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What if my neck isn't causing my arm pain after all?

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2

Comments

  • sunny1966ssunny1966 VIRGINIAPosts: 1,385
    I'm sorry you're having so much trouble. It sounds like we are having very similar problems. I'm beginning to think that I'm thinking this to death! I've read and heard so much about people having the same or worse pain after surgery that it really scares me. I know it will come down to whether or not I can stand to continue living with this as it is and how fast the muscle atrophy is expected to progress.
    Did you have good results from your surgery in '95?When do you see the neurosurgeon this month? I hope you can get the answers to all your questions and help for all your pain and symptoms. That's what I wish for all of us.
    Good luck.
    Debbie
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 11,640
    discussing this with your doctor and see if he/she feels like additional diagnostic testing should be done.

    As you know I recently had a complete shoulder replacement surgery. This was due to advanced arthritis deteriorating the shoulder and shredding tendons.

    My pain prior to surgery was in the upper arm and would radiate down to my hand/fingers. Having prior ACDF surgeries, there was a similar set of symptoms.

    Soreness in my neck was due mostly because of my shoulder.

    But I can say there was a distinct difference in the pain I had in my neck due to herniated discs and the pain associated with my shoulder.

    I would hope that MRI's of your cervical area and possible MRI of your shoulder should clear things up. I did find out that with some of the shoulder issues, X-Rays told more about the specific shoulder problem

    Debbie, good luck
    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
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  • sunny1966ssunny1966 VIRGINIAPosts: 1,385
    Thanks. How are you? How is your shoulder doing? Are you able to use it more now?
    I never even thought my shoulder may be the problem until after the first esi it and it started hurting so much more. I'm just stuck in the 'what if?' mode. I'm sure everyone is sick of me going back and forth over this and wish I'd just do it or shut up about it. I think they may be right.
    I hope you have a good day Ron. Have you been getting your hands dirty??? Tell the truth now, have you been working in the yard? lol.
    Debbie
  • Sunny don't stop thinking but make sure it is clear thinking. I went the opposite direction. After my accident the orthopedist said it was a rotator cuff tear. The MRI confirmed it so he operated. When he got in there the tear was minor (could it have healed on it's own?).

    So then we started MRI of spine. They found a herniation so they sent me to an ortho spine surgeon. He didn't think it was bad enough to operate (or wsa that because it was thoracic and he didn't want to touch it?). Did the neurologist for several months since the surgeon said that would take care of it.

    Finally I got fed up with no solutions and went back to the first ortho. I had researched all sorts of things. TOS is a very similar symptoms. He looked at me and said why not fix your herniation before looking somewhere else. I was floored!!

    So I think you should ask about the shoulder. A good ortho can tell my moving your arm around. If all the doctors agree that your C-disks are the problem then I would start there.
  • sunny1966ssunny1966 VIRGINIAPosts: 1,385
    Sorry you had to suffer for so long while waiting for someone to help. It seems like forever when you're in pain. How are you now? Did the microD help?
    Thanks for the suggestions. I've really been thinking about this and I think it's probably my neck causing it. I have so much weakness in that arm that I can't hold up the newspaper. Moving my shoulder doesn't cause pain. Of course it pops and cracks but what part of me don't these days? lol. I will ask the NS about it when I have my next appt.
    I hope you're having a good day and have a great weekend.
    Debbie
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  • Yes I agree to get the Dr to exam and get views of the shoulder. When I had my shoulder surgery even after my neck injury 20 years ago I knew for sure it was my shoulder. It cracked all the time and just couldn't lift my arm up and the cause was lifting someone with someone else and the other person didn't lift but I did and had the subluxation right there. It took several cortisone injections and ultrasound an PT then surgery to get it back to normal. The ER Dr. tried to set it and that was so painful. Anyways you want to be sure it's your neck causing the issues of course before surgery. Good for you to make sure. Charry

    PS I'm sure Ron is checking out his weed whacker and wondering if he should use it. We say no don't do it!
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • I agree with everyone else to double check with your doctor. What your MRI shows and with your symptoms, it's very possible and in fact likely you are having cervical problems. I've had the symptoms you describe including the severe weakness in my left arm.

    Have you checked out a dermatome map? You might want to do that just to see what you see.

    You don't have surgery scheduled yet, right? Is that what your next appointment is about?

    Cath
  • Debbie, yes we are both at the same path in the road. Like you I'm trying to assess current and weighing how bad the radiculopathy and dysfunction of arm/hands can progress and painful symptoms with cervical spine nerve impingement.

    You asked about success of my first ACDF. That surgery was considered successful and was done on C-4/5/6 discectomy and removal of 3 bone spurs on each level, two were touching my spinal cord and was considered "interventional" because I had serious neuropathy symtoms for 3 mos. of my whole left side of my body head/face down to my toes/feet going numb for 20-25 min several times a day. Had bone implant fusion; which was successful and complete in 9 months and was considered successful. Had total relief of whole left side of body numbness. Other radiculopathy symptoms, numbness and tingling in arm and hands improved and I got almost total relief in a year. I have had some residual numbness in my left hand, (holding phone, computer) a year or so after surgery.

