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Question
Posted by: Levenpoint | 2009-01-19

Disc Herniation C4/C5

Good day

I am a 34 year old fit male (1.85m and 82kgs) and have seen a number of medical professionals over the last 18 months. I am yet to find a solution.

I started suffering from pain in my neck and shoulder in August 2007 and saw a physio for a number of sessions.

When this did not work, I saw a neurosurgeon who referred me for MRI scans. The scans revelead a minor disc herniation and my neurosurgeon advised it was " too small to operate on" . She recommended that I try and manage the pain, as disc herniations often become " better with time" .

Over a period of about 9 months I tried, as best I could, to manage the pain by visiting a physio once every week and wearing a neck brace. When the pain did not subside after 9 months, I visited my neurosurgeon again and she referred me for an Isotope Scan. This scan revelead nothing (not even in my neck) and my neurosurgeon recommended that I consult a neurologist.

During all this time, my neurosurgeon also recommended that I try to assist my body in maintaining " muscle balance" , by swimming. So I swam about 5kms every week (free-style), which only seemed to make my condition worse (the muscles in my left shoulder only became more tight and this increased the pain).

I have not been to see the neurologist, as I suspect she will only prescribe medicine or muscle relaxants –  I have been on some very strong pills before, called " trepeline"  and they did not work.

I have been back to see a number of other physio' s and they have all recommended that I work on my posture and have advised me to follow a pilates programme. I have tried all this and my symptoms are still the same –  I have even invested in a " Backswing"  (inversion table).

For clarity, my symptoms are extreme spasms in my left shoulder, which affects the muscles in and around the left side of my neck, jaw and skull (above and below my left ear). The pain is unbearable at times which, of course, is quite debilitating especially in my professional career.

I have recently started weight training again and the lifting of weights seems to be the only thing that relieves me of some pain (temporarily).

On the advice of one physio, I have also consulted a Biokinetist and he has tested me for muscle imbalance. Apparently, the muscles in my left shoulder are weaker than the ones in my right shoulder and I am now on a programme to rectify this. According to him, I should " make a full recovery" .

I have, for the past two weeks, followed this programme religously and there is no improvement in my symptoms. I have not yet given up on this programme, as I was told that we should re-asses matters after 4 weeks of training.

Is there anything at all that I can do, or should I simply accept that this condition will not improve? I am at wits'  end.

Please help.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageShoulder Doc

Dear Levenpoint,

the advice about pressure points is not a bad one but i am slightly pessimistic seeing that you have such a chronic probem. i have a question for you: does the pain also radiate into your arm? If you look at our website under "Thoracic Outlet Syndrome" do any of the features remind you of your symptoms? Another problem to consider is the "Cervical Facet Syndrome" where the little joints behind the vertebrae cause pain in the neck and the surrounding tissues. An injection is given into the joints called "facet block" which can give a lot of relief.

hope you will be helped,

Dr Joe de Beer

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

3
Our users say:
Posted by: P | 2009-02-12

Why not visit the neurologist? He will be able to pinpoint the problem.

Reply to P
Posted by: Levenpoint | 2009-01-22

Pieter

You are a scholar and a gentleman.

Thank you for taking the time to write to me. I am indebted.

I remain hopeful that I would not have to come to terms with this condition and that a pressure point specialist will be able to help.

I wish you well.

Reply to Levenpoint
Posted by: PIETER | 2009-01-21

I HAVE SUFFERED A SIMILIAR FATE OVER THE LAST 20 PLUS YEARS. NO GP  SPECIALIST, BIOKENETIST, CHIROPRACTOR OR MEDICAL EXPERT COULD HELP. I CAME ACROSS A PRESSURE POINT SPECIALIST THREE YEARS AGO WHO WAS THE FIRST EVER TO DIAGNOSE THE ORIGIN OF MY DISCOMFORT: MY LOWER BACK. AS A RESULT OF INCORRECT POSTURE EVERSINCE CHILDHOOD, I AM NOW 55, HE HAS TO CORRECT THE MUSCULAR DISTORSION WHICH HAS TAKEN PLACE. NO OPERATION WILL RECTIFY IT AS THE MUSCLES THROUGH GENTLE TREATMENT MUST BE NURTURED BACK TO A STATE WHERE THE NERVES ARE SENSITIZED TO NORMAL DISCOMFORT OR PAIN, NOT NUMBED. THE DEEPER MUSCLE LAYERS WHICH FEEL LIKE A HARNESS BECAUSE OF THE SPASMS WILL ONLY RECOVER WHEN BLOOD CIRCULATION AND NERVE SENSITIVITY ARE RESTORED. EXERCISE WILL WORSTEN ANY PAIN. UNFORTUNATELY HAVING STRONG TAUGHT MUSCLES DOES NOT EQUAL HEALTHY MUSCLES AS MANY " KNOWLEDGEABLE PEOPLE'  WOULD LIKE TO BELIEVE. IT TOOK ME ALMOST A LIFE-TIME TO COME TO TERMS WITH MY PAIN AND MYSELF, AND THE PATIENCE THAT IS REQUIRED TO HEAL ONCE' S BODY. YOU CANNOT RECTIFY OVERNIGHT A PROBLEM THAT HAVE ITS ROOTS IN EVENTS MUCH EARLIER IN YOUR LIFE WHICH YOU CAN HARDLY REMEMBER. I WILL ADVISE YOU TO SEE ANY PRESSURE POINT SPECIALIST. SHORT TERM MASSAGE THERAPY ALLEVIATES DISCOMFORT ALSO. BUT PLEASE DO NOT HARM YOUR MUSCLES WHICH ARE ALREADY OVERBURDENED THROUGH YOUR WILL TO " TEACH"  THEM HOW TO RECOVER.

Reply to PIETER

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