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  • Confused about Red Flags... Hyperreflexia

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    Old 09-03-2013, 06:56 PM   #1
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    MissJuneBug HB UserMissJuneBug HB User
    Confused about Red Flags... Hyperreflexia


    Four weeks ago I developed severe pain and muscle spasms in the trapozoid area. It began radiating down my left arm ending in a burning sensation on the top of my hand near my knuckles. My GP gave me an anti-inflammatory and told me to ice and rest. If it didn't clear up he would send me to physical therapy.

    Well, it didn't clear up but got worse. I started getting intermittent weakness in the arm and tingling. My employer (hospital) has a back and neck program for employees that saves you a lot on the cost of PT, so I contacted them and went in to see the PT. I have seen this PT many times for treatment over the last three years due to sciatica and a shoulder impingement. I'm a big believer in PT, it has worked for me numerous times over the years, so I figured it was one of my run of the mill issues.

    To my surprise, he tested my reflexes and was very concerned that I was showing bilateral hyperreflexia 3+ in my knees and elbows as well as a positive Hoffman's sign. He seemed very alarmed and got me in to see a neurosurgeon the next day, though originally he said I need a neurologist because this was a sign of a central nervous system disorder.

    The NS tested my reflexes and noted the hyperreflexia and weakness in my left detoid and told me I had a probable ruptured disk at C-6 and referred me out for a MRI. I am scheduled for the MRI this week and a follow up appt with NS the following week. He told me to hold off on PT for right now. That was the extent of his comments and I was too stunned to ask questions (not my usual MO).

    So I'm still having terrible pain, so I went back to my GP. He felt the PT totally overreacted to the bilateral hyperreflexia. Says he sees that in patients all the time and bilateral is normal. If it was unilateral that would be a problem. He was baffled as to why they even tested my leg reflexes for a neck issues. He gave me predisone and my pain was gone in 24 hours. Since the MRI is scheduled and won't cost me much out-of-pocket, he told me to go ahead with it but doubted I would need surgery.

    So....I don't know what to think. This is a little scary and very confusing. I realize the MRI results will help a lot but I'm confused about one set of clinicians seeming very concerned while my GP (whom I've been seeing for 10 years and trust) thinks this is not a big deal and can probably be controlled with PT, anti inflammatories, Etc.

    I would be grateful for any insight and any suggested questions to ask the NS after my MRI results are back. Thanks!

    Last edited by MissJuneBug; 09-03-2013 at 07:00 PM.

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    Old 09-03-2013, 08:06 PM   #2
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    Re: Confused about Red Flags... Hyperreflexia

    <<I would be grateful for any insight and any suggested questions to ask the NS after my MRI results are back.>>

    After you post those results, I am sure you will get feedback.

    As for hyperreflexia.... many years ago my GP sent me to a neurologist, who tested knee and elbow reflexes (I don't know what they actually should be called). In the right elbow, and somewhat more so in the right knee, I had hyperreflexia. The neurologist was concerned that it was just on one side. Even though it was 17 years ago, I remember that quite clearly. Said it could be a sign of cord damage, which, in fact, it turned out to be.

    It definitely was the one-sidedness that seemed to alarm him the most.

    Last edited by WebDozer; 09-03-2013 at 08:08 PM.

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