Neurology Expert Forum
Muscle burning and pain
About This Forum:

This forum is for questions and support regarding neurology issues such as: Alzheimer's Disease, ALS, Autism, Brain Cancer, Cerebral Palsy, Chronic Pain, Epilepsy, Fibromyalgia, Headaches, MS, Neuralgia, Neuropathy, Parkinson's Disease, RSD, Sleep Disorders, Stroke, Traumatic Brain Injury.

Font Size:
A
A
A
Background:
Blank
Blank
Blank
Blank Blank

Muscle burning and pain

Okay background. I have had 2 surgeries in 2 years for CTS. The last one in 01/2006. I have since gotten worse and still not returned to work. My neck and shoulders, arm and hand all hurt worse now. My middle, ring and pinky finger all go numb at times. I drop things without knowing my hand opens or can feel it do so. If I lay on my side to sleep it hurts, if I sit too long in one position it hurts and if I walk with my arm to my side it hurts. I also have muscle aches in my hip pelvis area. My leg muscles are weak. I can not climb stairs without stopping after a couple. My legs and hips ache while laying down. This has been going on for about 2 years also. My muscles feel like they are burning and my husband said I feel hot to the touch even though I am freezing. My shoulder joints, neck and wrist joints all pop and crack constantly.I had MRI and it showed bulging disc at C5-6 but surgeon said it was not causing my muscle weakness and has ordered new test from a neurologist. He gave a diagnoses of muscle damage?
I had RAI in 2/2006 for Graves disease but my doctor has checked my levels every month and they are under control. I now take replacement thyroid medication.
HELP I am so confused I don't know where to begin.
Related Discussions
Avatar_n_tn
First of all, keep in mind that I am unable to diagnose you because I am unable to examine you, this forum is for educational purposes.
  The symptoms you describe of neck/arm/leg pain, proximal muscle weakness and numbness in the middle/ring/pinky are more extensive than would be expected in carpal tunnel syndrome (median nerve entrapment at the wrist).  Given your pain and proximal muscle weakness, I would evaluate you for an inflammatory myopathy (inflammtory cells attacking muscles).  I would recommend an EMG and a muscle biopsy along with some blood work (ESR, CRP, CPK, aldolase, copper, zinc, vitamin E, ANA, B12, and paraneoplastic panel).
  The numbness in the ring and pinky fingers are more consistent with an ulnar neuropathy and the EMG will be helpful in finding out what is going on.
I hope this has been helpful.
20 Comments
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I saw your post and thought I was reading about myself!  I feel your pain and can really relate to what you are saying.  Okay, here is my two cents worth.  A Neurologist is the best place to start.  I have multiple issues with my neck and lumbar spine but can't go into all of them here.  I also have gastro problems, weak pelvic floor and on and on it goes.  I am also scheduled for a C5/C6 fusion in one more week.  Anyway, I was diagnosed with idiopathic small fiber peripheral neuropathy about two years ago.  Now, my podiatrist and other doctors are calling it radiculopathy.  Who knows for sure. There are hundreds of reasons for neuropathy which I couldn't even begin to list here. To me, and I am NOT a doctor, but it sounds like a sensory neuropathy and not really a muscle thing.  When the nerves are damaged, and from what I understand, it can feel like muscle or joint pain.  The main sensation I have is a constant burning.  A Neurologist can run a lot of tests (bloodwork, EMG, QST) etc.  They can also prescribe medications; usually Neurontin, Lyrica, Cymbalta, etc. to help with this kind of pain (neuropathic).  I take Klonopin because it was the ONLY med that allowed me to function.  But that is me and there are plenty of people who do well on the meds I just mentioned. Also, I have been told over and over again that neuropathic (if that is what you have) is very difficult to treat.  I don't mean to sound like a "downer" here it just that I have been going through this process of elimination for a long time now and I now believe it is all resulting from my spinal issues.  But it can be treated and you CAN get pain relief.  Anyway, I also went to my Rheumatologist yesterday, and again, same thing...neuropathic pain.  On a lighter note, most of the doctors believe that if I have this second fusion a lot of my symptoms (especially in the arms) will dissipate.  Hang in there...you can get relief and get to a good Neurologist.
