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burning in my neck, shoulder and arm

nz1025nnz1025 Posts: 112
edited 06/07/2015 - 8:57 PM in Neck Pain: Cervical

I have repeatedly injured the right side of my neck/top of my right shoulder/shoulder blade over the last 1-1.5 years - and have been seeing a physio over this time. Now that most of the muscle pain has calmed down I seem to be left with burning that is mainly in the right side of my neck and across the top of my right shoulder (more often towards the back) - but also extends down my right arm. I also used to get pins and needles in my right thumb (though that seems to have pretty much gone) - and now get pins and needles in my right little finger... Also, recently I seem to have started clenching the right side of my jaw in my sleep as I keep getting a sore jaw on that side that is worse when I first wake up. (though I have just noticed that my wisdom tooth is coming through on the top...) . The physio has suggested trying a mouth guard to sleep to see if that helps as may be aggravating things - so I will get onto that this week...

Anwyay, I have been referred for an MRI, which I will hopefully get an appt for over the next 2-3 weeks...

I'm not really sure what my question is - just feeling pretty terrified of having to have spinal surgery (the dr will review the mri with me, then decide whether to refer me through to an orthopedic.). I guess no one can say what the problem is - which is the whole point of the mri...


  • Hi,

    I'm almost the same symptoms as you. No jaw pain though. My current situation is, I'm awaiting the referral to the spinal surgeon of the 3 hospital I've been to. Nearly 7 weeks gone now. My MRI scan showed a c5/6 hernia.

    The major difference is mine has hit the nerve, severe arm, hand, shoulder, back and chest pain. Whereas you've not seen that... So take it easy!
  • Hi ukqwerty,

    I had a look at your other post - and symptoms do seem similar. I might not have been clear, but the burning seems to be due to nerve pain. Also, I have definitely injured my cervical spine. Although the physio, gp and muscular skeletal dr have all said it sounds like it might be a disc problem - I think it is still possible that it is just a really irritated nerve somewhere else... (so I'm still hopeful I might get through this.)
    (I should maybe also mention that I have another spine issue - an old (16 yrs ago) thoracic injury). However, I've never had this type of nerve problem before now... Ironically (?), it was partly trying to strengthen my shoulders from this old injury that I got this new injury...

    But you are right - I don't have the severe pain that you do - I mainly just find it extremely annoying and distracting - and there are lots of things I can't do - because almost anything except staying in constant motion or standing aggravates it - and I worry about this causing permanent nerve damage - particularly as this has been going on so long... (so yes - def trying to take it easy!)

    Anyway, I had my mri referral waiting in the post - not til the beginning of July...

    I hope you get your referral for the surgeon through soon - did they give you an estimated waiting time?
  • I suffered from burning sensations in my neck and shoulder blade and I also had the sensation of a rubber band being snapped on my skin. Along with neck pain and shoulder pain. My burning ended up being nerve co pression from a severely herniated disc at C4/5. I ended up having disc removal and fusion and all the burning pain has gone.
    On,up way to know what is causing your burning is to get an MRI. but it does sound like some disc or something may be compressing your spinal cord. Good luck!
  • Hi blessedmom74,

    Thanks for sharing your symptoms - I guess I'm just trying to prepare myself for when I get the MRI results - though it will prob be almost a month til that happens...

    It is great to know that your burning is gone now. Do you have limited movement from the fusion? And will you eventually be able to do activities like snowboarding? (though the pain relief is more important!). Having a quick look on this forum over the last day or so - it seems like cervial disc ops always seem to be fusions - is that right? (sorry if that is a ridiculous question...)

    I'm also thinking of asking the GP for some anti-inflammatories to try while im waiting for the mri. Did you take anything like that? - and did it help? (I have had stomach problems, so I can't take OTC anti-inflammatories or diclofenac etc., but there must be something suitable. I took codeine and/or paracetamol for the injury related pain, but haven't been taking anything for this more recent nerve stuff.)

