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Cervical spondylosis with arm/hand pain and numbness

Started by gandalf456 on 12/08/2015 9:10am

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.

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I'm in a situation similar to yours. Just wondering how you are doing and if your symptoms are getting worse. My symptoms change so much from day to day, even hour to hour or minute to minute, that it's hard to say if they're getting worse or not, but I think they are. I'm scared to death and hoping that the doctor can give me a confirmed diagnosis so we can get this addressed before it gets any worse. Best of luck to you in getting a good resolution for your condition.

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Sounds terrible! I'm 70 with similar symptoms...my left arm affected a few month ago and now my right arm! I'm going for injections to bring pain relief. My pain is crippling. I had an injection for pain relief and muscle relaxant last time and it gave me months of relief. I pray for such relief again. It is Saturday so I'll have to wait until Monday to seek help from my physician. E.

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I am new to this site, but not new to upper and lower spinal problems. I woke up one day about 7 yrs. ago and couldn't stand without intense pain and pressure. Wow, what a difference a day made. I was diagnosed with 5 problems in upper spine and 7 in lower spine. It took over 10 months to see a neurosurgeon, and he basically told me to go home and buff up. I just wanted them to fix me so I could get back to my DIY lifestyle.
The first surgery came about 3 yrs later, as my hands and arms kept going numb and burning. They said a disc was pushing into my spinal column, and one wrong move, I would be paralyzed. It went great. They put a cadaver bone to replace the bad one. Then a few months later my right leg was constantly burning, so after many tests, they said I would need the first of perceived back surgeries. I had adult scoliosis, siatica, degenerative disc disease, spondylosis, and other issues. I'm a pretty tough cookie for the most part. I had my babies naturally, several random surgeries, some major, some minor, but nothing prepared me what was to come. I was 54 when they operated. I have a 12" titanium rod in my lower back. It's the worst pain I could ever imagine. I wanted to die. At the time I thought it the worst decision of my life. I have flat back syndrome now and cannot stand up straight. But as the pain lessoned after a few months, I began to realize that my right leg would have just been dragging and been unable to walk, and still in pain. I promise there is light at the end of the tunnel. The thing I miss the most, is I seem to have lost my mo-jo. I'm an artist and musician, and I can't seem to find that joy of waking up to thinking ,"what can I create ( just a loose term) today". My world has become pretty small, and some days it's a struggle, but I'm thankful for what I still have. I've heard it said "suffering" builds character, so those of us that do, well I guess it's for a reason. We can't let this define us. I lost my husband because of this. He couldn't stand any weakness. It was for the best. I'm here for anyone who needs to grieve. I thank God for another day to get it right.

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Thanks for replying. My left side is the same but my right side has changed. Pain wise, it's not too bad but I am getting a creeping numbness and weakness on my right and some intermittent leg pain and weakness too. I regularly wake up with numb arms too.

I've finished physio for now and am waiting to hear from neurology and may have another mri. The physio pretty much said I'd have to live with it for a while as they do not like to perform surgery . I am just worried about further damage if I leave it

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Today, I have an awful pain all the way down my right side, right down to my toes, which is worrying because I don't know if it indicates that now my whole spine is involved.

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something doesn't sound right. you shouldn't be wondering what's wrong with you and unsure of what steps are being taken to get you going in the right direction. you need to try to see someone else. If I felt that way when I was going through all the steps of diagnosing/treating/and finally surgery I would have been running to another hospital! if you truly have an issue anywhere from the top to the bottom of your spine you shouldn't accept the stress of not knowing what's wrong, what are they gonna do about it, and WHEN they will do it. Hope you get some answers and good results!

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Thank you. I have chased up my appointment and I am on the waiting list and I should hear something by the end of the month. Things have been a little easier these past couple of days - probably because I've kept myself very quiet

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