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mykidsm0m 01-21-2010 09:00 PM

pain in shoulder, elbows, wrists- could it be my spine?
Hi and thank you all for all your interesting and helpfull postings! I am a 36 yr old stay at home mom, and have been having a persistant recurring pain in my limbs for about 4-5 years. It seems the worst in the elbows, and wrists, and makes things like hollding a phone up to my ear, and twisting off any kind of bottle cap very painfull. Sometimes i get a burning sensation all through my hands, but they are not hot to the touch. My shoulder joints hurt too, but the elbow/wrist/hands seem connected all the time. Could this be due to a bulging disc, or DDD in the C or L spine? My doc. is not very interested in helping me. A few years ago I had a pelvic x-ray (due to pain from a previous ankle break- i threw out my hip joints walking with that heavy boot for 8 weeks) and she quite non-challantly(sp?) told me i had DJD, or DDD(can't remember) in my sacral spine- which means "nothing" she said except a little arthritis, which is "normal " for my age (i was an ancient 32 at the time...) so- if i have it there, maybe i have it elsewhere? And is the 30's really the average- normal age to be getting these arthritic conditions in my back? I have no back injuries to speak of , except a good hard bruise to my tailbone when i was 18 from a slip and fall- maybe that explains the arthritis there now, i guess- Idk, I am just learning about all of this because I can no longer stand the constant pain and need to make a change right away. So i would love to hear any feedback from others who have experience with this type of pain. Thanks in advance!

PNo 01-22-2010 09:51 PM

Re: pain in shoulder, elbows, wrists- could it be my spine?
Hello and welcome to the board - spine problems have a pretty typical pattern and your internist or family physician should be able to recognize if you might need further investigation. If you feel this pain is bad enough or interfering with your daily activities then you need to go back and talk to the doctor. If after a serious discussion the doctor is still not acknowledging what you are saying and isn't offering further investigation/treatment, then I would find another doctor.

Don't focus on age. There is someone around here who has an elementary school child with these problems. I think it is more a genetic or biological process and accidents, sports, dancing, excess weight, disease, things that cause plain old wear and tear just speed up the process in some individuals. They say a majority of the population has problems with their disks but many do not express any symptoms or pain so it goes unnoticed until old age when in reality they had it all the time.

Good luck - do go back to the doctor!

sammyo1 01-23-2010 08:15 AM

Re: pain in shoulder, elbows, wrists- could it be my spine?
I have pain in all the areas you've noted. Although my PMs surgical nurse seems to think that my disc problems should not cause my elbow to hurt I honestly believe its connected, perhaps not primarly from the discs but from the nerves effected by the discs.

NP is right on the mark. Age is not really as big of factor as some doctors would like to to believe. My sister developed spinal issues but I assumed it was stricly due to her RA, then I started having problems & found out I have DDD & stenosis & herniated discs, now my neice is developing problems around same age I did with her cervical. As she is only a couple yrs. younger then I am
Have you been checked for arthritis? Theres a difference between normal wear & tear arthritis that developes as we age vs. progressive arth. that causes enough pain to disrupt our daliy lives.

Often if its disc related certain fingers or parts of the hands are more painful then others. Without a good exam & diagnostic testing its hard to say. Although when you say buring pain it does make one wonder if there is nerve involvement.

As much as we hate starting over or finding new doctors its important that we listen to our bodies & that our doctor listen to us. It took me 4 to 5 doctors to take me serious & by that time I was in chronic pain everyday. Its traumatic enough to not be believed or taken seriously. I wish I would have been more persistant with the doctors & will always wonder if the wasted time contributed to my chronic pain today.

I agree with NP go & have a heart to heart with your doctor, make sure you tell her this is disrupting your everyday life & your concerned. Its not normal & that should be enough for her/him to check things out. In case it was to be cervical or spinal it should be addressed & not ignored. Cervical problems can indeed cause shoulder pain & pain in other extremities. Keep in mind there is no way your doctor can rule anything out without proper testing
x-rays alone do not cut it.
Good luck & stay strong in being your own advocate. If you dont mind come back & let us know how it goes. Sammy

PNo 01-23-2010 05:27 PM

Re: pain in shoulder, elbows, wrists- could it be my spine?
Very good advice sammy01 - I remember when you first started down this road.

