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HELP what could be happening to me?

morganls1019mmorganls1019 Posts: 1
edited 12/22/2015 - 5:41 AM in Chronic Pain
Back story. I went to the ER last spring thinking I was having a heart attack because my left arm went completely numb and felt painful and then I got anxious which made my HR and BP sky rocket. They did an EKG, lots of blood work and a chest xray and said you're young (I'm 27), your heart is fine, it was a panic attack.

Since that spring, I still feel this odd tightness in my chest, but mainly in my upper back, left shoulder and left side of neck. And my arm is numb. Almost always. My General Practitioner (who is actually just a Nurse Practitioner) ordered a neck xray. They said it was fine. Then we moved on to a C-Spine MRI. They said it was fine.

I have scoliosis. Which I didn't know about until last year after a first trip to the chiropractor. He acted like I was in terrible shape. (bones and spurs and such) but then when they checked my neck via doctor and xray and MRI, they say I'm fine.

I'm not crazy. My left arm is weak as heck and my shoulder hurts to the touch and my neck is sore and my upper back is so tight that I believe it leads to a tightness feeling in my chest.

I am pretty overweight and I work as a secretary. The pain is the worst at work. ESPECIALLY my weird numb, painful arm.
I've spent so much money and found nothing wrong with me. My doctor prescribed me Xanax and sent me on my way. Come on.

What should I do now? Who should I see? What tests should I have done? Has anyone had this experience? What could be causing all of this? It's been almost a year of arm numbness, shoulder, neck and upper back tightness and I can't take it anymore.


Welcome to Spine-Health

While you may have provided us with some information, there is always more to provide.

One of the most important things that members can do is to provide the rest of the community with as much information about themselves as possible. It is so very difficult for anyone to respond when we do not have enough information to go on. This is not meant to indicate that you are doing anything wrong or violated any rule, we are just trying to be pro-active and get the information upfront so that people can start responding and your thread is more effective.

So many times we read about members who have different tests and they all come back negative. The more clues and information you provide, the better chances in finding out what is wrong, The fact that your test results are negative does not mean that you are fine and without any concerns. Many times it takes several diagnostic tests and procedures to isolate a specific condition.

Here are some questions that you should answer:

  • - When did this first start?

    . Year, Your age, etc
- Was it the result of an accident or trauma?
- Are there others in your family with similar medication conditions?
- What doctors have you seen? (Orthopedic, Neurosurgeon, Spine Specialist, etc)

  • . Which doctor did you start with? Ie Primary Care Physician
    . Who are you currently seeing?
- What Conservative treatments have you had? Which ones?

  • . Physical Therapy
    . Ultrasound / Tens unit
    . Spinal Injections
    . Acupuncture
    . Massage Therapy
- What diagnostic tests have you had? And their results (MRI, CTScan, XRay, EMG, etc)

  • . Summarize the results, please do not post all details, we cannot analyze them
    . How many different tests have you had over the years? Similar results?
- What medications are you currently using? (details, dosage, frequency, etc)

  • . Name of Medication
    . How long have you been using this?
    . Results
- Has surgery been discussed as an option? (If so, what kind)
- Is there any nerve pain/damage associated?
- What is your doctor’s action plan for treating you?

Providing answers to questions like this will give the member community here a better understanding
of your situation and make it easier to respond.

Please take a look at our forum rules: Forum Rules

I also strongly suggest that you take a look at our FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) which can be found at the top of the forum menu tab or by going to FAQ There you will find much information that will

  • - Help you better utilize the Spine-Health system
    - Provide pointers on how to make your threads / posts
    - Tips on how to create your avatar (your picture), posting images, etc
    - General pieces of valuable information

Please remember that no one at Spine-Health is a formally trained medical professional.
Everything that is posted here is based on personal experiences and perhaps additional research.
As such, no member is permitted to provide

  • - Analysis or interpretation of any diagnostic test (ie MRI, CTscan, Xray, etc)
    - Medical advice of any kind
    - Recommendations in terms of Medications, Treatments, Exercises, etc

What could be good for someone could spell disaster for another.
You should also consult your doctor to better understand your condition and the do’s and don’t’s.

It is very important that new members (or even seasoned members) provide others with details about their condition(s). It is virtually impossible to help another member when all the details we have are

I’ve had this for years, it hurts, I cant move my shoulder – what could this be, what treatment should I get?

Diagnosing spinal problems can be very difficult. In many ways it’s like a game of clue. Especially, when the diagnostic tests come back negative – no trouble found! Then it’s up to the patient and the doctor to start digging deeper. The doctor is like a detective. They need clues to help them move along. So, you as the patient need to provide the doctor with all sorts of clues. That is like it is here. Without having information about a condition, its impossible for anyone here to try to help.

Specific comments :

Personal Opinion, not medical advice :

Since you have already had diagnostic tests and they have come out negative, you may not have many options. Any doctor needs to justify the need for diagnostic tests to the insurance company. As long as the doctor feels there is a need, then they could schedule another test. But the fact that previous tests have come back negative, that might be hard.

See if you GP can make any referrals for you. Perhaps getting some blood work to check for Rheumatoid arthritis.

