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Pain in neck and arm due to problem with my cervical spine

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Old 10-04-2018, 06:31 AM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: Canada
Posts: 2
Tatik HB User
Pain in neck and arm due to problem with my cervical spine

Hello to everyone,

I am just wondering if anybody has similar symptoms that I am having or could help please with any suggestion. It's been already more then half a year that i am having a sharp pain in my neck and right arm(shoulder and also wrist). The pain got worse, and it's affecting my daily life as well as ability to normally sleep at nights. I took an MRI test about a half year ago, and the result showed me this:

C4-5: Small osteochondral bar, effacing the ventral subarachnoid space, mild central stenosis.

C5-6: Osteochondral bar is present, which abuts the vetral cord margin with mildmass effect and mild central canal stenosis.

My family doctor said that it is not something serious, but I feel that my health condition is gotten worth and I am in a constant pain everyday. And, I am sure if I understand the results correctly.

Please can somebody share or to suggest something related to my situation!

Thank you!

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Old 10-15-2018, 04:49 PM   #2
Join Date: Jul 2018
Posts: 8
2plustwins HB User
Re: Pain in neck and arm due to problem with my cervical spine


You might want to request a referral to a spine surgeon, either orthopedic spine surgeon or neurosurgeon. I had shoulder pain that radiated down my arm with numbness in my fingers. My general practitioner thought it was a shoulder sprain. She finally referred me to orthopedics and I got stuck with a gate keeper who was a physiatrist (pain management). At first, he threw more drugs at me. When that did not work, he did MRI which showed 3 bulging cervical discs, a congenitally narrow spinal canal, and osteophytes (bone spurs) pinching the root nerves. He then ordered 2 epidural injections and did something wrong. He said he hit a bone, but it was an extreme 10 out of 10 pain. The bruising and neck pain was pretty bad. The injection did not work at all for the arm pain and actually made me have neck pain when I did not have neck pain before the injection. If they do not work in 2 weeks, they will not work. He wanted me to wait another 2 weeks and have injections again to see if they might work a second time. I was losing strength in my left arm and hand. Finally, I insisted he refer me to a surgeon. By the time I saw the surgeon, it had been close to 3 months from onset of symptoms. The surgeon said that typically if you have neck pain (I did not), the epidural will help and surgery doesn't always help. He said if you have arm pain (radiculopathy, which I had), the steroid injections typically do not help but surgery does help. By then, I had hyper-reflexes which is also a sign that there is more nerve damage. Numbness and loss of strength is also a sign of nerve damage. He said that patients typically had a window of 4 months to get decompression to relieve the compression of the nerve before permanent damage sets in. He cautioned me about waiting much longer before having surgery, or else the weakness and numbness could become permanent. Had I listened to the physiatrist in the orthopedic practice and wasted time on another epidural, I would have surpassed that 4 month window. I ended up having a 3-level ACDF fusion. I did actually talk to four surgeons total for other opinions. The first three surgeons gave me three different opinions on what surgery to do. I ended up going back to the first surgeon because he was on our insurance, I really liked him, and the fourth surgeon absolutely agreed with the first surgeon. I am 33 days post-op. Almost immediately after surgery, the arm pain was gone.

I would not "rush" into surgery. And, some will tell you that for a surgeon, you should expect that he would want to do surgery. But, I kept hearing the physiatrist say that we had to try all these conservative measures first or else the surgeons would send me back to him to try conservative methods. So, it is my experience that a surgeon will only do surgery as a last resort, but that he does not want you to have permanent damage if you are showing signs of nerve damage.

Again, I would insist on a referral to a spine surgeon and let the specialist tell you a plan of action (if surgery or if trying conservative treatments). Do not wait any longer because pain will likely not improve, but just get worse.

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Old 10-16-2018, 03:55 AM   #3
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Re: Pain in neck and arm due to problem with my cervical spine

Your MRI is not suggesting anything serious, or anything which needs surgery; however, that is not to say you aren't in pain. Have you considered going to see a sports medicine doctor and geting a steroid shot? I have 3 herniated discs in my shoulder (c spine) which hurt all the time and cause me sleepless nights and pain during the day. Every 6 months I go for a steroid shot at an orthopedic practice where they have a sports medicine doctor and he injects my shoulder/ neck with cortisone which takes all the pain away for a few months! He has also given me an elastic band and exercises to do to help the sore area and it really does help.

Consider finding someone who specializes in sports injuries. You may not have done this playing sports (I didnt either) but your pain is similar to that of a pitcher- shoulder/ arm throwing pain. They can help you!
RRMS- dx 05

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Old 10-16-2018, 07:08 PM   #4
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Re: Pain in neck and arm due to problem with my cervical spine

Dear Tatik,

You can always request a second opinion from a surgeon outside your medical group. That is what I would do.
Docs in medical groups tend to support each others' opinions. Which may or may not be in your best interest.
~ YaYa ~

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