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
i disagree with the post above. to me, it sounds like muscle imbalance issues. I had pain in my neck, arm, hand, and pelvis--msotly (80/20) on the right side for 2 1/2 years. had a few muscoloskeletal surgeries that did squat. I started improving afer a month or two of posture related exercises and stretching (3-4x per day for 30-45 minutes at a time). my posture got rounded due to my job as a dentist. do you have good posture?  do you sit alot at the computer ? do you even know what good posture is? when you stand back against a wall with the back of your heels touching the wall, does the back of your head touch the wall???...... it should. See a website by Dr. Jolie Bookspan and do reseatrch into posture. you may indeed have neuropathy but when muscles are in spasm (as they will be in a muscle imbalance scenario) they tighten up around nerves and cause symptoms. also do research on a guy named John Barnes. pelvic pain is a classic sign of postural imbalances-- your pelvis is the base for your skeleton. NEck muscle tightness can cause pain into the chest, back and arms--all due to tight scalenes!!! do your reading and get to work. that's my 2cents. i've been through it and i fixed myself.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I agree with you somewhat.  But because the original poster mentioned the C5/C6, her symtoms (symptoms) of "dropping things", etc., are typical of a problem with that level.  If you look at a dermatome chart it will reflect what she is speaking of as far as her hands and arms go.  Also, in reference to the pelvis.  Orginally, I was diagnosed with a weak pelvic floor. I, too, could not lie on my hips, my legs were weak and in pain. I went through PT to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles.  In actuality, it made me much, much worse in that while I was doing the "muscle" exercises, it actually caused a cystocele and rectocele.  My PT had me to stop immediately and go to my ob/gyn.  I was then refered to a Urogynecologist who did even more extensive testing.  In the long run it was determined that I had "symptoms of a weak pelvic floor" but it was due to "nerve root impingement at the L5/S1".  My arms and legs are both weak due to radiculopathy and/or nerve damage.  In addition to all of this, I was recently told that the cervical level can cause the symptoms she is speaking of from the neck on down. This is why I mentioned neuropathy or neuropathic pain to her.  It does cause the sensation of burning, tingling and pins and needles.  In any case, I still maintain that her next step should be with a neurologist.  Before I would do anything chiropractic or any form of exercises, I would find out first what the neurologist would have to say.  I found out the hard way that exercises can sometimes make things worse.  If it is truly muscle imbalances, then the neurologist would probably be able state that.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
May I suggest you get a copy of your thyroid blood test. Especially ask for FreeT3 and FreeT4.  A TSH is usually all that the doc asks for but dosent tell enough.  The TSH test range of (0.5-5) is seriously under debate, and as a result patients are left to suffer while it is sorted out.  Anadecdotely people report that they feel better when the FreeT4 is at the top of the range and FreeT3 just above mid range. TSH under 1 - 1.5.    I recommend you read "The Great Thyroid Scandal" by Dr Barry Durrant Peatfield. or Mary Shomons books about hypothyroidism (which you most likely have after the R131)  Endocronologists are notorious for sticking with the TSH and ignoring clinical systems and replying on the outdated TSH.  Also Ferritan best between 50-70 and no SOY anywhere in your diet
This may not be all of  your problem. but a correctly medicated thyroid condition will make alot of difference as it affects every cell in your body.  Mary shomon also has a thyoid forum at www.about.com  A survey by the American Assoc of Clinical Endroconologists in Jan 2004 stated that 1 in 14 have a thyroid condition  - that half are not treated, and half of those that are treated are undertreated.  They recommended the TSH range be lowered. Thyroid is one area you have to look after yourself -  Endroconologists dont have a good wrap from patients.
