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severe arm pain, C6-7 disk herniation
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severe arm pain, C6-7 disk herniation


  I have had an MRI that shows a herniation at C6-7.  I have severe pain in my right arm (upper arm, elbow, forearm, wrist) and tingling of the thumb, index, and middle fingers.  I have spots of numbness between the knuckles of my index and middle finger and on my forearm and the lower portion of my upper arm near the elbow.  I have pain in my neck (left side and right side) that "squeezes" when I turn my head; and also pain near my right shoulder blade.  An EMG showed evidence of herniation.  I have had the neck pain for four years post-accident (pedestrian vs. car) and the severe arm pain since September (while waiting to see doctors, get tests, etc.).  Is the arm pain and numbness permanent now?  Could the arm pain be caused by anything else?  (tendonitis, epicondylitis, etc.?)  Symptoms were made much worse by neck traction (that's when it started going down arm).  Should I have more physical therapy?  Two neurosurgeons acted as if it is my weight causing the whole thing (my weight has increased by 60 pounds since the accident 4 years ago because of inability to move around).  Could weight loss cure the symptoms?  I haven't been able to lay down for over two months now, I have to sleep in a recliner.  I am no longer able to work (typist) and have trouble holding my head up (too painful to keep it upright, it tends to flex forward and I look stooped).  Any suggestions or info would help.
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Thanks for the question. Your story certainly sounds convincing for a radiculopathy. Usually we recommend a conservative approach in these cases unless the symptoms are unrelenting or there is evidence of active ongoing nerve injuy on EMG. If the EMG suggested a disc herniation it could represent the residules of an old injury or a more acute injury with ongoing axon loss. If the later is the case (you can ask the doctor) then surgery may be more of an issue. If the damage is all old then being conservative is helpful. It is very difficult to determine if you need surgery without seeing you and your films but your story is concerning. If you wish a referral to CCF call 216 444 5559. You might otherwise seek another opinion locally. Good luck
This information is provided for general medical education purposes only. Please consult your doctor regarding diagnostic and treatment options.





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