if it will ease your mind at all,this DOES sound like the plain old radiculopathy from spinal problems. your symptoms sound exactly what i had with my herniation. i did c 6-7. believe me,once a spinal nerve becomes affected it can create all kinds of strange weird things to occur and pain in the upper back/neck and head,or if the cord is being compromised,you can have problems down thru your toes. if you do have a herniation just what level is it at per that x ray. a herniation will usually show pretty well,but the inner stuff you really need to see as far as also being affected is what you can't with just x ray. where exactly are you having pain with regards to the arm? does it go all the way down to the fingers? if so,what fingers are being affected? knowing how far down your pain or symptoms go and just where will help me to pinpoint the area of your spinal issue. certain spinal nerves just innervate the fingers,so you can track it back up there. what did they call the herniation on the radiology report,something like mild,severe or slight? that would tell how out of place your disc actually is.
right now,you just need a good look inside that spine to check nerve roots and for any stenosis or other things that can cause your types of symptoms. bone spurs are also one possibility to have up there too. they are just tiny little overgrowths of bone like formations? all of this stuff i have mentioned is just the most commonly seen in peoples spines that will start causing pain and other symptoms.
just an FYI on the MRI problem? first,talk to your doc about the sedation not being enough and if you have something for pain(if not,talk to your doc about the one time pain meds),take it about a half hour before you leave to go get the MRI,it would well into your system by the time the MRI was going to be done,same with the valium. once you get in there,take your mind someplace else,and KEEP YOUR EYES SHUT. i just try and picture myself somewhere where i am relaxed? this really does help alot,believe me,i do this over and over and still have not had a problem wth all the MRIs i have had where i am stuffed into that tube. if this is an open MRI,thats even better. nothing is going to happen to you,thats what you need to keep remembering.
i also ask for a blanket that i can kind of wrap my upper body into? i have them tuck my arms in and put the blanket around me and tuck the other side since i have a tendency to spasm suddenly? the more probblems you have the longer it takes so i just hang on and tell them to go as fast as they can before i move or just have to move. you may not have to go that route,but you do feel all snuggled in,ya know what i mean?
one way or another you are just really going to have to get thru that MRI. this is really the only type of test that can see what your problems are in there ya know? you simply DO NEED this done so you know what you are dealing with. i really do hope you can get thru this okay. you just need to know. i do wish you lots of luck with this and hope you can just get thru the next one. please keep us posted. FB