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Anyone have cervical spinal stenosis and shoulder pain also?

From: Goldie_10 - on 09/11/2010 11:03pm

A cervical fusion on C5-C7 almost two years ago~ still have chronic left arm pain and a numb left index finger. Have had shoulder pain undiagnosed/untreated for 3 years, mostly in my left shoulder, the right shoulder now hurts when sleeping on it. Now sleeping on my back and now the back of my head hurts - which I have noticed a lot lately. Am having surgery soon on my left shoulder: 1) subacrominal decompression, 2) Mumford procedure (distal clavical excision), and 3) possible labral debridement or repair. Great, eh?!

Does anyone have any similar experiences or information to share that might be helpful? Does my shoulder issues possibly have anything to do with the cervical spinal stenosis? Really curious~ thanks!

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on 09/13/2010 12:56pm

Goldie 10
I have Buldging C6-C7 disk along with spinal stenosis and have pain in both arms worse on right side. My hands go numb often, I feel tension in my shoulders and neck alot. Also the lymph nodes in my elbows swell and hyrt all the time. I have not yet had any surgical procedures only pain management. Just curious why did you have C5-C7 fused?

Hope that helps.

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on 09/14/2010 12:14am

I believe from pinched nerves in my neck, I still have a numb left index finger and pain in my left arm & shoulder (and now narrowing there as well as a SLAP tear) in various places - all stemming from an overuse injury 3 years ago. C5-C7 is associated with these areas. They did all the medical x-rays including multiple EMG tests and discovered this - plus it runs a bit in my family. Had a foraminotomy 6 weeks prior to the fusion - which did nothing and was a waste - but hindsight is 20/20 - that's what the neurologist ordered.

Have you heard of intramuscular stimulation, or IMS? That might help you. I understand there are various rehab docs that do this. I have also gone to a massage therapist who has treated chronic pain patients and he has helped a lot after only 3 visits - guess it's worth the money, insurance won't pay for it, but it seems to be a good investment so far. My surgeon's nurse told me about a special device that's inserted surgically for pain but that seemed a bit much for me.

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on 09/14/2010 12:05pm

Hello Goldie 10

I have never heard or been offered IMS, will look into it though. What is foraminotomy? How did you find the massage therapist that treats chronic pain? The big question, do you fill better or worse after having the surgery/fusion?

Sorry for all the questions and good luck with your shoulder surgery.

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on 09/15/2010 12:40am

Google anything you are looking for on the Internet.. same thing for chronic pain massage therapists plus (+) your geographic area~ hopefully you live in an area that has many medical resources and choices. Start calling around if you can't find what you need, or ask around for recommendations.

I really never had neck pain, so that was never a problem. I have chronic pain in my left arm, hand, & shoulder which never went away, my spine surgeon told me there was no guarantee that it would, either, just a hope - and I was willing to take the risks. I guess just thinking positive if you can helps. Maybe you could join a support group in your area? Don't give up and just keep asking for what you need, that is sooo important. I've learned a lot thru this whole process~

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on 09/15/2010 1:41am

A couple of years ago I was diagnosed with severe cervical spinal stenosis. I can totally relate to what you are going through. The pain was in my shoulder - down my right arm and into my hand. I lost strength and gained numbness. Because I am so young (34) they recommended physical therapy. I found a good sport physical therapist because they really work you. I also continued taking the medicine and started getting acupuncture. At first, the only relief was at the time of the appointment but after awhile I could feel my whole body getting better. The other thing that really helped me was walking. It helped keep my weight down while giving me the endorphins to help manage the pain. Another thing I might recommend is Svaroopa yoga. It's all about supporting the spine. It is very gentle while helping relax the pain.

When it gets really bad I take the hottest bath I can stand and let my body float. It takes pressure off the spine and helps relax the muscles in turn helps the nerve pain.

Hang in there even when you are ready to hang yourself from the pain. There is hope.

Remember to ice for 10 minute stretches.