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
a neurosurgeon said the buldging disc is not casing muscle weakness. Most adults have "buldging discs". skeletal dysfunction is probably most of the time caused by muscle imbalance and muscle dysfunction (unless of course there is trauma) Your muscles brace your skeleton. If muscles are weak or out of balance, your skeleton (spine included) is affected, as are the nerves inside the spine. It is entirely possible that the c5/6 nerve root is involved, although the pinky finger is actually c7/t1 if I'm not mistaken. regardless, the pelvic weakness and overall muscle burning and pain to me is not characteristic of nerve root involvement, which is usually very specific and causes specific weakness and numbness. to me the symptoms point to muscular weakness/lengthening, tightening/shortening, poor posture, pelvic muscle weakness etc......thats my 2 cents.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I agree that the pinky finger and ring finger are usually characteristic of C7.  But dermatomes can overlap as well.  Also, nerve root impingement can cause muscle atrophy.  What sent up a "red flag" to me was the burning she is speaking of.  I stand corrected if burning sensations are also symptomatic of muscle imbalances but I have never heard of that being the case.  If her surgeon is referring her to a Neurologist, then that tells me he may believe something neurological is going on which is exactly what happened with me.  And when I say Neurological I don't mean just neuropathy.  There could be a whole host of things going on.  Okay, as far as the pelvis goes, and being female, I have had a child and also a hysterectomy which can weaken the pelvic floor.  What originally sent me to the Urogynecologist folks was that my spinal pain management doctor thought I might have a weak pelvic floor and/or sacral problems.  We already knew I had problems with L5 and S1.  Anyway, after PT and exhaustive testing which is too graphic to go into here, the Director of this group said that the L5 and S1 and all the muscles, etc. all tie in.  In other words, if there is a nerve problem, it is not telling my muscles how to work appropriately. Anyway, he will NOT send me into physical therapy at this point as he states "it would send me over the top" at this point in time.  Instead, I must first attempt to get those nerves (L5 and S1 facets to be exact)calmed down. I did receive an ESI and also an S1 injection a few months back which totally obliterated my leg, knee, ankle and foot pain and weakness.  So, that tells me that those levels are my pain generators.  The next step would be to get an L5 FACET injection and a determination made if I have a SI Joint Dysfunction.  I am still in that process but have to wait awhile until after my cervical fusion.  Even a Neuro here on this forum stated that hopefully the majority of my symptoms will improve after the fusion.  Hopefully, the original poster here can get help from a Neurologist.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
Thanks to you all for the comments.  I will keep you all posted on the neurologist visit next month.
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
my opinion in a nutshell is that when muscles are weak or out of balance, the skeleton is affected. I am living proof. I fixed a myriad of painful problems by correcting my posture and doing the appropriate stretching and exercise. For example, when facets cause pain, it means your spine is not oriented correctly. It DOES NOT blanketly mean that there is something wrong with your facets and you need injections. Right now as I sit here, I have some burning pain from my groin to my right knee. I'm going to stretch my hip flexors for 10 mintes, and I will be fine for the rest of the day....maybe longer. It wasn't always this easy. In the beginning, it did not help at all because I was so tight. It takes time, belief, and committment. I was probably worse off than ther person who made the original post. And BTW, the pinky finger is innervated by the ulnar nerve c7/t1. while dermatomes can overlap, I doubt his problem with his pinky is from c5/6. The neurosurgeon referred this person to a neurologist it seems not becasue he suspected something, but rather becasue he suspected nothing and was unable to help the patient based on his findings--that's the implication of the post, in my opinion. That's what doctors do. When they can't find anyhing, they refer you to someone else to cover their butts. I understand you are having a fusion. I wish you well with it, although if your problems are muscular in origin it will not help, and may make things worse becasue you will in essence become less mobile from he surgery by eliminating a joint. good luck
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
Yes, please keep us updated as to what your Neurologist has to say.  I wish you well.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
Did you read what the Neuro just said in this post?  He or she mentions "inflammatory myopathy" and "neuropathy".  And he or she just said it much better than I did.  And by the way, this will be my SECOND cervical fusion.  The first one was done because of osteoarthritis impinging on nerve roots.  The second one will be done due to ventral cord compression and is a MUST.  And neither one of these fusions had anything to do with muscle imbalances.  Sorry, but no amount of stretching, traction, etc. would have ever obliterated the osteo or pain.  I know because I went through 3 years of severe pain until I had the first fusion which then totally rid me of the cervicogenic headaches.  I also have an excellent Neurosurgeon who is with a group that performed the first CERVICAL artificial disc replacement in the United States.  So, I tend to think I am with a great group of docs.  Muscle imbalances are one one thing.  And I do agree that spasms, etc. can jerk your spine out of joint.  But when you take arthritis like I have and add neuropathic pain to it, it is quite debilitating.  I agree with the Neuro here, a workup needs to be done.  I hope Boogirle comes back and gives us an update.  I think it would or will be interesting to see what the Neuro says.
