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Pinched Nerve C6 Shoulder and Arm Pain Advice

Three weeks ago, my daughter jumped on my neck and wrenched it while we were horsing around. I'm 41 years old and in good shape. I used to run 3-4 miles a day M to F.

I thought I had torn a muscle in my right shoulder and thought it would heal by itself, but when it didn't go away, I saw an orthopedic surgeon who noted muscle weakness in my right hand. He took an x ray and noted that he felt that it was a pinched nerve from degenerative disc disease.

He prescribed steroids and physical therapy.

The pain is about a 0 when I wake up in the morning and can go up to a 7, especially when sitting upright in my car while driving. Right now as I type (where I spend most of my days in front of a computer), it's getting to about a 5 or 6 and is affecting my work.

I am in constant pain as I work. Physical therapy was yesterday for the first time, and they did massage and 10 minutes of traction. It felt fine afterwards, but an hour later it was back to the same. I've also been doing stretches, but that doesn't seem to work all that well.

I'm a little discouraged as I'm too young to be feeling this old and don't want to have to deal with this for the rest of my life. I have three young kids and want to be active with them. Yesterday the pain was flaring up and I started getting crabby with them. I don't want to be like that.

I guess I'm just looking for what to expect in the future. That seems murky.

I'm willing to do whatever therapy might work, and would even consider alternative sources like accupuncture and a chiropracter if it was believed to work. I'd like to avoid surgery.

Is there any chance for a recovery? I'd take a return to 85% ability with an occasional flare up the other 15% of the time is possible, but right now this is constant.

Thanks for reading.



  • Peter BPPeter B Posts: 511
    edited 10/27/2012 - 6:13 PM
    I have this and it gets really bad with too much or the wrong arm movements.
    Computers etc are really bad. So is any repetitive activity.
    Driving would also aggravate it.
    Physio on my neck is the best treatment I've found. Gentle loosening up and massage.
    You really have to allow time for it to settle, which it should do.
    So you will have to really stop doing just about everything for a little while, allowing it to start to heal. Very tricky, I know, so much to do. But it won't heal if you keep aggravating the nerve.
    You should also review the activities that have led to this. Look at how you use your arm and neck throughout the day, and look for the harmful ones. You will probably recognise them.
    Once better again, you would be prone to easy flare-ups, so learn how to pace yourself and moderate arm use.
    My neck (at 67) is just worn, so I'm stuck with the pinched nerve thing. If I'm careful, it is OK, but it's so easy to get it all bad again.
    So many things that I just cannot contemplate now-especially home maintenance, gardening, hobbies, cooking, and lengthy computer use.
  • Thanks, Peter.

    This week was better, though it's still there. Trick or treating with the kids last night (pushing a double stroller, picking my 2 year old up and down) really aggravated it by the end of the night, though.

    I can tell this is going to be with me for a while...
  • At least if you know what it is, and how you can learn what things make it flare up, you should be able to cope. It may well get fuller better, depending on what the actual cause is.
    Have you see a physio to get the neck joints checked out?
    Mine is age related, but yours may be something treatable.
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