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Hand Nerve Pain After Shoulder Surgery
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Hand Nerve Pain After Shoulder Surgery

About 2 months ago I had shoulder surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff. The dr found that the tendon was unrepairable but he cleaned up the joint and put me into PT a week after the surgery for rehab. Right after the PT began (stretching and ROM exercises) I developed nerve pain down my lower arm and an intense pain / grabbing sensation behind my thumb on my wrist. This pain behind my thumb goes on every day and seems to get worse as the day goes on. The dr has tried cortisone shots in my shoulder and hand and also a week of prednisone. Nothing helped. In adddition I had an EMG done from shoulder to hand which found nothing, no impingement. I'm going crazy with this nerve pain every day and I'm trying to find some rehab or reason for this problem. Any help would be appreciated.
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Without a physical examination I cannot localize this problem very well. It could be a problem of the peripheral nerve, most likely the radial nerve or it's branches, a nerve root (most likely cervical root 6 or 7), or a problem within the spine. The evaluation of this problem should include a MRI of the cervical spine and an EMG with attention to the radial nerve. If this testing is negative, then a MRI of the brachial plexus (area where the cervical nerves come together) may be of help. If you have not seen a neurologist, I would recommend it. They should be able to localize the problem and hopefully come up with an answer. Good luck.
4 Comments
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I am sorry for your pain and am going through the same thing. I have had surgeries on both shoulders and had NCS and EMGs on shoulders, elbows, and hands and shows nothing. When you find out where the problem is be sure to post it as I would like to know also. I have also had 1-neck surgery (C-5-6), and 6 lubar surgeies and the last (January 19th) being ALIF of levels L4-5 and L5-S1(titanium cages and synthetic bone material-BMP). Good Luck and don't stop searching for results...I'm Not!
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About  five years ago I was diagnosed with RSD ( Reflex Sympathic Dystrophy).  It  was caused from when I sprain my Left ankle about 6 years ago.  My ankle healed but I was still haveing a lot of pain.  Ong story short, I was finaly sent to a pain doctor and he has been injecting Marcaine with Depo Medrol into my back (epidural reigon).  Before I started having all of these injections I had a perfect set of teeth.  After about 6 months of injections my teeth started to become sensitive to hot and cold, then they started receeding, then they started decaying, then they started to break off at the gum line.  Now I only have about 4 teeth that I can chew with and I cannot affort to go to the dentist and get a set of dentures.  I look like a moutain hillbilly when I smile or talk.  I have to hold my hand over my mouth when I laugh.  Oh and my teeth were hurting me so much that I kow I spent over $1000 on over the counter teeth pain meds. so that I can function and work.  It has not been easy.  When the injections ware off mu teeth stop hurting but when I get another injection they start huring again.  I know that this Depo Medrol has sommething to do with my teeth decaying.  I would like to know if you can provide me with any information on this side effect of the medicine.  I am trying to gather enough information so that I might be able to get my health insurance to pay for me to get denture because I would have great teeth right now if it were not for my medical problems.  The RSD traveled from my ankle up to my whole left side but, I found a great person who done accupuncture on me and she got rid of the pain in my left arm and shoulder.  She could not get rid of the pain from my lower back to my left ankle for some unknown reason.  Anyway, plese send me any information that you may have to my email address @ ***@****.
Thank You
Terri Airey
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Avatar_n_tn
I just read the problems that you both are having...

