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Suspected herniated disc - but no numbness or tingling??

Hello Everyone,

I had a very bad episode of neck pain in December. The pain flowed into my left arm, and my left arm became restless (internal ibrations, twitching and even pulse/heart beat) and weakness. After a few physiotherapy sessions, the left arm symptoms and pain died down, but have returned.

Everyone I talk to, even people who had cervical herniations, said yes to pain and weakness - but not twitching and heart beat (pulse). They also ALL had numbness and pins & needles.

I do not have any numbness or pins & needles. They all told me it could be how the nerve is compressed. I looked at diagrams on the internet and see that usually when the herniation happens, it compresses the top sensory nerve before it compresses the bottom/back motor nerve - unless I am looking at that the wrong way.

I can't find any information online on if a herniation can cause only my symptoms without numbness and tingling, so I thought I would ask on here for your experiences and thoughts.

Note - no doctor has yet prescribed any kind of diagnostic test like an MRI. If the symptoms don't get better or keep returning by my follow-up appointment in April, then he said he will send me for an MRI.


  • Anyone with any thoughts?

    My left arm is acting up again: totally restless, lots of twitching, pain from the next down into my arm, internal vibrations and strong heart beat (pulse), with weak feelings/fatigue. NO numbness and NO pins and needles. It actually gets worse when I use the TENS unit prescribed to me, exactly how they told me to use it, when it's actually supposed to help.

    Physiotherapists, private neurologist, private orthopedic, psychotherapist, family, husband - they all tell me I have something going on with my cervical neck. ALTHOUGH an EMG of my bicep and forearm (twice) and SEP and MEP were normal. Private orthopedic also believes that the atrophy (which he recognized as atrophy) in my right hand has to do with my neck also, it has been very slowly sinking for almost a whole year. Ultrasound of the tendons was normal.

    SO - because in Germany you only get an MRI prescribed if you beg and plead and continue to have symptoms for months (which I have all done/have and they still aren't prescribing me one, they want to wait to see how I am at the end of April), I made an appt for a self-pay MRI this Monday (est. 700€uros). Even if I got the prescription for an MRI, the wait list for 'referral' MRIs goes out over 1 month at the places I called. With self-pay, you get an appt right away, and the report same day as well. My family backs me up here.

    Now - because I am going in with no doctor's referral/notes, and I want to make the best of this MRI, are there specific things I should ask for or mention, things that I definitely should or should not say to the radiologist? I want to make sure they look at the right areas. So I am taking any advice about this and will greatly appreciate it!
  • Good luck with the MRI,

    That should relieve a lot of stress, the more information that you have the better you'll feel.

    Be careful with the self-diagnosis you have to remember that doctors go through many years of schooling and have a lot of experience in their particular areas of expertise. There is no such thing as a top sensory nerve back motor nerve, that does not exist. The nerve fibers in my neck carry both motor and sensory signals.

    The people that have herniations and only feel pain simply haven't progressed far enough with the condition. The numbness and tingling will come in time if left uncorrected.

    The twitching is unlikely to be related to a herniation, that is probably coming from a chemical imbalance in the nerve pathway itself, your neurosurgeon will be able to advise you on that.

    Best wishes
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  • Thank you for the response. I had a cervical MRI (self pay, not ordered by a doctor) and now I have the results and am not sure what it means.

    I was able to translate most of it from German to English, there are two words in there where I kept the German word and put in what I think is the English word in parenthesis with ??. In general, it sounds to me I had injuries and since physio they lightened up? And maybe what I'm feeling still is like "left over" or "still damaged and needs time to heal"? Or maybe I am way off. I still have pain in my neck, still in my arm (comes and goes) and my left arm is weak. I also still have the right hand atropy problem. Does this mean anything to anyone? I will go to my doctor with it but the appt is not for another month.

    "Cervical spine in steep position. In segment C5/C6, vertebral disc prolapse subligamentous with a deep expansion of 2,5mm with protuberance of the dural sac. Free foramina. No clear affection of the root.

    At C6/C7 left eccentric circumferential vertebral disc herniation with relative recess stenosis left and initial short segmented “retrospondylophytär” (retrospondylolisthesis??) crashed components also in Neuroforamen of the right side. Also here, no compression related Myelopathy findings. No vertebral height reduction. Relevant paravertebral abnormalities are not shown. No “unkarthrosen” (uncarthrosis??)"
  • You need to see a neurosurgeon and have them evaluate you. The two line items below should be enough to concern them. Some doctors wont refer you to a neurosurgeon until they see evidence of nerve interference even though you may be in great pain but the two items you mentioned are enough. Request to see a neurosurgeon and if that one is not helpful see another. Your case sounds bad enough to forgo the other doctors so I would do just that.

    "my left arm is weak"
    "right hand atropy "

    The questions regarding the MRI cannot be answered by anyone on this board, no one is qualified. Even if they were they would not be able to apply the most important thing to it which is context and perspective. Without those things the MRI is nothing but numbers. The quest for knowledge is a good trait and should be encouraged, I did the same thing but you have to remember that it is the neurosurgeon that will be calling the shots, whatever that may be, unless you happen across one that is unethical. You can find models of the spine and nervous system on amazon and in science/medical stores. They are helpful to have and to take with you when you visit the neurosurgeon.


  • veryworried23vveryworried23 Posts: 14
    edited 03/11/2015 - 5:05 AM
    Thanks for your feedback. No one will give me a referral to a neurosurgeon. In Germany, the cervical spine is never operated on, only in the case of life and death. My own doctor had 4 cervical herniated discs and could not use his arms and he was only prescribed long term physiotherapy. I can only go to neurologist and orthopedics. Both of which heard my concerns and both refused to give me an MRI (which is why I did this as self pay). The neuro ran all tests and everything was fine, does not see an issue with my thumb, while the orthopedic acknowledges the atrophy, but is not concerned.

    I am not looking for medical interpretation, sorry if it came off that way. I am looking for opinions based on experiences, basically if anyóne feels if anything in the findings would contribute to my symptoms or any other kind of thoughts. Maybe someone had a similar finding? Thanks.
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  • Arrange a consult visit with a neurosurgeon when on vacation in the US. It will cost about $300 to have one sit down with you and interpret your case. You might then be able to take their recommendations back to Germany and have something done. In a worst case scenario the average costs for surgery are below

    Approximate (including hosp stay)
    One level ACDF $25,000
    Two level ACDF $50,000
    Three level ACDF $75,000

    Be sure and take all of your records with you in addition send digital copy of your MRI ahead of time. It would probably be easiest to go to New York or Chicago.

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