There are also many causes of elbow pain but cervical problems can certainly refer pain to the elbow. I am including the information here because it probably comes up for other people too (I had it before my surgeries), in bold is the item particular to the elbow:

The neck, upper back and shoulder are some of the most common areas of the body that, when injured, may cause referred pain to the elbow. In addition, increased neural tension (tight nerves) may also contribute to the development of symptoms. Sammy01 when I get time tommorrow I am going to send you a PM.

The brachial plexus is a nerve plexus formed by intercommunications the lower four cervical nerves ( C 5 - C 8) and the first thoracic nerve (T 1). The brachial plexus is made up of Roots, Trunks, Divisions, Cords, and terminal branches of a nerve network. The terminal branches are mixed with sensory and motor neurons. These are: Musculocutaneous, ulnar, median, axillary, and radial. [B]The Radial nerve is also derived from the posterior cord. Called the “Great Extensor Nerve” because it innervates the extensor muscles of the elbow, wrist and fingers. [/B].

For me when I had the constant elbow pain even the slightest touch to any hard surface set it off worse, once the root was corrected in my neck - that became better and doesn't act up any more. Wish all of it was like that!

mykidsm0m 01-24-2010 08:03 AM

Re: pain in shoulder, elbows, wrists- could it be my spine?
thank you both, Neckpatient, and Sammie for taking the time to write back. :-) I have an appointment with my GP this week and your info. will definately help me talk to her. I am hopefull she will help me start to figure this thing out. Sammie- my elbow is JUST LIKE you described-wow! I will write back after I see the doc. Thanks so much!

sammyo1 01-24-2010 08:18 AM

Re: pain in shoulder, elbows, wrists- could it be my spine?
Im thinking the pain I had in my elbow was much like NPs. Very sensative. I had a period where when I would go to bed Id wake up with the awful pain in the elbow but could not bend it. That is what the doctors nurse was referring to when she said the discs should not cause that but after a set of cervical ESIs (injections) I was able to do so & the sensativty lessoned. The slightest touching of any object would make me cringe. Sounds very much the same. Ive had luck with the injections with my extemities, more so then the actual neck pain or upper back pain. I'll take what I can get. Good luck with your appointment & stay determined. Sammy

feelbad 01-24-2010 10:52 AM

Re: pain in shoulder, elbows, wrists- could it be my spine?
i was going to mention EXACTLY what NP already took care of, just HOW that brachial plexus just truely innervates. the one thing here too is that there very much is a sensory component in that same elbow area that has very direct connections to that c 8 and T 1 nerve in the c spine.(please note this sammykins) i only REALLY know this one without a doubt because after my c 8 and t 1 were significantly damaged after my spinal cord surgery, that whole area became very solidly numb(back of elbow and kind of surrounding the more outter area of it?), with the surrounding areas having a nasty pain syndrome called central pain? that for me is following my c 8 and t 1 dermatomes to a freaking T right now. i also have sensory problems in the very last two fingers as well that just do correlate with those same nerves or moreso that c 8(also called the ulnar nerve). while the actual 'motor(muscle) part is okay in that elbow area per EMG(did not EVEN feel at all that EMG needle actually even go into my skin at all), it IS the overall deep sensory that took the hit at that level anyways. further down tho i actually lost 8 of the fine motor muscles in my left hand tho.

i sooo toally agree with what great advice you have recieved here from NP and sammy. you just really DO NEED to let your primary actually know how severely this just IS impacting you, and also get a referral for a contrasted MRI done on that c spine area as well. if any doc blows off what YOU are having as symptoms i would most definitely fire them,since they ARE supposed to actually be working FOR you, not against you and find another much more caring and campassionate primary to help you figure this out. the very LAST thing you need right now is a 'lazy' doc who is simply NOT doing what any primary is just supposed to to for patients. you just so DO deserve better than this.

