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Old 03-08-2001, 03:23 AM   #1
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RhondaM HB User
Herniated c7-T1-Help!

I just found this site and hopefully someone can give me some insight.
The last 3 months I have experinced a sore spot left side, under the muscle just beside the spine around c7. In the past I have had my hubby rub it and then apply heat. In the past it would subside, however in the past 3 months, it was appearing twice a week. When this soreness came, it did not feel like a muscle pull, as it actually made me feel ill. Also, I have noticed (within this same time frame) my hands get very hot, my palms get very red, (like a temp spike) and very itchy.
So, on feb 10th this came up again, I did my old heat thing. However, the pain increased, by that night I could not lift my head. My fingers on my left hand were twitching (thumb, baby finger) by the a. m. I could not raised my head at all. My hubby and I walked over (in great discomfort) to the urgent walk in clinic. Since the pain was going down my left arm, hurt when I inhaled etc. They clinic thought it might be heart. So, with tests on that thought, it was ruled out. However, they were still confused. Thought I pulled a muscle. I explained to them it did not feel like that, it felt like a (big) sharp knife was in my upper back and it was twisting and the pain felt in the bone. I did eventually had a MRI and it did state I had a herniated c7/t1 with nerve compression.
Now its been 4 weeks, I have the following: numbness in the top of my left hand, baby finger, ring finger, pain in my left arm from the shoulder to the wrist, pain also, in the spot from before with swelling on my left side. Also, I have lost my voice twice in this 4 weeks time with occasional sore throat, but I am not coming down with a cold. In order to sorta relieve some of the pressure I put my left arm above my head, and put my head down.
This pain is the most pain I have ever had in my life and the only pain meds I have been taking are avil, over counter back pills, tylonel 3, and the doctor in emerg gave me 6 percaset (sp), also gave me an injection of morphine. None of these helped.
I have never had a back problem before so this is somewhat of a surprize to me. However, it appears I have had this for 10 years and never went to the doctor as I thought it was due to stress, pulled muscles, etc. I have a high pain tolerance and rarely take any meds. I have taken so many over these last 4 weeks then in the last 10 years of my life.
My question is this, it appears that going to the doctors they are so confused about this, and decided to rule what it wasn't and not really find out what it was. Since the pain for this is so great and disabling, why did it take so long. The big question, aside from some Rx pills, there was not treatment, Why????
After reading that an aggressive treatment does assist to recovery, with cervical collar, physio, pain/muscle relaxants, traction. etc, my doctor states bed rest and off work for 8 weeks.
The lost of strength in my left hand/arm and the constant pain, one would think someone would do something. Even a painful tooth gets more attention.
My symptoms don't all fit into the c7/t1 relm. I was wondering if anyone had the above symptoms.
I guess I feel bad since I don't know what do with myself. Lying, sitting, standing does not help.
Sorry for the long letter, it had to do with one hand, and it taking me along time to complete.
Thankyou for reading...sigh

 
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Old 03-08-2001, 05:13 AM   #2
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patevgrn HB User
Re: Herniated c7-T1-Help!

I had the shoulder muscle spasms off and on for probably 4 years before it went off badly enough to seek a neuro. Then I found out I had herniated C5/6 and C6/7. Had ACDF last Wednesday and I feel GREAT. Numbness persists in my left hand index finger, but the pain is gone and I'm weaning myself off of the collar (Titanium plate with strong screws anchoring well).

Patrick
Denver, CO

 
Old 03-08-2001, 12:21 PM   #3
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Re: Herniated c7-T1-Help!

I have a herniation at C6-C7. I had minor aches and pains before I knew I had this problem. When I lifted something very heavy and caused the rupture I was in trouble. Two surgeons told me to wait it out, 1 wanted to do a fusion. I waited and I got better in 2-3 months. I was taking muscle relaxants, strong anti-inflammatories and pain killers. It's been a year and I'm OK except for minor numbness in my index finger and occasional aches in my arm. Everybody's rupture and nerve compression vary. Ruptures can't be fixed without surgery. Wait it out for a month or two and see if things get better before opting for more drastic measures.

 
Old 03-08-2001, 12:37 PM   #4
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Re: Herniated c7-T1-Help!

Thank you for all your replies, I am going to see a neurologist today and hopefully I can get some treatment.
I don't think I made my questions clear (it was early a.m. and in a lot of pain), but its that I have seen 3 medical doctors over the course of 4 weeks and they really didn't know what the problem was or how to treat it. Only one thought of an MRI, even after the finally diagnois, I am still not on any action plan. I was wondering if anyone else found this kind of "apathy" with this type of problem. Also, does it going away all by itself without treatment and can the nerves become permamently compromised? Is there any situtation (with this problem)that it can become an emergency, since its appears to be more subjective (then objective) but the pain is absolutely the worse! I guess extreme pain in not a criteria for medical personal to start any kind of plan.
I will let you know what this neurologist says, (I've had the appointment made 4 months ago for another problem).
Thank you !

