.  I am trying hard to cure it without surgery.  My PCP has stated that if the herniation was caused by injury/poor posture, poor muscle tone then it can cure itself.  He has seen discs go back into correct position with lots of PT, stretching and exercise. 
 
I have heard that this can take a long time; from one to two years.  I can't even attempt to answer your other questions.  I had epicondolitis once and was told that over time cortisone can deteriorate cartilage.  I had three injuctions and then worked hard with a PT to get rid of that one.  I don't really know about long term cortisone use in your neck. 
 
Good luck.  I hope you can find some good answers and I hope you can avoid that nerve pain.
Gretchen  ~  diagnosed with MS July 2006
 
I have no lesions on my soul and so I will live with no limits.


Draka
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 256
   Posted 8/21/2009 12:56 PM (GMT -7)   
1. Was there a point in which the cortisone injections stopped working?
I never experienced any relief from any of the injections that I have tried... except for the Botox.... the results I got from the Botox injection was wonderful and lasted for about 2 months.

2. How many injections did you receive and for how long?
I had 5 cervical facet injections done in Dec 08..... just finished the last of three cervical epidural last month.... also received Botox in my entire neck/shoulder/upperback area in May 09

3. Am I destined to have neck surgery at some time in my life?
This is the exact stage where I am now as my PM Dr cannot help me anymore with any other treatments.... I go to see the surgeon again next Thursday to go over my results from the EMG I just had.
4. Can bulging discs "cure" themselves?
I have had this struggle with my neck for the last 10 years..... my MRI from 2004 reports findings that my conditions are much worse compared to the MRI I just recently had.

5. If you have suffered nerve pain, did the pain become permanant over time with the bulging/herniated discs?

I will be finding out if I have any permanent nerve damage next week... I do have a pinched that makes my right elbow numb.
Lisa

Post Edited (Draka) : 8/21/2009 2:01:32 PM (GMT-6)


PAlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 8/21/2009 2:19 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi, Red,
I'll just share my experience with neck pain over a good 25 year period. I've never had cortisone injections in my neck, but they've never worked in other areas except my hands (for tendons - and that took a series of 3 injections). I think that cortisone injectins aren't designed to cure but to manage pain. If you can get 6 months of relief that's pretty good. Also, it means they are able to locate the nerve that is causing the pain, so possibly a radiofrequency procedure might work for you. I've not had one, but others here have. They injure the nerve so it can't transmit pain impulses, but it will grow back over time.

On the other hand, I've managed my neck problems with lots of PT - and I still do the exercises I was taught, and when things get back wear my soft neck collar for a couple of days. Also good ergonomics - sitting, computer position, standing, sleeping (I think we had the pillow discussion awhile ago), etc. My MRI showed bulging disks back in the early 90's. I've never had another cervical spine MRI and don't want to unless I something worsens. I will manage it on my own. But good PT, and even finding a good massage therapist (I am VERY careful about who I let touch my neck - PT or massage therapists have also made things worse in the past) have been for me essential. And the right stretches. Also, carpal tunnel surgery on both hands. I put that off for a long time, believing the nerve pain and numbness in my hands were from neck problems, then finally they got so bad I had my right hand done and the pain in my hands was gone. So there are a lot of things to check into before cervical spine surgery, but if you've done everything it may be time for at least a surgical consult.

Also - my strong opinion is that chiropractors can do a lot of harm to necks, and I read this in a Harvard study a few years ago, plus had personal experience with it. So I'd stay away from that for the neck (but does help with lower spine).

Hope this helps some!

PaLady

Draka
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 256
   Posted 8/21/2009 9:56 PM (GMT -7)   
PAlady said...

Also - my strong opinion is that chiropractors can do a lot of harm to necks, and I read this in a Harvard study a few years ago, plus had personal experience with it. So I'd stay away from that for the neck (but does help with lower spine).
PaLady



PAlady.... I agree 100% with you on this..... I learned to stay away from the the Chiropractors for my neck pain.... WOW... did they only make me feel worse and I had incredible pain while they were adjusting me.
Lisa


Red_34
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 23413
   Posted 8/22/2009 3:27 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks everyone! These answers helped me a lot. It's good to see the different experiences everyone has had.

PALady, yes we discussed the pillow and I whole heartedly agree that a good pillow makes the world of difference! But I too went to PT for a couple years so I learned the excersizes as well and in which I continue to do. I also have a soft cervical collar that I wear sometimes when my neck gets a bit "whacky". I do have a lot of hand problems (CT, Trigger finger, arthritis) but I doubt the nerve pain is from that. Because when I had the nerve pain, I was also having some bad issues with my neck as well.

You know, my SIL keeps trying to get me to see her chiro and she ravesa bout how good he is. She even has a bulging disc in her L area in which he is treating. I dunno, me personally, don't care for chiro's. They scare me! lol
 @--->--SHERRY--<---@
Moderator for Allergies/Asthma and Co-moderator for UC
~Left sided Uc-'92-Colazal(9 daily),6mp(50-100mgs),Bentyl, Prilosec,Biotin,Forvia,Pro-Bio**Unable to tolerate ALL mesalamines**~Allergies-Singulair, Zyrtec~Secondary Reynauds Syndrome-'04-Norvasc~Sacroiliitis~bulging and herniated discs C5/C6 & C6/C7~Epidural injections (2 series of 3), OA-Celebrex, Tylonel Arthritis and Voltaren Gel
To help Healingwell - click here: DONATE
 
 
 
 

 
 


Gretchen1
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 3459
   Posted 8/22/2009 7:43 AM (GMT -7)   
I am terrified of Chiropractors!  No thanks.  I am sure there are many wonderful chiros out there, I just don't want one.  I will stick with the wonderful doctors I have. 
Gretchen  ~  diagnosed with MS July 2006
 
I have no lesions on my soul and so I will live with no limits.


Mrs. Dani
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 2787
   Posted 8/22/2009 10:02 AM (GMT -7)   

 

 

   Dear Red,

     Good morning *huggs* It is really good to see you again. I hope you are a finding time to relax, youve got to be in so much pain. I do not know how you do it. I personally think neck and feet are the worst! I mean, how on earth are you suppoed to "not use" those body parts so they can heal? *sigh* Terribly sorry you have to go through it.

       You know, I went to Chiropractor early on. Now in my case, at first(4yrs ago) , my X ray were "normal". So, of course, I went to physical therapy and chiropractor. I kept it up despite the literal "constant lvl 5 pain". Literally every day. Was hard. The chiropractor was never able to "adjust" anything but  the area between my shoulderblades.( I was seeing him for, at the time, lumbar pain) But! That did provide enough releif to being upper body exercise. It never helped my lower region, but that was also my first experience with "stimulators". There was no denying those helped ALOT on my lower back.  Now I have my own TeNS unit and goodness! I just love Mr.T !

     I always say "couldnt hurt to try" but in the case of your neck.. I would be cautious. I have known many many people who have gone to chriopractors for their necks and it "seems" to be the releif is often only a day or 2. Just my impression thou. *huggs* I have no first hand knowladge of chiropratic treatment in the neck confused

*warm huggs*

     dani


TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,  
And sorry I could not travel both  
And be one traveler, long I stood

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