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  • Numb Fingers Cervical MRI?s Please Help!

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    Old 11-11-2018, 06:52 AM   #1
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    Numb Fingers Cervical MRI?s Please Help!

    Hi, I appreciate anyone's input as I have been in pain for 3 years now in constant search of answers....

    So some background...April of 2015 I broke my ankle really bad and over the next 1.5 years I had 4 surgeries. Prior to this I was doing triathlons, crossfit 5x wk, gym sessions 3x wk and playing racquetball 3x wk. Very Active! Perfect Health!

    After I broke my ankle, I continued to train upper body and probably excessively as I was off of work for several surgeries and it helped me cope with depression. Probably around June? 2016 I started experiencing muscle spasms in my right shoulder blade after workouts. Would be painful for a day and then subside. I still continued on with workouts dealing with this issue.

    Jan 2017, I was doing a heavy overhead lift (more than I usually did as my ankle was finally starting to heal) and I overextended the weights back behind my head. I felt immediate shoulder blade pain and knew it was bad. Over the next several months, I tried rehab, steroid injections and steroid pills all with minimal if any ease of pain.

    By June 2017, I saw a local shoulder specialist and he suspected the long thoracic nerve got pinched but I passed the nerve test. Now having deep pain all over my right upper back and rib cage(never and numbness), he suspected a pinched nerve in the neck and ordered MRI of cervical and thoracic, referred me to spine Dr and also suggested I travel to see Shoulder blade specialist. Spine Dr looked at MRI and said he can see C5&C6 have minor issues but nothing to describe the pain I'm in. Offered to do a epidural shot but I declined being he was really sure that it wouldn't help and that my neck wasn't the issue.

    Nov 2017, I meet with Dr and he notices scapular winging and said my lower trap muscle is basically turned off and all other muscles are compensating causing all the other pain. He said being that I passed nerve test, he believes it's just a muscle that hasn't healed properly. Gave me very specific rehab and stressed doing these daily. Agreed to meet with me in March.

    March 2018, Meet with Dr again and I am feeling better from following his program but with limited use of right arm. If I push too hard I have pain for weeks. He changes exercises some but tells me that if by June its not healed he may have to cut and reattach the lower trap to scapula.

    Oct 2018, I meet with local shoulder specialist which I highly value as a Dr and just mull over this potential surgery as I still FEEL like this is all nerve related. He agrees to order another Nerve test and this time it shows damage (Dr said it looks like an Old injury) to upper shoulder, bicep, trap and the worst area was lower trap. The same Dr doing the nerve test used ultrasound to look at the muscle along my scapula and noticed a really bad muscle adhesion. He injected the area with a LOT of steroids to break it free. The muscle twitches as he injects it which he said is a good sign.

    2 days later, (maybe from nerve test poking everywhere?) my right neck locked up and I could barely turn my head. Returned and he shot my neck up. Got some relief a day later

    3-5 days later my left neck muscle locked up for about 3 days the loosened up on its own- 5 days later my index finger and thumb tip go numb and I have burning pain from neck into chest/shoulder wall down my inner arm into fingers, thumb/index. If I move my neck a certain way I get shooting pains on left side. Note: Left side never bothered me till right side nerve test?? Now I have trouble sleeping as every position feels like I'm pinching a nerve.

    5 days later I had a follow up scheduled with both local shoulder specialist and the shot Dr. thinks I'm cured from muscle adhesion he found. Shoots left neck and chest/shoulder area.....Helped for a day. Shoulder Dr says this all sounds nerve related and orders new cervical MRI, Left nerve test and refers back to Spine Dr. but he's booked.

    Passed nerve test on left side

    NEW MRI results:

    At C2-C3- Normal

    At C3-C4- Bilateral unconvertebral joint osteophytes result in mild left neural foramen narrowing. These findings are unchanged

    At C4-C5 left unconvertebral joint osteophytes result in mild left neural foramen narrowing. These findings are unchanged

    At C5-C6 Broad disc osteophyte complex and Bilateral unconvertebral joint osteophytes result in mild left neural foramen narrowing resulting in slight deformity of right greater than left anterior cord. Severe right and moderate left neural foramen narrowing present. These findings are similar to prior exam

    At C6-C7 Minor disc osteophyte without narrowing. Unchanged

    At C7-T1 Normal

    Cervical alignment is normal. Vertibral bodies maintain normal bone marrow signal. No abnormal signal occurs throughout the cervical cord. Visualized paraspinal soft tissues are unremarkable.

