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All over back & neck pain, Sore & Numb Limbs, but ok MRIs...anyone else?

lyssa787llyssa787 Posts: 10
edited 02/16/2015 - 7:23 AM in Chronic Pain
My husband has been dealing with this pain since the day after Christmas and we just can't seem to get to the bottom of what is going on. We're not looking for miracles here, just anyone with similar experiences, or some suggestions. My husband is in his mid twenties and is a mechanic. Or was, until this started.
Here we go....Mark woke up in the middle of the night with excruciating pain. He has chronic low back pain that we regularly see a chiropractor for, but this was totally different. Typically he just gets sore if he does too much, but this comes and it goes, he has 8/10 days, and 5/10 pain days, and it doesn't seem to matter what he does or does not do. He was put on several medications, but those did not help the pain. Then his left arm started to hurt and go numb, and fall asleep. We went in to the doctor and got a neck MRI, because we were all expecting this was just a simple pinched nerve. They also wanted Xrays because my husband kept telling them he didn't injure it at work, it was in his sleep, but the pain was mostly in his neck and shoulder. These showed some spinal stenosis, some degenerative disc disease but nothing extreme. More meds.
Weeks went by and nothing was helping, even though he had been off work and resting for a month, and was on some serious anti-inflammatories. Nothing changed, arm issues got more frequent. We were scheduled for a cortisone shot in his neck hoping it would relieve some of the pain, calm down his muscles so they wouldn't push his bone spurs into the nerves.
Then his legs started going numb and becoming sore, as if he had just run a marathon. We went back in for another MRI, of his low back this time. And the orthopedic dr immediately said we should cancel the cortisone shot. He mentioned the issues in Marks neck would NOT cause his severe mid back, low back, and hip pain he was getting. Also, his MRI was pretty regular. He was going to have some chronic pain because of some slightly bulging disks...which we already knew about.
It's been almost 2 months of pain, no work, and lots of meds. We got a mid back MRI today and are going in for an EMG Thursday because the Dr thinks it may all be a nerve issue and not because of the bone spurs at all. However, in the mean time, my husband's other arm is starting to go numb and have that same exhausted feeling. We're kind of at our wits end.
We see our chiropractor (who we love, and who cannot see why this is happening to him either) and our physical therapist multiple times per week but these have not alleviated the pain, and it's getting scary that this is continually progressing.
Has anyone had a similar experience?

***He compares his arm experiences to if you were lifting weights for hours on end, then let your arm float in water that's too hot***


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    Welcome to Spine-Health

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    If there are any questions, you can always post them here, send Liz or myself a private message or contact Ron rdilauro@veritashealth.com

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • it's the chiros fault. the chiro is making him worse. do not ever go to a chiro for herniated discs..they make them worse...don't believe me? it's basic science! steeer clear. if you love your chiro buy him a fruit basket as a parting gift :p
  • if this all happened two years ago I would have jumped on the bandwagon with you, but the chiropractor has been helping Mark with his low back issues for about a year now. He was feeling better than he ever has, until this happened, so that's what makes me believe that it's not making things any worse. Wouldn't keeping the spine in line alleviate some pain? Also, even our dr and physical therapist recommended we keep seeing our chiropractor regularly, which I admit, really surprised me!!
  • Hi Lyssa787,
    I too, have had something similar. I've had back trouble for the past 3 years. However, it was always put down to muscle strain and things like that. More recently, the pain was more confined to my lower back and after long periods of standing my back would get very weak and sore. At the beginning of December I fell straight down on my bottom (this had been the 2nd time I had done this in 2 years). It was extremely painful but it was not until a few days later I experienced pain like never before, except it was everywhere, like your husbands! I too went to the doctor who gave me anti inflammatories and painkillers. I was then referred to the hospital for an X-ray and MRI as I also had swelling on my lower back. However, I had to wait 3 weeks to have the tests done as I had to wait until my next period. Like your husband, NOTHING showed. Just a slight degeneration of 1 of the discs. I returned to work as no one was helping me and I just decided to suck it up. Two days later my boss had to send me home I was in agony and my back was like a balloon again :( I went to see a Chiropractor as I knew a GP wouldn't help me, my Physio also refused to give me treatment as he too felt there was something more serious going on. The Chiropractor examined me, straight away he thought I had fractured my sacrum,I reassured him I already had an X-ray. He said my sacrum was completely out of place and my joints were jammed together. In 20 years he said he had only seen one other case like it. 4 sessions in I felt little improvement just that the swelling had decreased in size. Fifth session, while he was giving me the treatment it felt more painful than usual. Two days later, like your husband, my left leg and arm went completely dead. My left leg honestly felt like it weighed a tonne. I was also experiencing a tingling sensation. I returned to the Chiropractor and voiced my concerns and he too felt that we should end the treatment that it wasn't making me any better. He also wrote me a letter to give to my GP recommending I have an X-ray done again at a different angle that he believes they missed something from day one. As the day went on, I ended up passing out with the pain. So my GP referred me to Accident & Emergency in the hospital. As I had been X-rayed already they didn't feel there was a need to X-ray me again. They just gave me stronger meds and muscle relaxants and referred me on to a Rheumatologist who I will be seeing next week. My advice would be not to see the Chiropractor again while he is in such pain. While Chiropractors are great there might be something more serious going on which has yet to be diagnosed and the treatment could make your husband worse just like it did with me. I would also suggest getting a second/third opinion. You just never know, doctors are only human and they too can make mistakes. I mean, I only discovered last week that many of my MRI images were 'fuzzy' as I obviously moved too much!(complete joke!!) I can sympathize with you both as I feel I'm being thrown around by everyone and no one is doing anything for me either. The answer just seems to be meds meds and more meds. Best of luck!
    Rachel Kirwan.
  • itsautonomicitsautonomic LouisianaPosts: 1,807
    edited 02/16/2015 - 9:07 AM
    Yep ended up being a neurological disorder.
    Do your due dilegence, trust you know your body and question everything if it does not fit. Advocate for yourself and you will be suprised what will be revealed trusting your body and instinct.
  • Rachel best of luck to you too!! Passing out with pain is horrible! I hope they figure something out for you quickly! I can totally relate to trying to work thru it and just not being able to. About a month after this started Mark decided he was going to try to work again - epic fail. He couldn't be on the meds, obviously, because if he skrews something up it could mean someone's life, and he can't drive while on them, pretty much necessary for an auto tech ;) He lasted 2 hours, then said, I'm just going to sweep and clean up a bit. He couldn't do that either without fighting back tears.
    I'm going to try to figure out where to go for a second opinion after we get this EMG. We live way out in the middle of nowhere, so driving 100 miles to the docs is getting crazy. At the same time though, so worth it if they can get my husband's pain under control, but I know it's getting rough on him sitting for so long at a time in the car.

