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TOS is likely only part of my problem

Hello everyone, I am new to these forums and was hoping someone had some ideas on what could be going on with me. For me it all started 5+ years ago with numbness in my pink and ring finger on my right hand along with some wrist. Over the coarse of a few years the pain has moved from my wrist, to my elbow to my shoulder with the numbness staying the same unless the arm was used heavily. Along with this problem I've always had minor lower back and neck pain.

When I first went to have this looked at I went to my primary witch thought it best to see an orthopedic surgeon because we though it was ulnar nerve neuropathy, I also saw the surgeon because my knee was pretty messed up and I could no longer walk for very long. He had me take a nerve conductivity test and the one where they also test the muscles which came back normal. After ruling out ulnar nerve neuropathy and taking care of my knee for the most part I went back to my primary.

The next doctor my primary had me see was a neurosurgeon and this is where all the fun test began. To make a long story short I will just list my tests and what they found. First was an MRI of my neck along with an X-ray. The MRI showed signs that I had herniated my C8 cervical disk at some point in my life. I believe this happened during a snowboarding race where I had wrecked and landed on the side of my head and right shoulder first. The doctor thought this had a slight chance of causing the numbness but was unlikely. The X-ray showed that I had completely lost the curve in my cervical spine. For some reason he disregarded both of these findings which still puzzles me. He thought I could have Thoracic Outlet Syndrome so off I went for a vascular study. This did point to TOS because when laying down and my right arm was raise he could hear a "murmur" and my arm would start to go tingly. After that it was a MRI /w contrast of my biracial plexus which came back normal. Sense the neurosurgeon had no other ideas he diagnosed me with TOS and suggested physical therapy.

While I was waiting to start PT the muscles in my neck, shoulders and upper back decide to go completely tight. When this happened I had to make an appointment to see my primary because I could not work, sleep or do anything besides just be in misery. After I see my doctor I get Vicoden and Flexril to get me by until I start my PT. After a week the muscles relax and I start my PT with no real success so it is short lived. Although, my physical therapist did make a few remarks on how my entire body is just stiff and all the muscles hurt when she works on them. She also did make a remark on how she thinks I have lost my curve in my lower spine due to the shape and my constant trouble with it.

This brings me to where I am now. Sense the first time my muscles locked up I have been in constant pain. Although after about a week the pain and tightness has lessened to where it could be controlled with ibuprofen and the occasional vicoden. That was until a week ago when my muscles locked down again starting with a slight pain in my neck. The pain and tightness made its way slowly from my neck, to my shoulders/collarbones, to my upper back, all the way down to my lower back. I've been on constant muscle relaxers and vicoden sense (after another trip to my primary) and it doesn't really show much sign of stopping this time.

I am sorry for the wall of text, I know it's not ideal but I just wanted to make sure I didn't leave out some key piece of info that make spark an idea from someone. If anyone has any ideas or can shed some light on why my back and neck are such a mess I would be grateful.



  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    edited 04/14/2013 - 8:51 PM
    I am sure that you will find your time on Spine-Health very rewarding. This site is a powerful and integrated system that is dynamic and continues to grow.
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    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
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