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on 09/15/2010 11:05am

Thanks for sharing... all good ideas and glad you've found things that are helping you!

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on 09/23/2010 12:10pm

Learn all the stretching exercises to prevent injury, with links to video demonstrating each stretch….
I must say this is the best way to learn the exercises , get all the information regarding diet chart and fitness report on a single click….
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stretching exercises

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on 09/23/2010 6:58pm

Cervical fusion on c5-c6 (1998), c6-c7(2000) and c7-t1(2009). Each had benefits but always continued to have some arm and shoulder pain. In 2004 crashed a bike and tore my right shoulder up pretty good. Rotator Cuff, AC Joint and significant labrum tear. Following my shoulder surgery almost all pain was relieved in both my neck and my arm. It wasn't until 2008 that the pain in my arm came back with a vengence. MRI and CT Scan indicated a bone spur was growing into one of the nerve roots. Eventually I lost most use of my right arm and had the c7-t1 precedure performed in early 09. After that it was like a light switch to my pain was turned off. The shoulder and the neck play on each other. Your arm pain is now probably more shoulder related than neck related given that you have already undergone the c5-c7 fusion.
I don't think they are mutually exclusive just bad fate. Having now had three shoulder surgeries(LH x1 and RH x 2). I feel for you when they clean out your left shoulder but you will feel significant relief. word of caution, shoulder surgery post op is the most horrible of anything I have ever dealt with. I'd rather pass a kidney stone LOL.
Sadly, what I have learned though is to not expect 100% relief. Just doesn't work that way. Keep your head up, have a good outlook and keep playing hard.

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on 09/23/2010 9:50pm

Thanks for the new comments... my shoulder surgeon says he doesn't think there is any correlation between my shoulder & neck issues, the pain is still in various places in my arm & left index finger being tingly... they are quite close in proximity so that makes me wonder. I showed him an abnormal EMG report so at least he is aware of that now. Haven't had the left shoulder surgery yet but is scheduled in about a month. The pain problems in my shoulder are from an undiscovered overuse injury from 3 years ago. Instead, they found the problems in my neck and that has been the focus.

I have heard that post-op shoulder surgeries are painful, especially when tendons & muscles are involved. No guarantees either, says my surgeon~ he's probably being honest, which is somewhat good.

Al, when you had all those other surgeries on your neck, did they keep putting in more plates? I'm not sure how that would work. Interesting. You would think that the surrounding areas would also be compromised from the fusion in the one place~ perhaps that could happen to me too? Maybe I should ask for a followup appointment to see how the fusion (including above & below) is doing? Makes me wonder~

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on 01/03/2011 12:56am

Yes, yes and yes. Have had C5-C6, C6-C7 and C7-T1 fused. I have also had three shoulder surgeries, 2 right and 1 left. they all play on each other. A torn rotator cuff will provide similar symtoms to a pinched nerve in the neck. I would think the shoulder op should have helped your numbness problem. Be very patient though because it will take six month to a year for the shoulder to heal. But you should notice pretty much right after the procedure if it helped. Either way, because of the damage done both in the neck and in the shoulder, you should not expect be return to 100% pain free or numbness free. To help battle the fight against pain, suggest a good PT after your shoulder procedure. After it has healed up enough, hammer it as best you can. the more you work the shoulder, the less chance of scar tissue build up. If you sit and let it stove up, the scar tissue will negate the procedure and they will ultimately have to go back in. GOOD LUCK.

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on 01/03/2011 10:54am

Thanks Al, The PT after my left shoulder surgery in November 2010 was intense and painful - but think it was good to get thru the recovery. I don't believe now that my shoulder and neck issues are related, as the shoudler was an overuse injury over 3 years ago. I have noticed less left arm pain which is good, the finger numbness may be permanent unfortunately, according to my spine surgeon.