    Itsautonomic, can I ask how you got your diagnosis? Was It kind of similar to this order of tests, or was anyone able to jump right to it?

    The only other thing we think may be involved, but everyone keeps dismissing, is that Mark did have lymes disease as a child. It was left untreated long enough that it got into his central nervous system and his whole left side went paralyzed before they even realized he had the disease. No one seems to think this has anything to do with it, but the more odd things happen, and the more people mention this may be a nerve issue, the more I think we may be overlooking something. All his docs have been informed of it, but I may have to push the issue a bit more.
  • itsautonomicitsautonomic LouisianaPosts: 1,807
    If you go to the cervical forum on here I just listed my entire story and symptoms. Actually Lyme disease was one of the things suspected at one time for me,, all testing negative. All I kept reading on it was see Lyme literate doctor if suspected. I highly recommend teaching hospitals and hitting it with everything ehen it can't be figured out locally.
    Do your due dilegence, trust you know your body and question everything if it does not fit. Advocate for yourself and you will be suprised what will be revealed trusting your body and instinct.
  • lyssa787llyssa787 Posts: 10
    edited 02/17/2015 - 4:41 AM
    Thanks itsautonomic. I'm really sorry about the lack of treatment options that work for your condition!! We're going to try to get more aggressive with treating Mark or testing to find out treatment, but I also have to keep working to keep the family afloat. Do you get disability yet? We haven't received a definitive diagnosis, and it hasn't been a year, so for now he's just laid off work.
  • itsautonomicitsautonomic LouisianaPosts: 1,807
    That's terrible. No I was on disabilty for a couple months last year through work, but I am trying desperately to stay working as it took so much to get back to work after spine injury. I totally understand needing to work to support what it takes to get to doctors and this reason is why getting diagnosis as fast as possible is so important. I know several who lost jobs due to issues not yet diagnosed and didn't get work disabilty only to be diagnosed later with something that would have allowed them to get work disability. It's tough
    Do your due dilegence, trust you know your body and question everything if it does not fit. Advocate for yourself and you will be suprised what will be revealed trusting your body and instinct.
  • I read up on your diagnosis, that's a rough one, I'm so sorry! I'm glad, like you said, at least you have answers and can help people on here.
    We talked to the Dr after the EMG and he says the nerves going into the muscles are fine. The only thing left to check is Mark's brain, which he says may have damage from when he had lymes as a child and suffered left side paralysis. Now we're both freaked out. We talk to the ortho in a few minutes, who did the mris, to find out where we go next. We're also in the process of getting his medical records from when he was a kid
  • itsautonomicitsautonomic LouisianaPosts: 1,807
    I hope some answers come soon
    Do your due dilegence, trust you know your body and question everything if it does not fit. Advocate for yourself and you will be suprised what will be revealed trusting your body and instinct.
  • Thanks, we have a consultation with a neurologist 4 weeks from now. MRI and emg both looked good so they're sloth thinking the pain and numbness is from brain damage from lymes and the low back pain is from degenerative disc disease, and neck pain is from bone spurs, so chiro and physical therapy and keds for now, and cortisone shots for his neck still, once we figure out neurological issues.
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