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    Old 09-02-2006, 09:56 AM   #1
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    Unhappy Question about twitching/cramping in hands/arms

    Hi everyone -

    As some may know, I have some central cord compression, stenosis at 3/4 4/5 5/6 and 6/7 (I'm only 30!!!) yikes! My cord compression is fairly minor and my docs aren't even considering surgery yet. I have no weakness as far as they are concerned, although over the past 1.5 months I've developed the following symptoms:

    - random twitching in my left arm, forearm, shoulder, shoulder blade and thumb and forefingers (sometimes around my pinky as well). The twitching makes me the craziest. It's very random, but only in my left arm and hand and side. Some times I get random twitches in other places, but the twitching on the left side and some cramping in my forearms and hands has been random, yet consistent - hope that makes sense.

    - Some tremors in both hands and arms

    - Shakiness in my legs.

    All of this is driving me bizerk. I have an EMG on Friday 9/8. Because of the tremors and the twitching episodes, my neuro made me take a 72 hour EEG (on my head) which came back negative.

    My pain management doc is an arse and told me that any symptoms should be attributed to my spinal cord compression. My Physical Therapist said that twitching has nothing to do with my herniated discs and inflamed nerves and is more of a central nervous system problem. My orthopedic doc says get an EMG and my neuro says, let's get EMG. I asked neuro if possible Parkinsons or ALS and she said, No. No Parkinsons, definitely not. Maybe non-essential benign tremor combined with anxiety and spinal cord compression - all causing massive CNS problems and twitching -

    Anyone have any experience with arm twitching, spasms, cramping, etc?

    My tingling, numbness, etc., is minimal. I have no weakness - my strength is normal - per Neuros, orthos, surgeons, etc.

    Thanks - I'm very stressed out about this and I'm sure that is not helping my cause. I appreciate your help and input as usual.

    Thanks again,


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    Old 09-02-2006, 12:59 PM   #2
    Jimmy B
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    Re: Question about twitching/cramping in hands/arms


    Sorry to hear you aren't feeling so well. I feel somewhat obligated to respond here since I share many of your same symptoms. I am in my mid 30's, so I feel somewhat young for all this to be happening as you do.

    My main symptoms are left shoulder pain, left arm pain, forearm cramping and numbness, left thumb and index finger tingling/numbness. Also neck pain and muscle twitching in the shoulder and bicep area. I cannot sleep lying down and take Norco + Valium to manage the pain. I have seen a NS and am currently going through a 4 week PT session (including traction) for any signs of improvement. NS told me the C-6 nerve root is being pinched which is causing all of the left arm symptoms. I have a herniated disc and moderate stenosis from bony spurs at C5-C7. Also central cord flattening from the stenosis at C6-7. NS says I will need surgery at some point in time, but may be able to hold it off for a while if PT can offer some relief.

    Sounds to me like your arm symptoms are from the same nerve root being pinched as mine (C-6). I'm not sure about the tremors and shakiness, but I would get an MRI if you haven't done so already. My NS told me that 6 weeks is sort of the magic time needed for signs of self healing. Kinda like the 80/20 rule... 80% will get better within 6 wks, otherwise 20% will require some other remedy. Have you considered ESI or traction? I find it hard to believe that your PT believes none of this is due to pinched nerves. I would get a second PT opinion if I were you... just my two cents.

    Jimmy B.

    Old 09-04-2006, 07:21 AM   #3
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    Re: Question about twitching/cramping in hands/arms


    I have severe lumbar stenosis as well as had some disc herniations. I don't know if I have any problems in my cervical area but am beginning to wonder about that. But when my lumbar problems became severely painful, I noticed I was tremoring alot. My hands, my arms, (especially when holding something or trying to write), my legs, sometimes it felt like my whole body would tremor. Not necessarily every part at the same time but it seemed to progress to every day. I was just shaking alot. Everyone I knew also noticed. My coworkers would notice my arm shaking and would always ask why I was shaking so much. Once I had epidural injections done, my tremoring disappeared! I never asked any of my docs about it..but I am certain it had to do with my stenosis since the tremors stopped after the shots. Lately, though, I've began to have pain in my cervical area and left shoulder. My left arm has tremored slightly a couple times with this pain. Since I have to walk leaning forward I just assumed the cervical pain was due to poor posture. But since I had a couple "shaking moments" I started wondering if I also had some compression on my cervical area.

