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rotator cuff or cervical disk problem?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,321
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:22 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Had ACDF C6-7 several years ago and have done well for the most part. Lately however, I am having pain when I raise my left arm or do any repetitive motion in my left upper arm toward the front. I have inconsistent neck pain down to same shoulder. My left thumb keeps going numb. Having difficulty sleeping due to pain in arm and neck. Is this related to possible C5-6 herniation now or am I having secondary rotator cuff problems? I have stopped water aerobics due to pain in that arm occurring only after about 10 minutes.


  • It could be either one. When I first sought treatment for shoulder pain, the MRI showed no red flags. However, I went through useless PT on the shoulder which only made the pain much, much worse. Well, it turns out it's most likely being caused by 3 herniated cervical disks and the pain is radiating throughout the entire shoulder, down the arm and to the fingers. Definitely, definitely talk to your doctor and get to the bottom of it. Good luck and I really hope you find an answer soon so you can get on the road to feeling better. :)))
  • i just had surgery yesterday for my left rotary cuff. BUT i also have c5-c6 herniation. for me it is both. i had the shoulder done first by OS, then my neck will be addressed next my NS, have an appt. with him on sept. 4th.
    needless to say i had same symptoms as you, still do. i know it is hard to distingished what pain is coming from where, and my left thumb, and index finger throb with pain.
    i have numbness, and my right hands have tremors, some in
    my left. my mri'S i had showed both back in MAY.

    i just wanted to respond to let you know you are not alone.
    my SURGERY is posted in surgery topics.
    take it easy tetons. LEO
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  • I am going through the same thing right now.....I had fusion surgery, revision fusion surgery C4-C7 feb 07 and in May of this year started having the left shoulder problem, I let it go until July when the pain was going down my arm and thumb and index finger was throbbing and numb. Ortho did xray and rotator cuff looked good, started me on PT and as of now they have decided it is thracic outlet syndrome....PT has done many test on me, stretches and such and this is what they think......I don't see my surgeon until Oct of this year.....he has never released me. A lot of what PT says makes sense....laying down makes it worse...I have tried sleeping on my right side with a pillow under my left arm, this does help but sometimes I turn over in the night and that is when I wake up in pain.

  • Hi tetons,
    First I see this is your first post, Welcome :H
    I was also one with pain in down the arm, and into the thumbs, index and middle finger. My first WC doctor, who was a pain management jerk!!!! (who I fired) couldn't figure me out. Thought it was depression, to him the symptoms weren't following the text book.
    Well finally got a Great NS and he told me I needed surgery on my 2 levels of herniated discs c5/c6 and c6/c7, and I also had a pinched nerve at c6-c7. After a year of fighting the wonderful world of WC, and waiting, complaining about my neck, shoulder, arm and fingers hurting all the time, and bringing WC to court to make them pay for the surgery and all needed medical, I had surgery on the neck March 2008. I kept telling my NS that I was feeling better, but still having a lot of pain in the shoulder area.
    He sent me to a OS who tested my rom and did a few other tests, decided x-rays should be done. Once he seen the x-rays, ordered a MRI. Bingo! Rotator cuff tear. I knew it was not in my head, and the tingling from the pinched nerve was gone. I am now having rotator cuff surgery on Aug. 28th, next week...
  • Thank you for the comments. I guess I will schedule an appointment with a doc soon. When I had my ACDF several years ago there were other cervical disks herniated but only one compressing centrally which was C6-7 so in my mind one of those other ones may be doing it now. I have some great PT friends who have given me some exercises to try so I am going to try those first and hope for the best. The numbness of course got my attention again. The pain when I lie down is not nearly as unbearable as it was when I needed the C6-7 and I am not in tears like I was with that one. It is more frustration that I have any problem again. I have also had two previous lower back surgeries so I am not one to want anymore surgery unless absolutely necessary. I always say I won't consider surgery again unless I absolutely start losing function which was happening with the other one.
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  • This if my first post but what better place to go than to people who have experienced the same things. I'm at my wits end and hope someone can tell me something. I had ACDF of 5/6 & 6/7 in May 2007. I am now having pain in shoulder and deltoid muscle. Last myolegram showed bulging disc at 4/5. I am taking PT and the only thing that really works is traction. My neuro wants to do conservative before jumping in and doing a 3rd plating. Anyone had this happen?
  • Sounds like what I am going through.....I am fused C4-C7 and started having left shoulder/arm pain back in May....my surgery was Feb 07. I have been going to PT for a few weeks now and the exercises do help....today I had a deep massage for my neck, Tspine and even up into my scalp...I have to admit it felt so much better. I also use a tens unit....my muscles in my neck and shoulder are so weak that they think this is what is causing the shoulder problem into the Tspine.

  • Hi,
    I am posting here I am praying for some good advice. I suffered with severe pain in upper back and left arm. I also needed both knees replaced so I did them both at the same time this past April since surgery my entire back from top to bottom has completely blown up.My knees now hurt worse than they ever did. after 3 years prior to knee surgery they finally let me have an MRI on my left shoulder torn and thickened rotator cuff,I have herniated discs in c4 c5 c6 c7 to top it all off they finally let me have an MRI lumbar I have a synovial cyst on facet joint c4 5 they stated it affects my L5 nerve. I am in so much pain I wish to god I could go to sleep and never wake up. they now want to start trigger point injections on my lower back and no one is addressing my knees and the fact that the upper back is screaming and my neck and arms are so bad I cannot do anything. When I went out for surgery after years at the same job the new boss let 10 of us go and it is legal the way they did it so I am now unemployed and working with my cobra which is decent. I realize I am rambling but I need advice who can help someone with all of this where do I go. My primary care is wonderful but this is not what he does.I am sick of percocet and it is the only thing I can take PT didn't do anything the new PT she sent me to for my back has made my neck and rotator cuff hurt so bad I cannot sleep or do anything. Who would treat all of these issues? I feel to like I need someone to evaluate if I haave some type of muscular type problems like IT band syndrome or piriformas sundrome. I sit here praying someone has some ideas. I need to find a job and when you cannot walk or use your arms and legs it is hard. I am not whining I am looking for ideas.my personal email is sandyparris14@yahoo.com I have trouble getting signed in here. Some of your abbreviations I get some I do not. I am waiting for any advice you may have. HAVE A BLESSED DAY
  • Welcome to Spine Health. Your situation certainly doesn't sound like much fun at all. Has your primary care doc discussed giving you a consult to a spine specialist? If not maybe you should bring that up. Definitely sounds like a complex problem, but absolutely something your doc and or docs need to sit down and discuss.

    In the mean time you can find refuge here with the rest of us.

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