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    Pinched nerve

    Well, I'm pretty certain I've been dealing with a pinched nerve for the past few months. I think it's in my lower neck because it's really affecting my left arm and shoulder. Besides the neck and upper back pain, my left arm and shoulder have various aches and pains, and overall weakness.

    I've been trying light exercise and using ibuprofen along with Tylenol at times, but haven't had success in getting rid of it. Heat helps and I feel like laying on my heating pad all day.. I've been waiting for spring with hopes that maybe using the handcycle will help. But, I'm starting to worry that surgery may end up being the only way to get rid of the compression.

    I'm a T3 para by the way. Besides physical therapy and anti inflammation meds like ibuprofen, what other non surgery options are there? Injections of some sort? I guess I'm fortunate that I'm still able to go about life with this, but it's really starting to sap my energy. Well, a big part of that I'm sure is the lack of restful sleep bc this pain keeps me up. I can no longer sleep on my stomach and even side sleeping is pretty much out. Those positions really irritate it. And I hate sleeping on my back. And overall, I just feel like my left arm is getting weak. I swear I'm losing muscle mass. I feel like transfers are a lot harder. The arm doesn't completely give out on me, but it's certainly a struggle.

    #2
    What makes you sick certain it’s a pinched nerve?

    A syrinx is not uncommon in paras like us, and could get way, way worse if left untreated.

    if I were you I’d get checked out promptly and specifically mention that you’re at higher risk for syringomyleia.

    Comment


      #3
      This stuff is terrifying. Last week I ended up in the emergency department for a day because my right hand’s wrist extension (which I absolutely depend on) suddenly stopped working and my physiatrist was concerned about a syrinx. Fortunately it turned out to be a pinched radial nerve, but even that is not terribly soothing. It’s scary to feel susceptible to suddenly losing function like that. Still, it’s definitely prudent to rule out a syrinx asap.
      C5/6 complete (maybe) circa June 2018

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        #4
        Thanks guys. Good to know. I wasn't familiar with a syrinx at all. It sounds like the symptoms are very similar to a pinched nerve. Guess it's just time to get to the doctor and have scans done.

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          #5
          For a para a visit to a chiropractor might fix you up. I would seek out someone using the activator technique. Activator.com.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by Tetracyclone View Post
            For a para a visit to a chiropractor might fix you up. I would seek out someone using the activator technique. Activator.com.
            Visiting a chiropractor for new onset neurologic deficits is a bad idea.

            Comment


            • stephen212
              stephen212 commented
              Editing a comment
              Do you mean because when I was a chiropractic student back in the early '80s the entire faculty missed the neurological symptoms that I presented that culminated in my paralysis (resulting from a ruptured arteriovenous malformation), which resulted in my suing the school??

              Chiropractors. Caveat emptor!!!!!

            • Oddity
              Oddity commented
              Editing a comment
              Wow. Yes, probably stuff exactly like that! (Makes me wonder what the malpractice/injury rate re: chiropractic manipulation is like vs general medical practice.)

            #7
            Could also be cervical spinal stenosis (narrowing of the foremen that the spinal root passes through from the cord). Fairly common with aging, and in people that have had previous cervical vertebrae trauma. Can be detected with exam by a good neurologist and perhaps an MRI. I agree on not going to a chiropractor for these types of issues until you have been diagnosed by a MD or DO.

            (KLD)
            The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.

            Comment


              #8
              Saw my spinal cord doc yesterday. He is very confident it's not a syrinx, so thats great news. Ordered an MRI so we can see if there's a nerve root compression. I'm still thinking that's what it is, but we'll see. MRI coming up in a couple weeks.

              Comment


                #9
                Oddity- your question bout malpractice rates intrigued me. Here is what I found:For example, there were just over 16,000 paid medical malpractice claims against MDs and DOs in 2001 in the U.S. By 2016 that number had dropped to below 8500 which is nearly a 50% drop in 16 years. The amount paid on these claims dropped by about 23% during that time.


                For Chiropractors statistics are few. One legal site says "There are no good chiropractic malpractice statistics."

                It is worth noting that malpractice insurance rates for chiropractors are 10-20% of those paid by various MD specialties, but it is highly dependent on specialty. Neuro surgeons fees are among the highest.

                Informed consent is a big issue in all medical practices, including chiropractics. Chiropractic colleges have taught a narrative of high safety for a long time but they are remiss about teaching details of most likely risks, nor do good statistics seem to exist.

                For now it does not appear possible (though my search was limited to 45 minutes ) to accurately compare malpractice rates, so insurance rates are the best we can do.

                Comment


                  #10
                  By the way, my doc said if the MRI comes back negative, he's wondering if the shoulder might have sustained an injury. Maybe a torn or inflamed rotator cuff. I sure don't remember any specific time where I had an acute injury to my shoulder. It does seem like my pain is more focused on my shoulder on down through my tricep, elbow and forearm. Would a shoulder injury cause radiating pain down the arm like this?

