I was diagnosed with degenerative disk disease when I was 24 back in 2001. I had a lower lumbar laminectomy due to severe nerve impingement. My back was doing great and I lived an active lifestyle (biking, snowboarding, golfing occasionally etc…) About 5 years ago I started having increased back pain in addition to neck pain. The pain was rather low grade and I treated with OTC meds (Ibuprofen/tylenol) and was exacerbated by activity. In the past 2 years I’ve experienced right leg/foot weakness and numbness/pins needles and increased pain. I have an MRI which confirmed lumbar nerve impingement requiring surgical intervention. This is not my primary concern, just a little history.
Now my neck is hurting more x12 months and all along I just thought it was the degenerative process, so I didn’t see anyone, just treated with otc modalities. I went to my primary care provider (PCP) in March of 2016 and had an MRI done of my neck, which revealed mild degeneration. I now have a 6 month history of right arm weakness, my hand is awfully clumsy and weak (difficulty putting on deodorant, buttoning shirts etc….). I was diagnosed with mild carpal tunnel and was placed on oral prednisone which initially helped with some of my hand dexterity issues, which may explain some of this. However my EMG came back abnormal and the physiatrist suggested possible ALS. I am freaking out. It has been 3 weeks (still 2 months out until I can see neurosurgeon then neurologist) and I can’t seem to calm down. Has anyone else experienced this? My neck symptoms are as follows:
• Constant burning down my neck ending between my shoulder blades, many hours a day.
• Occasional piercing pain under my right shoulder blade
• Occasional radiating pain from neck to shoulder
• Occasional radiating pain from neck to elbow
• Frequent pain at the top of my spine, bottom of my head resulting in headaches
• Frequent numbness and pins/needles feeling in forearm/hand
• Grip strength is weakest in the morning, gradually gets stronger through the day
• Frequent joint pain in hand
• For years whenever bicycling >10 miles or so my right arm goes numb from elbow down
• When training for 100 mile bike rides I would be on the bike for hours, often times arm/hand going numb for over 2 days
My MRI from march (8 months ago) only revealed moderate degeneration, no impingement (according to my pcp, not a neurologist). My pcp looked at the EMG results and tried to calm me down saying it is probably not als and that there may be other explanations. My life hasn’t been the same since 3 weeks ago and whenever my hand ‘fails’ at a task, I get over anxious and get this doomed feeling.
Anybody else go through something similar? Can an MRI be incorrect and I have a nerve impingement?