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
kathi--- i did not say you didn't need surgery. my comments were directed towards the original post. it seemed like the neurosurgeon could not see anything wrong radiographically. symptoms are just like mine were and i fixed it myself.  "Neuropathy" is a blanket term that means pain from a nerve or nerves. It does not mean there is a compressed nerve in hard tissue (bone) that needs surgery. Oftetimes, if muscles are in dysfunction, neuropathy (pain) can develop---there is spasm and tightness (nerves run through muscles, remember) that cause all different kinds of pain. The original post to me does not sound anything like nerve compresssion at the spinal level. It sounds muscular to me. that's my opinion. I do not think he or she will get any help from neurologists or surgeons. I've been there. I sincerely wish you well with your surgery.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I understand what you were saying and thank you for the well wishes.  Yes, I understand that neuropathy is a blanket term.  However, I did state that mine was idiopathic small fiber PN.  Which basically means they don't know what caused it.  Actually, I was told that it was so minute it almost didn't show up on the charts.  Then again, it may even be radiculopathy in my case.  The "red flag" was when the poster mentioned "burning".  In boogirle's case I think a neurological assessment would be beneficial.  At least that way various conditions could be ruled out.  I am glad I went through all of the neurological testing because now I know I do not have something autoimmune going on.  I have also seen a rheumatologist and again, everything came back negative. He even stated my pain was neuropathic. Anyway, I understand about compression or entrapment of nerves due to muscles or spasms.   I did want to say I tried ALL conservative measures for 3 years before I or my doctors considered surgery which included medications, traction, massage therapy, PT, injections and on and on. I do not advocate fusions unless absolutely necessary.  In my case they were and are. I may never know what is causing the burning I have.  My own theory is that the nerves were compressed for so long that it caused some kind of "windup" where the nerves just won't stop sending signals even though the injury has long since healed.  And the fact that the C5/C6 has been bad for a long time now.  All I can do for now is to treat the symptoms and eliminate things like caffeine, watch my diet, etc. I am sorry you didn't have good luck with neurologists or surgeons and am glad you were able to fix yourself. So far I have had good luck with both and I hope it continues.  Then again I may get worse.  But something has to be done or I WILL risk permanent nerve damage.  Anyway, sorry for the lengthy post.
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
burning happens often in muscular issues. I had it all the time. still do sometimes. I stretch the muscle and it goes away. the key is knowing the muscular anatomy, and which stretch to do. When my hip flexors are tight, i get burning right down to my knee, and it's hard to put weight on the leg or climb stairs, just the the person in the original post. i srectch for 10-20 minutes and i'm fine. again, it took 2 years to get to tthis point, as my muscles were so out of whack from poor posture. it used to be that stretching did nothing--i was too tight. good luck with the surgery.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
Just because nothing showed up radiographically doesn't mean she doesn't have some kind of muscle disease.  She might not have anything serious, but she also might.  For instance polymyositis causes burning/pain and weakness in the muscles and no amount of "balancing the muscles," whatever that is, will treat it.  That sounds a little chiropractoresque to me.
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
chiropractics will do nothing for muscle imbalances. It's ok for the pt o see a neurologist. mds etc--- but if tests turn up neg, this patient runs the risk of being referred all over the place till some one finds something to operae on, or until she is sick from tons of prescription meds. It happens all the time. Ps i am not a chiropractor. Although i didsee 2 of them to no avail. the solution for me was in the gym.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I have intense burning in my feet and back.
I am a 67 year old male and have been told I have degeneration of the spine. My back gets worse the longer I sit. Travelling is now impossible for me. My neurologist has diagnosed fibromyalgia.
All other neuro tests are normal.I aso have tingling mainly in my feet and a little in the hands.
I have always been hot blooded but now I am the opposite. My hands and feet are cold at temperature of 15C or lower. I had to buy all new shoes this spring. My foot size has gone up one size.