    Thank you!
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,422

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  • I did several rounds of prednisone for the inflammation and it gave me no relief.
    As far as my range of motion, it is better than it was pre op, I have full 90 degree range of motion left and right. I am not allowed to look up quite yet, so not sure about that range. Looking down is full range as well.
    I believe once fusion is complete which is 6 months to a year, you are allowed to return to full activities. But since I had ankle surgery 4 years ago, skiing and wakeboarding are probably out of the question for me. I will try to get back to running, spinning and surfing tho. Looking forward to that.
    Depending on your injury or issue, some people are candidates for disc replacement surgery instead of fusion. But that is something only your doctor would know.
    Have you tried any injections? Some people do well with the cortisone injections, it gave me no relief but they do help some people.
    Hope I answered all your questions.
  • Hi,

    Thanks for that. It is good to know about the range of motion, activities, etc.

    I have the uni occupational therapist coming today (I'm doing a phd), so hopefully get my desk changed - as work (i.e. sitting) is the worst thing for me.... asked the dr about anti-inflammatories, but ended up with nortriptylene - but might just give it a go while I'm waiting for the mri... Something useful I learned - the radiology place has a cancellation list - so I managed to get on that - so possibly may get seen more quickly...

    Not tried injections, I mentioned it to the muscular skeletal gp (is how the referral system works in new zealand) - and he said we can talk about it after mri - but that it tends to work better in lumbar spine. So basically this special interest gp will review the results with me, then decides whether to refer me to an orthopedic surgeon.... But I'm def open to considering injections!

    Thanks again, it is good to hear that you are doing well. Hope the rest of your recovery goes well too! (I'm trying to be both positive and realistic and the moment!...)
  • hello,

    just thought id post an update...

    so i managed to get my mri early as i asked to be put on the cancellation list. got the results yesterday.

    i have a amall herniated disc at c5/6, everything else normal. apparently disc is worse on the left, but it is just catching the nerve root on the right - which matches up with my predominantly right sided symptoms. the muscular skeletal gp has referred me to an orthopedic surgeon because my symptoms have been going on for awhile now - but is hoping that the nerve inflammation may go down before the appt somes through so that i won't need surgery. basically my mobility, reflexes and strength are all normal - it is just this burning i get whenever i sit down that is the problem. - if i walk around/move/stand then im fine. however, he didnt want to wait any longer to refer me because of the risk of permanent nerve damage. but i guess the hope is that (because i have reinjured my neck a number of times over the last 1.5 yrs) - if i am careful hopefully the inflammation will subside before the appt comes through (which sounds like it could be a few months, then a few months again while waiting for the actual surgery). if the inflammation is still there - then i will ask the surgeon about steroid injections before surgery. i guess because my symptoms aren't too bad, it would be a real shame to have surgery and potentially be worse off in terms of mobility, etc, than i already am.... (though if symptoms still there then would be very concerned about nerve damage, so surgery probably necessary).

    so.... i guess be careful and fingers crossed... not much else can be done. so overall, im feeling upset (though not surprised) about the herniation, but very grateful that it is only one level and not worse - and also grateful that i may still be able to avoid surgery...
  • Maybe I'm misunderstanding the situation, but I think what the dr meant was that although the disc can't heal - sometimes the nerve symptoms may resolve - and the stuff coming out of the disc is only just near to the nerve root . So i think that it is the hope that the repeated injuries and herniating of the disc may have aggravated the nerve root and that it may recover from this inflammation - but in the case that the nerve doesn't calm down (i guess because of the possible continual compression of it) - that i will have to have surgery. i think the dr was hesitant because my symptoms arent too bad and the herniation is small. and im only 35, so im concerned about long term implications of fusion, etc...

    i have been referred to an orthopedic surgeon - so the general idea is that i will have surgery if i still feel like this when the referral comes through. and the amount of time to that appt will be the same no matter what anyway.