Now I am owing the doctors and hospital a whole lot of money to pay for a medical oversight that went unfound 2-3 years ago and only my neck issues were focused on. Anyone had a similar situation with a medical oversight and how did you handle it? It is financially devastating with the insurance I have..... 3 years in a row. Thanks.

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on 01/09/2011 2:02pm

I had C4 through c6 bone fusions. the surgeon insists that i should not be having pain nor the head aches anymore. i still have numbing of my hands and arms i have worse head aches than befor ethe surgery. i have now lost my job due to restrictions of no more than 30 pounds. i have always worked hard labor and dont have the education to persue another type of work. in the mean time the man in my life is leaving me he says if i cant find a job by the middle of the month. i have found nothing as far as a job that will hire me taking the med im taking Gabapentine for the head aches but it helps some on the other pain. I refuse to be totlly drugged up. it has taken way to long to get disability, much less collecting unemplyment ive been denied once already. and have appealled that. i am seeing a neuro doctor that hasnt let me know anything about his findings onmy mri. and probally wont because i can not pay him anything. im not gettign any suplemental income. am i alone in this? does this happen to everyone? my sister has major spine problems and she cant get any help with anything either.

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on 01/09/2011 3:22pm

Vicky, sorry to hear about your difficulties... here is my advice, whatever it's worth!

1- Any man who won't stand by you or support you in tough times isn't worth your time. Let him go if that's what happens and DON'T look back. There are many more men out there that are deserving of you than him! That is really nasty of him to do that and obviously he might be relying on you for some financial support and he has no idea what it's like to be in pain. You Are Better Off WITHOUT Him if he decides to leave!!!! Shows his TRUE character!

2- Sounds like you could have a worker's comp claim? If not, check with your State to find out what benefits you are entitled to, assuming you live in the USA. You may be eligible for worker re-training or whatever other services are available, or reduced or free college tuition.

3- You also need a strong advocate to stand up for you and your situation. Contact someone of influence who could help you, sometimes it takes someone with influence/power to do that for you. If not, fight yourself, but of course politically correct. I have learned you need an advocate the hard way and it's very costly in hindsight. Have you had any follow up contact with your surgeon to keep him informed??

4- You have a right to ask for your medical records after signing a consent form to release them to you. Or you can get them probably from the imaging place and get the report that way. So get them!

5- All this stuff takes time, so be patient and keep being persistent and proactive. I wish you the best - and keep on truckin'!!!! :)

-Goldie

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on 01/10/2011 1:26pm

Thank you goldie. ive known for the most part that he was a cadd. But he is nice and goo d in some ways. tho i have no ideah what im going to do or how im going to do it. he is leaving me with over a thou a moth house note and over 244 in car note not talking about utilities of over 300 a month during the winter months. and he is leaving me with his mess. i have no ideah what he has done to my credit. im all torn up mostly about him pussing me to do somethign he knows will ruin my chances of getting the help i need

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on 01/11/2011 9:57pm

Vicky / Goldie

Call your man's bluff or kick him to the curb, if he is that understanding of your pain he isn't good enough for any woman that I know.

I am in a simaliar situation I was diagnosed with Mild Stenosis in C1 - C5 an d moderate to severe Stenosis in C5 - C7 in March of 2008. I was scheduled to see my orthopedic surgion in June of 2008 and he took over my pain meds and told me it would be within 1 year and I would need surgery, he was hoping to replace the discswhith the new Stainless steel ones that had been approved by the FDA, but wanted to wait until the insurance companies would pay for it. By October I schedule the surgury which was a 6 month wait which was what I was planing and it worked out great for my schedule. In March of 2009 is when I had my surgury. I feel that the surgery was a success, because my Dr. Told me I would never be 100% as I was getting better I was getting off of the meds he had me on and by the 1st of December I was down to 2 before bed and thinking about cutting that back. On the 23rd of December I was replacing our washer and drier and on the 24th I had to start taking more meds and it kept escalating from that point on. My primary Dr. My in a sence pain doctor. His nurse told me that if I took a certain muscle relaxer and went to work it would be like driving a car drunk, so 6 months later when I saw him I asked him if I could take it during work because of this headache I had since July and the Norco was just barely cutting the pain. Anyway to make a long story short Your C4 - C6 fusion is making your C3 and C7 work harder and of course all of the muscles are working harder to copensate for the lack of flexibility at these points C3 can cause pain that runs down your neck and C7 can make make a radiating pain that will run down your arm.

