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    Old 05-23-2008, 09:18 PM   #1
    lilydilly
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    neck pain but no arm pain?

    Hi, Is it possible to have a disc problem in the cervical area, without the related arm pain. I will be seeing a NS, but the waiting time is long, and meanwhile, my GP keeps saying it can't be a disc problem because nearly all my pain is in the neck area. I do get sporadic patches of fuzzy/furry feelings in my arm, but really, the only associated pain I get is between my shoulder blades. X-rays and CT scan showed nothing much and the NS will order an MRI, but again it'll be a long wait.
    I have intense pain in my neck and it almost locks up, with some movements and muscle spasms develop if I don't lie down. I get relief when I lay back or rest my head back, and can sleep ok.
    I've had back surgery before for a degenerated disc, and this seems to have followed the same pattern of pain. However the GP says I'd have to get arm pain, if I had a disc issue. I've had it for 4 months now, and no change despite trying all types of conventional and alternative treatments.
    Anyone?

     
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    Old 05-24-2008, 09:26 AM   #2
    julyg
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    Re: neck pain but no arm pain?

    Hi
    Your GP is wrong! I had the neck pain from hell without any arm or leg pain.
    I had multiple herniations and bulging of discs and spinal stenosis. Ended up having a 2 level fusion ACDF. You are not going to get the real diagnosis until you get an MRI.

    While you are waiting for correct diagnosis try to ease the spasms with either ice packs or moist heat. I found using an electric heating pad with a sponge insert that you wet worked best.

    I tried EVERYTHING else to ease the pain. Look in archives on this board for an old post of mine "stupid therapies I have tried" and you will see with comic relief what a number of us have tried without success except to empty are wallets

    Good Luck

    June

     
    Old 05-24-2008, 03:31 PM   #3
    lilydilly
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    Re: neck pain but no arm pain?

    June, THANK you, the laugh did me more good than anything else has for a while. I did all those and more, before my back surgery, 7 years ago, so knew to avoid them with this neck thing. BUT, you get desperate, don't you?
    So, you'll appreciate this one.
    One morning I was getting no relief from ANYthing at home, and hubby said one of his work colleagues (a sensible level headed guy) had just been "fixed" completely by a chiro in town.
    Of course I made an apointment straight away and was thrilled that I got in that morning. Now at this point, the ONLY conversation I'd had with the chiro office was about the time of the appointment. When I got there, a nice girl took me in and said, "now what are we treating today?"
    I said, "My neck, this side is where the pain is". Then while she put nice warm hot towels there, and then gave me a nice gentle massage, we talked about the weather etc, which was all very nice.
    Now the following episode is completely and utterly word for word.
    Then the chiro himself came in, and without saying one single word, he took both my hands above my head (I was lying on my tum) and while I was thinking he was comparing the length of them, he gave a jerk and then he put his hands around my chin and ears, gave another jerk and said, "You're right now." and walked out.
    It took exactly 10 seconds, if that, I kid you not.
    And when you're desperate, you're ready to accept any crumb of hope aren't you, and after I lay there kind of stunned, I actually began to think he might have been some kind of miracle worker......maybe, just maybe. Hope springs eternal, doesn't it?
    So I got dressed, went out to the office where he was sitting, and I said, "Umm, you really think I'm right now, does that mean you've fixed me". He looked at me with his eyebrows up, and said, "Oh, not FIXED, as such, but it is certainly moved better than it has before."
    "Before?" says I.
    "Yes" he says, "I felt it release more than it did last treatment."
    "But I've never been here before in my life!!?"
    "Oh, I meant when you were in here yesterday", and he looked at me as though I was nuts.
    "I have NEVER been here in my life".
    "Oh" he said, pulling out his appointment book, "Aren't you Mrs. ...... ........ then?"
    "No, actually, I'm Mrs. ...... ............... , and I've never seen you before, so I certainly hope Mrs. so and so, had the same problem as me then.".
    And he looked at me and said, "It was your neck wasn't it?"
    And I couldn't resist.... I said, "No actually it was my KNEE !!!!!"
    He just looked kind of bemused, and said, "Look, maybe we'd better see you again. Come back in the morning."
    And do you know what?
    This is the saddest, stupidest thing of all............ I DID... just once and that was it.
    Well, at that stage, I was so desperate, I really didn't care if someone broke my neck because I figured at least I'd end up in hospital and they'd put me out and DO something.
    I am now coping with ibubrofen, my bed, laptop, heat pad and a wonderful hubby.
    I appreciate your reply. I also wrote another big long post a month ago called
    "Reassurance and advice re neck pain"
    If you could possible bear to read it, I'd really appreciate your feedback.
    I think it was so long, only one person was game to read it and reply LOL.
    Thank you once again. I hope you're getting along ok since surgery.
    Regards.

