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neck pain/shoulder leading to left arm pain

casanovaccasanova Posts: 3
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:45 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Hi was wondering if some one can help i under went ACDF on c5-c6 c6-c7 bulging of these discs traping a nerve down my left arm through left shoulder in nov 2008 since then i am in constant pain some days not so bad other days it feels as bad as before the op. I find the pain is constant at a dull ache in my neck at its best with no arm pain about a pain level 2-4. But every time i try to do any thing slightly physical like getting in and out a car or pulling a few weeds out the garden i suffer great pain a few hours after back in arm stabbing pain in my elbow and pain in a line from left side of neck through my left shoulder down my arm to my left hand. I wake up in the mornings sometimes with numbness pins n needles in my 2 fingers on my left hand my little finger and finger next to it and half my hand in a line from my fingers. I get cramp in my neck when i yawn i feel muscle spasm and squash my throat. I started a new job the other week and as the days went on i gradually got worse until i was crying with the pain,now i am off work again and doing very little aprt from sitting on the sofa the pain has been reduced back to a dull ache level. But i cant live like this i need to be up and about i need to work cant afford not to. Any ideas on why im like this and is there any answers i have an appointment comming up with my neuro surgeon soon to ask for more tests. I am taking medication but when this pain starts nothing will help reduce it only to stop what im doing and get total rest.


  • Hopefully your neurologist will have some answers. I have similar pain which one surgeon attributes to arthritis in the facet joint. My suggestion would be to start looking at the spine and work out until you find something.

    Good Luck, I hope they find something for you.
  • I also have a dull ache in my neck and my ACDF 3-lvl C4-7 was in Oct. 08. I've recently had an MRI and CT scan and I have arthritis and facet joint problems above my fusion now. I don't have the numbness in the hands, but both of my arms get chilled and cold very easily. Every night when hubby gets home, it's 76 degrees in the house and I have to wear a sweater. (He always laughs at me...)

    I'm glad you're going to see your neuro. You could have adjacent disc problems above and/or below your fusion and only your doctor will be able to tell you for sure what's going on.

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  • Does your arm/hand ever feel cold (a different temperature than your right arm)? I have many of the same symptoms with the "cold" thing going on too some of the time in my left arm/hand.

    I also had the same surgery as you did in 2008 (C5-C7), but my pain issues were in my right arm and that improved greatly after the surgery, but now it is happening in my left shoulder blade and down the back of the left arm and into my hand. My pain management doctor has referred me back to my neurosurgeon for her to determine what tests to perform and how to treat this. I will be seeing her week after next. I am getting some relief with the left arm pain after some adjustments to my spinal cord stimulator that was implanted in Nov. 2009 to help with cervical pain (unsuccessfully, unfortunately).

    In January 2010 after undergoing a nerve conduction study and EMG on both arms, I was diagnosed with Radiculitis at T1, causing significant weakness and pain to both forearms and hands. I am taking Naproxen for that and no other action was taken. The right forearm seems to be better.

    I also have severe pain in the center of my upper back that is attributed to arthritis. That pain became prevalent after my disc surgery in 2008. This left arm issue has only started in the last couple of months. So it looks like I am dealing with 3 seperate issues and each has to be addressed seperately. I have found that a combination of Zanaflex and Lortab do help with the back pain if I am able to rest after taking it. If I'm in my office, I simply lean back in my chair for a while and read files instead of using the computer. Best place to be is propped up on pillows on my bed at home and use my heating pad.

    Sorry to go on and on, but your symptoms seem so similar to mine, although I have been able to continue working, thankfully. We will have to compare notes after our various appts. I will not be able to have an MRI because of my SCS, but my pain mgt doc believes she will do a CT with Mylogram (?). We'll see.

    Good luck to you.
  • Cath, I didn't see your response before. So you have the cold thing going on too. I was wondering if it was my imagination!
  • Yes, I have ongoing chills and cold going on in my arms. My surgeon said he didn't think it was coming from my neck, but ordered the MRI and CT scan to see what was going on and to recheck my C6/7 to see if it finally fused (which it did).

    I say it IS coming from my cervical spine because that's the symptom that started first before I knew I had cervical problems.

    Hope you get the help you need for all your ongoing problems.

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