 
Old 03-08-2001, 01:21 PM   #5
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Re: Herniated c7-T1-Help!

RhondaM: The key word in your question is you saw "medical" doctors. I take this to mean they were not neuro or spindal docs? If so, it makes perfect sense. Medical docs are great for common ailments but they really should send people out asap for more special areas of concern such as we all have incurred. In the very early years of my problems the medical guys went from "its in your head" (yeah really but not the way they meant it) all the way up the scale in later years to possible Fibromyalgia. Finally someone sent me to a neurosurgeon and the real helpful ball got rolling. Good luck and God Bless. Hang in there and keep us posted.

 
Old 03-08-2001, 02:02 PM   #6
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Re: Herniated c7-T1-Help!

As kdb said, you really need to talk to spinal specialists. Forget about the General Practitioners. There's really nothing that you can do to "repair" the disk. My neurosurgeon said that the disk may repair itself with some scar tissue and some of the extruded material may become reabsorbed by the body. As I understand extended irritation of the nerves can cause permamnent damage. Good Luck

 
Old 03-08-2001, 09:51 PM   #7
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Re: Herniated c7-T1-Help!

I did see the neurologist and did recieve some treatment. He prescribed novocycloprine and physio. the doctor explained to me that my herniation of c7/t1 was not typical location for herniation. So the regular medical doctors were confused. Typically its c5/c6, however he was surprized that no one prescribe muscle relaxers or physio.
The reason I only saw medical doctor's is that since my regular doctor was away on vacation, one can only see a specialist if someone refers them. Since the doctor's did not know the problem, they did not refer me to a specialist.
Now I understand that the location (c7/t1) was not typical, then why not investigate it until they found the diagnois. It appears to me they were "delegating" this responsibility to me. Heck, I was in so much pain, I had no idea what the problem could be. This is the first time I have used the ER of a hospital (and hopefully the last) it seemed to me that if I had it labelled on my forehead the problem, then I might of recieve the proper treatment. Instead of a "generic" diagnois. The only person who is compromised is the patient.
Thank you for all who has replied, normally I am a very humerous and self sufficient woman, but I think I rather give birth to a cow then have this kind of pain:}
Any medical doctors reading this, please, please don't make the patient "adapt" to the pain and not do the follow up (remember, even Columbo had bad days).

 
Old 03-09-2001, 11:30 AM   #8
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Re: Herniated c7-T1-Help!

Dear RhondaM - we could be twins - or something. Christmas 99, my husband was turning me - very gently - at 4am in bed. I couldn't eat or talk or swallow or cough. I wanted to die. Coward - sorry. Morphine didn't help - pills. Valium type stuff made me weird. The following February, I received a cortisone injection into my C8-T1 herniated disc/plus badly placed bone-spur that is irritating the root of my '8' nerve - that goes down left arm, side, into hand... In crisis I feel like my left hand is on a stove and some - expletive - is pulling my nails out. My left arm twiddles and twitches by itself. That horrible lump side of top spine near shoulder blade bcomes big as a fist... I'm in constant pain, worse in the evening. In order to at last go on an exotic trip with my husband next week, I had another injection just last Monday... I've been told that I have too many problems on too many levels for surgery to be a viable option. The problem with our problem is that GP.s don't know what to do except mete out painkillers in order to get us to shut up. Specialists (here in Paris, France) lift their shoulders and hoosh breath out of their nonchalant pursed lips while they explain to their students what my MRI's say. I expletive, expletive them. However, the injection did work for me to a degree. Relaxation helps. Good posture is a must. I'm so sorry I wasn't more careful during my pre-bad-neck-and-back life with my body. Heat is lovely! Baths. Showers. Attitude is imperative; and, as others on the message board say, though your description could be mine, each back/neck is different. Concerning concern about our pain: I too feel dumbfounded that it is simply ignored!!! I too found that giving birth was easier. At least you have respite between contractions. Now, I can't send you prayers 'cause I'm not a 'believer'. But I can send you lots of warm, positive, and, why not, happy thoughts!

 
Old 03-09-2001, 08:18 PM   #9
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RhondaM HB User
Re: Herniated c7-T1-Help!

