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Neck/Shoulder Pain
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Neck/Shoulder Pain

I recently had an MRI which showed Multilevel cervical spondylosis with central canal stenosis, most pronounced at C4-5 and left sided foraminal stenosis at C3-4, C4-5, and C6-7.  I have extreme pain in my left shoulder and down my left arm with at times a burning (like someone actually is holding a match) in my lower bottom side of the left arm.  My Family Dr. has prescribed Vicoden (sp) but it lasts only about 45 minutes and I'm back to PAIN.  I get minimal relief when I sit in a recliner with an ice pack but can't see myself living in this way forever!!  Is there anything else I can do to relieve this pain?  I have been dealing with this for about 6 weeks now.  Got up one morning and thought I slept on my arm or something and it has progressed from there.  Is there a surgery for this or what?  I've seen a Chiropractor and the adjustments don't help anymore..he suggests seeing a neurosurgeon.
Thanks for any suggestions
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10 Comments Post a Comment
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Avatar_m_tn
you should see a neurosurgeon who will probably send you for nerve conduction tests to see exactly which nerve root may be affected
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks , Mike.  I'm trying to get an appointment, however it seems that the earliest date is about 3 weeks away and this pain is unbearable.  Just looking for any suggestions that may help this in the meantime.  Thanks for your reply
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Avatar_n_tn
Hey, I feel for ya!  I am having some issues with my back related to degenerated T11 - T12 and L1 vertebra.  I got diagnosed and started to become VERY anxious and depressed.  Lots of pain pills, and lots of worrying.  It’s only been a couple months and it seems like I am battling every day to keep my sanity!  The worse part is sitting around waiting for doctors and hospitals to attend to your issues.  It makes you feel powerless and can cause anxiety and depression in addition to pain.  

My first trip to the back doctor, he was ready to send me right to the surgeon.  On my third consultation with a neuro surgeon she absolutely assured me that Physical therapy with a competent therapist would greatly improve my condition.  She was 100% right!  I am back to about 80% pain free after only a week of PT and I am getting stronger every day!  

For pain, believe it or not, I went to an acupuncturist.  Never had been to one before but I will be going back again!  When I walked in I was in terrible pain and when I left, I almost felt normal!  It was quite relaxing and calming and 100% pain free.  


Lately, I have been having some neck pain and also tingling and numbness in my right outer forearm and right outer calf.  I hear some clicking sounds when I move my neck side to side as well.  I am going to get an X ray this week but I know what they are going to tell me :0(  I am pretty sure I have some disc degeneration up there too.  My brother had neck and shoulder pain so bad he could not sit down or turn his head.  He was having numbness and pain in his arms and legs as well.  He had much the same diagnosis you have with severe stenosis and cervical disc degeneration.  6 months of PT and he is 100% pain free and no more nerve problems.

Keep a positive attitude bigalsgirl and don’t discount non surgical treatments.  Exhaust ALL options before allowing anyone to cut into you!  Spinal fusion is the popular repair for your condition in hospitals and can cause serious debilitation in your later years.  What you might want to do is take your MRI report and send it for an evaluation at the Laser Spine Institute in Tampa Florida.  They do minimally invasive repairs as opposed to massive, invasive spinal fusing.  

Take your time and get lots of opinions!  Physical Therapy by someone who knows what they are doing can be a miracle!  Once you get started, its painful and difficult but you will feel like your moving toward a solution. This was beneficial to me to feel like I was making headway and doing something other than sitting around waiting for doctors to do stuff to you.   If you can find a good acupuncturist in your area it might be worth the $$$ to get some pain relief.  It worked wonders for me!  For god’s sake, DONT LET YOURSELF GET ADDICTED TO PAIN MEDICATION!   Drugs like Naproxen and Motrin work great for these kinds of problems without causing dependence.  Just don’t get suckered into long term use of analgesics, and pain pills.  These can damage your liver and kidneys and drugs like vicodin can actually contribute to your condition.  When a disc degenerates it’s from loss of water in the disc.  Vicodin dehydrates you horribly contributing to the process of disc degeneration.  One other drug that you can ask your doctor about is Elevil.  Elevil is an anti depressant but when used in low doses it is a magnificent pain reliever particularly when it’s caused by damage to nerve tissue.  Elevil has been used successfully for treatment of Migraine headaches as well.  It wasn’t too bad once I had it in my system for a couple weeks but the PT worked so well, I stopped taking it and feel better and better every day.

