I have been experiencing sever pain, iching,tingling and burning in my shoulder blades on both sides for 6 months now. The pain is worst on my right side but still present on my left side. I have numbness and tingling in both arms at times from my shoulders to my fingers. I went to see my primary doctor when the pain first started. He took x-rays but didn't see anything. Then he sent for an MRI but my insurance company denied it. So he sent me to an orthopedic surgeon. Had an MRI of cervical spine in Febuart and it showed cyst measuring 4-5mm within the left neural foramina at c6-c7 and cyst measuring 3-4 mm in the right neural foramina at c7-t1. Also hemangioma within anterior aspect of t2 on the right measuring 1 cm. My ortho Dr said that he didn't think that the cysts were anything to worry about and that they were not causing the symptoms I was having. He didn't even discuss the the hemangioma with me. Then he sent me to a neuroligist.
Had an appointment with him on 15 March. He sent me for an MRI of the thoracic spine. I just got the results in the mail and it didn't mention anything about the cysts but it did say findings of hermangiomas at t3,t5 and l2. What does this mean. I see my doctor on Monday 25 March and I want to have a little information on this before I go. I am currently not taking anything for the pain and nothing helps anyway. I am tired of being in pain everyday and it is effecting my quality of life. I am a dental assistant and it hurts everyday all day at work. I have done yoga to help with the pain but now that doesn't even help. I am at a lose. I am scared that the neuroligist willl say that there is nothing wrong. That seems to be the theme and I am sick of not knowing what is causing the pain. What should I do.
Are these the complete findings from your MRIs or is this what you thought was the most significant?
Was the orthopedic doctor you consulted with an orthopedic spine surgeon or more of an orthopedic generalist?
Rather than, or in addition to seeing a neurologist, which will be of limited usefulness, I would suggest seeing a fellowship-trained orthopedic spine surgeon or secondarily, a neurosurgeon. Was there more listed on the MRI report than what you mentioned?
A neurologist specializes in the diseases of the nervous system -- things like Parkinson's, MS, stroke, etc. A neurologist is also able to conduct tests that point to possible nerve compression or malfunction, such as the EMG/nerve conduction studies. But they do not have the additional specialized training specific to the mechanics and diseases of the spine that the neurosurgeon or ortho spine surgeon has. Generally speaking the ortho spine surgeon and neurosurgeon have almost identical training, and are equally good at diagnosing and treating issues of the spine...but since your problems may be specifically with the bones of the spine, I think an orthopedic spine specialist might be the one to see for your issues.
First, I am a little surprised that you were told the cysts would not be causing your symptoms. Anytime something is causing the space in the foramina to be diminished, it can result in spinal nerve compression. I'm not saying that is the case in your situation, but the spine specialist should be able to evaluate this possibility by studying the MRI.
If you take a look at a "dermatome map" that you can find online, you will see that the affected spinal nerves run right across the area of the shoulder blades, down the arm into the hand.
The foramen are the openings at the end of each vertebra through which the spinal nerves move out from the spinal cord to the limbs and other parts of the body. If there is anything that narrows the walls of this opening, such as a bulging disc, enlarged facet joint or cyst, or even bone spurs that are the result of degenerative changes, it results in a narrowing of the opening...which tends to either irritate or compress or put pressure on the spinal nerve that travels through the foramina.
Obviously I am not a physician, but a 4-5mm cyst sounds to me like it could take up quite a bit of space that is needed by the nerve to function normally.
And, to me, it would jive with the symptoms you are experiencing. Of course, with your profession that requires the use of your arms and shoulders, it is probably making the problems worse than if you did something else where your body would be in a different position.
The typical way of treating cysts, if they are found to be causing nerve compression and radiculopathy is by a surgical process, a laminectomy either with or without fusion. Otherwise, they are "watched" and the patient is sent for pain management.
The hermangiomas are a different issue and it is less clear to this layman that they are causing or contributing to your symptoms. A hermangioma is a benign tumor usually found inb the vertebra, most common in the thoracic and lumbar areas of the spine. They tend to be more common in women than in men, and there may be some genetic predisposition to forming hemangioma. It is considered a vascular tumor and it develops in the bone marrow of the vertebra. Often the hemangioma is just left alone unless it seems to be causing nerve compression or the bone itself is collapsing.
From what I have read, it is somewhat unusual to have these at multiple levels.
If you live anywhere near a large teaching hospital or university hospital, it might be worth visiting a spine clinic.
I would certainly not accept that doctor's words that these issues are not causing any problems. I would keep trying until I found a doctor who could link your specific symptoms to the findings on the imaging.
Thank you so much for you reply. Everything else on the MRI was normal. At first the orthopedist thought that it was a herniated disc. But he said when he saw the first MRI that it wasn't that bad and said physical therapy would help. I did that for 2 weeks, then went back to him and told him I was still in pain. He said that there is nothing I can do for you and passed me off to the neurologist. he did show me the cyst but said there was nothing to worry about with it. He said that it was probably a calcium deposit. If I don't get any help from the neurologist I will see a neurosurgeon. Or go to the teaching hospital near me. Thank you so much for the advise.
