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Shoulder Blade pain and numb index finger
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Shoulder Blade pain and numb index finger

Went back to clinic for second round of pain meds.  This time the doctor give me naflex, naproxen and steroids.  Also Vicadin pills so I can sleep.  She believes I have a pinched nerve that is causing the numb index finger and muscle loss in my right arm.  I have no tricep muscle. I can lift things low, but nothing heavy out in front of me. Also my forearm sometimes is hard to control.  The left shoulder blade pain is where it all began 3 weeks ago.  I had severe pain in that area, along with the numb finger.  The first time I went to the doctor She said I had upper back sprain or strain and she give me painkillers and said to come in two weeks if it was no better.  Of course, I went back!  The original source of  pain is nearly gone or a non factor.  Still have an occasional throb in my neck about three vertabrae down.  This radiates pain in my wrist.  Odd I know!  Just in the last couple of days my left shoulder has had a sharp burning sensation in almost the same area as the right, but the skin over this area is completely numb.  The doctor told me she would schedule me for a Cervical MRI.  Rather they would call to set up a time .  That was on April 19th. Today I called the scheduling department and they said they no nothing of the case.  I  think they are just giving me the run around because I have no insurance.  Just wanted to know if this is something I can put off until I have insurance.  That would be in December.  
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Avatar_m_tn
The original source of the pain hasn't change, the neck is where the problem is, its where the nerve starts that goes to all the various places that your having pain. Its called radiculopathy. Sounds like a pinched nerve at C6-7. Nerve root compression at that level can cause triceps weakness and decreased reflex. It can also refer pain into shoulder blade area and cause pain in your wrist and forearm. When this happen to me, I had everything you have and I was getting a lot of shocking pain in my shoulder, arm and hand. It was horrible. My thumb and first 2 fingers went numb.

If your doctor can keep you supplied with Vicoden and muscle relaxants till December, you could probably make it.

Take Care

  
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1093617_tn?1279305602
Thank you for your question. First I would like to let you know that your symptoms may be due to nerve irritation in the cervical (neck) spine or shoulder because of injury or prolapse where contact between the edges of the vertebrae can cause these symptoms. In few people, this pain may be referred and perceived as occurring in the back of head & radiates to shoulders, (as electric sensation)- LHERMITTES SIGN, arms or chest, rather than just the neck. Other symptoms may include vertigo, nausea (dizziness) and stiffness. 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 or rehabilitative exercises may also be suggested by the doctor, if condition is severe. Hope this helps.
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144586_tn?1284669764
The problem is a pinched nerve and muscle relaxants are the wrong train, wrong track, wrong gauge of track, wrong direction, wrong railroad. Vicodin is also inappropriate. Plan stupid. N0 muscle relaxants, with due respects to the opinions of others.

A TENS device will be helpful.

These cause loss of muscle tone which exacerbates the problem.

You have a pinched nerve in the cervical region, probably due to what is called a subluxion injury.

Again, with due respects to the opinions of othgers, a soft cervical collar is again the wrong railroad, wrong train, wrong track, headed for the open drawbridge.

You require intermittant gentle cervical traction. Do not pass go. Do not collect two hundred dollars. For short periods several times a day. Five to fifteen minutes. These traction devices sell for about $35.

Cervical traction is not suggested when the condition is "severe". It is the definitive treatment.

Rehabilitive excercises, including range of motion through the limits of pain are generally prescribed.

You need to find a specialist with experience in subluxion injuries.
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144586_tn?1284669764
This kind of problem can cause eat-the-gun, level-ten pain.  Fooling around with a soft cervical support invariably make the problem worse. You continually "self-splint" to avoidf pain and eventually end up in a walker when at that point somebody mumbles something about "surgical intervention".