When my feet are cold I have intense pain in the soles. I can not walk far as my feet are so painfull. This burning pain in my feet started about 18 months ago and is getting worse. I have had back pain for many years (about 30) but I have only had the burning pain in my back for about a year. I sleep badly. I need sleeping tablets. My general health is good (vital funtions). I have had a ct scan, an mri scan and all the usual blood tests. The 'Wrong Diagnosis' website seems to point to diabetic neuropathy.
I also suffer from Irritable bowel syndrome, which can be bothersome. I have to avoid salads and fruit etc. I take vitamin supplements, Omega3, 6, Oregano oil and imodium (immodium).
I get very tired. When the pain is bad I feel depressed and pessimistic about my future. My neurologist now thinks it is a problem with my central nervous system.
When my feet hurt, I have to feel my feet. I can not distinguise between hot and cold. My feet are also very sensitive to the touch.I also suffer from migrane (migraine) about twice a month.
I would welcone any advice, Robert
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
Hi, I accidently stumbled onto this website today and I am in serious need of help and any advice.
I have been having a severe burning in the middle of my back that burns and hurts all the time. I had a work related injury 3 weeks ago when I was filing and the whole cabinet fell over on my right side and I had to push the 4 drawer 5 ft cabinet back upright with my right arm and the W/C Doctor says that my MRI was fine but the report said thad I had a minor bulge on c/5 and another one on c/7 and my c/6 has hypertrophy. The general diagnosis says that I have cervical spondylosis but the Dr. said I am fine and will get better with physical therapy. I think I need another doctor's opinion as the pain is constant and I have to constantly take pain pills and even then the pain is never gone. I feel the doctor does not beleive me and I do not know what to do ....I hurt all the time. Thanks to anyone who might have a suggestion.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I saw the neurologist yesterday. He has ordered the following test. Blood work: CPK,ANA, RA, CMP, and CBC and also a EMG/NCV RUE.  He said just from the office visit that my reflexes aren't what they should be and he wants to rule out some things and find a possilbe cause. I will update you both after the test on the 8th of Nov. Thanks for your comments.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I saw a neurologist on 10-18 and he ordered blood work and Emg/Nvc. I had those done yesterday here is a note on that. First it went bad because he did the two test he wanted an EMG/Nerve Conduction test and said " they are normal". I hit the roof and said "I refuse to accept that, you don't have numbness, hurt and drop things for no reason when you are only 44 years old". After refusing to take that as an answer he agreed to do a test on my ulnar nerve, or what he told me at the time was for it. Turns out this was a F Wave test. It only took 2 minutes and there is a HUGE difference in what my left arm is and what my right arm is suppose to be according to the neurologist.  He send the nurse out to tell me that is what he saw after it was finished.  He would not give me a diagnoses until he confers with another doctor because "it is workman's comp". I was to call his office back the next day to check and see.  All the blood work isn't back yet so I still don't know about my muscle aches and weakness. Well today I called the doctor like I was told and he will NOT give me a diagnoses and the nurse that did the test called and told me the only diagnoses he will give is "pain". I asked her why did he say yesterday I have a HUGE difference but today it is only pain?? She didn't have an answer and he is referring me to a Physical Medicine and Rehab doctor. I am so upset and confused . I am NOT faking.  I am just at a loss now. This was the 4th doctor. The first one did the 2 surgeries, then I had a MRI that shows some disc problems so I got him to send me to a neurosurgeon. When he heard my history he referred me to the neurologist because he thinks I have multiple things going on and wanted more test run. I also saw a Physical Medicine Doctor before the neurologist that would not touch me until I had further testing. She told me after examine  me and touching two areas on my shoulder and under it that it looks to her I had 2 surgeries for no reason because all of my original symptoms are still here plus I am worse. I am so tired of hurting and my not being able to use my hand. Any suggestions will be appreciated.
Blank
Continue discussion Blank
Blank
Request an Appointment
MedHelp Health Answers
Blank
Weight Tracker
Weight Tracker
Start Tracking Now
RSS Expert Activity
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
How to Silence Your Inner Critic an...
Apr 16 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
Emotional Eaters: How to Silence Yo...
Mar 26 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank
1344197_tn?1392822771
Blank
Vaginal vs. Laparoscopic Hysterecto...
Feb 19 by J. Kyle Mathews, MD, DVMBlank