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Right neck has a pulsing buring pain and my right thumb is numb
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Right neck has a pulsing buring pain and my right thumb is numb

Hi I am wondering if I have a bigger issue than I think.. I have been having back pain since the middle of July. I have assumed it is from picking up my 17 month older daughter all the time. Now though I have had a weird burning sensation that would pulse on the right side of my neck. It only happened once.. the other day but it really hurt and lasted about 30 minutes. Finally I started getting a numb thumb last night. It is only my right thumb.. and it is only numb on the side and tip.. It is still numb. I do not know if I am just worrying or if something really is wrong.
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576452_tn?1219696690
Low back pain and neck pain would be separate issues.  A neck disc problem could indeed cause both neck throbbing and some radiating symptoms like numbness into your arm and thumb.  As long as you have normal strenght don't panic but try to assess what aggravates it and what activities don't.  If the numbness persists or worsens over the next few weeks (and neck issues continue) it may be worthwhile to ask see your doctor.  An MRI scan is the best to sort things out if testing becomes needed.
5 Comments
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Avatar_m_tn
May want to see a Chiro or get a PosturePump to put your neck back in place.
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Avatar_m_tn
About a year ago I had similar symptoms to yours. After a while the pain started radiating down my arm also and I would get 'electric' type tingles also. I went to see our family neurosurgeon as we like to call him. (my wife and father inlaw are also patients of his) I had a ruptured disc between C3 and C4 and also a bone spur between C4 and C5 vertabrea. My Dr. went in and cleaned everything up and fused the vertabrea together. A few months later he had to go in through the back of my neck  (Fusions are done through the throat, very uncomfortable for quite some time afterwards) and do a laminectomy in which they basically drill a couple of holes in the vertabrea to help relieve pressure on your spinal cord. They were also able to gain better access to the channel that the nerve that goes to my arm goes through and they found some chips from either the bone spur or dried up remains of the disc in that channel that were restricting the nerve from normal operation there. That fixed the majority of the problems. The pain in my arm is gone but I still have numbness in my fingers, middle, index and thumb. The medicine called Gabapentin (also known as neurontin) helps this out and I'm now able to work again. You won't know what's wrong until you go see your Dr. and get it looked at though. Surgery *****, but sometimes it's all that will help. Get an MRI and see what it is. I waited several months before I'd go and I think that's why I still have residual effects from it. Waiting is not always the best thing to do. I don't want to say it but, a tumor could also cause these synptoms, and catching that early is a must!
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Avatar_f_tn
Dear Holly,
I can sympathize with your problems. You need to see a neurologist and have a few tests to determine what is causing the pain and numbness. You are too young to leave it alone. It can get worse.
I am having cervical spine surgery in 12 days because I have degenerated disc disease and a disc is pressing on my spinal column. I was seeing a chiropractor and the doctors were horrified when I told them as they said he could have paralyzed me by cracking my neck.I must say it did feel good afterwards. I had no idea I was so bad until I went to see a neurosurgeon because my thumbs and right arm were becomming numb. Then, he decided to do a scan of my lumbar and it too is all messed up- I have multiple problems and degenerative dics there as well. I am having surgery for that part of my body in December. Oddly enough, I still spin at the gym and am able to ride my bike. I hiked pike's peak last year and am very active for a 57 y/o woman.
Get checked and fixed before it becomes a nightmare like mine did. Carrying a baby around usually on one hip or with one arm depending upon it's age- can cause all sorts of spinal problems. Good luck to you.
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Avatar_m_tn
I am a 57 year old male. 12 years ago I started having pain in my right foot that felt like a rock in my shoe. I went to a podiatrist thinking it was my foot. I wore a boot for several weeks and had shots between toes and wore those special made insoles in my shoes. It didn't stop and then my back began to hurt. My PCP decided to send me to a Neurologist who sent me to have a Lumbar MRI. This was on 10/03/97 with following conclusions:
1. Transitional- L5 segmenl left pseudoarthrosis which exhibits
degeneratiwe arthritis. There is degenerative facet arthritis
bilaterally of the L5-S1 facets.
2. At L4-5, there is moderate facet degenerative arthritis bilaterally
with mild acquired central canal stenosis. There is minimal annular
bulge. There is moderate right lateral canal (foraminal) stenosis
secondary to disc bulge and marginal spondylosis and facet hypertrophy
with a mild impingement of pre-ganglionic right L4 root in the medial aspect.
of the right L4-5 foramen.
3. At L3-4, there is disc desiccation and a mild annular bulge.
4. At LI-2, there is anterior annular thickening and bulging and
mild anterior marqinal spur.
5. At TI2-LI, there is internal derangement of the disc with mild
vertical degeneration and diffuse annular disruption and bulging with a
2-2.5 mm degenerative retrolisthesis.

