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Intermittent Tingling of Right Arm/Hand
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Intermittent Tingling of Right Arm/Hand

I am 50 yr. old female.After experiencing severe arm pain I was sent for a MRI. My result were:The scan demonstartes degenerative disk dissease at C4-5 with bilateral facet joint arthritis causing miminamal anterolisthesis of C4 on C5.Hypertrophy of the left facet joint at C4-5 which narrows the left neural foramen.Tiny central bulge of C4-5w/o disk impingement.At C5-6, diffuse budlge of disk with prominent spurring & bulging primarily into the rt. neural foramen which could impinge upon exiting C6 nerve root.C6-7 more prominent supurring & bulging into the rt. lateral recess & right neutral fomament which should impinge upon the rt. C7 nerve root.  No discrete soft disk herniation.Impression:Very prominent spurring & bulging into the rt. neural forament at C5-6 & C6-7 w/c compress the rt. C6-C7 nerve roots.Most severe finding are at C6-7 on the rt.  Moderate to severe foraminal narrowing at C4-5 on left dueto hypertrophic chgs. of the left facet joint C4-5.  Had 2 epidural injections, 1st. didn't help, 2nd. maybe a little.I am still having intermittent tinlging on the rt. arm and hand in my thumb and pointer finger.Certain positions make the tinlging worse.My surgeon decided that I should not take #3 injection since the tinlging is still present & scheduled me for surgery.With the tinlging intermittent should I go ahead with this proceedure, or could this go away on its own?Would the surgery alleivate this problem.My arm functions, its the tingling and heaviness that drives me crazy.I hesitate 4 fear that pain could become a factor after the surgery.Ur advice w/b
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The changes on the MRI are a combination of soft tissue and bony tissue. The soft tissue can decrease in size, but the bony tissue will not decrease without surgical therapy. Therefore, if you have weakness and persistent pain then the only treatment which may relieve these symptoms is probably surgery. However, the major reason to perform surgery is to prevent the progression of the damage. One always hopes that the damage that has been done is reversible, but this can not be determined typically until after surgery. If you are still in doubt, then I encourage you to obtain a second opinion, perhaps from a neurologist. Good luck.
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Avatar_n_tn
I would avoid surgery at all costs. I had an accident in August of 2002 that left me with serious back problems at the L4, L5 and S1 points. I went through the epidural steroid shots and the discogram test and the nerve test. I ended up having emergency surgery in November 2002. I had lost complete feeling down my left leg. Surgery was tough, the pain was intense. I came through it and have permanant nerve damage and no sensation in my calf and the bottom of my foot. Things were okay for about a year and this past January, I started with the pain all over again. I went back to see the surgeon and he told me my disc was a mess and that fusion was the next step. I am only 26 and they are hesitant to do fusion on someone my age. Scares me to death. So I am back at square one trying to prolong the eventual doom of having major major surgery which will set me back for at least 6 months to a year. Last Monday I had the first of several nerve blocks. Very painful also as the nerve is inflamed and out of control. They said if this doesn't work, then they will try more minor surgeies in hopes to give me some relief and prolong the surgery. Did you have any relief from the second shot??
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Avatar_n_tn
In answer to ur question,with #2 injection,the tingling is still present,but intermittent.Certain positions seem to bring it on in intense measures, such as,leaning forward,when pressing my elbow down to rest my arm, brushing my teeth,typing on the computer, or if my arm stays in a certain position for an extended period of time,etc.Interestingly, the pain in my arm was extremely sereve for the first 2 weeks at onset of this problem, then the tinlging set in and the pain wasn't present or at least my body adjusted to it.The 1st. injection didn't really do much of anything other than in my opinion make the tingling seem worst.I am scheduled for a fusion of C6-7 which is why I am very concerned.With the research I've done, it seems as if there is a 50/50 chance of relief and I've heard the pain can intensify with the surgery which is what concerns me.I'm an active mother of 2 teens and the last thing I want is to be in pain.I question whether I should just live with the tingling, will it get worse over time, or should I take a chance on the surgery?This entire situation is very confusing.
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Avatar_n_tn
I am so sorry to hear about your situation. Did they offer any other options besides the fusion. I would avoid that at all costs!!! Make it your absolute last resort!!! Ask your doc about other options. I had a discectomy and laminectomy to clean up the disc that helped for a while!!! It amazes me that your doc wants to rush right into fusion. Have you gotten a second opinion??? I am here to talk, I know your pain!!!
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi,

You might want to check the archives of the New Yorker Magazine for a piece by Jerome Groopman.  He's a Prof of Medecine at Harvard and a regular writer for TNY, and one thing he did (maybe a year or so ago?)was on spinal surgery.  The upshot was that you really should try physical therapy first, very hard, because there's no proof the surgical procedures work. In fact he implied that the orthopedic sugeon's lobby was basically trying to obstruct any solid research into matter because they know it would demonstrate that in most cases surgery doesn't help.
But get it straight from the article - my memories might be fuzzy. The one thing I'm sure of, though, is that after reading it you'll shop around a bit before going under the knife.
Good luck.
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Avatar_n_tn
http://www.pnbconline.com/research/a_knife_in_the_back_by_jerome_gr.htm
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Avatar_n_tn
I am recovering from my second fusion proceedure in 5 years.
The fusion surgery that I had 13 days ago was for the cervical area. C5, C6, & C7 are fused with my own bone and metal and screws.  I think I am coming along nicely, and the horrible pain in my shoulders & arms has gone and the pain in my neck is lessening. Since I am a designer, I needed to have good use of my arms and hands, and so needed to have the fusion to give me a chance to continue my business as well as to get relief from the pain that kept me up every night.  I had the same spine specialist surgeon for this second fusion as I had for my first one.  He is VERY conservative in his treatment, and only did the fusions when there was no other alternative.
The lumbar fusion (my earlier one) of L4. L5, & S1 gave me about a 70% reduction in pain and mobility, and gave me my life back. I am forever grateful for a wonderful surgeon and for the progress I made after that surgery. I have read some posts concerning whether or not to have a similar surgery, and I have to say that without the surgery, my life was horribly limited and painful. (But this is just my own experience)
All my spine problems started with an auto accident about 38 years ago.........I limped along all the years after that accident with osteopathic and physical therapy care.  Each area that had been hit hard along my spine is where the spine has horribly detriorated. I had said that I could never withstand the pain of another fusion surgery after my first one, but then found that I had to face it again.  The cervical fusion was not as traumatic to me as the lower fusion was, and I think I am making very good progress.  Since I get terribly sick on prescription pain meds, I only have Tylenol to relieve the pain, and the days are bearable.  Being able to type on the computer keyboard without the horrible pain I had is such a blessing, and I have already begun to do my design work again this week.
I had read some of the posts regarding fearfulness of surgery, and thought that maybe my experience might give some insight into
how some surgeries are successful.  I felt that if I could get even a 50% improvement, I would be willing to have this second fusion surgery.
I already have gotten that much improvement, so look forward to even more progress as I heal and any swelling subsides.

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Avatar_n_tn
Dave, I remeber from prior posts that your tolerance for exercise had decreased from normal.  Is this still the case for you?  I've had some neurological symptoms for over 8 mos. now, and now I notice that it's getting more difficult to complete the same distance on my bike rides.
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