First Zimbo... I am not a doctor but have had to learn more than I wanted about Reflex Sympathic Dystrophy (RSD) because my son got it after a successful surgery....You don't have to take my advice, but you need to go to a specialist in RSD or ask the neurologist to please treat you for RSD...I noticed that your pain has only been for two months, which seems like an eternity when you have pain that won't go away, but you still have a chance to reverse the RSD because it can be treated within three to six months after the trauma....Physical therapist, who know what they are doing in RSD will be able to possible reverse the cycle during this window of opportunity...Go to a very good orthopeadic surgeon who has treated people with RSD, they are out there and there is a group in Washington that might have the answers .You do not need to sit around wondering or discussing this, you must find this an immediate thing to do..You still have time, unlike my son, and now his is irreversible and it is deadly, terrible things happen to ones body if RSD is not diagnosis immediately.....I will pray for you and you go out and find that specialist that can help you with this diagnosis...Some doctors do not know how to diagnosis this dreaded disease or complication of a trauma, but there are a lot out there that do....Ask your physical therapist if they know how to work and treat RSD.....It is better to be safe than sorry....Does it feel like glass in your arm and is there any swelling, have you noticed any discoloration in your arm or hand or arm.....Again, better be safe than sorry....Please, I do not want anyone to  have to go through what my son is going to now.....My son's name is Robert Dee Foster and he had his surgery at the McBribe Bone and Joint in Oklahoma City, Ok...Please Call a doctor Named Dr. Robert German and tell him that Bobby wrote you because he read your story and I know that he will try his best to try to send you to someone that can help...Please mention Robert's name.....Dr. German has diagnosed, and treated people with RSD and reversed it if they come to him with the given time...Waiting makes it harder to help....Good luck....At lease you can rule it out or find out that you have it and it can be treated..........Please write to Linda Lang, she is on the board of RSD and she might have some suggestions that will help you diagnosis or get treated for this..Her e-mail is ***@**** Luck and at least get treated for it.....And one more thing...NO ICE, NO ICE, MAKES IT WORSE.......AGAIN, DOES IT FEEL LIKE YOU HAVE GLASS IN YOUR VEINS, IF SO, GET HELP, NOW.....
Sincerely,
turtledove


Puddles.....
I am so sorry that you have RSD and I know how horrible it is...I believe that your Health Insurance should pay for everything you are going through because you developed RSD as a complication from the injury....You know, I am sure, a lot about RSD and you must know that it affects every part of your body, including your teeth...If you have to have surgery or a tooth distracted, then the RSD goes straight to the next trauma..You need to get an RSD Lawyer and fight the Insurance company because I am pretty sure that you can prove that any physical problems that you are having with your teeth, you did not have before the diagnosis of RSD..Do not give up, we are still fighting Workers Comp of New Mexico because my son developed RSD from a ganglion cyst surgery from repetitive work, it was accepted, then he developed the complication of RSD from the surgery....You know that it is a complication of any trauma and anyone can get it...The trauma will heal, but the healing process goes haywire causing the brain to tell the body that the injury is not healed, at least that is what some say that are specialist in RSD...I hope that you have read up on every piece of material on RSD and take action with your Health Insurance company....GET A LAWYER.....The insurance companies do not want to help people with RSD, but they must..........If anyone out there knows a lawyer that is licensed in New Mexico, but does not live there, please let us know...The Workers Comp lawyers will not take any case that is too complicated because they only get paid $11,000 per case and my sons case is too complicated now..It was not at first..If they had just treated him for RSD, which he had, after the surgery, not before, then he would have been back to work and had a wonderful chance to live a wonderful life.....We have written, the Governor and the Attorney General and she immediately sent the letters to the Workers Comp people who sent us a six page letter apologizing for not knowing about this specific case...Governor Richardson, personall called the main man at the WC in New Mexico and said that he wanted this case taken care of immediately....Maybe it had something to do with his Father being a Lt. Cmdr in the U.S. Navy and they knew that we would not stop until our son was taken care of..Now it is too late, but we are still praying for a miracle, when it comes to the Workers Comp of New Mexico...Please fight for all the side effects that RSD can give you for the rest of your life.......I will send you an address of a woman who has written the book on RSD.... Linda is on the Board of RSD in Washington... Maybe you can e-mail her and she might have some suggestions for you.... Her address is ***@****   I know that she will be more that helpful to be your guide or give you something you can work with....Good Luck......Turtedove...
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A related discussion, Shoulder pain a year after surgery was started.
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A related discussion, shoulder surgery was started.
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