    also, why did you suggest a neurosurgeon? i didnt get asked between ortho/neuro. i am in the new zealand health system - not private - so i assume this is just the standard treatment here.

    thank you!
  • ah ok, i see what you are saying, that does make sense.

    i havent tried oral steroids, NSAIDS or any type of injection. ive just been taking codeine and now nortriptilene.

    i think that part of the problem is that i'm not really sure at what point the nerve symptoms started. they def weren't there the first time i injured my neck. the reason im unclear is that i kept hurting the right side of my neck/upper shoulder - and for a long time i thought it was just the trap muscle that was hurting. it is really only as the muscle stuff has cleared up that ive realised that the burning was separate - and that it has spread down my arm...

    thank you for the info.
  • WolfpackSVBWWolfpackSVB Posts: 216
    edited 06/26/2015 - 2:43 AM
    I'm not sure what you mean about inflammation going down. When you have a herniated disc it has torn and physical pieces of it are hitting on or pinching nerves in addition to the inner pulposis floating out. There is no steroid that will make those fragments go away or repair the tear. It would be best to see a neurosurgeon.

    Best wishes,

  • Compression and inflammation are not the only causes of pain and numbness. Think of a splinter sticking into the bottom of your foot. The only way to make that pain go away is to remove the splinter.

    Based on the symptoms that you are describing and the length of time it has been going on one would have to conclude that there are pieces of your disc that have landed on spinal nerves. That is why the steroid treatments are not providing long lasting relief.

    The reason that you have pain free periods is because your body does dissolve the pieces over time unfortunately the problem repeats as new pieces break off again. It will continue doing this until the disc ultimately collapses at which point you'll be left with an arthritic type of neck pain at a minimum.

    I hope none of what I am saying applies to you but it sounds like the fragments are landing on root nerves.

    Best wishes.

  • If insurance is willing to pay for surgery and you have a doctor willing to operate, I would seriously consider doing it. I went almost 2 years with symptoms and no doctor was willing to operate on me because my MRI "didn't look that bad."
    Once I did have the surgery, the surgeon said that what was going on inside was a mess and that the MRI didn't begin to show the severity of the problem.
    Take it for me, the longer you wait the longer your recovery will be. It is so much better to get it done sooner rather than later in this matter because the longer you wait the more nerve damage you are risking. On my MRI it looked like the disc matter was just barely touching the spinal cord and once he got in there my disc matter was actually smeared all over my spinal cord.
    I am eight weeks postop, and I'm happy to report that my range of motion is better now than it was before surgery. All the burning pain in my neck and shoulder blade are gone. Now I'm just having muscle spasms and some lingering pain left over from the surgery which would have subsided had I not had this issue for so long. But because it took me I am eight weeks postop, and I'm happy to report that my range of motion is better now than it was before surgery. All the burning pain in my neck and shoulder blade are gone. Now I'm just having muscle spasms and some lingering pain left over from the surgery which would have subsided had I not had this issue for so long. But because I waited so long 19 months of finding someone willing to help me, it will take a good year for all my symptoms to subside because nerves and muscles have memory.
    So the surgery isn't as horrible as everyone says. There are a lot of success stories. I think people that wait too long out of fear are making a huge mistake. If you have tried every conservative treatment and nothing is giving you manor relief, them surgery is the next logical step. I am so happy I had surgery. Just do your homework and make sure you are choosing s good surgeon. Good luck to you!
  • BlessedMom74 said:
    All the burning pain in my neck and shoulder blade are gone. Now I'm just having muscle spasms and some lingering pain left over from the surgery which would have subsided had I not had this issue for so long.Good luck to you!
    I'm so happy for you Blessed Mom! I'm hoping I can catch up to you on the pain level. The shoulder is down to a wave of pain a couple times a day and not constant anymore so I am closing in...

    Have a great weekend :)
  • Hey NZ,

    I edited my comment above, I think a splinter is a more accurate depiction than a thorn but who knows on a microscopic level.

