I had a followup with my doctor today, as we have been doing some testing to figure out why my left arm is continuing to get weaker. I had left arm weakness and pain with my original injury, and my surgeon told me a few weeks ago that my weakness now is permanent and coming from neck problems I had. since this is getting worse, not staying the same, I question if it can be called "permanent", so I had an EMG done. This came back absolutely normal. What? that totally surprised me until the doctor explained today that an EMG will only show if there is something outside of the cord causing the problems, i.e. nerve roots. The test will provide no information on problems stemming from cord damage. So it didn't really surprise the doctor that the EMG was normal, because my nerve roots have all been completely decompressed.
She took a look at my left arm today and noticed that it is red, which is something that has been ongoing for a very long time. Looks like I have a sunburn. It is also warmer to the touch than the other arm. This led to more questions, and she thinks I have Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, or something like that. I do have pain in my arm, but I am able to deal with this, at least for the most part. It is the weakness that concerns me. We talked about doing injections, and I am starting physical therapy again, concentrating on the arm strength. She had an anesthetist come in while I was there and talk to me about a ganglion block, and also the possibility of doing an SCS. This is something I have never even considered, and it totally blows me away to think that I may need that.
Why would an SCS help with weakness? Does it stimulate the nerves enough that the information flows from the cord to the arm correctly? There is definite damage to the cord in the c-spine, so does an SCS reprogram the interrupted signals? I'm just a little confused about this. I thought SCS were used to help control pain only.
Apparently with CRPS, one can lose muscle strength and the skin color differences along with some swelling is what leads them to think this is what is going on with me. If any of you have this, please let me know what your symptoms are, and how you are treating it.
We talked about going back to work. I have been trying to do some work for a couple of weeks, and it is causing increased neck tightness and pain. I also worked on sewing a dress for my daughter and ended up in excruciating spasms and pain for a couple of days afterwards. how am I supposed to go back to a desk job? I just can't look down for any period of time without causing more pain to my neck. the only way I can be on the computer now is by using a laptop, sitting back in my recliner with my neck supported with a cervical pillow. Laptop is positioned that I can hold my head straight without looking down. I can sit and type this way without too many ill effects, but that is not conducive to an office atmosphere. I just don't understand how I am going to be able to work as an executive secretary or office administrator again. In discussing this with my doctor, she suggests that I train for a different career, stating that she is not too excited about me doing a desk job. It is just not going to work with my neck issues, and cord damage causing the leg issues, and the bladder issues. My entire body is just screaming at me and I am so frustrated and fed up. Going back to school does not sound fun to me!
The doctor sent in a request for a new c-spine MRI, so once WC approves this I will get it done and then see the doctor again to determine what to do next. I start physical therapy again tomorrow. That takes half my day--It is a one hour trip each way, 1-2 hours in therapy. By teh time I finish therapy I am always wiped out and not worth anything for the rest of the day. I just want a normal life again.
Sorry for the ramble and whine tonight. I just need a little support.
Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!