    Re: Radiculopathy Symptoms

    Have had slow progression of radiculopathy symptoms over the years since that surgery 15 yrs ago. MVA broadside collision changed my symptoms I went from "advanced degeneration" to "severe advanced" with foraminal narrowing and bone spurs growing and creating impingement in the MVA 2-1/2 yrs ago.

    It's progressed to being severe with muscle weakness and loss of strength in my hands/fingers and now considerable loss of being able to use my hand; big time change in dexterity and every day function/tasks.

    Re: Progression of Radiculopathy Nerve Impingement and Muscle/Ligament Atrophy Loss of Function

    I can find, medical websites, neurosurgeon/orthopedic association medical reports, etc. that surgery is normally done when symptoms worsen to prevent permanent nerve damage. It is also not definitive of at what point, what factors even muscle weakness, indicates whether nerves/muscles can heal and be restored.

    I have multiple bone spurs impinging on C-6/7, T-1 and requires surgery to open up nerve branch openings coming out of the spine from spinal cord.

    The surgery has to be done from the front (anterior) and it would be my second ACDF (C-4/5/6) and it carries extremely high risk for compromising (damaging) ligaments and nerves of esophagus and voice box = known to cause swallowing and voice problems = could be permanent post-surgery. So my dilemma is being told by an orthosurgeon after careful assessment of my c-spine previously surgery, fusion above (C-4/5/6) + deformed fused levels (C-2/3 and scoliosis) I am too high risk for him to consider the surgery.

    Re: Cervical Spine Nerve Injections Aggravated Symptoms

    Had cervical nerve blocks on levels of nerve branches believed to be impinged; my symptoms went from severe to off-the-charts 7 days after nerve block wore off and for past 4 wks. Meds: Neurontin and Meloxicam evidently helping after past two weeks increasing dose. got some relief of the severe pain and burning. But now noticing yet even greater loss of function of my hand, thumb and fingers a(dexterity of picking up things, etc.) it's so bad I feel like by hand is disconnected from what I want to do! It's re4ally bad and scares me of where this goes, how much worse and total paraylsis ? I fear now this can't be reversed.

    Hope to get EMG's and be meeting with a neurosurgeon out-of-state for second opinion in the next 2 wks. and I have many ???'s re: prognosis and what's worst case scenario in not being able to do a surgery (high-risk assessment). I'm hoping to get a confirmed appt. for an assessment at Mass. General Neurourgery Center in Boston, forward my medical and radiology reports.

    Praying....for direction and resolution thru this....and doing the same for you too Debbie.

    Janelle "joydancer"
  • Debbie, yes we are both at the same path in the road. Like you I'm trying to assess current and weighing how bad the radiculopathy and dysfunction of arm/hands can progress and painful symptoms with cervical spine nerve impingement.

    You asked about success of my first ACDF. That surgery was considered successful and was done on C-4/5/6 discectomy and removal of 3 bone spurs on each level, two were touching my spinal cord and was considered "interventional" because I had serious neuropathy symtoms for 3 mos. of my whole left side of my body head/face down to my toes/feet going numb for 20-25 min several times a day. Had bone implant fusion; which was successful and complete in 9 months and was considered successful. Had total relief of whole left side of body numbness. Other radiculopathy symptoms, numbness and tingling in arm and hands improved and I got almost total relief in a year. I have had some residual numbness in my left hand, (holding phone, computer) a year or so after surgery.

    Re: Radiculopathy Symptoms

    Have had slow progression of radiculopathy symptoms over the years since that surgery 15 yrs ago. MVA broadside collision changed my symptoms I went from "advanced degeneration" to "severe advanced" with foraminal narrowing and bone spurs growing and creating impingement in the MVA 2-1/2 yrs ago.

    It's progressed to being severe with muscle weakness and loss of strength in my hands/fingers and now considerable loss of being able to use my hand; big time change in dexterity and every day function/tasks.

    Re: Progression of Radiculopathy Nerve Impingement and Muscle/Ligament Atrophy Loss of Function

    I can find, medical websites, neurosurgeon/orthopedic association medical reports, etc. that surgery is normally done when symptoms worsen to prevent permanent nerve damage. It is also not definitive of at what point, what factors even muscle weakness, indicates whether nerves/muscles can heal and be restored.

    I have multiple bone spurs impinging on C-6/7, T-1 and requires surgery to open up nerve branch openings coming out of the spine from spinal cord.