    Old 09-04-2006, 09:36 AM   #4
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    Re: Question about twitching/cramping in hands/arms

    Thank you both for your replies. The tremors have freaked me out quite a bit. Although, I have always had a very slight tremor, back to when I was about 19 - as far as I can remember, really. Aggravated by anxiety, certain medications and caffeine. Although this is different. I'm quite shaky most of the time. Baybreeze, I personally believe some of my symptoms started to worsen as the stenosis and cervical problems began to worsen. And I'm sure that any compression, etc. on the spinal cord or column or nerve roots can cause this --- sometimes I wonder why certain doctors are just so 'final' when they say 'No, that cannot cause *that* symptom.'

    My pain mgmt doc, while, kind of a jerk in general - is the first to say - "Look, cHERYL - you have A PHYSICAL THING compressing YOUR SPINAL CORD - this can cause a variety, if not ALL OF YOUR symptoms." He is 100% positive that any weirdness I have would be caused by the cord compression in the cervical area.

    Jimmy B - thanks for the posting. It makes me feel better. I did in fact have several MRIs - I have stenosis, bone spurs, compression, mild flattening, etc., however, like you - per the docs - not quite ready for surgery- due to age, lack of major pain and lack of weakness, deficit, etc. Although some days, I'm like, "COME ON ALREADY, JUST CUT ME OPEN TO GET RID OF THIS STUFF!!!" Although I do realize that surgery won't fix us forever --- it will fix us for a time span and then we have to be very, very careful and hopeful that the same thing doesn't happen again in 20 years. Although, I'd be thankful for 20 good years - ;-) I hate this cramping and twitching and I'm paranoid, so I want to rule out everything else and make it go away. I surely hope that it is my nerve root and not anything else.

    And, yes, my physical therapist, well - she doesn't have formal neuro or ortho medical training - sooo - while her personal diagnosis stresses me out, I don't put a lot trust into it.

    Thanks all - I sooo appreciate your input.


    Old 09-06-2006, 07:06 PM   #5
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    Re: Question about twitching/cramping in hands/arms

    I thought I would jump in to say that even though you have the surgery does not mean that the twitching or spasms go away. I am now post AFDF C4/5 6 months and still have spasms and twitching in my upper right arm, left shoulder blade and depending on the day other areas. I still have neck, head, shoulder, arm and hand pain. I finally saw a PM and he started me on Lyrica and wants me to get a tens unit to do 2 hours a day 3 times a day. I am scheduled to see the psychologist next week and try the bio feedback stuff and whatever else the team of doctors think will help. Come to find out that spinal cord compression that is bad enough to cause symptoms can also cause the brain to remember those symptoms thus we continue to have them for however long or forever. The brain is a funny tool it remembers everything and sometimes doesn't want to forget. I had moderate to severe cord compression with flattening for about 18 months.

    Old 09-07-2006, 11:21 AM   #6
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    Re: Question about twitching/cramping in hands/arms

    Puparoo -- it does sound like spinal cord compression can cause these symptoms. I had many of the same which I was also told was from C6. I had a C4-C7 laminectomy a year ago. The major twitches and tremors are gone (took a while). I just have a "buzz" in my right ring finger about 20% of the time.

    It took me a few tries to find the right PT. If he/she has training in the MacKenzie method then they know more about spine/neuro than the average PT. I had to call around to find a qualified PT in this area.


    Old 09-07-2006, 03:06 PM   #7
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    Re: Question about twitching/cramping in hands/arms

    Thanks everyone so much. This board and everyone on it is a godsend to me. Thanks again.

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