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  • Whiplash/Severe Neck Pain/Shoulder and Arm numbness MRI NORMAL ... HELP

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    Old 07-28-2014, 10:07 PM   #1
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    Soraya75 HB User
    Whiplash/Severe Neck Pain/Shoulder and Arm numbness MRI NORMAL ... HELP


    I was in a car accident about 5 weeks ago, the person pulled out in front of me and I hit them head on. I went to the ER and CT SCAN came back normal. I was diagnosed with Cervical Sprain and Whiplash. I followed up with my family Dr that I have seen for 20 years. He gave me pain meds and muscle relaxers and told me to rest. The Neck pain is so severe that it radiates to top of head and behind left eye. Two weeks later I started having shooting pain down from neck into my left shoulder down my left arm into fingers. My shoulder feels like dead weight and I also have numbness. I had a CERVICAL MRI today, and it came back normal. I just don't understand, the pain has to becoming from somewhere. I am in so much pain, that I'm at my wits end. I am beyond frustrated. I have PT scheduled, but I know there has to be either nerve damage or soft tissue damage. I know this injury takes time to heal, but doctors don't believe you if all scans and MRI's are normal. Has anyone had this problem? Are there any other tests that could show where the pain is coming from? I know chiropractors could be helpful, but I want to know the diagnosis before messing with my neck and spine. Should I see a neurologist or orthopedic doctor, or a spine dr? I continue to use ice and the pain meds but that only helps for awhile. Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated! This is affecting my daily life. I just need some answers. Thank You for your time.

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    Old 07-29-2014, 04:52 PM   #2
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    Ruffdogster HB User
    Re: Whiplash/Severe Neck Pain/Shoulder and Arm numbness MRI NORMAL ... HELP

    Your whole spinal cord is a giant nerve! When you got hit a lot of things stretched and that's the nerve pain. If you are looking for a quick heal, it is not going to happen. You need to follow the doctors instruction, ice it down and rest it. It may take a few months for it to settle down. Your MRI was normal, be glad of that!
    Try ibeuprophen every eight hours and see if that works. Me personally, I would wait a bit before any PT, if you're hurting that bad PT may inflame it even more. Just keep moving it easily to keep it from freezing up. Have another MRi a few months down the road when you feel better to make sure it's still normal after the swelling goes down.
    Good Luck!

    Old 08-05-2014, 01:25 PM   #3
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    Lionor HB User
    Re: Whiplash/Severe Neck Pain/Shoulder and Arm numbness MRI NORMAL ... HELP

    I was in a similar car accident - it's no joke. My opinion -I would opt not to wait. If you're in that much pain and showing referred arm and shoulder pain then Ice/heat and rest will only do so much. Your spine is a huger, intricate nerve which corresponds to every other part of your body.

    After my accident I went to my family doctor, did exactly what your doctor told you to do. It took years of doctors doing very little until the real issue was determined. The longer you wait (even if it's just whiplash) the harder it is to correct the issue. Family doctors deal with the flu and other communicable viruses. They are brilliant as a general doctor. But I wouldn't leave it to them to diagnose something so crucial.

    If you have nerve pain and spine pain I recommend you see a specialist. If warranted perform an EMG. PT can do wonders, you can ask them to go slow, and this is their job. Chiro's - I tried multiple - all say they can help but couldn't. Massage might be a nice idea to start.

    Ice/Heat/Take Meds/relax - yes - but only while you’re waiting to see a specialist. If the specialist tells you to do nothing - then awesome – listen to that guy.

    MRI of the cervical spine being normal is great great news. But the symptoms you reference could be anything from soft tissue damage or TOS or nerve impingement or any multitude of things.

    Sorry if this is brash - but it hits close to home.

    I waited and I regret it. Better to be safe than sorry

    Old 08-05-2014, 04:07 PM   #4
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    Re: Whiplash/Severe Neck Pain/Shoulder and Arm numbness MRI NORMAL ... HELP

    The interesting thing is that it took two weeks for the arm pain to start. It seems, from your description that is nerve related. I guess it is possible that you had an injury to your spine that caused nerve damage. This could in turn cause delayed swelling which is part of the healing response which could create impingement in several places that wouldn't show up in a cervical MRI. One of them is your brachial plexus which is an area sort of at the front of your shoulder where several of the nerves bunch together and then distribute out to your arm, hands and fingers.

    An EMG could help locate areas of nerve damage if such exists. It certainly sounds like there is some impingement somewhere given your symptoms.

    I second the PT recommendation. They should be able to judge where you are with your pain and mobility and provide correct modalities (e-stim, TENS, massage etc) based on what you need. They may even be useful in helping to narrow down where the problem may be. THe ones I've dealt with are extremely knowledgeable.

    I would certainly follow up with a specialist as well. In this case, since you have a clean cervical MRI, you may want to start with a good general neurologist experienced with these type of issues. In my experience, the spine guys focus on the spine and don't want to know about whatever else may be going on (but you may have different experience).

    I would not, personally, let a chiropractor within a city block of my spine or any nerve impingements causing pain, weakness etc. The type of manipulations they typically do can exacerbate these type of nerve problems (and cause crazy things like vertebral dissections).

    Good Luck and tell us how it goes...

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