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spinal stenosis referred shldr pain severe chronic radiating both arms!

Started by lm1210 on 11/15/2012 11:17am

Hi all,
I am a 52 year old woman diagnosed 6 years ago with spinal stenosis at c3-c4. Pain began 4 years prior as acute severe debillitating episodes on either side of the neck. The acute symptoms disappeared but were replaced with chronic severe lateral shoulder pain in both shoulders. Rx multiple pain meds, anti-depressant meds, physical therapy, chiropractic massage therapy, TENS,EMS. Pain continued to increase and extends to elbows upper and lower arms into hands now with numbness occurring in both arms and hands depending on sitting position and duration. I am very physically active and must remain so. Have received steroid injections and finally referred for orthopedic neck surgery. At the time referred to orthopedic surgeon, had great job with good insurance. Surgeon wnated to verify MRI RESULTS ordwring a spinal tap.. Idea of a spinal tap scared me to death and the risk of possibly losing rotation flexion and extension of head resulting of surgery, persuaded me not to pursue surgwry. Now unemployed without insurance,and pain at the point of intermittant sleeping, not wanting to sleep, waking up in tears,and just at a point where I would give anything to be pain free for one day I thought I would share a little here.
I find that ice packs are wonderful followed by floating in a hot hot bath followed bt ice packs. I have recently been looking into laser surgery techniques and wondered if anypne has had any experience with the options? thx so much fopr listening

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3 Responses


I had the same symptoms as you. I did have the surgery and they fused C6,7. The arm pain is mostly gone, but the mid and upper thoracic pain has not improved at all. Maybe I have more things going on. I just wanted to share this with you (about the arm pain being relieved).
And YES, ice works great.
Janet :)


Thank you for the information. I guess I am sooo fearful after everything I have read that the likelihood of increased pain or my worst nightmare, complete loss of feeling or use in any extremity are greater than the possiblity that SOME of the pain I endure on a daily basis MAY be relieved.

Don't get me wrong....I am sincerely happy for those of you that have experienced even the slightest of success with pain management after this type of surgery....but, data of successful outcomes directly related to this surgery either are not being reported/documented well or are not occurring at a frequency as great as those that are unsuccessful. Even after applying significant differences far above what would be accepted in any statistical analysis for margins of error in the reporting processes associated with these surgeries, the data clearly indicate that the risks of this type of surgery far outweigh the benefits....

I am talking as one who has been working and living with pain for 15+ years at a level where for the first 10 years I could describe it to those who had no understanding of what a 10 really is on that 1-10 scale that, "all I can tell you is that it feels like my shoulders are weeping". For these past 4-5 years, "it" (that is really all of the value I wish to attribute) has increased to a point where the level I endure daily is interpreted accurately by others simply by reading my facial expressions, body language, and my inability to engage in day to day activities vs. my abilitiy to tolerate "it".

So, I know I have gone on and on, but I will be enduring "it" while continuing to seek out a single procedure in development OR interventions available to us now that haven't been applied with the right combination to achieve to be successful......the definition of success for me is that the intervention(s) , 1) must decrease the frequency described prior to the intervention. 2) must decrease the intensity described prior to the intervention; 3) must have only positive physical and neurological impact (not adversely affect of physically impair) directly or indirectly associated with the identified area(s) prior to the intervention; 4) must improve the overall quality of life; and 5) must sustain all identified required conditions for a period greater than six consecutive months.


We have INCREASED the rate at which women are survivors of breast cancer at phenomenal rates, there is no way on earth that we cannot FIND A WAY OR WAYS TO REDUCE the rate at which people live with PAIN IN OUR LIVES!!


The tipping point for me when deciding on the fusion was the nerve involvement. For me, losing the use of one of my arms was not something I was willing to take chances with. Unfortunately, for me and countless others, having had, or that are facing this type of surgery, waiting for medicine and it's latest "breakthrough procedure," wasn't and isn't an option.
We just do the best we can with what we've got and continue on.
I hope you find lasting relief from your pain,
Janet. :)