Is there an orthopedist in the house? Herniated disc at c5-c6, in pain and full of questions.
I've been dealing with pain in my left shoulder and upper back, tingling, numbness, and general weakness in my left arm for a year now.
The US medical system being what it is, it took me a year to get an ortho referral. I finally got an MRI last week. An image from it is here
and this is the radiologist's report:
There is a 4-5mm C5-C6 broad-based central, left paracentral disc protrusion contouring the thecal sac and narrowing the AP diameter of the thecal sac down to 8-9mm, causing mild central spinal canal narrowing, without significant foraminal stenosis.
Okay, so a herniated disc. Met with the orthopedist on Friday, who spent about two seconds with me, told me there's no risk of paralysis (whew) so surgery isn't the option (whew again), gave me a script for Darvocet and sent me on my way.
Turns out I'm allergic to Darvocet (took two over the weekend, got hives). Getting a script for Vicodin instead, which I know I can tolerate but am not crazy over taking. I'm also waiting on a referral to an acupuncturist, which I doubt my craptastic HMO will approve.
So, questions. First, if anyone else here has dealt with this diagnosis and is willing to email about it and tell me of your experiences, please do! And now on to my questions:
Is this a permanent condition?
Will it get worse?
Are there activities I should or should not do?
How did this happen?
Does sitting at a desk for 10ish hours a day make things worse?
I can't turn my head enough to see sideways when I drive without causing great pain. I live in Los Angeles, where driving is a must. By continuing to drive, am I re-injuring myself?
Apparently the ortho doesn't have more than like five seconds to spend with his patients before the prescription pad comes out. Would love to hear from any MeFites who have the time and experience to answer my questions. Thanks much!