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Feeling very overwhelmed !!!

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,000
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:27 AM in New Member Introductions
My name is Sandi and I can't tell you how wonderful it is to have stumbled onto this web site. I have spent many hours reading all of your stories, and am finding comfort in just knowing that I have found people that will understand what I am feeling these days, although truthfully I feel as though my condition is like that of a stubbed toe in comparison to what some of you have been through. I have been suffering with neck pain for many years now, I'd say 12 maybe, due mostly to a car accident where we were rear ended an I end up with the usual "whiplash". I've also had numerous other incidents and accidents over the years, I don't like to title myself as clumsy... just accident prone! I've had numerous chiropractic and physio therapy treatments and have been told most often by GP's just to take Advil and put ice or heat on my neck, to the point that I would rarely seek out medical attention. Up until recently I've always managed to take care of it myself with stretching exercises as well as the above mentioned treatments (although I did graduate from Advil to Robax platinum.) Until one of my most recent accidents I had, one where I stepped on a rotten deck plank and fell, when I went down I put my hands out(to what, stop the fall?) and again my neck suffered the most. This happened at a tourist attraction so when I was unable to move my neck and was in severe pain, the management insisted on calling an ambulance. On route to the hospital I developed a tingling sensation down my right arm that went right into my thumb, I was treated with a shot of "who knows what" and when the muscles in my neck relaxed I was sent on my way, and yes I recovered however the numbness in my thumb has never gone away. Then after my most recent incident about a year ago another fall, this time off a sidewalk backwards again putting my arms out to stop the fall, again jarring my neck. This time no matter what I tried, ice, heat, stretching, over the counter pain medications I was unable releive the pain, which just seemed to be getting worst and by this time was also running down my left arm. Which all in long winded nut shell, brings me to now. I finally broke down and went to my GP which had just taken over the practice and I didn't know very well. I told him my past and present accidents and injuries, past and present symptoms, I now look back on it as coming out of the closet! He then sent me for an xray and to my surprise the very next day called me at work to come in and see him, this led to having a CT scan 6 months later, which then led me to a visit with a neurosurgeon, and just 2 weeks ago an MRI. All this has left me stunned, I have been told I have some pretty severe damage to my C5,6 and 7 vertabrae. In the last 3 months I have heard words like degenerative disc disease, oseophyte, narrowing of disc space and signifigant nerve dammage!!! To manage the pain I have been put on Lyrica, Cyclobenzaprine and Tylenol 3 to back it up, after a visit with my doctor today he has prescribed Baclofen to replace the cyclobenzaprine to see if it may not make me quite so drowzy. Honestly I feel like a walking zombie!! Finally I received the good news... I don't need to have surgery, because none of this is affecting my spinal cord. Not that I was looking forward to having surgery on my neck (just the thought makes me squirmy), but I'm left feeling like what now...???
Which is what led me to this site, just looking for answers when I'm not really sure what the questions are, I am only 49 years old and am I going to have to spend the rest of my life a pain medicated junky? Could I have prevented this, by being more attentive to my pain, running to the doctor everytime my neck hurt? Is this my own fault?


  • Hi Sandi and welcome to Spine Health. As you have already found, this is a place for getting loads of information about your conditions etc, and the chat room is also a fun place to hang out. In there people can try and answer any questions you have but its also a fun place to just come in and chill.

    As for some of the terms you have heard DDD, osteophyte etc they are pretty common and there is lots of info about them on here, just put a search for them into the search box at the top of the page.

    I have neck issues, but its my back where I'm having the most issues and I am having surgery on Monday, a discectomy and decompression (removal of the osteophytes (Bony matter)that are pressing on my spine, hence causing my leg pain.

    There are a lot of people on here with issues similar to yours and they will be able to give you better advice than I am, although none of us here are doctors. However, I just wanted you to know that you are far from alone and to welcome you to the site. I am sure the moderators will leave you a welcome message on here soon, so look out for Priestess, Dilauro, Paulga etc.

    I wish you all the very best, and I hope we are able to chat to each other soon.

    Best wishes
  • All I can add is please don't spend too much time dwelling on the past! I have done that some. What If I had ignored my boys pleas to come mountain biking that one day? What If it had not been on the tail end of a 65 hour work week?
    What ifs make you miss what is happening NOW!
    It all can change in an instant, or over many small incidents over the years. The end results are the same, so, just look for the future and figure what will be, will be.
    We can only carry on. Trying to figure out which or who to believe about what!
    This is indeed a good place to gain insight as to what has or has not worked for others. Remember you are different and need to make your own decisions. Informed ones are better though!
    Take care.
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  • hi and welcome to the forum! :H we are here to offer you support and answer what questions we can. wow!!! :O a pain medicated junkie!! perhaps you need to do some research on pain medications first. then talk to most of the members of SH and you will not find too many "junkies" among us!! :W taking your medication as prescribed by a doctor, as part of your pain program is nothing to be ashamed of. if you have other intentions other than pain relief, than i would say "a junkie?" yea!! please do some reading and get to know the difference between dependence and addiction. please open your eyes and read of the many brave men and women trying to lead as normal a life as possible on pain meds!! then you will see the difference, between a suffering pain patient and a "junkie!" Jenny :)
  • dilauroddilauro ConnecticutPosts: 12,099

    for a spine-health site introduction, click on :

    welcome to spine-health

    if you have any questions, feel free to contact (pm) any one of the moderators here priestess , bruce , paulgla, dilauro

    the spine-health web site offers so much more than these member forums.
    check the various tabs at the top of the spine-health page and you will find so much that is offered here.

