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Arm/hand numbness, burning, tingling
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Arm/hand numbness, burning, tingling

I have spinal cord damage at C4,5,6 and severe myelomalacia.  I have recently been having numbness, burning tingling of both arms, sometimes it's limited to just the hands, other times it's the whole arms.  It's worse when lying down, sitting down, driving, typing.  This is the second round of these symptoms, it happened months ago, improved, now it's back.  EMG showed neuronal dysfunction, and ongoing chronic denervation at C5-6.  I am also having a flare up of severe neck pain, and it is accompanied by the burning, numbness, etc. and also some weakness of both arms and legs.  I have also noticed episodes of shortness of breath.  Any idea what might be going on?  I just saw my NS in Oct., and he advised against surgery.  I had a laminectomy of C3-6 and a fusion of C5-6, C6-7.
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Avatar_n_tn
First of all, it's important to know why you have severe myelomalacia of the spinal cord. Second, when you say "ongoing chronic denervation", does that mean that's it's active on chronic disease or really just chronic changes seen on the EMG. Third, would need to know when your surgery was. If the denervation is still active and it's been a while since yours surgery, then something is going on that may need further evaluation such as compression of the nerves. Carpal tunnel syndrome is also a possibility, but this should have shown up on the EMG depending on how extensive it was.  An MRI of the spine or CT myelogram may be needed to evaluate the cause of your symptoms.  Talk to your doctors, and consider bringing your films for a second neurosurgical opinion. In the meantime, neurontin is a medication that has helped people with nerve pain.  Good luck.
9 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
One more thing I forgot to mention, the EMG was done to rule out Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, and it was ruled out.  My NS's PA said they expected nerve damage, and not to worry about it.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hello,
I too am having my first EMG tomorrow. I have C5,6,and 7 problems. I have a herniation from an injury and bulges.
Lately i have experienced left shoulder, arm and hand pain along with weakness off and on. My fingers sometimes get numb as well. My upper back pain is bad and sometimes it feel as if I cant breathe due to a tightness around the "bra line". I had a myleogram on my cervical and this showed my herniations.
now then,...over the last week,..just one of my toes,..the middle one is constantly numb. Ive had no shoes on,...for Ive been pretty much bed ridden with pain.
Im hoping my test will show something tomorrow,...for this pain in my high upper back, neck,..and now my left arm is really getting to me.
Can anyone help me on what I might expect?
I would appreciate any help.
thank you,
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Avatar_n_tn
Advise you to ask for an MRI of cervical area with and without contrast.Could be a compression of cord caused by the herniated disc.Keep an eye out for ANY changes in bowel and bladder,as this usualy is a sign of a cervical problem. Not a diagnosis just speaking from personal experience!
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Avatar_n_tn
I have had a emg test which came back okay was the doctor responds. It was very painful then and hours after.I was injured at work and have nothing but problems with my left arm. had mri which was taken of cervical spine and showed bulging disks and C3-7 was alot going on arthrist and narrowing of all thew C3-7  doctor says this is the problem, I never had a problem with any part of my body till this accident. arm is heavy all the time middle finger tingling s and moves on it own. arm feels like someone is holding it all the time. pain is a lot better with pills.Just feeling tight all the time doesnt go away.Is there any one out there that knows what I talking about.
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Avatar_n_tn
I am trying to find out whats going on with me. I had an epideral 3 years ago. It was complicated. Also had a couple injurys. But the pain,numbness, burning and tingling in my neck,shoulder arm, hand and fingers om my left side basicly started with the epideral now seems to only be getting worse. My armpit also numb. I have had my hole hand swell once also. I have chronic muscle spasms also. In my neck and shoulder. My spine sometimes have sharp pain if I move a certain way. My life has drastically changed. I don't know what to do. Can someone tell me whats going on.
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Avatar_n_tn
Dear Chronicp,

Have you had your cervical spine checked out?  Have you been to a neurologist?

Many of the symptoms you describe can happen with a cervical disk protrusion.  If you look at some of the other posts from patients with known disk problems in this area of the spine, you may see some overlap with your symptoms.  If you had the epidural during labor (as opposed to some sort of surgery) there's always the possibility that the link to your symptoms was labor itself, not the epidural.  There's a lot of straining of the spine during labor, and it can precipitate problems if there is an underlying vulnerability within the spine.  In particular, if the accidents you mentioned happened before this, the accidents may have created some sort of musculoskeletal problem that set things up for a later re-injury.  

There are two broad categories of straining which can be dangerous to a person with just the right (wrong) underlying spinal disorder.  The first is the position of extreme flexion you're in during the active, pushing stage of labor.  Most women still deliver on their back, with their spines and legs curled up, neck tucked forward.  You rarely flex your spine as much as this in normal life,  and in some women this can be just the right stressor to push on an already lax ligament or fragile disk.  

The other type of straining is the rise in intracranial pressure (transmitted from intraabdominal pressure) that happens when you hold your breath and bear down, which also is a part of the pushing phase of labor.  There are certain spinal cord and brainstem abnormalities that can be silent until this kind of precipitant pushes them over the edge.  Those are generally felt to be rare, but rare doesn't mean never.

But that's basically speculation, without knowing the circumstances of the accidents or the epidural.  There are possible complications from the epidural too.  Because the epidural is placed in the lumbar area, the complications I'm most familiar with tend to also have symptoms affecting lower areas of the spinal cord/nerves, but I wouldn't want to say this is an absolute thing.  You said the epidural was complicated
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Avatar_n_tn
I woke up last night several times with my hands numb.  When I changed positions, the feeling returned.  I don't have numbness now, just a tingling sensation under my arms and in parts of my forearm. I gave birth about 3 weeks ago (very easy labor) and have been doing some heavy lifting in our garden.  Could the labor and/or heavy lifting have anything to do with the numbness and tingling?
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Avatar_n_tn
I was in an accident where I was knocked unconscious, fell and injured neck and back, causing legs and arms various problems, most lately my left hand is numb and buzzes, especially my two smallest fingers as well as the palm area about them.  It's now been numb and tingly for over a month.  
Any ideas about what is causing it and possible cures?
Thanks, Lynn

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