The neurosurgeon I took this to decided I was too young for surgery and in spite of my discomfort and pain told me as long as I could function reasonably well he didn't recommend surgery because it was only a 50/50 chance it would help. Over the past 10 years I have had various stages of pain and have had several corticosteroid injections which partially helped and at best relieved my pain for a couple of weeks to a month.

About 5 years ago I developed pain in my neck and had a cervical MRI folllowed by an injection I assume was corticosteroid. A little over 2 years ago my foot pain came back, although not as bad as before and my back began to get worse so on 3/8/07 I had another Lumbar MRI. The final impression was: Lumbar spondylosis with multilevel degenerative disc and facet disease. T12-L1: Bilateral degenerative facet changes are noted. A mild diffuse disc bulge is present. L1-L2: Bilateral degenerative facet disease with ligamentum hypertrophy is present. There is a mild disc bulge present. L2-L3: bilateral degenerative facet changes with ligamentum hypertrophy is present. Spinal canal and neural foramina are patent, however. L4-L5: bilateral degenerative facet disease with ligamentum flavum hypertrophy is present. There is a diffuse disc bulge present with slight flattening of the ventral aspect of the thecal sac. L5-S1: Spinal canal and neural foramina are patent. Bilateral degenerative facet disease is present.

Then over a year ago I began having numbness in both left and right hands being more severe in the left hand. I went to a local hand clinic and was given splints to wear on my hand and wrist while sleeping. Over the next year the numbness got worse in my left arm, wrist, back of hand, palm, thumb and all fingers. This past July I went back to the hand clinic and was given an EMG (I think that's it) which did not find any carpal tunnel but did find significant nerve compression in my neck. I was then referred to the pain management doctor who had given me the shot in my neck 5 years ago. I had a cervical MRI with the following conclusion: Significant central canal stenosis at C3-4, 4-5, and 5-6 due to a combination of soft disc bulge and disc osteophyte complex. There is complete effacement of the ventral CSF with deformity of the cord consistent with moderate central canal stenosis at each of these levels. No cord signal abnormality is clearly identified. Foraminal stenosis and exiting impingement is present at each of these levels to varying degrees.

When I took this MRI to the pain management doctor he refused to give me the shot stating that based on the MRI there wasn't enough room for him to attempt and that if he did try I wouldn't like it. He told not to lift anything heavy, or wrestle with my grandchildren, 9, 6, and 4 year old boys. They're not not going to understand why grandpa can't get on the floor and do karate and wrestle anymore. I asked him if he was serious and he said he was. He then referred me to a neurosurgeon in his office. The surgeon looked at the MRI and told my wife and I that if I didn't have surgery it would probably get worse and I stood the chance of losing the use of my arm and my hand. He then sent me to have a Cervical Myelogram and CT Scan. The results of which are: There is stenosis at C5-C6 with bilateral C6 nerve root impingement and widening of the cord. Only minimal contrast opacification is present more cephalad. There is partial opacification of the left lateral subarachnoid space at C3-C4. Almost no opacification is present in the right lateral subarachnoid space at these levels. Impression: Spondylosis and stenosis C5-C6 wth bilateral C6 nerve root compression. Poor further cephalad contrast opacification.

Instead of operating right away the surgeon decided to send me to physical therapy for 4 weeks for traction. He ask me which was worse, the pain or the numbness. I said the numbness and the pain is intermittent. I don't agree with the decision to send me to therapy before opting for surgery. I don't want surgery but I also don't want to waste money on treatment that will at the most be temporary if it works and that will probably fail altogether while my numbness gets worse and spreads. Mean while I am having more and more issues with my lower back and the pain in my right foot is coming and going although not as bad as 11 years ago. I can no longer cut my grass (walking mower self-propelled) because it takes me forever due to my having to stop and rest every 10 to 15 minutes. Using my trimmer causes the pain in my arm and hand to get worse with the pain and stiffness now in my left upper arm and shoulder and my neck.

Anyway, I have given you all this information to tell you that in my opinion you should have your issues looked at and it can be alleviated than do what you can. Although I have managed these past years to get bye but my pain has caused me to get less and less active which caused me to pick up weight and kept me from enjoying some of the things I love to do like hiking because I can't carry a backpack. The funny thing is though that riding my bicycle does not cause pain in my back but it does cause my left arm and hand to get worse.
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