    What you need to know is that it can get worse. Back in early 2011 I only had a small disc bulge. I was able to handle it with PT, oral steroids and standard opioids such as Vicodin or Percocet a couple times a day. Therapy lasted for six months on that occasion and one day the pain vanished.

    In the summer of 2012 I'm getting in shape to go on a sailing trip and rendezvous with an old "friend" from my youth when it hit again. I was the captain of the vessel, a 32 foot sailboat, and I could not use my left arm for any length of time. It hurt severely. A new set of MRIs are ordered and found to be inconclusive so I go through physical therapy again. After months and months of therapy one day the pain goes away.

    In 2013 I have small episodes here and there and the doctors continue to watch my neck and shoulder but no great event occurs until Christmas time. Walking around the mall with my family I felt a tingle in my left shoulder and I knew immediately what was coming. Five more months of therapy more hell and worsening conditions.

    In early 2014 the MRIs are still inconclusive. I even have pain-free months in May and June. We decide to do shoulder surgery which could almost be called exploratory at that point. Then in July of that summer while lifting weights and cycling to get ready for surgery something odd happens. I wake up and all pain and numbness had shifted to the right side of my body. This freaked me out and for a while I thought I was losing my mind. I was wondering if I was making up the entire thing.

    But it was all too real and the last episode was horrendous. It was 24 hours of unrelenting pain and numbness, the type of thing where you consider driving off a bridge. Many times a day you imagine yourself driving a knife into your arm and cutting all the nerves out. This time the MRI showed a herniation at C-5 C6. At this point I could barely use my arm because the muscles fatigued within minutes and the pain was overwhelming.

    This state of living lasted all the way until the time I had surgery. From start to finish it took about two and half months to get to the surgery date. I had not previously seen a neurosurgeon so I had to go through referrals and check them out until I found the one that I trusted to do the surgery. I saw three different surgeons before I chose. It's possible you will never reach that level of pain. I hope not. It turns out that I did have two tears, one in my neck, the herniation, and the other in my shoulder, a labrum tear.

    I had my neck fixed in November of 2014 and my shoulder fixed in April of 2015. I'm now in my third week of physical therapy for the shoulder and things are starting to look up. The only pain left is in the shoulder and there is no numbness anywhere.

    If you have any questions feel free to ask.

    Best wishes.
  • Hi Wolfpack and Blessedmom,

    Thank you both for your comments.

    Wolfpack: thanks for your story, it has really made me think about the long term implications of leaving something like this. One of my big concerns is how surgery would effect my mobility/range of motion - as mine is normal at the moment with no neck pain - I'm worried that I will end up worse off. How has your mobility been before/after surgery? I guess I will start looking into disc replacement vs fusion so I can ask the surgeon about it (though I think it might be a few months until I get an appt...).

    Blessedmom: thank you for your story too. Long term/permanent nerve damage from waiting too long for surgery is also another big concern for me (and the dr too) - that's why he referred me through to the surgeon despite saying he hoped I wouldn't need it... In terms of conservative treatment, I don't feel I can really go anywhere further with physio - and the dr more or less said to not go back as it can make things worse... but I'm not really in much pain - I can get through pretty much the whole day without any burning if I'm active and don't sit down much. (though obviously this won't work long term!). I will prob ask about injections just to make sure I know my options...

    Also, how did you both decide on a good surgeon? I'm in the public health system, so I'm not sure I'll have much choice, but it would be good to check him/her out.
    Also, how long have you both been off of work?

    Thanks again!
  • nz1025nnz1025 Posts: 112
    edited 06/27/2015 - 2:43 PM
    Hi SVB,

    Thank you for the info, it is great to have some background to start with. 5% or so mobility loss doesnt sound too bad - and as I'm not really into high impact sports maybe a long term safety record should be a priority... (I do like snowboarding and I would really like to be able to go out on boats as I do physical oceanography, but I could live without these - and at least I've finished my phd fieldwork).