just make that appt ans see how it goes. but DO NOT leave that visit without a referral for at the very LEAST here, a good contrasted MRI to be done on your c spine(this would also just natually see at least the four top T spine vertebrae and spinal too). that part considering your ongoing symptoms just NEEDS to be done just to actually finally get a good look inside that area down to the cord and nerve root levels. this is where any real nerve impingment or true depth or any herniations would be found. tho you CAN see herniations upon a plain old x ray, that is ALL you would see and not the more crucial areas of what that possible herniation(or MANY other possible findings too) is actually impacting in your spinal. just do NOT simply 'settle' for a mere x ray if you are given one, go that extra and make sure you also obtain that MRI referral too. your doc simply owes you that much just based upon your ongoing/presenting types of symptoms alone.

i do hope your doc simply does the right thing for you here,but if not, be prepared to seek out someone who WILL care and WANT to find the underlying source or sources of your ongoing symptoms. you simply DO have the right to 'appropriate' medical care. i wish you luck with this and getting those real needs met hon, please let us know what you find out,K? take care, marcia

Bushrose 01-01-2011 05:47 PM

Sex and then Pain in elbow and arm radiating from neck and painful shoulders
Hi everyone, I am new on this board. I am getting stressed out over my health and would be grateful if any of you can help me.

Three weeks ago, I started to feel my shoulders getting very tight and painful. In between I had a sex episode with my wife which got a bit vigorous. Then I started getting severe pain in my left elbow. Couldn't open a door or grab anything. The big bone on the elbow feels sore to touch as well as cervical vertebrae C7 is also very sore. So the question is that are the two pains linked and is this an injury or is there anything else to worry about?

I have had two visits to the osteo and she said it's a mechanical problem. However, the pains are still there and getting worse.

Help please


don1956 01-06-2011 10:41 AM

Re: pain in shoulder, elbows, wrists- could it be my spine?
i have kind of a similar situation.expect that my goes all the way down to my hand and fingers where i cant bend them and hurts to the touch.and thats on both arms ,from the neck week my doctor is sending me in for a "EMG"just hope it helps(what ever it is:confused:)

Baybreeze 01-06-2011 07:35 PM

Re: pain in shoulder, elbows, wrists- could it be my spine?

Of course I can't diagnose you, but it the pain & symptoms you describe certainly can be from a problem/compression in the cervical spine. I've been getting similar symptoms for several years. I finally had my cervical spine x-ray'd and MRI'd in October. Sure enough, I have cervical stenosis from C2 thru C7 (all levels in between at varying degrees) and a massive disc herniation at C5/C6 that's herniated in almost all directions and is impinging my spinal cord. My symptoms have consisted, though not necessarily always at the same time or same areas: severe pains in fingers on both hands (usually the middle 3), sometimes wakes me up at night; pain that shoots down both upper arms - sometimes along the back of the arm other times more in the bicep side of the arm. Mild to severe shoulder pain, usually worse on the right; Complete numbness of both arms; I have found that I need to keep my head tilted forward, especially while sleeping, to help prevent the numb arms. If I cough hard or sneeze.. I get large "Nails" across my entire upper torso - back and chest. Normally this would be described as "pins and needles", but mine feel much larger than pins, it feels more like nails. I will also get these sensations in my upper arms as if someone was squeezing both insides of my arms. I get shocks on the back of my neck; and severe muscle spasms, so much so that the spasms have completely changed the shape of my neck over a few years. My neck is now completely straight when it's supposed to be curved. Yah...and the Rheumatologist I WAS seeing kept insinuating Fibromyalgia, even though he knew of my severe low back problems & stenosis. But he had thing at a time. But anyway, I have confirmed nerve and cord compression and suffer all these symptoms. So it's very possibe you could also have compression. Of course the only way to find out is to see a doctor and get some x-rays and MRI's done for starters.

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