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Cervical Rib
I am a fit, healthy 39yr old female. For the past 3 years I have been in debilitating pain with my neck and shoulders. Over last Christmas my pain got to 10/10 and I laid in bed heavily medicated. I finally had my MRI scan 3 weeks ago and had my appointment just an hour ago with the orthopeadic surgeon. He said I have an extra rib in my neck which will be causing all the pain, numbness and pins and needles. I get severe shooting pains through my shoulders and headaches. He said they will only operate if my pain gets worse. What does this mean? How much pain do I have to be in before something is done? Surely the extra rib needs to be removed sooner rather than later? He said I need  pain medication management through my GP and simply walked out. I did'nt have a chance to ask questions about the extra rib, he just walked out. Please someone tell me what my options are? I simply CANNOT live like this, Im dreading the 10/10 pain days coming back. Do you have to be near dead before they do anything? I don't understand...:-(


This discussion is related to Shingles w/Pain that may be related to Cervical Rib.
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Unfortunately, with some physicians, yes you have to be near death before getting any help; my opinion.  I still believe the "good ones" are out there becoming less and less.  

Secondly, "extra what in your neck, rib?  NEVER heard of that one.  Sounds like this physician didn't even spend enough time with you, geez.  Has the GP given you anything for the pain until all this other stuff is sorted out?  

Thirdly, I don't think I would go back to the Ortho surgeon.  For heaven's sakes, he didn't even address your pain issues and other questions you had; RED FLAGS.  Is it possible you can get a referral to a NeuroSurgeon?  They are more in tune with nerves, pain, etc.  
That would be my recommendation.  

Keep us posted.
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Thank you for your reply and yes you are correct, I must have got it wrong. I guess a cervical rib is just an extra rib? I don't know but the Ortho Surgeon was just awful and spent less than a few minutes with me. I was kind of left speechless. He basically told me I had to live in pain, take the drugs if I wanted, and he would only operate if I developed more intense symptoms. I have been in such severe pain before that I am absolutely terrified of having that come back. Thankyou, I have an appointment with my own GP next week...I will be asking him about seeing a neurosurgeon. I looked up Thoracic Outlet Syndrome and some of my symptoms match, so I am a little concerned. I had to take 60mg of amytriptilene lastnight just so I could sleep. I had severe shooting pains through my shoulders and upper arms. When I told the surgeon I was having these pains, he just said "oh that will be the rib'. Hopefully I will get some answers from my own GP. Thanks for listening.
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Oh and yes my GP had prescribed amytriptilene before I had my MRI. I don't like taking drugs as I have 5 children to take care of. I only take it if it's night and I'm about to sleep because they basically knock me out. All my symptoms are, headaches (some severe), shooting pains in my shoulders and arms...pins and needles, numbness in my arms, SEVERE neck pain and sometimes my whole back is sore. The shooting pains in my shoulders have been getting worse. Its horrible living in this pain and I have done so for 3 years but pain is getting much worse and more unbearable. Like I said above, I have to be near dead to get any help!
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Keep me posted.  

It is unfortunate that alot of patients get treated in this manner nowadays.  I think the Neurosurgeon will be of more help.  I commend you for taking care of 5 children while you are dealing with this, incredible. :)
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Sorry, one more thing.  If you are thinking this might be TOS(Thoracic Outlet Syndrome) then a Neurovascular surgeon would better to consult.  Well, talk your situation over with your GP and see what he/she thinks about who to refer you to.
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1093617 tn?1279305602
Thank you again for your question. Most likely your symptoms may be due to nerve irritation in the cervical (neck) spine because of injury or prolapse where contact between the edges of the vertebrae can cause neck pain. In few people, this pain may be referred and perceived as occurring in the back of head, shoulders, arms or chest, rather than just the neck. Other symptoms may include vertigo, nausea (dizziness) and stiffness can be intermittent. It will be best that you consult a neurologist who would like to prescribe pain killers, steroid and muscle relaxants. Other treatments could be cervical orthosis such as a soft cervical collar or stiffer neck brace to restrict neck movement. In addition, cervical traction may also be suggested by the doctor, if condition is severe. Hope this helps.

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Thank you for your advice. I will look into all the above options and will let you know the outcome of this. I have another bad headache tonight so won't be on here for too long. I do strongly suspect TOS as my symptoms are the same and apparently if you have an extra rib you are 10x more likely to develop this syndrome. I will update as soon as I can. Thanks again...:-)
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Keep us posted.  Oh, so sorry to hear about your headaches. :(
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