    Another consideration (to talk to the surgeon about) is that I have a chronic upper thoracic spine injury (located approx at the bottom of my shoulder blades, not sure which level exactly) - and my neck and shoulders tend to play each other off a bit - so having a surgery that would put the least stress on my upper back would probably be important. Did you have trouble with your shoulder and neck problems interacting?

    Also, good to know about the laser surgery - that sounds pretty horrible.

    Also, on a positive note, my dad had a 3(?) level lumbar fusion 25 years ago - and apart from having to do back exercises everyday and a bit of residual weakness (but he was in a bad way before the surgery) - he is fine - so that's encouraging!

    I'm glad everything is going so well for you - and I hope you don't need to come back here - but I really appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions. I read your profile - and I feel that I am in a reasonably similar situation to you - i.e. injury/no degeneration/reasonably healthy/etc.
  • In my case having the neck and shoulder injuries at the same time made it difficult for the physicians to come to a conclusion. Since the pain and numbness was over such a large area it couldn't be pinpointed. The nerve mapping models didn't work either. It was my fourth and fifth fingers that I couldn't move, my wrist burned, my ulnar nerve and ulnar muscle burned, and the biceps and general shoulder region hurt.

    Fast forward post neck surgery. I can touch my chin to my chest. I can turn my head to the left and right nearly perpendicular to my mid-line, and I can look up to the sky. It took a little over 3 months but all of the numbness and burning is gone.

    Shoulder surgery is painful. I scheduled that as soon as I could after it was confirmed that the cervical bones had fused. I had opted to use opiate therapy to save my career and in the contract that I had written to myself was a line item that said "if a path exists to remove the pain then I must take it as soon as possible". The shoulder pain is finally starting to diminish and I can reach my hand behind my head. I probably have four weeks left to regain the remaining mobility and then I will move on to building strength.

    Like you I enjoy snow skiing/boarding and will likely continue doing so once or twice a year but I have no plans of wake boarding anymore. I will also continue to sail and if I were you I wouldn't worry about going out on a boat. Just drop the wake boarding, inner tube pulls and even the skiing.

    Finding a surgeon that you trust takes effort. But think of it this way, it is going to be one of the most important events in your life. Of course you have to balance that with the money it costs and the practicality of visiting different surgeons. In the end I chose three that I would visit. Of the three I picked the one that I thought would do the best job in the actual surgery, the cutting, the sewing, and the planting of the hardware.

    Not all surgeons do the same thing. I'm not sure how to advise you on this topic I can only say in my case the surgeon used a plate to hold the two vertebrae together, a small cage as a spacer, and a bone filler made from a stem cell line. It seems to have worked out well.

    Good luck going forward.


  • Ok, your shoulder/neck stuff does sound pretty complicated...

    I will find out the surgeon that I've been referred to and the approx time til the appt - then I can discuss it with my GP this week. Apparently there is a bit of choice under the system I'm in (I'm not actually from NZ), so best to check out the options now.

    Thanks for all your advice. I hope the rest of your recovery goes well and you can get out sailing sooner rather than later!
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,818
    I first look at the shoulder as being the reason.

    I say that because cervical problems seem to be more obvious. The pain down the arm, possible loss of mobility in your fingers, tingling, burning, etc

    Now, if you do have a cervical problem and has been ignored and you continue to do things that might upset that, then yes, that burning stabbing pain can all be caused by cervical issues.

    For years even after my ACDF surgeries I thought I has more cervical issues. Only because of the burning stabbing pain between my shoulder blades, upper back and shoulders. We acknowledged the upper back pain due to some thoracic disc herniations. And I knew as long as I didnt over do it (mostly with computer work), I should not have the stabbing pain between my shoulder blades and the base of my neck.