I would ask you primary care doctor to up your Gabapenten (Nurontin) and ask for a drug called Parafon Forte (Chlorzoxazone) it comes in a 500 MG tablet but ask to be able to take it 1 to 1 and 1/2 every 6 hours. When I started taking this twice a day my head aches where getting better and now I only have them once in a while.and the Gabapenten will help with the pain going down your shoulder and arm also out of thought ask for Valume (Diazapam) 5 mg every 3 times a day it is a good muscle relaxer both of these are fairly cheap, but work great and the diazapam will help you with the anxiety and stress you encounter on the way.

I am a 42 year old male and last Spring (2010) I was diagnosed with severe Osteoporosis. I've been on a perscription called Foreo since November, yep I had to wait 4 month to see an Endocronologist, but I learned a lot along the way the only thing good that came out of the diagnosis. I've been on the Forteo since mid November and most of the Bone pain is gone and I'm starting to feel better, but the stress of getting my license renewed from the coast gaurd is looking pretty bleek at this point, but I can put I in continuity to hold it if I fail my physical. I'm hoping they see that I am on the best stuff that is made and my bones should be almost back to normal in 18 month and have some mercy on me.

Your medical records can't be with held from you, but with out a diagnosis it is very hard to understand you may have to pay for the copies , but you should be able to get these.

I believe you need to be off work for 5 months before you can apply for Social Security Disability if you are deamed not able to work for mor than a year, but the Medicare is 2 years of qualifying for we'll call it SSD, but if you go to your States Department of Human Services (DHS) and see what ind of assistance they can give you, Ie housing, financial assistance, food stamps, maybe even. Some money for rent or money to help you with the house payment.

You can also go talk with your banker(s) and tell them your situation and see if they can help you out some how. Cut back on all of your lights, heat and what ever else you can cut back on when it comes to your utilities and talk to the utilitity companies to see if they can help you with your bills some companies cando that for you. Out of thought if you would like to know what he did to your credit ask the bank for you free yearly credit report. They have to give it to you its the law.

I'm not a doctor, lawyer, or banker, I'm just giving you the advice that I've learned along the way. I hope you can get all of this staraightened out good luck.

Tim

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on 01/15/2011 2:11pm

Hi, I've not had the cervical fusion as yet, but it is a possibility they want me to go through pain management, therepy and decompression first to see if that helps along with injections. (NOT), I asked them why should I; I've been managing my own pian now for almost five flipping years . I've got a herniated disk C5-6 with DDD through-out with spinal stenosis and ostiophyts. I have continuois headaches almost like having whiplash all the time and pain that radiates through both shoulders and down both arms causing them to just go dead and hang limp for a bit. then if I reach over my head at the same time while tilting my head back my legs will go dead and colape from under me. I've had rotor cuff repair in the past and it seems to tie into the pain from my neck, because it hurts all the time along my shoulder blade and between my spine, although the Dr's say the MRi of that part of my spine doesn't show anything but at the same time they are not looking at anything but my spine. I've been telling them for years that the RTC repair didn't fix all that was wrong at the time but "who am I to say" I'm the one thats suffering they're just the ones that are supposed to know everything.

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on 01/16/2011 6:15pm

Al: Good responses on here. Very helpful. Is there a way we could correspond offline of this site? My email is longhornswede@ yahoo.com . i would lime to get some more feedback from you on the details of your surgeries. Type of Doctor, type of fusion (cadavor,intra body bone etc...) . I had good luck with my first fusion 5-6-7' no plate. However, i might be facing another bad disk as the symptoms recently came back. Needless to say, i am not happy to start feeling that shooting pain into the shoulder when I turn my neck the wrong way....ughhh.

