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  • Should I Risk Going Back to the Chiropractor?

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    Old 10-30-2009, 06:44 AM   #1
    txdave35
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    Should I Risk Going Back to the Chiropractor?

    I have two months to go before I finally get health insurance coverage, but I'm not sure I'll make it.

    In late June, I bumped the back of my head against a headboard and my life has never been the same sense. After two weeks of intense neck pain, I went to see a chiropractor. He said I had some joints out of alignment, and the neck muscles were tight and causing pain by trying to pull the joints back in place.

    I let him do the neck adjustment. I thought I felt relief, but could just be the placebo effect. The neck pain returned, but disappeared a few days later. Then I started having ulnar nerve problems. First numbness in my fingers, hand, then elbow pain, neck pain returned then disappeared. Numbness in fingers disappeared, and I started getting raw hot burning nerve pain in my entire arm.

    Then mild symptoms started appearing in my other arm as well. I am quite convinced that something in my neck is affecting my ulnar nerve. I can feel the pain show up down the entire path through the armpit elbow and forearm.

    I need some kind of relief. My neck isn't stiff anymore, but I have this pressure sensation in the bakc that feels awful whenever I have to bend over. I'm thinking about going back to the chiro, but for all I know, he could have caused the problem in the first place. That would be just my luck.

    Any suggestions?

     
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    Old 10-30-2009, 09:27 AM   #2
    soapies777
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    Re: Should I Risk Going Back to the Chiropractor?

    If you are afraid he caused the problem in the first place I would be wary. If you had insurance I would definitely ask for Mri. I know it stinks to suffer in pain everyday because I do.

     
    Old 10-30-2009, 11:32 AM   #3
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    Re: Should I Risk Going Back to the Chiropractor?

    Hi Dave,
    I would do a search for "dermatome chart". It shows the route that your nerves take as they exit the spinal cord and go to the extremities. I am no expert, but what you are describing sure sounds like a neck issue. I had a c7-t1 issue and it manifested in my ulnar nerve also. I was screwed up beyond belief by having someone do manipulations on my neck. Never again for me. Nobody touches my neck like that again.

    The veterans here will tell you that numbess and loss of use is very serious. I had the same thing that turned into pain. Pain sucks, but it means your nerves are alive.

    Have you ever a seen a doctor (excluding the chiro) for this problem?

    Did you do this at work?

    Did the chiro. do x-rays?

    Can you live like this for two months? For me, after a bottle of advil I couldn't take it anymore and had to go the E.R. They did a ct scan and basically gave me pain meds and said take it easy and follow up with my regular doctor.

    Some things that have helped me are those blue ice packs. I have 3 in the freezer all the time, the large packs. 20 minutes on, twenty minutes off. The first couple times it is painful, but I basically just try to get my neck as cold as I can. Wrap it in a t-shirt, you can get frostbite (I'm a dumbass, i did).

    Also, if you are taking ibuprofen, take it with food and a big glass of water. Follow the directions on the max. dose. I took too much with not enough water and food and now I will never be able to take it again. GI bleeds can kill ya.

    There are more experienced people on this board that will likely be along. I would check back often. I don't know what I would have done without these people to help me out.

    Forget any heavy lifting if possible, until you can see a doc. about this. Also, don't go overboard moving your neck around trying to get it back into place. It drove me crazy and that is what I did. I treat my neck like delicate glass now.

    That's all I have for you. I wish I had better advice. Check back and keep us posted if you get a chance. Matt

     
    Old 10-30-2009, 05:34 PM   #4
    Suzy-Q
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    Re: Should I Risk Going Back to the Chiropractor?

    Hi Dave,
    You've already gotten some sound advice. Personally, I would not return to the chiro. Maybe not related at all but too risky, if you ask me. I second the idea that you may be able to see a PCP and get some affordable help until the insurance opens other options for you. I think standard treatment would include possibly 1) muscle relaxers, pain meds, nerve pain medications (lyrica and neurontin) and anti-inflammatories. Yes, Advil around the clock for a few weeks is often very helpful - if your guts can take it. In severe and acute instances, a doc frequently prescribes a week's dosing of real steroids (powerful anti-inflammatory) to get any swelling under quick control. And of course, pain medications are often appropriate. Truth is, most of these conservative methods are usually required before imaging will be covered.
    I get good help from ice packs alternating with heat. Message (and I don't pay hubby for mine) and gentle stretches also help me in acute episodes. If you can't see a PCP then none of the prescriptions are options, I realize. And that is a real shame. Maybe try a few days of the Advil (every 4 hours and if your guts are OK), heat and ice and gentle stretches and message? Sounds pretty lame, maybe? Are your symptoms positional? Mine are much worse in certain positions. On bad days I simply have to give up trying to type or cook or do things with my head hanging down. When I'm feeling stubborn and I won't change my To Do List - that's when I hurt the most. Wish I could give you a number to call for a free doctor. SQ

     
    Old 10-31-2009, 05:40 AM   #5
    txdave35
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    Re: Should I Risk Going Back to the Chiropractor?

    Thank you for the replies. I think I will hold off on the chiropractor. I did see my PCP back in July. He believed that my problem was cubital tunnel syndrome. However, at the time my symptoms were a lot different. I just had mild pain and numbness in my fingertips.

    Now I get a wide range of symptoms. Even at this moment, I feel this line of pain running across my tricep and my fingers feel like they are being squeezed. The symptoms just change so often that I am terrified every day that my hand might get paralyzed or worse. Typing on the computer seems to aggravate it a lot and this is what I do at work all day!

