Hi. Last year I had numbness and weakness in my right arm and it was found that my c3-c4 disc
was pressing against my cord. I had a 1-level ACDF which resolved the problem almost
At the time, the MRI showed two other degenerated disks (5-6 and 6-7) but the doc did not
recommend doing anything to those because they didn't seem to be causing problems.
Turned out to be the right call. I mention all of this only for background.
Now, two months ago, I started having severe pain in my left shoulder -- so the opposite
side from everything last year. Over time, the pain has spread to my rotator cuff muscle
(under the arm), tricep, and down to my fingers sometimes. There is now also weakness
the upper arm (tricep).
I saw my GP, then an orthopedist who specialized in shoulders. He said he did not
think the problem was really in my shoulder, but probably a nerve in the neck.
So I went back to my neurosurgeon who did the ACDF and he ordered an MRI.
While waiting to see my specialist for the follow-up (which was delayed for a bit due
to scheduling), I saw neck/spine Orthopedic surgeon whom I could get into see quickly. He
looked at the MRI and immediately said he recommended ACDF for those 2 levels.
When I went back to the neurosurgeon who did my first ACDF, he not only disagreed,
but also said he wasn't sure exactly what was causing my pain. He is sending
me for a consult with a Neurologist.
Finally, to the subject of this post: How can I even be sure that this problem is
in my spine or related to nerve roots? Or is that what the Neurologist can hopefully
I ask because there is a Spine Center right in my area that is fairly well rated,
and I could go see what they think, but don't want to waste everyone's time and
money if it might not even be my spine that is the problem.
At the same time, every day of delay in figuring this out is a day where work gets
harder to do (I am less productive, can't concentrate as well due to pain, etc).
Should I be seeking a third opinion even while waiting to get in to see the
neurologist, or try to tough it out and go in absolute sequence?
I feel like if the cause can be identified, SOME solution will be able
to be reached.
Thanks for any thoughts or advice.