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Pain & loss of strength in right arm

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Old 01-24-2003, 04:38 PM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: test city, La US
Posts: 4
AngOne1 HB User
Unhappy Pain & loss of strength in right arm

I had a regular "crick" in my neck three weeks ago. Two days after noticing that the pain seemed to be more in my neck & down my right arm. The pain has gotten VERY intense in my arm, and there is virtually no position where I can find relief. At night I sleep flat on my back with my arm straight to my side (not so great). About 5 days ago, I started to pick up a regular size drink & almost dropped it; all of a sudden there was no strength in my arm. That has been getting worse each day & now it is actually hard to raise my arms to brush my hair. I had a ruptured disc in my lower back (L4/5) that I had surgery on 4 months ago. Does anyone have any clues as to what could be going on & if it is serious? Also any suggestions on ways to get more comfortable? Thanks.

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Old 01-24-2003, 11:10 PM   #2
Senior Veteran
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: San Francisco Bay Area, CA, USA
Posts: 548
Telzey HB User

Hi Ang and welcome
It does sound like you might be having a problem with one of your cervical disks. Did you like the back doctor who did the surgery on you before? If so, you could go back to him and ask for an MRI.

You could try sleeping with a cervical roll around your neck (a soft cylinder with velcro at the ends so it won't fall off when you move in your sleep). They have them at back stores. Don't sleep with a pillow under your head if you are lying on your back... that bends the cervical spine. Lie flat on your back with nothing under your head.

Check with your doctor about a referral to a PT. There are some good exercises they can recommend for cervical problems. I've had good luck with the McKenzie exercises for the lumbar spine, and there are a set of McKenzie exercises for the cervical spine as well although I don't have experience with them.

Good luck and I hope you get a diagnosis soon! Please let us know how you're doing.
[img][/img] Telzey

4 years of back pain
Annular tear L5-S1 diagnosed 3/02 via MRI
IDET 12/2/02
Still a little sore, but getting better all the time!
4 years of back pain, but was still able to work and maintain moderate activity (hiking, low-impact aerobic exercise)
Annular tear L5-S1 diagnosed 5/02 via MRI
IDET 12/2/02
1/26/03 Posterior disc prolapse occurs after sitting too long after walking. Causes new pain down left leg.
3/1/03 Leg pain reduced with exercises from the book "Treat Your Own Back" by Robin McKenzie.
3/9/03 Severe, new buttock and thigh pain and numbness starts.
3/25/03 Used McKenzie techniques to treat buttock and thigh pain -- pain reduced
4/4/03 Started physical therapy
5/8/03 Still worse than pre-IDET, but showing slow improvement with PT, McKenzie exercises, yoga, and Hanna Somatics exercises
5/30/03 PT suggests buttock and thigh pain may be from facet joint
7/6/03 Still worse than pre-IDET due to leg and thigh pain and numbness, and have become so inactive I can't tell whether back pain is better. Can't stand for any length of time, can't walk long, run at all, or do any aerobic activity. I regret agreeing to the IDET and wish I had had more patience with the natural healing process of my disc!

Old 01-25-2003, 01:08 AM   #3
Posts: n/a

Well I can tell you that is almost exactly what happened to me. I was actually walking without swinging my arm. My right shoulder suffered as well. Lots of pain. I am constantly dropping my water, I had to go to a smaller bottle.

But the long and the short of it, after a MRI I was diagnoised with cervical stenosis. My 5,6, and 7 vertabre(sp?) are narrowing. I am waiting for a fee basis from the VA to have a Epidral then they suggest surgery. Best thing is to get a MRI but it sure sounds like you got what I got. bummer. I hope I was of some help. The problem with me is that because I am in the VA system, everything needs approval. It actually took them 4 months to read my MRI.So I can be of little help as to what awaits me.

As for the pain, I use FlexPower(hot),Biofreeze(cold), and pain medications. Best of luck. Redd

Old 01-25-2003, 10:20 AM   #4
Senior Member
Join Date: May 2002
Location: ventura california usa
Posts: 200
mothmin HB User

Ang, sounds like c-7. I'm 6 weeks post-op. don't mess around with this, if you're already loosing grip you need an mri now!!!!

Old 01-25-2003, 02:11 PM   #5
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: test city, La US
Posts: 4
AngOne1 HB User

Thank you all so much for your very helpful advice. I will be calling my ortho surgeon on Monday to help me figure out what is going on.... It is great to have knowledgeable people that can help you out so quickly. keep any suggestions or thoughts coming!!


[This message has been edited by moderator2 (edited 01-25-2003).]

Old 01-25-2003, 04:56 PM   #6
Senior Member
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: USA
Posts: 165
Renee016 HB User

Hi, Ang. Sorry to hear about your neck pain. I agree you should see your orthopedist and try to get an MRI done. I don't know too much about stenosis but you could also have a herniated disc that might be pressing on some nerves or the spinal cord itself. My neck problems started the same way - just woke up one morning with it. And although I don't have much problems with my arms (most of my problems are in my legs), I am told that most people with cervical herniation do. I also have a neighbor with the same thing who was laid up for 3 months because she could barely move her arm without severe pain.

In case you weren't aware of it, this website also has a message board for spinal cord problems which have a lot of people who post on it with neck problems.

Good luck at your doctors apt and feel better.
Renee : )
1982 Fusion surgery for scoliosis with stainless steel Harrington Rod (T5 - L3) using pelvic bone for grafting
1999 Neck problems began
2001 Cervical Kyphosis
2002 Diagnosed with Epstein-Barr (level was 7+) and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
2003 3 Herniated Cervical Discs - C4 thru C7. One disc (C5-6) pressing on the spinal cord (no nerve root compression) causing leg weakness, tingling, burning and numbness - diagnosed with myelopathy and ACDF recommended.
2/24/03 One-Level Anterior Cervical Discectomy with donor bone and titanium plate (C5-6)
Post 2/03 - Symptoms returned and worsening. Weakness in my legs is like walking against a 50 mph wind - pain in lower back and all the way down my right leg to the ankle - vertigo, muscle spasms in trunk and legs
7/03 EEG, BAERS and MRI of brain all normal
7/03 MRI of lumbar spine showed mild herniated disc (L4/5) with moderate to severe DDD and edema in the endplates. HOLDING OUT FOR ARTIFICIAL DISC REPLACEMENT!

Old 01-25-2003, 11:25 PM   #7
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Arkansas
Posts: 473
PsychLea HB User


My symptoms came on gradually, but I have pain in the left arm, sometimes right, and also chest pain. I have C6-C7 disc disease. I also have weakness in my left hand, and sometimes forget I'm holding things in my hands.

I would definitely get that checked out ASAP. You need a diagnosis, but as my NS told me, "it's probably not going to cause paralysis"

Good luck with you appt.

God bless,

God bless,


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