Posted 1/28/2009 11:18 PM (GMT -6)
Hello, I too want to welcome you to Healing Well. Wow, you do have some significant findings going on in the cervical spine. No wonder you are having the upper body problems. I am very glad to see you are going to see a neurosurgeon soon. In my opinion, and its mine only, I would only see a neurosurgeon for either my neck and back, oh, I have been seen by both. But, when it comes to surgery, only a neurosurgeon for me. He is much more qualified in the nerves in the spine than an orthopedic. Kuddos to your doc for admitting he was over his head in trying to take care of you, I highly repect any dr that will admit to that.
The Schmorls node don't worry about it. I have it as well and for some reason those things only get in the thoracic spine. My neuro says that is something that they do nothing with. I believe he said it was congenital.
You know what the narrowing is, it can cause pinched nerves which can cause a great deal of pain.You can experience pain going down an arm and have numbness in certain fingers on your hands, shoulder pain too. You have 3 levels in your neck that all show problems going on, that will cause you alot of pain. I am sure by now you have looked up alot of this online. Lots of narrowing/stenosis, osteophytes, degenerative changes, yes your neck should hurt.
As for the lumbar spine you have a couple of levels that your facet joints are involved, they can cause hell from pain too. Surgery is sort of last result from what I have read on the facet joints. I have big problems at L5-S1 which is the very bottom disc. From the way your report reads your fusion may not have taken at L5-S1, I say that because it says that it looks like a fusion was attempted. Your back reads pretty much the same as your neck, degenerative changes, stenosis, osteophytes(Bone Spurs), loss of height space at one level. Certainly enough problems to cause pain that you are describing.
I am not a doctor. I have read, oh gosh, I don't know how many thousands of MRI reports over a 20 some year plus history of working for attys that did personal injury, worker's comp as their primary practice. So, I do have some understanding in reading a report.
Are you another surgical canidate? Who knows, that up to you and a doctor. I don't know if a dr would even consider going in and trying to clean up your back or even if you would benefit from it. The one thing you do need to ask about is if the fusion took at not at L5-S1. Please write that down on your list of questions. As for your neck, that can go either way. It will not surprise me if surgery is offered on your neck. Alot depends too on you and what you are willing to do. One thing is for sure, you have alot going on in both areas to warrant having the pain you have described thats for sure.
I don't know how long all of this has been going on. But, before having any surgery always get a second opinion. As someone suggested, make a list of questions and take them to this dr appt coming up. Have your MRI report in hand, have this dr explain in detail what he think of the MRI's.
Depression and pain go hand in hand. I can assume you have a primary care physician. By all means get an appt and go in and discuss how depressed you are feeling. Get on an antidepressant as quick as you can. Sometimes they can even help with the pain. You may have to try more than one to find the one that helps you, this is not uncommon. All antidepressants are not created equal.
If surgery is not an option and conservative care is the plan, then by all means ask for a referral to a pain mgt specialist. Get into a dr that deals with pain and understands pain. But, one thing you need to know, some pain drs will not give pain medication, all they want to do is injections and procedures. Be sure and ask if the dr gives medication as well as injections & procedures. Do not feel awkward asking this question because there are two kinds of pain drs. One thing we have all learned, when it comes to drs we have to advocate for ourselves. The old Marcus Welby, MD days are long gone,lol.
I do hope that you decided to hang out with us here. We really are a decent group of people that have one thing in common for sure pain. We may have pity parties, (those are allowed but you have to invite everyone), vent, need a shoulder to lean on, lot of tips, alot of compassion and understanding. Not everyone understands chronic pain.
You have alot on your plate. Like the others say, don't keep stressing yourself out over this. Stress will just make you hurt more because your muscles will just tie up in knots. Take nice long warm soaks in the tub, invest in a moist heating pad, anything to help you relax. Just cross each bridge as you get to them don't try to cross them all at once. Please keep us posted on how you are coming along..Susie