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Other than a disc issue, what can cause neck/back/arm pain?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:31 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I'm just curious because I'm going in for a new round of tests, and I'm afraid it won't show the problem.

Originally the pain started in my shoulder and was an intense muscle tightness. This spread to my neck and head, and then became numbness/tingling/etc down the arm to my thumb/forefinger. Also from my neck to my shoulderblade can hurt and be tingly.

Originally they focused on my shoulder and couldn't figure it out. My last EMG years ago showed no nerve damage, and my 2 MRI's a year apart showed a disc bulge at C6-C7 and possible DDD. I hope that explains it, but with my luck the new tests won't show that being the issue.

Can there be peripheral nerve problems? I have weakness/popping/pain in my left shoulder where the problem originally started, my elbow joint is also sore usually but my right arm is isn't.

Looking for some people with similar issues and what the doctors found.


  • While I had disc issues (3 levels herniated and eventually fused) the surgery didn't resolve all mu issues. I started to have more pain, pins and needles and numbness in my arm and scapula. I was finally diagnosed with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome.

    There is no definative test for this- only very experienced doctors who have given years of their lives to working on the problem. The symptoms can look very much like a cervical herniation. Indeed, the same injury, movement that causes the cervical discs to give out can also cause TOS.

    Wait and see what you recent MRI tells the docs. When you hear hoofs, it's usually horses, not zebras;)


  • Not sure about the arm pain, but the neck, back and shoulder pain would no doubt be muscular in origin.
    The shoulder muscles do a tremendous amount of hard work, from all arm movements to holding up the heavy head, and so on.
    They get very tight and knotted, cannot stretch, and hurt like blazes.
    You can get the most awful headaches from these muscles, plus neck and shoulder pain.
    This may even affect your arms if the muscles are really tight.
    You need to get your muscles sorted out with some TLC.
    In the last month or so, after 20 years of chronic headaches and shoulder pains, I have at last found the treatment that works quickly and reliably, without drugs, surgery, tests or MRIs.
    It is called remedial massage.

    Forget the DDD and so on, just get this treatment. I have found so many people are overlooking their musculature when trying to fix chronic pain, and only look at the spine. Yet the muscles cause so much of this pain.

    Here's a bit about it.

    When muscles and tendons become damaged or impaired, knotted and tense or immobile, Remedial Massage provides a healing treatment that can be gentle or strong, deep or shallow. Remedial massage holistically treats the whole body and traces the discomfort as far as possible back to the original cause, healing both the cause of the disorder as well as the symptoms.

    Remedial Massage Technique

    It uses several specialised techniques to locate and repair damage and to support and speed up the body's own repair mechanisms. The massage is applied directly to the skin using a lubricating medium, usually oil, which ensures that the muscles associated with the disorder and mobilisation of the joint are deeply penetrated. Passive stretching moves are also used.

    It MUST be remedial massage.
  • Hi ChronicPain,
    Have you had an arthrogram done? If you have c6-c7 out that for sure can cause the pain you have. My experience was c6-c7 fusion but I continued to have progressively worse pain just like you indicate.An arthrogram showed impingement,rotator cuff (cup?)tear.But when I had surgery for those ,they discovered a large slap lesion,bone spurs.So it's possible to have more than one thing going on at a time.Until the docs get it figured out it's miserable. Hope you get some relief! Take Care Sagehen
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,859
    doctors, nor are qualified to present information as facts.
    That is why it is so very important that when members post in response to questions, they do it very carefully and add a statement to the effect "This is only my opinion and not medical fact"

    No one here can say that your problem is spinal related or muscle related. Therefore going for any specific treatment does not make any sense.

    What is needed is for your doctor(s) to continue to perform diagnostic tests to isolate your problem. So often in these threads you will read that "They dont know what my problem is" Most of the time, that is only because the doctors did not exhaust all what is needed to diagnose the problem. People have pain for a reason. Be it physical or emotional.

    Cervical disc problems can cause shoulder, base of neck and arm problems without any muscle problems.
    In my opinion, I would continue with your doctors to isolate your problem or at least rule it what it is not.

    Dont give up until you have firm reliable answers.

    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
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