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arm numbness

LORIANNLLORIANN Posts: 4
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:40 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Does anyone know why my arms become numb only when I sleep on my back. I have bulging discs I think c4-7. Also, can a disc go from "herniated" to "bulging?? I was just wondering because my 1st mri showed that Ihad disc hernias, then about 1 year later the radiologist stated they were bulging. It just doesn't make sense how that could occurr or perhaps I don't know the difference between the two.

Also has anyone had a medial branch neurotomy??? And if so any complications???God Bless.

Lori Ann
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Comments

  • Hi there. I don't know about this pre-surgery. But I know that I'm 7 weeks post surgery for 2 cervical herniated disks. When I lay on my back at nightmy entire left arm goes numb. My doctor says that's normal and will go away as the nerve heals. Talk to your neuro or ortho doc about it. Get a concise answer so that you don't have any residual questions.

  • I am about 3 months post opp from 2 level neck fusion and I have to say I have had no numbness when laying down in fact no numbness since surgery so I dont know if I would say its normal. I guess it could be I am not normal LOL
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  • LORIANN said:
    Does anyone know why my arms become numb only when I sleep on my back. I have bulging discs I think c4-7. Also, can a disc go from "herniated" to "bulging?? I was just wondering because my 1st mri showed that Ihad disc hernias, then about 1 year later the radiologist stated they were bulging. It just doesn't make sense how that could occurr or perhaps I don't know the difference between the two.

    Also has anyone had a medial branch neurotomy??? And if so any complications???God Bless.

    Lori Ann
    Howdy Lori,

    I had that happen when my C6/7 herniated. If I slept on my back and had my head rolled to the left, I would wake up with my right arm numb. Basically for me, I was by position making the hernia "impact" (no pun intended) more aggravated. Try sleeping on your side and see if that makes a difference, or if you are like me, try making it such that your head lies in the opposite direction.

    As for "herniated vs bulging", that can be as simple as different radiologists reading your MRI images. Some also intermix the two terms as well. There is discussion of that on this site, just do a search for "herniated disk" and you will see. It is subjective if you will. Take care.

    Brenda
    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • There is a difference between a disc that's bulging and a disc that's herniated. I'll explain it the way my NS explained it to me. Your discs are made up of a soft material, and the center is an almost liquid-like substance.

    Picture a jelly donut. If you hold the jelly donut and squeeze it just enough that the jelly looks like it might squirt out, but doesn't. That's a bulging disc. Pressure on the disc is causing the liquid center to push on the outer part of the disc, causing it to bulge.

    If you really put pressure on that donut, then the jelly is going to squirt out. That's a herniation. That liquid material from the center of your disc has leaked out into the spinal canal.

    I have 4 bulging discs, and luckily have responded well to meds, injections and physical therapy. I'm nearly pain free and it's looking like I won't need surgery.

    Best of luck!
  • RangerRRanger on da rangePosts: 1,004
    Hey LoriAnn,
    Prior to my cervical fusion more than 2 years ago my left hand was going numb. The source being discs collapasing between C3 & C6. My nerve damage is permanent but I do know if I sleep on my back with even the smallest pillow under my head the tingling and numbness gets even worse.
    Due to my lower spine issues I have always focused on sleeping on my back. If I don't use a pillow at all the tingling/numbness in my hand and arm is greatly reduced. Don't put off this problem too long to avoid permanent nerve damage.
    Take care,
    Ranger
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