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on 01/16/2011 11:58pm

KLynn~ have you tried alternatives, such as Rikei, chronic pain massage, yoga, relaxation techniques, water therapy, etc.? If you feel you are not getting enough answers or the help you need, then speak up and demand it or find someone else who will listen to you. I have had this problem too and it's cost me royally not to get something taken care of. Referred pain can originate in different parts of your body - the docs "should" know this. Be your own advocate (or have someone go with you to your appointments). You can decide what's best for you, I wish you all the best. Hope you can find pain relief somehow and soon.

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on 01/17/2011 9:10am

Hi

You could try water pillow also, it's expensive but well worth the money. I think I paid $70.00 for mine and it really helped a lot, you just have to go by what the chart says for how much water to put in it and make sure you get all of the air out of it. The one I have hase the water bag attached directly to the bottom of the pillow. It also has a funnel that loosens and tightens the cap and will screw in to make it easier to fill. Every once in a while do the air thing again, because over the summer it got some air in it some how and I had a headache for 3 months, it also helped me with the shoulder and arm pain

Also Brightside

I also had C5-C7 Fused my Doctor is a Orthopedic Surgion? We went with cadaver bone between the disc and a stainless steel plate and screws and he went in through the front and I'm looking toward another surgery down the road, because fusing any vertabrea leads to the next one down going bad faster and the one above will also go faster and I already have mild to moderate stenosis in C1 - C5, so those will go faster than they normally would have. Also make sure you get a reputable Doctor and you trust him/her to do the job right, because if you don't your Doc make sure you find one that you can, because it won't matter what they do your body will feel worse than it did before and a lot of that is decompresion of the nerve roots and healing. Sometimes these are so damaged the pain just won't heal and you just need to be glad you have use of your arms, hands, legs and feet along with all the other functions that go with it (ie bowel, bladder and etc....) Good Luck!

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on 01/17/2011 9:14am

Also on the pillow you might have to adjust the water to your satisfaction.

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on 04/14/2011 7:03pm

I had c4-c6 bone graft done back in april 2010.
The surgery went fine and was neccesary. my spinal coloumn where the fluid runs through the spine was closing off. if i had not had the surgery i would or could have ended up paralized.. At this point I still have pain and migrains, my tendons in my neck are drawing up, my hands are drawing up and its uncontrolable. just happens in my neck if i swallow,yawn, or laugh. my hands draw up when using a pencil or being an artist for a hobby makes this hard for me. my legs draw up on ocasion. I have a titanium plate in my neck. the surgeon insists im fine but if im fine why am i in so much pain and not be able to stand for more than 15 min without having to sit down. its un barable to have been active and working in hard labor to having nothing i can do. I dont have the Education to get a job typing or working in an office where i dont have to stand for long periods of time. I have a partner in my life that doesnt care what i go through, he just wants me working. I've applied for disability and been denied, now in appeals. the waiting game and loosing everything you have is aweful. this surgery has cost me my home, car,and the relationship.. If your going to have spine surgery PLease Get three oppinions. not in the same office. My surgeon is sueing me for none payment. but he has put me here in this situation. Because of the fact he refuses to think his surgery could have gone wrong. I am now without insurance and no medical care. Being that im a single woman with no children i dont qaulify for tenncare. untili can get the disability i cant get medicare. im sitting here in a house im losing and my whole life is falling down around me. not to mention the stress im in waiting for answers. Please check all your options before you have this surgery.

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on 07/27/2011 1:20am

I just posted my cervical surgery experience, and I can relate to the shoulder pain! I have had it for 3 years, with weakness & wasting in my arms and serious pain in my left shoulder. I was not able to use my left arm, before surgery and I can now! but I am so afraid of the shoulder pain returning!
good lluck to you!cc

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