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  • Arm pain from neck?

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    Old 04-25-2009, 01:21 PM   #1
    Rita27
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    Arm pain from neck?

    Hi, I have two herniated discs in my C-spine and disc bulges and degeneration. I had an MRI in late 2006. At the time, I didn't have a lot of pain but it has increased since then.

    What I don't understand is that the pain is not really in my neck. What is bothering me is my shoulders, collarbone and especially my ARMS. The pain in my biceps and triceps is terrible, and nothing seems to help it.

    I have to mention I was also diagnosed with fibromyalgia, so for a long time I thought it was the fibro. But now I am wondering if this is all coming from my cervical spine. I did go through the PT and did fine about about a year ago, but the pain in the arms has really gotten bad.

    Does anyone experience this? I can no longer do any upper body exercise at all. I used to swim, but can no longer do this. I can't lift weights or any strength training without terrible pain. I am looking for the real reason and I'm getting a runaround from doctors, who just keep saying fibro.

     
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    Old 04-25-2009, 03:23 PM   #2
    Jay Bee
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    Re: Arm pain from neck?

    Absolutely could be a c-spine issue. I thought I had a rotator cuff injury.. was positive something was wrong with my shoulder and arms... turned out it was a herniated disc at c5-6. I had ACDF surgery on 9/20/08.

     
    Old 04-25-2009, 07:14 PM   #3
    jennybyc
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    Re: Arm pain from neck?

    The vertebrae in your neck and the associated disks are where all the nerves to your arms are located. Rarely is the pain in the neck except for it being painful to the touch. The pain is usually somewhere in your arms and can go all the way down to the fingertips. Do you have any loss of function like not being able to lift as much as you used to? Any pins and needles sensations or numbness? Are you finding your hands kind of "clumsy" like you drop stuff?

    A nerve that is hurt but alive will scream bloody murder...pain! A nerve that has been hurting too long may start to exhibit signs of dying by causing numbness, loss of function and difficulty with movement. That is when the surgeons need to move in. A nerve that is dying will cause partial paralysis and you know this when it barely works. And a dead nerve is full paralysis and no function or feeling. So as long as you have pain, the nerves are hurt but no dying and that is good. But someone needs to do a repeat MRI on your neck and you need to watched for early signs of nerve damage. Both ortho and neurosurgeons so spines but look for someone who is listed as a spine surgeon(I prefer neurosurgeons as they get more years of training). But there is no medical board that oversees spine surgeons and no certifying board so chose carefully and don't hesitate to get and second or third opinion.

    I am fused from C3 to T1 and facing a possible 3rd surgery this summer to go further up to C2 or all the way to my skull. I was partially paralyzed after my second surgery and went through a year of PT to get about 95% of feeling and strength back. Now it's going again as I herniated the only disk left in my neck(C2-3).

    And I have very little pain because my disks have herniated against the cord, not the emerging nerves(at C2 they go to the top of your head and at C3 they affect the sides of your face and ears). When the hit the cord, it doesn't cause much pain but can affect any area below the pressure on the cord. My initial symptom?????? Numb toes followed by difficulty moving my legs forward. I walked with baby steps. Took a while until one doc realized it has to be my neck.

    So find someone to monitor your condition. It has potential devastating effects if left untreated.

    Good luck and gentle hugs...............Jenny

     
    Old 04-26-2009, 12:52 PM   #4
    Toonces1
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    Re: Arm pain from neck?

    Rita, I think you are suffering from DWBO (doctor with blinders on). I absolutely hate it when a doctor just can't get past your previous diagnosis and attributes absolutely everything to it. The same problem actually ended up leaving my father paralyzed from the waist down. This sounds absurd, but my dad showed up in the ER not being able to stand up or bear any weight on his legs (arms were fine), along with excruciating back pain. He also had liver disease, and the admitting doctor said that he couldn't walk because he was having brain-related problems from the toxicity from the liver, and just left it at that and kept him for 2 days. No x-ray, no MRI, nothing. turns out his spinal cord was very severely compressed, and because of the delay, it became permanent.

    Now, this is an extreme outcome, but it illustrates what can happen when doctors get blinders on and don't consider other options. Your pain does seem like what a lot of people experience with cervical spine issues. I had similar pain, and I ended up needing a fusion. I never had any neck pain at all until the surgery, it was all in my shoulder and arm.

    One question - is your pain exclusively on one side of your body/one arm?

     
    Old 04-26-2009, 07:17 PM   #5
    cheryl810
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    Re: Arm pain from neck?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Rita27 View Post
    What I don't understand is that the pain is not really in my neck. What is bothering me is my shoulders, collarbone and especially my ARMS. The pain in my biceps and triceps is terrible, and nothing seems to help it.

    I have to mention I was also diagnosed with fibromyalgia, so for a long time I thought it was the fibro. But now I am wondering if this is all coming from my cervical spine. I did go through the PT and did fine about about a year ago, but the pain in the arms has really gotten bad.
    I COMPLETELY relate to your situation as I am currently going throught the same thing. For years I've had a herniated disc in my neck that always gave me headaches and neck pain. But for the past year it's been so much worse. Especially in the cold winter months but still in the warmer months my arms, hands, shoulder and collar bone hurt deep in the bone. I too was told it could be fibro until I went to an orthopedic. He confirmed that all this excruitating pain all stems from my herniated disc that is touching the spine. My hernitated disc is at c6-c7 which effects the areas that you're hurting. There's not much you can do other than go to Pain Mgmnt to get the pains under control and/or PT. But even doing this I still have pain and some days even the pain meds don't work but the other days it helps. Eventually you will have to get surgery; at least that is the road that my orthopedic and I have come to the conclustion that will be done very shortly. I too love to excercise and it has dramatically changed my lifestyle and my workouts. I even stopped working (have other back/neck issues as well).

    It took a VERY long time to find a team of drs that I trusted and believed me or took me seriously!! I hope that you don't have to go down this road but it's unfortunate that most of us real pain suffers end up going through. Good luck and hope you get answers!!!

     
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