Initially, steroidal drugs and immobility and rest.
After a short period, prednisone, ibuprufin and intermittant gentle axial traction, and exercise through the limit of pain. Traction, traction traction. But not 24/7 traction. Five to fifteen minutes of traction ten to fifteen minutes initially, separated by appropriate intervals.
Gabapentin sometimes helps, but it degrades mental performance.
Avoid riding in a car or sit on an inflatable pillow to cushion the bumps.
Then special exercises.
Rotating the head through the limits of pain and isometrics, placing a hand on the right side of your head and pushing against it. Repeat with the left side. Then the forehead. Then with hand on the back of your head.
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Avatar_m_tn
Wow, this person knows more than the Doctor!  I seriously doubt if your injury is related to a subluxation, although if you were to go to a Chiropractor that's probably what they would tell you. Chiropractors think everything is related to a subluxation.

It’s very common for people to have perfectly normal alignment in their cervical spine and still have major problems. (I’m not saying that you do) I have personal experience with this; I don't post about things I know nothing about. My cervical spine MRI showed perfectly normal alignment, however it also showed multiple levels of disc herniations and foraminal stenosis at several levels. Judging by the description of your symptoms with the triceps weakness, pain in the shoulder blades, forearm and so on. This is C7 radiculopathy to the letter. You may have other levels involved, but triceps, forearm, wrist, its C7. I know I've been through it. Its nerve compression and its probably being cause by either a disc protrusion that’s extending into the neural foramen or by a bone spur pressing on the nerve.

Tens units have their applications, but in this instance the pulsating and vibrating will just make your pain worse. I know, I have one and I tried it. The pain can be so intense from this type of injury that it can hurt just having the collar on your shirt rub against your neck, could you imagine the pain you'd have from a constant vibration, it probably drive you out of your mind.

The cervical traction, I do agree with. Gentle manual traction is okay. But don't have mechanical traction done until you have an MRI and see what exactly is going on in your neck. I had a very bad experience with this and the traction actually caused one of my disc extrusions to move, causing me even more pain. You'd probably benefit a lot from seeing a good Physical Therapist

As far as the medications, you know as well as I do that you need something to help you deal with this pain. I am by no means an advocate for the use of narcotics, but anyone who has dealt with this type of pain knows that it’s impossible to tolerate without something. Muscle relaxants are commonly prescribed for this type of injury, because the intense pain you’re having causes your muscles to tighten and become guarded, which can actually cause even more pain.

Finally, do not let a Chiropractor or any so-called subluxation expert manipulate your cervical spine until you find out what’s going on in your neck. And even then I wouldn’t. Bad things can happen and the risk is too great.