    1 Mild to moderate right and mild left C3-C4 neural foramen narrowing due to bilateral unconvertebral joint

    2 C5-C6 degenerative disc disease resullting from mild central canal narrowing with slight deformity of right greater than left anterior cord and severe right and moderate left neural foramen narrowing Correlation for right C6 radiculopathy is requested

    3 Minor degenerative changes at C4-C5 and C6-C7

    So Friday I saw a neuro surgeon and he looked at me like I'm crazy and shouldn't even be in his office (guess they only see people with necks falling off?). Said there is nothing wrong with my MRI findings and that all he does is surgeries and that I am not a candidate for that. He suggested I get tested for MS or other autoimmune disease ??? (Note: somewhere in this I saw a Rheumatologist and she ordered a bunch of blood work) and referred me to a pain Dr where maybe an epidural shot will help. He didn't even look at the MRI report.

    Tomorrow, I meet with Pain Dr about Epidural shot. Praying he can squeeze me in ASAP because of my vacation looming.
    Fri I meet with original Spine Dr again.
    Mon, I leave for what should be a great Maui family vacation for 2 weeks but I can't even think about anything else.

    I'm lost on what else to do or who else to see that can help. I feel hopeless! I know this was long but it has been a long journey and I wanted to get some of this out. Sorry and I appreciate any input...

    Other weird issue I've had which may or may not be related is sometimes during flare ups I will have crazy frequent urination. Had kidneys/Liver/Bladder CT- everything looks ok?

    Last edited by Administrator; 11-11-2018 at 07:06 AM.

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    Old 11-11-2018, 09:36 AM   #2
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    Re: Numb Fingers Cervical MRI?s Please Help!

    Hi there. I am by no means a specialist or a doctor, but I can tell you that I have similar findings in my MRI of my spine. Your MRI is normal for the most part. The "degenerative findings" are age related and as early as age 30 you start seeing these changes on film.

    The numbness you are experiencing can very well be from a trapped nerve. Have you considered seeing a pain specialist? NOT FOR DRUGS. There is a procedure they can do which is basically shooting the nerve full of steroids- not the same as the injections you have been having, this particular procedure is usually done under anesthesia (Ive had it done) and it helps untrap any trapped nerves.

    Now here is the kicker. I actually have Multiple Sclerosis. My first symptom 15 years ago was a numb hand and fingers.. after it didnt get better in a few days, I went to my doctor who ordered a CT scan, which in turn showed some abnormalities. Original doctor thought nerve wasn't at that time. Because the CT scan was abnormal, I was referred to a Neurologist. This neuro asked me a ton of questions...did I ever have a hard time cooling my body temp down? Did I get dizzy and cranky in hot conditions? Did I ever have balance issues? Did I ever trip over nothing? Unfortunately the answer to all of these was yes. He ordered a brain and C spine MRI....and it showed MS damage all over it.
    I was told the numbness was due to damage to my nerves caused by the autoimmune disease.

    Fast forward about 3 years. I was working out and similar to you, did something lifting- and wound up dropping the bar and screaming out in pain. I went to see an Orthopedic doctor who ordered Xrays and MRi, who then told me it was nerve related...this is when a year of PT and a year of not getting better led me to find a pain specialist who works surgically- I wasnt interested in pain pills. The procedure I had done was helpful...eventually I had an ablation, severing the nerve so there is no pain...but I lost some muscle mass in the left arm. Meanwhile, still dealing with MS symptoms.

    Should you go see a Neuro? can have a full neurological exam in the office to rule out anything neurological. He or she will probably order additional tests which can only help you to figure out what is going on...they may also show more as far as what you THINK is going on with the scapula. Remember, sugeons LOVE to cut...any excuse to get you in surgery! But you dont want surgery if in fact this is something autoimmune or something that trigger point injections can help with. One thing to keep in mind is the more often you get steroid injections, the less they help. They just stop working after you dont want to use them as a crutch to deal with the pain. You want to figure out what is causing the pain.

    I wish I could tell you more, but I would not rule out anything at this point and I would not be looking at surgery until you have ruled out everything else. A neuro is a very good place to start- just make sure this is either a MS specialist Or a general Neurologist. You do not want one who only deals with strokes or migraines, so ask before you book the appointment. Good luck. Sending you positive thoughts!
    RRMS- dx 05

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    Old 11-15-2018, 07:10 AM   #3
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    Re: Numb Fingers Cervical MRI?s Please Help!

    Iím afraid my reply is not timely...that you are on vacation as I write this! So, hope things are going OK. When you return, I suggest you make an appointment with an orthopedic spine surgeon for an evaluation. I donít feel comfortable trying to comment on all the shoulder issues...but there is enough contained in the cervical MRI report to warrant getting a second opinion.

    Anytime there is severe stenosis, in my opinion, it is worth getting it evaluated. However, I see that there is nothing new going on in the cervical area compared to the previous MRI, so that is good news. The C6 radiculopathy would cause numbness/tingling in the hand. The report does indicate that the right side appears to be more compressed than the left side....

    The report is just that...a report written by a doctor who is not a spine specialist. You want the guy with the advanced training and experience to look at the images and determine what issues, if any, might be causing your symptoms.

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