Thankyou for your thoughts and sorry to hear about your experince. I guess I figured that with imbearable pain, health care would be there to assit, cure, treat etc. I did not (ever) think I would be left alone to deal with it.
If I had a major trama, then there would have been more attention given to my problem. However, I am a working manager (50-60 hrs per week)with no recent injury. This confused them. How could anyone be in that much pain without it. This is when its labelled and the patient must "just live with it".
The neurologist stated "the gel will be re-absorbed" and I will be just great. I am all for this assessment, however if the pain returns to the level of the first week, I will lay the floor and tell them "do something". (either that or lie and tell them I fell 20 ft):}
Considering how debilitating (my employer is just so happy with the lost of work time) and painful, one would think there would be more emphasis on "plan of action" as opposed to "wait and see" attitude.
In Canada we are suppose have access to the best medical care in the world. Knowing that even in France this attitude is shared. does not make me feel confident in the medical profession.
I sincerely hope that you find someone to give you the direction (relief) you deserve, as all of us with any type of injury deserve!

 
Old 04-17-2002, 08:20 PM   #10
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drdok HB User
Re: Herniated c7-T1-Help!

Rhonda

I realize that this reply? is well after the posts but as a newer newbie I was intrigued by your first account since it was similar to mine. How did your c7-t1 wind up?

Don

 
Old 04-18-2002, 01:17 PM   #11
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debysu HB User
Re: Herniated c7-T1-Help!

I am having surgey in 4 days and was not given alternatives as they said they would not do any good.
I am very nervous about this surgery. Its at c7. they are going to do the hip bone graft to replace the disk and then put the plate in and will be in a collar. Does anyone know what the recovery time is and when you can return to work if your job requires lifting and alot of bending? Just looking for any info I can get on this surgery. mine is a very large herniated disk compressing my nerves and without surgery I will lose the use of my left arm. My chances are a 70% recovery rate.
Thanks.

------------------

 
Old 04-18-2002, 08:28 PM   #12
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drdok HB User
Re: Herniated c7-T1-Help!

debysu
Nothing like fear of the great unknown. In the same predicament, for what it is worth, most people do well with back surgery. The last statement is based on my personal contact with individuals that have had neck and lower back surgery. Six people in all with one of my best friends having having had both neck and lower back. The lower back rupturing during physical therapy no less. He still had nerves cooking back in over a year later. We have since been running at the track together. Now I am on the sacrificial platter, worrying whether I am going to be selected out of the pile, like the turkey that stands a little higher than the rest. What I do know is maximize your recovery time, be very careful, don't press going back to work early and causing damage. The plate reduces possibility of having problems. Some Drs will not perform the surgery without putting in the plate period, to the point that they will refer you to someone else and will not perform the surgery if you don't want the plate. My personal belief is that a plate should be installed with the C7-T1 surgery. I don't believe that bending or turning of the head should be affected very much. On the other hand, we should both have a better knowledge of actual motion capability in a few months. A sturdy comfortable reclining chair can become your personal island.
Don

 
Old 04-21-2002, 11:29 AM   #13
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katia227 HB User
Re: Herniated c7-T1-Help!

katia227

Hello Rhonda M. I am new here and I too have experienced similar problems. In 1995, I received an injury when lifting a heavy object. I had a large lump in the right side of the upper back with extreme pain and muscle spasms. Pain in my right arm, hand and three fingers. The top of my hand and fingers were numb. My wrist was painful if used or turned. My right shoulder feels like its seized up in the mornings and at night. I went to physio for six months and exerciced regularly every day. The worst was going through traction. I was in really bad pain for months and went into bouts of depression. I decided to wait for surgery and see if time will help. It's been seven years now and I still excercise daily and am more active. At times the pain in those areas are bad depending on what I do. I have learned my limitations and choosed to live with it. Sometimes it is really bad and wonder if I should have went for the operation and other times I feel good. Lately, I have been pretty sore, it is affecting my work and am a couch potato when I get home. I find it hard when I get up in the mornings, I feel stiff and sore and takes me about two hours before I can get moving. Surgery may be in order, but I am afraid to go. Don't know if anyone else here feels like I do.
Katia227

 
Old 05-04-2002, 07:47 PM   #14
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debysu HB User
Re: Herniated c7-T1-Help!

Katia227
Hi I can tell you that I got to the point where getting up in the mornings was extremely horrible. The pain and stiffness was something I just could not handle anymore and trying to hold down a job too. I had my surgery but only being 12 days post op I dont know yet how it has done for me. but you need to get something done and soon.
Debbie

 
Old 05-05-2002, 02:51 PM   #15
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DavyD HB User
Re: Herniated c7-T1-Help!

Hi Debbie and ALL,

.... How are you getting on with your recovery, I sincerely hope everything is going ok for you and that your recent surgery isn't causing you too much discomfort.
Keep healing Debbie..

Love to ALL


Davy

 
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