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shoulder pain and increased arm numbness?

autumnjoyaautumnjoy Posts: 55
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:42 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
hi all. i did a search, but all the info given was from people that had surgery, and i have not. just wondering if i could get some more info from people.

i recently had an MRI that showed mild diffuse disc bulging from c4-7, with moderate bi-lateral foraminal narrowing at all these levels.

the numbness in my fingers (along with pain), is what prompted me to get things checked out.

well, along with the numbness (that now is going further and further up both arms), i've developed shoulder pain, and what i am calling "frozen" shoulder.

i am waking up in the mornings (and all throught he night), barely able to move my arms, because of the pain in my shoulders. i am also having trouble with driving because i cannot lift up my arms without causing extreme pain in my shoulders.

i am only seeing a family doctor right now, because i do not have insurance, and have been getting charity care at the hospital for the testing.

my doctor thinks that the numbness is coming from carpal tunnel (which i do have, but this feels different). i really think the numbness is coming from the foraminal stenosis.

the symptoms i'm having started after a fall i had over 3 months ago,and i feel like they are only getting worse.

can anyone that has had problems in their cervical spine, tell if these symptoms appear "normal"?

i go to see my family doctor again on Monday,and i am trying to gather as much info as possible to maybe lead him in a different direction, than the carpal tunnel.

are there any other tests that can be done, to maybe show more? i've just had the regular xray and mri without contrast. would the contrast help more?

i'd appreciate any help anyone could give me, on the shoulder pain, increasing numbness, and alternative testing.

thanks alot...... Autumn


  • I had the same thing happen... I fell back in August of 2008 and had tingling, numbness, cold in my arm, as well as shoulder pain. My whole arm would go numb but two fingers in particular seemed to get really numb, if that makes sense. and I would have pain shooting down my arm. After my ACDF the symptoms were gone and now new pains have emerged, yippy. Everyone is different though.

    Not sure how much help this is but feel free to ask more questions and I will answer if I can.

    Best of luck to you.
  • Run a search for a "dermatome map." You can see where pain is referred from which spinal disc segment. Depending on the exact location of the pain, it could be coming from C5, C6 or C7. The foraminal stenosis could be causing nerve irritation or compression which could result in the type of pain you describe.

    Another cause of numbness in fingers or hand can be a trapped ulnar nerve. This often comes from leaning on an elbow too much, sleeping with a bent arm, etc.

    They can do diagnostic nerve blocks to rule in or out whether a particular spinal nerve is the location of the pain, but they are expensive without insurance.

    Read here for further information:

  • Hi Autumn,
    I have foraminal stenosis on my right side at c5 and have numbness in my thumb pain in my shoulder and also I have trouble lifting my arm because of weakness and pain, I am no dr. but I will tell you it sounds like the nerve being impinged at one of these levels. I had a nerve block that did help some of the numbness and pain, but it not take everything away. One of the things I have is the headaches, they are awful, some days I just want to lay in bed and do nothing all day. They are like migraines. I think you need a neurosurgeon, I know because of the ins. it will be tough, but sounds like you have some major issues with your neck, good luck, keep us posted. Lela
  • for your responses, i appreciate it.

    Melw... what you said about the 2 fingers makes complete sense. my middle and ring finger of my right hand have been consistently numb for over 3 months now. both arms and hands go numb at times, but those 2 fingers, it is constant. i also have a steady ache in my arms, with the occasional shooting pains. i also get these feelings like charlie horses in them, very weird.

    lela... i get the headaches too, thankfully, not all the time, but when they do happen, i feel the same way, i don't want to move.

    not having insurance is definately halting the treatment i really need, but atleast my family doctor is being supportive.

    i'm just going to be straight-forward with him, about thinking most of my symptoms are coming from neck.

    i'm thinking if i could maybe get a contrast mri, it would show that there is quite a bit of nerve impingement, which would definately explain my symptoms.

    thanks again everyone i appreciate it.
  • I am also so frustrated and going through the exact same thing. My ortho dr first thought i had a rotator cuff injury because I could not move my arm. My MRI showed a small herniation and the doctors want me to see a Physiatrist because now they think it muscle related. I don't know if I should go to a neousurgeon or try the Physiatrist, but I am so sick of the neck pain, shoulder and upper arm pain and headaches. Good luck to you, I hope you can soon get some answers as to what is going on with your neck.
    I know how you feel with the pain when driving.
    I dread driving now. Take care
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