    The surgery has to be done from the front (anterior) and it would be my second ACDF (C-4/5/6) and it carries extremely high risk for compromising (damaging) ligaments and nerves of esophagus and voice box = known to cause swallowing and voice problems = could be permanent post-surgery. So my dilemma is being told by an orthosurgeon after careful assessment of my c-spine previously surgery, fusion above (C-4/5/6) + deformed fused levels (C-2/3 and scoliosis) I am too high risk for him to consider the surgery.

    Re: Cervical Spine Nerve Injections Aggravated Symptoms

    Had cervical nerve blocks on levels of nerve branches believed to be impinged; my symptoms went from severe to off-the-charts 7 days after nerve block wore off and for past 4 wks. Meds: Neurontin and Meloxicam evidently helping after past two weeks increasing dose. got some relief of the severe pain and burning. But now noticing yet even greater loss of function of my hand, thumb and fingers a(dexterity of picking up things, etc.) it's so bad I feel like by hand is disconnected from what I want to do! It's re4ally bad and scares me of where this goes, how much worse and total paraylsis ? I fear now this can't be reversed.

    Hope to get EMG's and be meeting with a neurosurgeon out-of-state for second opinion in the next 2 wks. and I have many ???'s re: prognosis and what's worst case scenario in not being able to do a surgery (high-risk assessment). I'm hoping to get a confirmed appt. for an assessment at Mass. General Neurourgery Center in Boston, forward my medical and radiology reports.

    Praying....for direction and resolution thru this....and doing the same for you too Debbie.

    Janelle "joydancer"
  • Debbie, yes we are both at the same path in the road. Like you I'm trying to assess current and weighing how bad the radiculopathy and dysfunction of arm/hands can progress and painful symptoms with cervical spine nerve impingement.

    You asked about success of my first ACDF. That surgery was considered successful and was done on C-4/5/6 discectomy and removal of 3 bone spurs on each level, two were touching my spinal cord and was considered "interventional" because I had serious neuropathy symtoms for 3 mos. of my whole left side of my body head/face down to my toes/feet going numb for 20-25 min several times a day. Had bone implant fusion; which was successful and complete in 9 months and was considered successful. Had total relief of whole left side of body numbness. Other radiculopathy symptoms, numbness and tingling in arm and hands improved and I got almost total relief in a year. I have had some residual numbness in my left hand, (holding phone, computer) a year or so after surgery.

    Re: Radiculopathy Symptoms

    Have had slow progression of radiculopathy symptoms over the years since that surgery 15 yrs ago. MVA broadside collision changed my symptoms I went from "advanced degeneration" to "severe advanced" with foraminal narrowing and bone spurs growing and creating impingement in the MVA 2-1/2 yrs ago.

    It's progressed to being severe with muscle weakness and loss of strength in my hands/fingers and now considerable loss of being able to use my hand; big time change in dexterity and every day function/tasks.

    Re: Progression of Radiculopathy Nerve Impingement and Muscle/Ligament Atrophy Loss of Function

    I can find, medical websites, neurosurgeon/orthopedic association medical reports, etc. that surgery is normally done when symptoms worsen to prevent permanent nerve damage. It is also not definitive of at what point, what factors even muscle weakness, indicates whether nerves/muscles can heal and be restored.

    I have multiple bone spurs impinging on C-6/7, T-1 and requires surgery to open up nerve branch openings coming out of the spine from spinal cord.

    The surgery has to be done from the front (anterior) and it would be my second ACDF (C-4/5/6) and it carries extremely high risk for compromising (damaging) ligaments and nerves of esophagus and voice box = known to cause swallowing and voice problems = could be permanent post-surgery. So my dilemma is being told by an orthosurgeon after careful assessment of my c-spine previously surgery, fusion above (C-4/5/6) + deformed fused levels (C-2/3 and scoliosis) I am too high risk for him to consider the surgery.

    Re: Cervical Spine Nerve Injections Aggravated Symptoms

    Had cervical nerve blocks on levels of nerve branches believed to be impinged; my symptoms went from severe to off-the-charts 7 days after nerve block wore off and for past 4 wks. Meds: Neurontin and Meloxicam evidently helping after past two weeks increasing dose. got some relief of the severe pain and burning. But now noticing yet even greater loss of function of my hand, thumb and fingers a(dexterity of picking up things, etc.) it's so bad I feel like by hand is disconnected from what I want to do! It's re4ally bad and scares me of where this goes, how much worse and total paraylsis ? I fear now this can't be reversed.

    Hope to get EMG's and be meeting with a neurosurgeon out-of-state for second opinion in the next 2 wks. and I have many ???'s re: prognosis and what's worst case scenario in not being able to do a surgery (high-risk assessment). I'm hoping to get a confirmed appt. for an assessment at Mass. General Neurourgery Center in Boston, forward my medical and radiology reports.

    Praying....for direction and resolution thru this....and doing the same for you too Debbie.

    Janelle "joydancer"
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