Please don’t discount the toll this can take emotionally on you.  These boards and great sources of information and a good outlet.  Always discuss any ideas with your doctor and don’t be afraid to get second, third, and forth opinions.  Even if it’s just from friends who have gone through this.   I hope you have a full and complete recovery without surgery.  You will be very surprised at how effective PT can be if administered properly by a trained professional.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi,

About 4 months ago I woke up one morning and  I had some pain in my neck on my right side. Like I slept on my neck wrong or something. Over the next few days the pain got progressively worse. A week or so went by and the pain went away. So, I thought I just slept on my neck wrong or something. Well, about 2 months ago, the same thing reacurred. This time after a few days went by, I was getting up from doing something, and something happened in my neck and shoulder area. I had the most excusiating pain in my neck, shoulder and arm. I began getting these sharp stabbing pains down my right arm and also the right side of my chest and shoulder area. The pain was like no pain i've ever felt. It laid me up for about 4 days, just laying on the couch. I never went to the doctor due to insurace reasons. I do have it, but I have a 2500 deductible. I was told that I probably had a pinched nerve in my neck. So I started taking some 800 mg ibrofrin, and it did seem to help alot. The sharp stabbing pains went away, and then I started getting this twitching in my muscles in my arm, back, neck, and my chest area. Also, I lost alot of strength in my right arm. Also, I lost some of the grip in my hand. Dont know what is going on with me, but it is very frustrating. Im still having some twitching in my chest area. I still have some pain in my neck, usually when I look up or down. I have regained alot of strength back in my arm. Not exactly sure what to make of this. Some days I have hardly no pain, and some days the pain is there. If this is a pinched nerve, or a ruptured disc, or something, does this take a long time to recover from. Thanks for listening.
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Avatar_n_tn
I am curious to know what type of exercises and or therapies they offered you in P.T.  I've been to P.T. and I was actually worse than when I started!  Then they moved on to epidural injections (3) which made my hair fall out but that was about it.  Next came trigger point injections, tons of medications (Lyrica, Vicoden, Ambien for sleep...).  Now I walk around like a zombie but the pain, burning is constant.  Sometimes I just sit and cry.  This is crazy.  So I was just wondering what types of things you did in P.T.
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Avatar_n_tn
Well, the majority of stuff I do in PT is to strenghen the back and abdominal area. Lately she has me doing leg work to strenghen my legs and kind of switches that up with the core strenghing. I work out twice a day, about 4 to 6 differant exersizes, ride the stationary bike for a half hour and lots of weight loss....30 lbs so far.  I have to get from 270 to 180 and my slave driver PT person has shrunk 30 lbs off of me in 3 months.

If there is any way I can get an Email addy, I would be happy to send the directions for the exersizes she has me doing.  Thus far they have been very effictive.  I have had to change it up a little because the floor work has me refluxing a little.  I work with the big rubber ball and some resistance bands as well.

I have seen defanite imporvement with PT but Chiropractic manipulation has given me a lot of relief as well.  I could not jump or run and now I can do both.  problem is that my neck and sholders are hurting more not than they once did.  