--- Ron DiLauro, Spine-Health System Moderator : 12/22/15 11:38est



  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,476
    edited 12/23/2015 - 4:27 PM
    It seems good that you went to ER to have heart or other issues ruled out.
    You are young, but young people have been known to suffer heart attacks and strokes, also.
    I don't know if you are a guy or gal..but if a gal, and if taking birth control pills, blood clots are a serious adverse reaction that can occur.

    There are also inherited blood disorders, men and women, that you may never know about ....unless something would occur.
    And that they can cause blood clots, also.
    All that to say, again, it's good you went to ER to get checked out.

    Is your primary the one who prescribed Xanax ? And did your MRI?

    If you are being diagnosed as panic attack, I would go to psychiatrist for work up and specific help to your issues.
    All panic attacks are not created equal,...and to only take medication does not help you gain coping skills to eventually overcome them.

    I struggle with depression and I brought myself to psychiatrist and also to one on one therapy with therapist, for a time.
    The skills I learned were so valuable and continue to help me to this day.

    Have you seen a spine specialist? A pain management doctor?
    My pain management doctor did a variety of testing, that I was not even told about before.
    He was able to discover spinal issues and then proper treatment, and also plans B, C... as effective treatments can be a trial and try again experience.

    I am so grateful for the specialists working with me!
    They keep current with their specialty and I found they understand my symptoms better than anyone else.

    From what you describe, you are not crazy!....and you are the best to advocate for yourself.
    I would calmly repeat my story until someone listened and brought me some relief.
    And that may mean getting second opinions.

    Spinal issues happened regardless of age.
    There are many young members on this site who some initially felt so alone.

    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • PlumbTuckeredOutPlumbTuckeredOut Philadelphia, PAPosts: 325
    edited 12/23/2015 - 7:17 PM
    I find that these are frequent words in a chiropractor's vocabulary! Back in the 90's I went to a chiropractor who told me immediately that with my level of pain and what my x-rays showed, there was very little he could do to help me. My insurance paid for him so he'd massage my back and teach me what I needed to know to function while under such pain. Back then, there were not good treatments for what I had- I'm not sure we have good treatments now. It seems that there is no "cure". I've had 2 back surgeries and the goal was to maintain use of my legs and arms. The chiropractor I likes so much stopped practicing and went onto selling medical supplies or something similar. He was in a different state but I can honestly say that what he refused to do, the whole manipulations thing, helped but not as much as his listening to me and wiping away the tears.

    My MRIs, cervical, thoracic, and lumbar all show misaligned disks, bone spurs, stenosis,.... other things I'd need to go back and see. There is even a 1.9 cm growth on my left kidney that showed up in an MRI. My left arm has lost strength and dexterity. It is frequently numb and fairly useless. I've been referred to surgery (again) but what doctors will do surgery for and what I will go back for surgery to regain, are not the same anymore.
    Doctors will seldom operate to alleviate pain. My pain is fairly well controlled with meds and with some PT and meditation. I would like to have control over my arm again or, at least, have some consistency but no doctors can promise that. I'm sure a surgeon can realign the cervical disk and that may help with my arm- or it may not. We are light years from knowing how well the outcome of a surgery will be. My first surgery back in 1998 was a miracle because I cannot imagine what would have made life worse. I was dragging my self because my legs were not always functional. I had lost bladder continence. The morning after that surgery I thought I could dance! The nurses wouldn't let me get up to try it out but I felt so good! But it didn't last long.

    What I suggest for you is to decide what you want- no more pain, more strength, dexterity, movement...... with a goal find a doctor and share what you want and ask what he or she can do to get you there. Physical therapy is wonderful for many people. Medications which help in the healing of nerves is also helpful. Going to a doctor and saying, "My arm doesn't work" won't get you much feedback.

    We all want full functioning. We all want no pain. What we need to do is decide what we are willing to tolerate. Thousands of years of medical practice and we have few cures for things but many treatments. Setting small goals can built to bigger things. At 27 I probably would have wanted to kill hearing this! At 49 I know that the days when I can walk an extra block is an excellent day! I slap myself on the back for the small things! My life is GOOD because I measure life in small progressions instead of an end result. I will continue working to feel better until the day I am called to another plain of existence.

    When you celebrate the small victories your life can be a never ending party!

    Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by...... (Robert Frost)
    I still don't know if I should have taken the one that said, "Caution! Dead End" (Me)
  • The_BedraggledTThe_Bedraggled Posts: 1
    edited 12/25/2015 - 6:29 AM
    Hello, I am brand new to posting in this forum, although I am a long time lurker :-). I am by no means a medical professional but SOME of the symptoms you are describing were/are similar to mine. For instance, the arm pain, numbness, tingling and the loss of strength and dexterity. Long story short; I was diagnosed with a torn labrum, which is cartilidge in the shoulder. My orthopedic at the time said that the symptoms for a torn labrum, or any type of shoulder injury can be very similar to that of C-spine pain. It may be something to discuss with your current healthcare provider, good luck and I hope you feel better!
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,476
    edited 12/25/2015 - 1:08 PM
    Welcome to Spine-Health
    Please click on link for helpful information!
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

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