    But still the stabbing and burning continued. After a while when I realized that I lost strength in my arm and shaking someone's hand was a nightmare did I realize it was something else. Going back to some old bone scans, it was clear that arthritis was in my joints. I spent the next 4 years with steroid injections to by some time. But eventually, it was bone on bone and there were no other options. In 2010, I had both of my shoulders totally replaced with implants. While it was a very painful recovery, much more than any of my spinal surgeries, the outcome is so bright. I have more mobility and range of motion in my shoulders than I did before.

    So that burning, that stabbing, knife like feeling in my neck,shoulders and arms are gone.

    I dont know if you have had your shoulders examined, but an X-Ray can tell alot about the condition of your joints.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • NZ,

    I am 45 so I chose a fusion. I do not plan on doing high impact activities the rest of my life. I might go skiing a few times a year but that is it. I don't see much risk in putting strain on the levels above or below my fusion. The metal that is used is titanium, it is non-reactive and will not rust in your lifetime. For a single level fusion between C4 - C7 you have a good chance of gaining mobility but you certainly will not lose any. Since I am not a giraffe the extra 5 degrees of movement that I have gained has not meant much to my life. You also get 1/4 inch of new height from the plating.

    With a two-level fusion you will lose about 10% of your mobility. My next door neighbor has a 4 level fusion, C3-C7, he does walk straight but you would never know he was fused unless he told you. Fusion is a well-tested surgery and has high success rates for people whose condition was caused more by injury than aged degeneration. People that lose mobility likely have other problems going on in addition to the disc being blown.

    Had I been ten years younger I would have considered disc replacement and I even saw a surgeon in Chicago that does them. At my age however I was no longer a good candidate for replacement and according to him my disc had collapsed, there were no good anchoring points left.

    You have to be careful because there are surgeons out there whose ego and desire for fame can cloud their judgment. Not everyone is a candidate for replacement surgery and they are still having issues getting it right. Some parts have broken over time and some discs have allowed too much movement. Think Owl. They have put some patients into a near hysteria. I researched the topic well and ultimately sided with the ACDF. Even so had I been 25 I likely would have opted for disk replacement.

    By all means stay away from minimally invasive laser surgery. There is zero evidence that it helps and is frequently a target of litigation. You are burning healthy tissue after all. That practice has greed written all over it and I am surprised that the FDA allows it to continue, to each his own I guess.

    You might be one of the last few people I interact with on the board. My time is coming to an end as my neck has healed and the pain in my shoulder is finally starting to lessen.

    Good luck going forward,

  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,818
    My ride still is pale compared to what others have to go through. I still consider myself lucky in the fact that each surgery and each recovery worked out. Having a outstanding supportive wife and family helps so much.

    We each have our own separate journeys and paths we have to take to get where we want to be.

    (Note: That shoulder recovery was tough, real real tough, I wish I could say the words that actually described it, but as a moderator I cant... and besides that is in the past.)
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Motor1MMotor1 Pittsburgh, PaPosts: 551
    My situation is similar to WolfpackSVB. I was injured at work & complained of neck & left shoulder pain. All the doctors were telling me that the pain in my shoulder & arm was coming from my herniated disc in my neck. I've had 2 fusion surgeries, and I was still complaining about shoulder pain. I finally saw a new ortho doctor, and he ordered an mri/Arthrogram. It was determined that I had a full tear & many bone spurs in my shoulder. So, 3 weeks ago, I had rotator cuff surgery.
    Although I didn't have shoulder replacement like Ron, I can honestly say that this shoulder surgery is worse pain than both of my neck surgeries. Therapy is brutal! And now I'm having concerns because I'm having all kinds of new neck pains? I'm really hoping it's just from the sling I have to wear? I still have at least 1 more month of wearing it. I'm debating whether or not to make an appointment with my neck doctor?
  • I no longer wear the strap but I remember it pulling on my neck. It also rubbed the skin so I wrapped it with a soft neoprene where it touched the neck . I also had it sewn by dear old mom so it wouldn't lose shape. I did leave one place to adjust the velcro.