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Avatar_n_tn
I would definitely see a Neurosurgeon BEFORE doing any PT and hopefully you have stopped with the Chiro.  Having been a spinal patient for 7 years now and from having had two cervical fusions, I can tell you to go with whatever the NS recommends.  I am not downing PT...I am in it myself right now.  But you don't want anyone manipulating your neck in any way until the NS or even an OSS has a look at what's going on.  And, yes, the pain medications CAN be addicting but those of us with spinal disorders and/or neurological issues need them.  There is a difference between Dependence and Addiction...just keep that in mind.  I take Vicodin once day sometimes twice...but only rarely.  I cut them in half...half in the am and then again in the pm.  And, yes, while it can be constipating I also drink between 8-10 bottled waters a day.  I also get injections from time to time which are very beneficial.  And I take Klonopin .5 once a day for small fiber peripheral neuropathy.  An EMG can be useful but you have already mentioned the levels that you are having trouble with.  My spinal pain management doctor gave me facet injections and/or selective nerve root injections to determine the pain generators as an EMG is just a SMALL part of the overall picture.  I can't begin to tell you how many EMGs I have had that did NOT point to a particular nerve as dermatomes can overlap.  It was the injections that proved where the pain generator was.  Again,  nothing wrong with PT...I am just saying be careful.  Only do so if on orders from the NS.  Even then be careful.  I was put in traction during PT before my first cervical fusion and I will tell you...it made me much worse.  Thats not to say PT won't help.  But with the things going on in your neck...go to the NS first!  And there is nothing wrong with taking Vicodin in the meantime.  It is actually pretty mild compared to some meds.  Oops, and I meant to add I also have bilateral foraminal stenosis...no impingement...but contact...at the C6/C7 level.  And I am just about ready to get an injection for that only because it does not warant surgery.  So, that along with PT (included is massage therapy), should be helpful.  But I will NEVER let anyone do any kind of manipulations on my neck.  I really cringe when I hear that.  Anywhere else it might be okay...but not the neck.  
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi,

About 7 months ago, I slept on my tummy and my hands were tuck under my tummy also.  When I woke up, I decided to turn myself around.  I remember lifting my left shoulder and turning it back and then I heard something (maybe a rip sound) then a sharp pain instantly  hit me (thinking back, I don't think I turned my head while I turned over my left shoulder).  I was in so much pain that I couldn't get on all four of my limbs and crawl out of bed, so I rolled myself out of bed.  I couldn't turn my head to the left and right because pain would occur or look down for a long period of time.  I was also in pain when I tried to sit on the floor and tried to get up or sitting down on a chair.  It took about a week and a half for it (or what ever happened) to heal.  During that time I couldn't really do anything but stay in a sitting position leaning back with a pillow.  Now, the pain has come back to haunt me.  It's been about two weeks and I'm starting to get my nerve pinch when I turn to either side with my neck or lay down for a long period of time.  Do you have an idea of what I've done to myself?  What can I do to help the pain and healing process?
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299748_tn?1235160391
Hello!!
I am having shoulder pain on my left side and it hurts to raisw my arm and hold it there for even a few seconds(like when rolling my mothers hair) I had an MRI of my shoulder and it saw a small tear in the rotator cuff. I then developed a tingling sensation in my neck to shoulder region.  I was told it may all be neck related.  I started PT and the therapist said he thinks I  have a trigger point that is either related to my arthritis or it is nerve related .  All I know is it hurts and it tingles and sometines even feels like a ice pick shooting through my neck. What  would you  do ?  I have an appointment with my ortho dr in a week .  I have RA (rhematoid aerhritis)
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Avatar_n_tn
I have a similar problem, I had an MRI which showed a bulging disk and bone spur at my C6,C7 cervical location. I have numbness in the tips of my index and middle finger of my left hand. I have been doing physical therapry for 6 weeks now and my therapist specializes in the MacKenzie treatment which helps with bulging discs to eliminate suregury. It work for me as far as the pain goes I do some exercises at home as well and no longer have the burning pain in my shoulder or arm. I still have the numbness in my fingers but that is from the bone spur.
Maybe you could check into this option.

Good Luck
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Avatar_f_tn
YOur symptoms sound just like mine.  Just curiious and I know it has been a while---but are you better now?
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