     
    Old 05-24-2008, 05:33 PM   #4
    julyg
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    Re: neck pain but no arm pain?

    Ah thank you for a well needed laugh. I am positive your chiro has a brother in south florida and yes I have been to him!

    Another "stupid therapy thing" I did just before my fusion surgery was "body talk" . OK so I am in Banff on a hiking trip in Canadian Rockies and I am having an epic pain episode So I get the "cranial sacral massage" where I was mortified to find out it was a massage of the upper roof of my mouth So I book a massage at the hot springs resort there and I tell the massage therapist how rediculous the cranial sacral massage was so she says "look that was really weird. Why dont we do 1/2 hr regular massage for neck and shoulders and 1/2 hr of BODY TALK we are having great success with BODY TALK, so like a dope I say SURE.

    BODY TALK is taking little written messages and placing them in certain "body zones" while the therapist starts tapping the zone where the message is laid upon your body. Utter nonsense! I started laughing during the middle of it and told her to finish up with the regular massage

    I read your previous post and I had a lot of same symtoms. Had a ballooning accident, cracked head on water slide etc.

    It started off feeling like I had slept wrong on my pillow. Pain would go away after a week and no problems for months until spasms became more frequent and than finally nonstop until I was begging for the surgery. I would feel tension starting in neck and creeping down trap muscles. It was hell.

    If you ck out my previous posts (just search my user name Julyg) you will find I had some terrible complications from the surgery.

    Today I have minor neck pain but only fused in 1 of the 2 fusions. I have no leg or arm hand pain. But I am very careful now. Use to be quite the adventurer with offshore boating, climbing & hiking etc. and now I am mindful of what I do.

    Stay well.

     
    Old 05-25-2008, 09:46 AM   #5
    Toonces1
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    Re: neck pain but no arm pain?

    This was truly one of the funniest things I have read in a while! As for the neck pain, yes, you can have a disc problem without having any arm pain. I had a badly torn and herniated disc in my neck, and never had any arm pain or numbness. My pain was centered around the neck and shoulder blade area, just like yours. Good luck, and I hope you are able to see the specialist soon.

     
    Old 05-25-2008, 08:14 PM   #6
    lilydilly
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    Re: neck pain but no arm pain?

    Toonces, at least I still had my sense of humour intact then, but maybe this week he'd have found himself with a kinked neck LOL.
    I just got word that I can see the surgeon in 6 weeks time, but first I have to have an EMG done (not sure what that is), so that is a longer wait than I'd hoped for, but probably what I was expecting. Meanwhile......
    Some of the things that are worrying me.
    From laying around so much, I'm starting to get problems in my lower back. Even though I had a disc replacement in L4L5, I had a herniation on L3L4, which they left, because it wasn't bothering me then. I think that is what is playing up now, giving me numb buzzy legs and butt sometimes. I tried to do some exercises the other day, just stretching and gentle stuff to keep the rest of me a bit fit, but everything I do seems to send my neck into spasm. Just that after 4 months of laying about and longer still ahead of me, I'm concerned about my health in general. Any suggestions? I've been doing some leg lifts in bed, but that doesn't amount to much aerobic wise..
    Deep breathing I suppose would help, and not hurt anything.
    Eating as healthy a diet as I can
    What else should I be doing. Also, if I do end up having surgery, which I fully expect, I want to be in ok condition for recovery time etc.

    The other thing that worries me... I read a lot on here about permanent damage. I don't have too much numbness in my arms etc, but it is there, and the neck thing is getting worse in general. Do I really only have to worry if I start to get bladder/bowel weakness etc?
    Also, ibubrofen is affecting my gut, with reflux etc, which I've often had to deal with over the years from hiatus hernia. I do take it with yogurt and food.

    Also, did any of you feel your whole system was 'out of whack' with this. Apart from the pain and spasms, I get this wired feeling, like chalk on a blackboard feeling, through my neck, jaws, head and upper body. Ok, like restless leg syndrome a bit, only in my upper body. Is this just irritated nerves? I've had that feeling when I've been really really overtired, like after travelling for hours, but with this, I'm not tired, just a teeth clenchy scritchy kind of feel.
    SOrry to be so long again.
    It really really helps talking to others who've been there.
    Many thanks

     
    Old 05-25-2008, 09:57 PM   #7
    hugg724
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    Re: neck pain but no arm pain?

