Cervical spondylosis with arm/hand pain and numbness
Hi, I'm new here. I am a female 45 year old supermarket worker (I fill the shelves, mainly) and I live in the UK.
Back in February this year, I went to the doctor's with a numb and weak left hand. Prior to that, I had had some shooting arm pains which I had ignored, thinking it was not serious then they went away. Looking back, that was the start of it.
My neurologist believed it to be ulnar neuropathy from the elbow but ordered some more tests just to check.
I had an MRI scan and EMG in July, which revealed degenerative changes at C5-C6 and a bone spur pressing on the ulnar nerve at C7.
Back in September, I was given all kinds of advice - one of which was to try sleeping with no pillow. This promptly set off symptoms in my right side, starting with shooting pains in my arm and now followed by a kind of heaviness, creeping numbness. I can barely lift my arm to hold my phone to my ear without horrendous cramping. I also developed sciatica in my right leg, followed again by a creeping numbness, which my physiotherapist thinks is due to a lumbar problem (this region has not been scanned, however, so I don't know for sure) but will not treat it as it is not part of my referral.
I was prescribed Naproxen for the pain but only lasted two weeks. I had to come off them due to a suspected stomach ulcer and I am not even supposed to take Ibuprofen now.
So, where I am now is undergoing physiotherapy (two sessions so far). She reckons I have full motion of my neck but, frustratingly, she cannot pinpoint which nerves are affected by pressing on the nerves in my neck. Every disc reveals the same symptom (i.e. slight tingling in hands but not shooting pain) so it's a bit of guesswork and part of me thinks she doesn't quite believe me, which is a common thing in the UK.
I am also very worried about the leg symptoms, which, from reading on the Internet, I know can be a very bad thing. And the symptoms seem to be progressing very rapidly. Could this really be a lumbar problem or part of my cervical problem? How do I know for sure?
I am also concerned that the nature of my job is aggravating my symptoms as it involves a lot of lifting and repetitive work so do not know what to do with regards to that as every position in the store is going to involve either one of those things. It is getting harder and harder to do my job and people are starting to notice and I am very worried that it is going to end up disabling me.
Has anybody got any advice/reassurance? I am supposed to have another scan in March and I might ask them to do the whole spine if they can. What I am also worried about is that they might discharge me because my symptoms don't match what they're seeing. They seem very, very reluctant to do surgery and, judging by what I have read up on it so far, I can see why but I'm also worried that they'll let things go too far where surgery will no longer be an option. My original appointment with the neurologist ended with her impressing on me that this will get worse and I will end up in a lot of pain.