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Herniated disc at C6-C7 - having 'restless arm syndrome' at night

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:26 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Hi everyone,
I've been recovering from a herniated disc at the C6/C7 level. I am doing cervical traction twice a day, and taking Ibuprofen. At night I take Valium or my remaining pain meds (hydrocodone 7.5mg) if I cannot sleep.

Lately, I've been experiencing what I can only term as 'restless arm syndrome.' I try to relax and go to sleep, but my left arm tingles and gets, well, restless - from my shoulder area to my tricep. I have to either shake my arm or drum my feet on the floor to get the discomfort to subside, but it always comes back.

Right now it's 2:43 a.m. and I cant sleep because of it.

Has anyone experienced this? Any suggestions on how to alleviate this?


God bless everyone having to deal with these injuries. People who haven't experienced this have no idea what we've gone through.



  • I haven't heard of anything like this. You should probably mention it to your PT and your doctor.
  • I had similar symptoms with my left arm,numbness in left hand but after trying a Chiropractor for several weeks, the tingle arm became very severe pain, so be careful! I tried Moltin 800 but it did not help much, also tried Vikodin which also did not help, Ended up with Percoset- 1 every 4 hours. Also tried ice pack on shoulder for 1/2 at a time which helped numb the nerve pain somewhat throughout the day. I had a Mediol dose pack steriod which helped for a week only. Was not allowed to have another one...Tried cervical traction for a few weeks but did not help. I Ended up having Cervical posterior foraminotomy surgery just last week. Still recovering! How are you today?
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  • Thanks for the replies, guys.

    I had a follow-up with my neurosurgeon yesterday. He told me the herniation I have is "soft," meaning that with time and rest, it should heal on its own...which is great news.

    As for my "restless arm syndrome," he told me to take Benadryl. Yes, Benadryl. I thought he was nuts, but I took Benadryl last night around 9:30 or so, and I had very little restlessness in my arm! Don't know what the deal is...it could be a placebo, but if it works, I don't care!

    Happy holidays to everyone! I send out my prayers to those of you who are suffering from disc problems.
  • A lot of doctors suggest Benedryl to help sleep, it is the same thing as many OTC sleep aids. Glad to hear it helped you out!
  • I had the same symptoms with my right arm..went away immediatly following surgery. It returned later during pt..when doing exercises for my shoulder. after new cervical mri and then mri for my shoulder..doctor discovered torn rotator cuff and impingement tendonitis. sometimes symptoms are the same for different ailments. cortisone shot in my shoulder: arm back to normal. now i go to pt for my shoulder!
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  • Have been down this path.. At least for me it's coming from your spine.. depending on exactly where the numbness is .. usually the cervical. Exactly which one depends on your personal situation.

    I certainly hope that you had an MRI. Sometimes a Nerve Conduction Test is required.. or even ultra sound.. Depends on the MD and the situation.. Only your Dr. can advise on this on.

    I have the numbness for close to a year.. started complaining about it -- when to PT... one of the exercise is a simple and quick exercise that seems to have helped reduced it.

    Good luck.. get all the reports from DR.'s and all the MRI's ect.
  • Some sort of comfort to know there are fellow sufferers all over. I live in Wales btw. 6 months ago x ray revealed that I had degenerative disc disease in the C6/7 area. The physio said (no doubt rightly) "if you haven't got DDD at your age (seventy) there must be something wrong with you!" After treatment by a sports masseur it got better, but flared up a week ago - sensation of a sharp knife in the back, twisted from time to time, and particularly painful in bed. Spine itself not painful, but radiating pain around the right shoulder, causing knots in the back muscles and numbness in fingers of rt hand, with chronic discomfort in arm. Pain somewhat relieved by bending double at the waist and touching the toes i.e. stretching seems to help. Am wondering about Tai Chi. Have been taking anti inflammatory pills (diclophenac) and taking painkillers - Co Dydramol and latterly Tramacet, which probably help - but am looking for a longer term solution by way of correcting posture (I can't lean my head to the right) so that I can continue my career as a septuagenarian kitesurfer before the guy with the scythe says it's time to call it a day.

    Would not be surprised to hear that staring at a PC screen for hours has not helped.

  • Has anyone ever heard of this? I injured my neck/shoulder at work (in a deli) in April of 08. I have numbness, tingling, burning, electric shock feeling all of the time. Gets worse when I tilt my head towards the injured side(right) and better when I do the opposite side. I have had xrays, an mri, cervical myelogram and emg that all were negative??? I have had a neural scan that showed severe nerve damage to c7 or c8 area. Pain has only gotten worse over the last 9 months. In December I had radio frequency lesioning (nerve burning) to c3,c4 & c5. This was a last resort but still didn't work. Very painful procedure though! I feel like I am going crazy because they haven't found what is causing this. Has anyone ever heard of anything like this before??? Please help me, I'm literally at my wits end. Thanks in advance!!
  • I am having the exact same problem that you are. I was diagnosed with bulging discs in my neck, the worst, at C6 & C7 and a few more around C4 and C5. I just had my second ESI almost 2 weeks ago and for the past week I am starting to experience this "restless" feeling in my left arm. This has only been happening in the evenings and I kinda feel like it's starting in my right arm. I am calling my orthopedic dr in the morning. He has told me that the next step will either be therapy or surgery. The thought of having surgery scares me. And at this point, I'm starting to worry that physical therapy won't help much and I have been warned not to have my neck adjusted by a chiropractor for fear that it may move things around and make it worse.
  • Hello- yes I have the same problem!! Just found out about a ruptured C6-7, joint degeneration and hypertrophy, neural foriminal stenosis and mass effect of my cervical spine!! My left arm has been tingly, burning a pain in my neck, arm and upper left side of my back. Been taking Neurontin, Baclofen and Vicodin. Havent seen the spine specialist yet.I also have scoliosis which I have known since I was a teenager.
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