    Lily, now that I am done giggling after reading your post I think I can type lolol

    I had neck pain and burning in my shoulders for quite a while. I thought to myself daily, I need a new job, this stress is making my neck hurt. I thought the burning pain daily was because I worked a desk job using the phone and computer alot (I was in HR). It took my back going out and dealing with that surgery before I spoke up to my neurologist about it. I said I have had this bad neck pain and burning which I thought was stress for a long time. I said the most stress I have right now is what to watch on tv while letting my back heal. He told me we will just keep an eye on it until my back healed.

    Well, 4 months later, my back was healed but I finally starting having tingling and burning in my arm. I asked him what he did to my back that messed up my arm. I was scheduled for an MRI and to my shock, I had 3 ruptured discs (moderate to severe). I had neck surgery 3 weeks later.

    Now for the next part..........I can't figure out why they want you to do an EMG instead of an MRI. An EMG is a nerve conductor test. Let me tell you from experience, it was about 25 minutes of pure hell for me when they did this test. BUT I had to have it done because I had 2 numb fingers after my neck surgery and we were concerned I had permanent nerve damage.

    I do have the same issues as you are having with my neck right now. I tried to explain to my dr. that I feel like my upper body is going through restless leg syndrome. I was glad to see someone else explain it like I did so I am not TOTALLY losing my mind. It feels so tight, I can't relax and when I try to lay down, I am ready to jump off the couch. What is so weird is after a week of that, now the tops of my legs also feel the same way and I have no idea why. I walk the floors every night. He did feel I have some nerve inflammation or a "nerve flare up" as he called it. I was scheduled for an MRI though just to see what was going on. Ibuprofen helped a tad but not enough. Muscle relaxers and pain meds don't help either unfortunately. I don't go back to my neurologist until Friday. I just hope I can survive this until I do. Steroids might actually help if it is inflammation.

    By the way, all I can say is your GP must have gone to the same school as your chiropractor lol.

     
    Old 05-25-2008, 10:47 PM   #8
    lilydilly
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    Re: neck pain but no arm pain?

    Thanks Hugg, for the reply.. even your ID name is comforting, sigh.
    It is so so reassuring when you find someone else has similar symptoms. I probably aren't doing my GP justice, because he did follow all the right "protocol", trying conservative treatment etc, before he'd refer me further. He's a very caring kind of chap, but I think he's basing his assumptions with necks on his own experience with a ruptured disc and surgery.
    I went through the same thing with my back. I'd had sciatic pain for years off and on, but when my back finally "gave out" with the episode that led to the surgery, I had no sciatic or referred pain. So the GP I was under then, thought it was just muscular.
    Also, the fact that not much showed on the CT scan probably influenced this GP.

    I'm remembering having had a nerve conduction test before my back surgery, and this was the same surgeon I'm going to go to again. Apparently he insists on doing it because he won't operate unless he knows that surgery is going to bring relief. I assume this is the same thing. THey inject dye in with a needle right into the disc, and then can tell which nerve is being irritated by the reaction they get. They actually hope to produce the same reaction as is being caused by the disc?
    By doing this test, he doesn't take out one disc and then find the pain was referred from another one elsewhere. So I assume that he's killing two birds with one stone .. instead of an MRI and then this test, this EMG will show him everything. Am I right?
    I remember too, coming out of this test in a total mess, shaking like a leaf, and actually more stressed than the actual surgery.
    They told me that they'd know when they had identified the nerve that was being damaged, and when I asked "how", they explained that was why they couldn't give me any anaesthetic for it. They WANT to re-produce the pain symptoms, and to let them know when it happened, though I probably wouldn't have to say anything, because they'd just know.
    After joking that they'd better stand back, because I had a kick like a mule, I actually was so nervous, I started telling them they'd "got" it before I really felt it. Later, I told the DR. I had cheated, so the test was probably useless, but he just laughed and said, No, it'd shown him all he needed to know.