    I'm thinking about going to see the PCP in Nov. It'll cost me 100 bucks, but two more months of fear and uncertainity is just too much to bear. There is also a physical therapy clinic that helps with trapped nerves

     
    Old 11-02-2009, 07:16 PM   #6
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    Re: Should I Risk Going Back to the Chiropractor?

    Hi - the others gave you good advice. stay away from the chiro until you have been fully evaluated, xrays and mri. then decide. I hate to hear people getting adjustments without tests. I wouldn't accept a diagnosis without the proper tests and I wouldn't take a carpal tunnel diagnosis without an EMG.

    I feel it could be your neck. Is your pain running down the outside edge of your arm, from your top shoulder but that doesn't really hurt, around to under armpit - any down side of chest?, up across deltoid, outside edge to elbow and over into top forearm - with achy wrist? Does the top of your forearm near your elbow burn like heck? (ice it). If you answer yes, you might have a bulged disc at C4-6 area. Waiting 2 months is probably ok if you can live with the pain, what would you say your pain level is? Some doctors will give you predinisone, try some gentle ice/heat therapy, ibuprofen, rest the first month of an injury in the neck so waiting 2 months to see them is probably within the realm of ok.

    Treat yourself like a baby, don't do anything aggressive like running, hiking, etc. so you won't flare it up worse. watch your sleep positions. Side supported neck with pillow between legs is best for right now. You might also try laying flat on floor with your knees up, feet flat on floor, arms at side, shoulder relaxed. VERY GENTLY scoot your butt out in a VERY GENTLE stretch trying to open up space in the spine. Do not put pressure on the head doing this. This won't have magical affect, but might give a tiny bit of space enough to relieve the pain even for 10 mins.

    Get a doctor appt!

     
    Old 11-04-2009, 08:39 AM   #7
    txdave35
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    Re: Should I Risk Going Back to the Chiropractor?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by neckpatient View Post
    Hi - the others gave you good advice. stay away from the chiro until you have been fully evaluated, xrays and mri. then decide. I hate to hear people getting adjustments without tests. I wouldn't accept a diagnosis without the proper tests and I wouldn't take a carpal tunnel diagnosis without an EMG.

    I feel it could be your neck. Is your pain running down the outside edge of your arm, from your top shoulder but that doesn't really hurt, around to under armpit - any down side of chest?, up across deltoid, outside edge to elbow and over into top forearm - with achy wrist? Does the top of your forearm near your elbow burn like heck? (ice it). If you answer yes, you might have a bulged disc at C4-6 area. Waiting 2 months is probably ok if you can live with the pain, what would you say your pain level is? Some doctors will give you predinisone, try some gentle ice/heat therapy, ibuprofen, rest the first month of an injury in the neck so waiting 2 months to see them is probably within the realm of ok.

    Treat yourself like a baby, don't do anything aggressive like running, hiking, etc. so you won't flare it up worse. watch your sleep positions. Side supported neck with pillow between legs is best for right now. You might also try laying flat on floor with your knees up, feet flat on floor, arms at side, shoulder relaxed. VERY GENTLY scoot your butt out in a VERY GENTLE stretch trying to open up space in the spine. Do not put pressure on the head doing this. This won't have magical affect, but might give a tiny bit of space enough to relieve the pain even for 10 mins.

    Get a doctor appt!

    Thank you for the advice. I have noticed if I try to lay flat on my bed with no pillows, I feel a strong uncomfortable pressure in the back of my neck so I sleep with it propped up under 3 pillows.

    Is it possible for tense or irritated neck muscles to be pinching a nerve? The weird thing is how I have periods of complete relief. Two weeks ago, I felt 100% normal again, then all the pain came back when I went back to work.

    Sometimes it feels like my arm is on fire. I get hot pain in the inside crook of my elbow, along the bottom of the arm and into my armpit, but nothing in the shoulder. I've had the nerve pain when my neck has felt fine, and no nerve pain when my neck hurts.

    I just don't want to waste more money on this problem. I saw my PCP and even an orthopedist surgeon. Almost $400 bucks spent to tell me that I might have cubital tunnel syndrome. I could have found that out online.

     
    Old 11-04-2009, 06:58 PM   #8
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    Re: Should I Risk Going Back to the Chiropractor?

    My simple answer is "No" to the chiropractor. And I went to one before really knowing what was going on with my neck.

    A good chiropractor, with symptoms like you present, would insist on a full set of x-rays before treatment. But having been in your position years ago I think with ongoing symptoms you need an MRI to rule out cervical or head issues before letting a chiropractor even touch you.

    Very often cervical nerve impingement is felt in the limbs. I never had much true neck pain, but my cervical nerves were impinged and I ended up needing surgery to fix the problem. I got lucky that my chiropractor hadn't actually done damage to me given the amount of actual disc problems found on the MRI.
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    Old 11-05-2009, 05:48 PM   #9
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    Re: Should I Risk Going Back to the Chiropractor?

    Dave,
    I can easily see your reluctance after $400 spent and no relief. Your PCP and othro didn't try you on any prescription meds? I know many are reluctant to Rx narcotic pain meds until a problem persists for a many weeks but no nerve pain meds with hot burning pain as you describe? That strikes me as not OK. And Rx doses of ibuprofen seems in order, maybe. I was on 2400 mg of it a day and it helped me hugely for many months. Now, that sort of dosing needs medical monitoring and its not for everyone by any means. Anyway, I'd be pretty cool too if I'd seen 2 docs and, spent that kind of money out of pocket and left with no help. Good grief, what a world.

     
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