Just wondering if this has been the experience of others as well. I have stenosis at c5/c6 and severe compression at c7. I constantly have a dull pain - sometimes shoulder blade or sometimes upper arm. It's always there but it's completely bearable. Now the real pain, the utterly unbelievable nerve pain, you all know what I'm talking about, seems to wax and wane. I will sometimes go 2 days without feeling it and then bam it hits with a vengence and stays for a couple of hours or a few days. Is this the normal pattern for nerve root compression pain? It just seems strange and I didn't ask my surgeon this question.
That is why I had such bad pain last week....it's usually just a dull roar that never goes away and then it hits....BAM!..(sorry Emeril)....and of late, each BAM has been getting a little worse than the last BAM. It had been pretty consistent up until recently and now it is escalating. The last bad BAM also brought some weird numbness with it too. My butt went numb...a nice little circle of about 6inches all around my anus. Didn't have any bowel or bladder problems but I was as numb as could be. It's when weird stuff like that starts to happen along with the BAMS, that gets me! I talked to my neruosurgeon's office today and let them know. He just got back from Portugal today.
So you've pinpointed the symptoms perfectly and now watch for the extra symptoms that can go with the BAMS! Signs of worsening.
Hope you feel better soon and the dull is duller and the BAMS are smaller.
I should hear from the neurosurgeo(male) or his PA(female) next week on what they want to do next.
I knew there were problems because I had these muscle spasms that kept pulling my left shoulder backwards as well as lots of tenderness over the spine. When I went for my annual check-up in June, the x-rays showed a great looking fusion but they ordered an MRI to look inside the fusion and found a ton of osteophytes(bone spurs) that were growing into the cord and compressing the spinal nerves. However this was at C$(which explains why my shoulder gets pulled back) but not the tenderness over the lower area around T1-2. The report with the MRI stops at C7 but I know he'll be able to see what T1 and 2 are doing but his PA looked at them and thought he might want another MRI of the thoracic or a CT. I have numbness and pain going down the back of my arms right to the tips of my little fingers and that is the C8 nerve but also is affected by T1 and 2. Since my fusion goes to T1, he actually figured I'd develop problems there sooner or later. He originally was going to fuse to T2 but didn't.
So I figure at the least he has to go in and remove the stuff at C4 but whether he has to go way down to T2, I don't know. That is what I'm waiting for.....a simple surgery or opening my back again from an inch into my hair to below my shoulders. Makes a big difference in recovery time and pain.
Hopefully I should hear next week when he gets caught up from his trip to Portugal.
What you describe is commonly how pain from cervical problems is felt. Have you considered surgical options? Once you are experiencing symptoms continuously (even if low grade) you need to consider repair options. Nerve damage can become permanent so don't wait too long.
I have a lot of cervical problems now at C4. I've learned that sometimes I can "adjust" myself out of severe pain (not always, but sometimes). I do everything from light neck exercises, to laying on the ground, to laying with a cervical pillow under my head, etc.
Ugh Jenny! I'm really hoping they're able to get things better with just a small surgery for you. Please let me know what you find out next week. I feel fantastic today and I'd swear there is nothing wrong with me all. My husband keeps saying "just you wait" and I know he's right.
SpineAZ, I am on the waitlist for an ACDF at c5/6 and c6/7 and hopefully will have it done in September. Unfortunately I have two months to sit around and ponder all these things. I do appreciate your response as, for some reason, I always assumed that if one had nerve pain they would feel it all of the time non-stop.
I'm glad to hear from all of you about the intermittent nature of this pain. I also have a chronic "low grade" pain that I can control with Excedrin most days, but then out of the blue it ramps up to an 8-9 and shuts me down. I am stenotic at C5-6 with pressure on the sac and bilateral foramina that is affecting both hands most days. I expect my surgery to happen in September also. But when you have a virtually pain free day... your mind wants to pretend it's all better and you don't need the surgical fix. Glad you all are out there to talk to. Denise