    Oh, the joys of wearing out, huh?
    Sorry to hear you are still having problems too.... It seems like our discs are a bit like dominoes aren't they..
    I don't hear of too many people having actual disc replacements on here, except for the controversial ones a while back.
    This surgeon says he offers the most up to date and the best possible treatment in the world at the time, and he does conference and research world wide, and he doesn't say it boastingly , but as a fact. I do trust him, so that's something anyway, I guess. That's why I'm prepared to wait wait wait.
    Thanks so much again.

    Last edited by lilydilly; 05-26-2008 at 01:14 AM.

     
    Old 05-26-2008, 09:48 AM   #9
    hugg724
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    Re: neck pain but no arm pain?

    You might be thinking of a discogram or myelogram. Those tests are done with dye injected. I had a myelogram done on my back. I remember cussing like a sailor for a few minutes when they did the injection. I had every thing done to my back prior to surgery because I just did NOT want surgery on my back. I lost that battle after 8 months of fighting it.

    The EMG I had done for my neck. They stuck me with needles for 25 minutes and basically sent jolts through my arms. The EMG is to test for nerve damage and muscle weakness. Mine was NOT fun even though it was necessary.

    I do have the artificial discs in my back but when I had my neck surgery, it seems like they weren't approved for cervical in the U.S. or something like that. That is why I had fusion done.

    Last edited by hugg724; 05-26-2008 at 09:51 AM.

     
    Old 05-26-2008, 02:18 PM   #10
    lilydilly
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    Re: neck pain but no arm pain?

    Yes, you're spot on, it was a discogram I had. Why do they do the EMG then? I mean, you explained what it does, but I'm wondering why he'd need to know if I had nerve damage etc. Would that influence whether they would do surgery. Unless he saw something on the CT that none of the others did. I just thought he'd order an MRI first to see if there is a disc problem, and is there anything they can do anyway, if they find muscle weakness. Just wondering *how* they use this test? Or is to find problems other than damaged disc etc. When you lie around long enough, and look on the internet, every other disease and awful possibility goes through your mind... well, mine, anyway.
    Thanks again, Hugg

     
    Old 05-31-2008, 10:00 PM   #11
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    Re: neck pain but no arm pain?

    Hello,
    I've dealt with HORRIBLE neck and head pain for the past 9months. All the physicians I saw said it couldn't be a disc problem (although my MRI showed a herniated disc with osteophites at C5-6) because I didn't have "pain radiating down my arm into my thumb". I was devastated. At about month 6 I began experiencing arm pain-although it didn't carry down to my thumb. The Nsurgeon NEURO, PM&R etc. still said that surgery probably wouldn't help--and they couldn't guarantee any relief. After 3 ESIs, 1 Radio Abalation, numerous nerve blocks, PT etc. I BEGGED the Dr. to try bc after months of research I realized that there were other folks out there like me that benefited from surgery.
    I'm now almost 4 weeks post ACDF. Some days are better than others.
    I've had to "fight" for this cause for months. You are not crazy! Trust your body and keep looking until you find a physician that will really listen.

     
    Old 06-01-2008, 03:14 PM   #12
    lilydilly
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    Re: neck pain but no arm pain?

    Thanks Pratt, I see the surgeon in 5 weeks now, and he wants me to have an MRI and EMG first.
    Yes, that's why my GP was reluctant to refer me, because he said surgery rarely benefited patients who had no arm pain, which seems strange to me. I can understand it in cases where it's muscular or postural causes only, but if a disc is irritating the nerve, and that's what's causing the pain, wouldn't it relieve it? Did they tell you *why* they thought surgery wouldn't relieve it?
    I have a lot of trust in this surgeon I'll be seeing, because when he did my lower lumbar surgery, he put me through a whole plethora of tests first, as he won't operate until he is 99.9% certain that it will work, and unless he is 100% certain of the cause of the pain. He said he knew surgeons who would operate on an obviously bulging disc, only to find later that the pain was from a less obvious disc above that one. Perhaps that accounts for the "unsuccessful" surgeries? I don't know, perhaps I'm just being too hopeful that this is a problem he can solve. If he can't, I honestly don't know what I can do?
    I'm starting to get some arm pain, and definitely get funny "sensations" in my fingers and palm and wrist, but it's such a secondary thing to the pain in my neck, and I only get it after my neck has been in spasm for a while.
    You had it for 9 months? Here's me desperate after only 5 months of it! Sometimes the frustration of it drives me as crazy as the pain. Thank goodness for my laptop. At least I can "escape" into cyberspace for a while LOL
    I do hope you heal well, and all your days are better soon. Thanks for your reply.

     
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