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Officially Starting Down this Road

JulieAJJulieA Posts: 1,420
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:34 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Yesterday I went to see my NS to follow up on my 1 year anniversery for my PLIF L4-s1. I am 100% fused. Yeah!

But back in the end of May I was making breakfast for my family and when I lifted the skillet off the stove something happened and I dropped to the ground in pain. I regained my breath and took it easy for a few days. I was feeling a pain I was familiar with so I didn't worry about it. I have been there many times before- it had been a few years but still I could handle it.

I think I ate through the remaining norco and flexerile that I had left over from my fusion and I was also taking relefen (anti inflamitory) so I was fairly comfortable.

About that time I started having what I thought was "tennis elbow". The pain was worse in the afternoon but again I was medicating. The tennis elbow never went away but I could handle it. I was having mild muscle spasm in my upper back and felling pretty darn good. I am so amazed that my low back feels good that the upper back didn't concern me.

Fast fwd to last week. I am now getting arm/hand/shoulder pain. Tingling and burning sensations in my palms and fingers and intense muscle spasms. I go to see my PCP and see an associate. He orders Thoracic x-rays and refers me to my NS. Amazinly my NS office gets me in the very next week (yesterday). That never happens (ever). They had an opening. The girl in reception tells me they can't see me for the upper back stuff only for the PLIF follow up. I think I will drop off the films and the referal and hopefully I will get a call in the next 30 days (like I said they are super slow).

Between last week and this week. I started getting some nerves in my feet talking to me and some eye problems a little blurred vision and dizziness. I think this concerns the NS. I see the doc and tell him what is going on and he looks at the x-ray and says it could be the Thoracic but he thinks it is cervical. I have an order for an MRI/new X-rays and an Nerv Conduct study for next week.

I was so amazed to get help so fast.

Any advice on keeping the arm/hand pain levels down?



  • I'm sadly too familiar with your arm and hand symptoms. I also thought I had tennis elbow but it turned out it was referred pain from my cervical disc problems. Sorry you're going through that.

    What helped my tennis elbow-like stuff was icing the sore area and then wearing one of the tennis-elbow bands around my forearm.

    Muscle relaxants helped the middle back and shoulder pain - they were severe spasms.

    As for the tingling and/or numbness, I couldn't find a way to help that at all. Has your doc given you any pain meds?

    Good luck to you and keep us posted.
  • hi julie....i love ice for arm hand problems....and when i say ice i mean right on the skin. i was told at a rehab center to put the ice on the skin that joins the thumb to the index finger. i dont know why it works but it does. wipe it on your skin and move it around a bit. hold ice with a cloth. hope it works for you. usually get about half hour relief for one minute of icing.....
  • Cath I have been using the little elbow thing but now that I know it's in my neck "head" and not the elbow it seems silly to wear it. But I will continue to use it.

    As far as meds the PCP gave me some 5/500 mg Hydrocodone and 10 mg Flexerile. I can't really take the 10 mg Flexerile unless I want to be jello the following day so I am saving those for really bad days. I have take 1 pain pill in the evening for the last couple days.

    What is weird is that I litterally ate these pain meds like candy before and functioned fine. Now thye mess me up bad.

    As dizzy as I am I will not take anything other than advil while I am out and about. I am actually worried about driving sober....

    Pete I will try the ice later when I can stay home. I have to go work / drive 1 hour each way then come home and take my daughter to Volleyball practice and pick her up... I should be home around 5 pm just in time to make dinner and then I can relax.

    Thanks for the input.

  • Glad you saw the NS, and hope you get the ans soon.

    I too ice, my daughters have cut off the sleves of old soft shirts and sewed up one end, which I use as a sleve for the ice packs, they work great, and go right back in the freezer with the sleve on.


  • Hi Julie,
    I to thought I had tennis elbow and was being treated by a physio...than both elbows had pain...my GP sent me for an MRI and sent me to see a neuro surgeon....I had a cortisone injection at the nerve in the neck most probaly causing the pain...the next morning such releif the pain had gone....but retuned about three weeks later...now six weeks post op of having C4 to C7 fussed , no more arm pain..
  • when my arm started hurting again and everything went numb I started wearing my soft cervical collar again and the pain wasn't so bad. The collar will help support your neck and get some of the pressure off painful nerves if thats the problem.
    2005-ACDF with Corpectomy at C3-C-5.
    2006-L4-L5 diskectomy.
    2009-Cervical laminectomy at C3.
    Steroid injections series x 4.
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