Take care
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Avatar_m_tn
Well, I do thank you both for your comments.  Especially from someone who has the same symptoms.  The painkillers and muscle relaxers have definitely brought the pain level way down.  I have been able to actually sleep in my bed instead of the recliner.  Before the bed was off limits.  I could not lay down at all.  Pain was, well, it felt like someone was running over my arm with a car.  I was in tears most nights from the pain.  VICADIN, was my hero.  Also, I would like to note that these also bring your blood pressure back down to a safe level.  Just today the numbness on the left shoulder and skin has gone away.  Still have the numb finger, however the pain in the scapular area is gone and the neck, arm and wrist is way better.  Still little strength in the arm.  I think it was likely a bone spur in that area near my shoulder blade.  I made the mistake of letting someone poke and prod that area.  You know, try and work the knot out.  It probably irratated that nerve.  I understand them giving me the run around because I have no insurance.  I just hope its not to late.  By the way, I have a full time job and yes we lift heavy things.  However, I have not been doing so much lately.  I am trying to be careful.  Dont see any other way.  I have to work.
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Avatar_f_tn
A physical therapist can determine if traction is the right treatment. I had radiculopathy and the PT did traction on my neck to assess and it made the pain shoot down my lt. arm  so it was not the course of action. If you are losing muscle tone and have alot of weakness in your arm you may have to have surgery to decompress your spine. No, you cannot wait until Dec. You may suffer permanent damage the longer your symptoms persist. Try all the above conservative measures first and get into a neurologist ASAP. You also need EMG studies to determine the damage from the radiculopathy.You may already have some permanent damage. I have mild permanent weakness in my left arm from my radiculopathy that went on for 3 months. A friend of mine had muscle loss in her arm and had surgery very quickly and rehab was long.
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Avatar_m_tn
Well went for the MRI and the doctor said I have a disc protrusion at C4 and C7 with spinal stenosis causing nerve entrapment at C7.  They referred me to neurologist who said right away that I need surgery to move the peice of disc that has broken away and that is entrapping the nerve.  He says this is causing paralysis of the arm or tricep.  He told me that it may not get any better than it already has.  Of course not having insurance, I was getting the fast explanation with little or no choices of treatment.  He simply wants to go in through the front of my neck and remove the part that has the nerve entrapt and also the rest of the disc.  Replacing it with a spacer and a titanium plate.  2 weeks to 3 month recovery time.  When he figured out I would not be able to pay for the surgery without insurance, he suggested PT.  This is after he basically said that Physical Therapy would really not help much.  3 to 4 weeks of PT.  Thats almost everyday at $150 to $200 a visit without insurance.  So either way I have to wait until I can get insurance 6 months to 7 months from now.  
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Avatar_n_tn
I have been dealing with a similar problem C3, C5 Anterior herination, the disc are cutting into my spinal cord. I was told I need a fusion, I had PT 2 years ago it really did help. I had a Awesome PT, he did manual traction, ice, massage. Then the doctor released me telling me I am fine work-comp, Neurosurgeon. That was a lie my conditon is worse and now and the new Neurosurgeon is telling me I am Moderate condition. I have pain from my neck to my shoulder which feels weighted, pain into my elbow sometimes burning sometimes like the pain when you hit your elbow real hard, arm pain that sometimes makes me weak, into wrist, and hand sometimes numbness. There are even times that it hurts so bad that I can sleep. Prednosine helped, Aleve, sleeping with the right pillow as well as holding a pillow. Mine gets worse if my arm goes over my head or if I sleep on my side and put my arm under my pillow. It also helped when I slepted on my back with an orthopedic pillow. I hope your insurance doesn't have a clause for prior conditions. I was told that if I have the surgery now the recovery will be easier, if I wait I could have perminate weakness and a harder recovery. I would like to know more about disc replacement. I have heard so much in the medical field about long term fusion. Fix one then 10 years later surgery again for the disc above and below. I am an active person and I really don't want to fix it now and then another surgery. What ever you do don't let a Chiro. touch your neck!!!  Good Luck!
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Avatar_n_tn
Just curious with all the good advise, you gave frack are you sure you aren't in the medical field?
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Avatar_m_tn
I think if you do not see a doctor for the same thing for six months on a group insurance plan, it is not considered pre-existing.  The thing that worries me is he said that the C7 disc has broken off and is entrapping the nerve and putting pressure on the cord.  Will this get worse in 6 months?  I have to continue to work.  Mouths to feed!  I also am not really sure I want to have fusion done.  The neck pain I cannot deal with but the arm weakness I can live with if I have to.
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Avatar_m_tn
One other thing.  He says he can't see on the MRI because its only cervical MRI, but he pretty sure there is something going on in the therasic region as well.  The PA was doing reflex tests on my feet and she did not like what she was seeing with my right foot.  I have not felt or had any problems walking, but hey it can only get better right!!!  What a friggin joke.
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Avatar_n_tn
I really don't know anything about insurance and how all that works. I would just call a insurance company not the one you are going on and ask. I wouldn't give them any of my personal info., just tell them your condition and ask if group insurance has any pre-existing clause's. I would be very careful, the fact that you have weakness isn't good. I would be afraid to lift anything, what if you turn wrong, fell, would it cut your spinal cord? That is what I would be afraid of, I wouldn't want to be paralyzed from the neck down. Go you get a second opinion, do you know any D.O.'s or Neurosurgeon's? I wouldn't let anyone touch my neck that wasn't a Neurosurgeon, did he tell you to wear a soft collar until you can get surgery? I don't have any broken off piece's, but if I did I would see a 2ND opinion and see if he agrees with the first doctor. I wouldn't wait for my insurance, if there is a possibility of becoming paralyzed I wouldn't chance it.
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