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neck pain bilateral weakness in arms, numbness burning sensation

dmoddmo Posts: 145
edited 06/11/2012 - 9:01 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Hello all
This is my first post. I am male 54 years old and have had neck pain for many years. I have had a few ct scans and a few mri's over time. This past year my symptoms became worse. I have neck pain, a burning sensation from neck to shoulder blades. I have weakness bilaterally in both arms. My arms feel tired, especially when lifting overhead. I will have numbness in both arms, right worse than left for 6 hours at a time. My last mri showed moderate broad based spur complex and moderate to severe bilateral neural foraminal stenosis at c2-c7 of neck. I have read many post here and am wondering about surgery for this condition. Should I seek neurosurgeon or try to treat with meds. The meds I have taken so far havent helped much.(napro,relafen, advil) I have seen where people have gotten relief with lyrica for nerve pain. I am scheduled for nerve testing in about two weeks. I dont even know if surgery is an option for me. I believe the stenosis is causing my numbness weakness ect.

Thanks to all and I would appreciate any advice anyone could give me


  • Welcome to Spine-Health.

    With having symptoms in your arms now (I assume this is new), I would see a fellowship-trained spine surgeon, either ortho or neuro, but one that only works on spines. That doesn't necessarily mean surgery, as that's always a last resort, but they may refer you to a physiotherapist for injections to see if you can be treated with non-invasive methods.

    Many people do get relief from nerve pain with nerve pain medications, but if you have problems in your cervical spine that need to be dealt with, that can only be a bandaid. It could be that you need someone to help you get to the root of the problem and deal with that, not just the symptoms.

    The burning sensation you describe sounds like muscle spasms and they can successfully be treated with muscle relaxants. But again, it could only be a bandaid to a more serious situation.

    I've had stenosis in both my cervical and lumar spine and can relate to how painful it can be. I'm not sure how they can deal with that outside of surgery, but only a spine doc can tell you what needs to be done.

    Take care and please keep us posted.
  • Thanks for the advice. Yes numbness and weakness are new. I have always had neck pain but the arm weakness and numbness is hard to get used to. Sometimes it keeps me up at night. I dont want surgery but at the same time I dont want more weakness ending in parallasis. I see you have had some hardware installed. Would you do it again knowing what you know now? As my stenosis is foraminal and not canal I wonder what my options are?
    I have a really hard time working. I am a crane operator so I am always turning my neck. One hour at work and I am ready to go home. I am probably doing more harm by staying but I have to make a living...
    Anyway I guess I will make the rounds to dr's and tests and see what happens. Getting old is not fun...oh well what can you do..
    Thanks again
  • Dmo, yes, I would have the surgery again. Looking at my before and after x-rays, wow, what a difference. Everything was so collapsed that I gained 1.5 inches after my surgery and my waddle went away. LOL

    I also had weakness in my left arm to the point of not being able to pick up a glass of ice water, and tingling/pins 'n needles in my right arm 24/7. When I woke up from surgery, it was all gone, everything. My hubby said that as I was being wheeled to my room (I don't remember this) I was clapping and laughing that I could feel my arms and that I didn't feel any pain in them any more. However, there was still the recovery period that isn't the easiest to deal with, but expected and tollerable. Cervical surgery is much easier to recover from, generally, than lumbar surgery.

    The hardware is for stabilization, and I'm totally unaware of it - it's just part of my body now. However, it does ache when we have barometric changes and a storm is coming. I get that with the hardware in my lumbar as well.

    I don't know the options for stenosis in different areas, but either way, your nerves are being compressed. Only your doc can tell you.

    Yes, it sucks getting old, especially with spine problems. It seems like we'll never be the same again, but then like my doc said, once you turn 50, things are simply going to hurt anyway, spine problems or no. It's just the life of an old person. I'll be 51 this year, so I've just learned to live with it. What else are you going to do, right?

    Take care and let us know what opinions you get and what happens. I'm interested to hear.

  • I have severe stenosis and a bulged disc in my neck too. I was getting to a point where my left shoulder was stoved up fairly badly. About three years ago I went to a sports doctor and he prescribed steroid shots and physical therapy. I went to the physical therapy but did not take the shots. At physical therapy the PT put me in traction. I almost immediately got some mobility back. Work interferred with physical therapy and after a couple of months I quit going. It did help immensely. I was shocked at how much the traction did help. Unfortunately because I quit going I'm in as much pain as ever. People like to push surgery but I always look for another alternative. I have a high threshold for pain, and it sounds like you do too. Talk to your doctor about traction. I'm ready to start it again but I have to start from scratch because I let it lapse and apparently its like a prescription that expires. Good luck.
  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
     Hello Rhonda
    This is an old discussion so I am closing it.
    I suggest you create a new discussion using the link below

    Please click on the link for useful information

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
This discussion has been closed.
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