Was the "orthopedist" on orthopedic spine surgeon? From your description, it makes me wonder....If he were, there would be no reason for him to refer you to a neurosurgeon.
Once you figure out whether the cysts are causing nerve compression, you might want to consider some type of body work that would more specifically address your particular needs for your type of work.
There have been a number of people on this board who had spinal cysts that were causing a great deal of pain. Sometimes they start to grow in and around the spinal nerve and it is very difficult to remove them. I hope a member,
CT06405, was recently operated on for a cyst -- I think at L4-L5, will see your thread and will respond and tell you about her experiences.
So I went to see the neurologist. He did a nerve test and everything is fine there. He also stated that my MRI is normal. He said that it is probably a muscle strain and I need to change professions. He didn't saying anything about the hemangiomas at T3, T5 and L2. I asked about it and he said that they wouldn't be causing my pain. I told him that they are exactly where my pain is. He then said there is nothing I can do for. So I left frustrated and upset. Since I have seen the results of my MRI and did some research I thought he would tell me something or refer me to see someone else. So I went to see my GP and showed him the results. He said that I should see a neurosurgeon at a teaching hospital.
I made an appointment and I am seeing her on 4 April. I hope to find out what the heck is wrong with my back then. I am in pain everyday, all day. And I keep getting "there is nothing wrong with your back"!!!! I feel crazy, like maybe it is all in my head. I don't know what to do anymore. I am getting very depressed. My husband is just as frustrated as I am. He is going to go with me to the appointment I have next week. I hope that he can give me a boost of confidence to stand up to and say "Hey, I am in pain everyday and I want you to find out what is wrong and fix it!!!!" And not to pass me off to another doctor. I am not getting my hopes up about this appointment because I don't want to be disappointed again. It hurts to much. Every doctor I have seen, I have left there in tears because I get the same answers.
Well I will let you know what happens next week.
Thanks for the ear!!!
It helps alot just to get it all out.
I went to see a neurosurgeon yesterday, she said the there is nothing wrong with the structure of my back. She things it may be muscular. But she wants to do a brain scan just to see what is causing the numbness on my right side. So we will see about that.
She also would like me to see a rheumatologist to see if he can help. She said the hemangiomas at T3, T5 and L2 are to small to be causing me pain. So that is good news.
I hope the rheumatologist can help. I am still in alot of pain, everyday, all day. But hopefully I will get some answers soon.
Isn't it fun running from one specialist to the next, waiting weeks in between just for the next appointment? I can sympathize with your frustration and will look forward to hearing what the rheumatologist has to say.
I feel like I am running in circles, it's so frustrating. But I hope to finally get some answers from the rhumitoligist (not sure how to spell, lol). I will let you know what he says. Thanks for listening, I love this site. I feel so much better after I post here. Friends and family don't understands what I am going through because they aren't in pain. I don't blame them and I wouldn't wish this on anyone. But it is so great to have a site like this for those of us who are going through this. I pray that all of us will get the help we need. Have a great day everyone.
Last edited by jody1202; 04-06-2013 at 06:06 AM.
Reason: Correct spelling
Hey there I do hope you find some kind of relief for your pain...
I too was in the same boat at one point not to long ago.
I had been to a couple of neurologists & was getting nowhere my wife & I thought....
Well finally I had enough & went to my primary & told him I was in so much pain that it was killing me to do anything in my line of work.
His comment was I was waiting for you to tell me when you had enough & so he sent me to a "Pain Management Dr.".
So I went to see that doctor.
I really like him & have heard more positive than negative.
So he tried some facet injections.
They did help immediately.
But within 2 days I was back to the same old pain.
This went on from August to late October or November.
He was puzzled about that my pain was quick to be relieved, but that it was too quick to return.
So finally he gave me a referral to Norton Leatherman Spine Center in Louisville, Ky.
Finally the first appointment was February 7th.
Well I can tell you right away that they got the ball moving.
I am scheduled to have what they call a "Cervical 360" with surgeries on April 9th & 12th.
Which is an ACDF & PCF both w/grafts & the PCF is going to be taking part of my hip bone for the graft.
Sorry that I may be rambling on & on.
But what I am getting to is that please continue to seek others (Doctors) for consults & advice.
It took me about 6 or 7 years to get this far.
Mostly because of lack of good health insurance.
I knew I had a messed up cervical & lumbar area.
But was in a predicament that I couldn't get to the right people to get something done.
Best of Luck! & do not give up on finding a sensible answer for your pain.
__________________ C & L:Fusion of spine of C4-T-1 Brain:Large #of white matter. Most likely Lumbar & Thoracic surgeries soon
Roadiez, thank you for the advice. I will not give up until I get answers. I am so glad that you found relief for your pain. I hope that it doesn't take me as long as you to get any relief. I will post when I get some answers. Thank you
The Following User Says Thank You to jody1202 For This Useful Post: roadiez (04-06-2013)