I’m suffering with some weakness in my left arm, particularly when I rotate my wrist, and tingling numbness in my thumb, with a pins-and-needles like feeling running up my arm. I occasionally get a cold tiredness like pain in my upper arm. I might be imagining it, but I’m also getting a light tingle in my left foot.
I’ve been dealing with this problem for about 4-5 weeks. It first started right after a wisdom teeth removal procedure, and initially resulted in severe pain. I ended up in A&E. The pain has eased considerably. It’s a mild and occasional discomfort, and I think (hope) that the weakness is of wavering degrees, sometimes its very week and others its back to being ok.
I’ve been to my GP, had an MRI, and visited a spinal surgeon. The MRI revealed that I’ve multilevel stenosis at C4/5, C5/6 and C6/7. At C 5/6 there is a large disc extrusion impinging on my left C6 nerve root. I’ve an osteophyte at C6/7 on the left which might be impinging on my left C7 nerve root. The spinal surgeon explained that I had Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy, and that the spinal column has 45% compression in places. He further explained that I should avoid high risk activities like motor racing, bungee jumping, or parachuting as a sharp movement of my head could inflict serious damage on my spinal cord – even death. Needless to say this statement scared the crap out of me… no I don’t regularly jump out of planes, but I have in the past. I had been really looking forward to taking my two young sons on the first rollercoasters at Disney in the next year or two – something it sounds like I’ll have to avoid.
I initially took muscle relaxants and anti-inflammatory drugs, but have since stopped as the pain has ebbed.
I’ve only had conservative treatment so far. I’ve been attending a physiotherapist, but the range of exercises she’s suggesting are limited. Stretching of the nerve results in increased tingling and occasional discomfort, so she stops at that point. I’ve been giving some nerve stretching exercises but I’ve been taking it easy with these – as they bring on the tingling I’ve described.
The surgeon has recommended that I wait another 3-4 weeks and return to him. If the tingling / weakness has gone then surgery may not be needed. If surgery is needed it’ll be either a single C5/6 or a double C5/6 and C6/7. The surgeon has also mentioned all three C4/5-C5/6-C6/7, but I’m concerned about the increased stress on other discs, and the reduction in my range of motion that this could cause.
I’m concerned about my relatively young age – 37, most of the material I’ve read suggests that its mainly older people, in the 50+ age group who suffer with this. I’m also worried about poor state of the three discs I have and the impact of fusion and stress on the other discs, will I only end up going back for more surgery ? I’d love to hear from anyone else who’s in the younger demographic, when they had surgery, and the impact it had on them.
Thanks for reading this far!