    please remember that all information you receive from members on this forum is not
    formal medical advise. you should always consult with your doctors.

    to get back to the forums, you can always click on forum home

    please feel free to contact me at or send me a message
    reading your post and others, i wanted to comment on a few things.
    your medication mix seems to be directed towards muscle relaxers (baclofen and cyclobenzaprine), lyrica for nerve pain and tylenol 3 for mild pain relief. hopefully that means up to know you have not been in a lot of pain.
    the doctors told you that surgery is not required even though you have severely damaged cervical disc? did you get a second opinion on this? if you can avoid surgery, that is great, just make sure everything is in order. the statement about significant nerve damage also points to a disc pressing on the spinal cord, which is generally one of the indicators for surgery at some point.
    the degenerative disc disease, which is really not a disease and something that almost anyone over 30 has some level of. the narrowing of disc space (spinal stenosis) depending on the degree can be very uncomfortable.
    i am a firm believer in obtaining as much education you can on your medical condition, do a lot of research , so when you talk to the doctors you have a better idea of whats going on.
    there was another comment about not dwelling in the past. to a certain degree that is true. but much of what we do today was based on things we did or didnt do in the past.
    it is very important to understand what was done in the past to create this current situation. when you know that, you will also know what to avoid in the future.
  • I was reading your post and I think you should get a second opinion. I'm not pushing you towards surgery but just because there isn't spinal cord compression, there might be impingement in the peripheral nerve. Also a lot of us have to take pain killers probably for the rest of our lives so that we can have some quality of life and this doesn't make one a pain medicated junkie. I'm a veteran of two back surgeries that failed to relieve the pain, and if it wasn't for pain mgt I would be bedridden from chronic back and nerve pain. The medications allow me to do a few things but it will never be to the extent prior to the initial back injury. I don't mean to sound whiney but the pain is persistent and unrelentless.
    I hope you have a better understanding of pain medication use in chronic pain patients. We need it just like diabetics need insulin, etc. I hope you have success in whatever treatment you choose to have.
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  • Your Dr. needs to refer you to a Pain Management Dr. if you're having pain. I also agree that you need a 2nd opinion. Have you had a EMG yet? I hope we can give you any support you need. Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • Hello,
    I just want to say I am very sorry to those of you that I may have offended with my remark about being a "pain medicated junky", I was only referring to my own personal state of mind. It has been a pretty rough couple of months adjusting to the medication I've been prescribed. I am a manager of a retail clothing store and started taking the Lyrica around Christmas, the busiest time of the year!! The doctor told me to take to take a pill at bedtime because it would make me drowsy, he didn't tell me I would wake up that way! For nearly 2 weeks I struggled through this state where I could not move my head too fast without getting dizzy, I had a hard time staying focused I would be in the middle of ringing in a sale and completely loose my train of thought and found myself continually having to appologize to my customers as I stared blankly at the computer screen trying desperately to remember what I was doing. I had many moments when I was ready to just give up and stop taking the pills, but the truth of the matter was that it seemed to be helping. Before the medication I would come home from work in a state of agony barely able to move my head or lift my arms over my head to get undressed, and although the pain is not gone completely it is not nearly as bad as it was. The muscle relaxers I've been given are something I save for when I'm done for the day because I really can't function at work after taking them, I use the T3's at work if I'm having a bad day because the side effects don't seem as bad. As far as my reference to a "junky" again I apologize, when you work in retail (or maybe just my store) you develop a somewhat warped sense of humor and don't realize impact of some words. I am a very emotional person, so if I didn't laugh at myself when I'm hurting I'd be crying instead. I hope those who have taken offense in my past remark please understand that I meant no harm, and to others who have replied to my post thank you for your kind words and advice I am finding so much useful information on this site and I intend to keep searching and researching until I find my way to better understanding what is happening to my body and the best way to treat it. Any and all advice is greatly appreciated. :)
  • Sandi S, there is no offense taken s to your words!! :D i guess some of us get alittle upset because that is a battle we face many times in our pain struggle.. ~X( we are happy you are here and hope you forgive us for being rather defensive about those words.. jump in and know this is not a place where grudges are held or people are kept at bay.. once again is is great to have you here!! =D> i do hope you keep your sense of humor! :D Jenny :)
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