    You are in for some pain on the inside of the elbow. Being in that bent position for so long makes it hurt. It peaks around the fourth and fifth weeks. Fortunately you will get to take off the sling soon after. Yep, it is a much more painful surgery than any that I have had.

    Good luck Motor.
  • Motor1MMotor1 Pittsburgh, PaPosts: 551
    I was having a lot of issues with my sling not fitting me properly. My therapist had the sling guy look at it because it was rubbing the inside of my elbow & making my arm/hand/fingers go numb. They ended up taking it apart & removing the arm brace thing that's on a hinge. Now it's not rubbing my elbow as much. But you're right, my elbow is killing me from it being kept bent. I've been cheating during the day & taking the sling off & letting my arm rest on a pillow. My therapist said its ok as long as I'm not moving my arm.
  • Hi Dilauro,

    Thanks for your comment. I do feel like this is from my neck - the burning goes from my right lower jaw down to the back of my right hand when it's bad. - but like you are saying - the muscular skeletal gp said that it's almost like my symptoms are too good.... Because I (or the physio) didn't realise it was nerve stuff for awhile - I kept returning to doing shoulder/neck strengthening exercises - which kept on re strain/spraining the right side of my neck/upper trap muscle (during which I did have a lot of pain). So although the sprain/straining pain has finally resolved, the burning hasnt. I guess I separate the burning and the pain in my mind because I don't really feel the burning as a pain - more just as an unwanted sensation.

    Also, when I'm talking about my shoulders - I really mean the area around my shoulder blades - I've never had any problems with my actual shouders (sorry not to have been clear). I have an old compression injury of my thoracic spine that has resulted in chronic pain that tends to be between the inside of my left shoulder blade and my spine. This has been pretty much stable for 16years and I've never had any nerve issues with it. But... that area of my back doesn't work quite right (prob partially through some muscle imbalances) - so when my neck puts extra stress on it, the sprain/strain sometimes spreads down into my upper back and around one/both shoulder blades.

    Having said all that - I have had some nerve issues over the last 6 months that are not directly cervical (as the physio put it - my symptoms have been pretty convoluted). For instance - I had pins in needles in my right thumb that seemed to correspond to a trigger point on the top of my shoulder and I had pins and needles in my right little finger that seemed to correspond to sore muscles/ trigger point/whatever on the inside of my right shoulder blade. Both of those have completely resolved now.

    So... I think it has all become a bit mixed up, but I do feel like it is my neck - I have also had various referred nerve pains from the same level/area that have since resolved - and it has been pretty much neck then elsewhere it terms of pain, rather than the other way round.

    I'm really glad you commented though - as I will def remember to bring up all of these symptoms to the surgeon - best to be sure of these things! And it is great to hear that the surgeries all worked well for you in the end! Thank you!
  • As a general rule numbness and tingling would indicate a nerve, whereas burning could be either one. And if your case is similar to mine you going to have to pick one item to fix first. The sooner the better once you reach a conclusion.

    Good luck NZ
  • Hi SVB,

    I'm a bit confused now, sorry. When you say burning could be either one - do you mean that it could be caused by either nerve pain or some other mechanism - or do you mean that the nerve pain could be originating from either my neck or shoulder? Can burning that orignates from a nerve somewhere other than your neck radiate back up to your neck? I was thinking that it only radiated away from your spinal cord...

  • I went to 4 different specialist and went with the one willing to do more for me than just prescribe narcotics. I did my research and found him to be extremely qualified in the procedure so I felt confident chosing him as my surgeon.
    As far as work goes, I am retired, so I didn't have to worry about an office job. My only job is wife and mom and that is a full time job. I was back at tha job after 2 weeks but needing help. Once the surgeon lifted all my limitations, like not lifting more than 5 pounds, I was able to do all my duties. He lifted all my limitations at 7 weeks post op.
  • You are one tough guy DiLauro, that must have been one rough ride.
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