                  Comment


                    #11
                    Make sure to have a radiological or other diagnostic (like EMG) study done before any one works on you for physical therapy, chiropractic care, surgery, etc. It is a road map to understanding your body/physiology before the practitioner/provider/surgeon provides services/procedures.

                    Your paraplegia is at a high level T-3. You can get shoulder injuries from overuse-->transfers, wheeling a wheelchair, etc. Your muscles can be inflamed/tight and put pressure on nerves and cause pain that does radiate. It would be good to have a cervical/thoracic MRI and shoulder MRI. (all surgeons require a plain xray of those body parts before getting a MRI). X-rays look at bones/structure/alignment. MRI looks at soft tissue.

                    SCI-Nursepbr
                    The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.

                    Comment


                      #12
                      Well, I had the MRI this morning and have been reading over the results. Sure looks like what I thought....a disc protrusion pressing against the C7 nerve root. Here is the summary impression:

                      IMPRESSION:

                      Cervical spondylosis, most pronounced at the C6-C7 level where a left
                      foraminal disc protrusion severely narrows the left neural foramen and
                      impinges on the exiting left C7 nerve root. No high-grade canal stenosis
                      or cord compression in the cervical spine.

                      Normal signal and morphology of the cervical and visualized upper
                      thoracic cord.

                      And from reading online, it looks like the symptoms for that are pretty much exactly what I have. Shooting pain and aches from the shoulder, through the tricep and through the forearm.

                      Ugh, I'll be interested to see what the doc has to say about treatment. It looks like you shouldn't wait too long with impingement in case permanent damage to the nerve occurs.

                      Comment


                        #13
                        Also wondering about chiropractic options. I really think sleeping on a too thick pillow brought this on, or at least exacerbated it. I can remember waking up with bad neck pain one morning and it's been this way since. So it seems like if a stupid pillow started it, maybe a chiropractor could help? Obviously I'd love to avoid surgery if possible.

                        Comment


                          #14
                          I have plaques and symptomatic disc bulges throughout my cervical spine, and neurologists have repeatedly cautioned me to steer clear of chiropractic or other manual manipulations. The neck and cervical cord are exquisitely sensitive and subject to damage. Increasing arm weakness is of greater concern than pain, so If your doctor thinks you need to see a neurosurgeon, it would be a good idea to follow through; and in the meantime, get a well-made medium-height memory foam pillow that will maintain neutral alignment of your neck throughout the night.

                          For me, heat is the best way to address pain and stiffness, so I use a heating pad that covers my neck and shoulders (shoulder and neck pain frequently appear together, since cervical nerves run through the shoulder girdle; my arthritic shoulders actually give me facial headaches, along with neck pain).

                          Surgery can make things better or worse, so don't be in a rush to take action, or feel pressured to rely on one recommendation. Second opinions are good things. Conservative measures often provide relief, so I urge you to give them a fair trial - even if you decide to have surgery, they can't hurt and might help.
                          MS with cervical and thoracic cord lesions

                          Comment


                            #15
                            Originally posted by Bonnette View Post
                            I have plaques and symptomatic disc bulges throughout my cervical spine, and neurologists have repeatedly cautioned me to steer clear of chiropractic or other manual manipulations. The neck and cervical cord are exquisitely sensitive and subject to damage. Increasing arm weakness is of greater concern than pain, so If your doctor thinks you need to see a neurosurgeon, it would be a good idea to follow through; and in the meantime, get a well-made medium-height memory foam pillow that will maintain neutral alignment of your neck throughout the night.

                            For me, heat is the best way to address pain and stiffness, so I use a heating pad that covers my neck and shoulders (shoulder and neck pain frequently appear together, since cervical nerves run through the shoulder girdle; my arthritic shoulders actually give me facial headaches, along with neck pain).

                            Surgery can make things better or worse, so don't be in a rush to take action, or feel pressured to rely on one recommendation. Second opinions are good things. Conservative measures often provide relief, so I urge you to give them a fair trial - even if you decide to have surgery, they can't hurt and might help.
                            Thanks for all the advice. I agree that my increasing arm weakness is of greater concern than the pain. I've dealt with pain since being paralyzed and I could deal with more I guess, but when I noticed my transfers becoming more difficult I became very concerned.

                            Heat is also my favorite option to address the pain and stiffness. I'm on my heating pad pretty much every time I'm in bed.

                            I definitely plan on trying conservative treatments before rushing to surgery (if that's recommended). I've been dealing with this for 4 months, so I don't see the need to rush all of a sudden. I'd like to try physical therapy and exercise. I live in Pennsylvania and the weather is finally warming up so I'm excited to get my handcycle out and see how cycling affects my pain. I appreciate your caution on chiropractic. I want to talk with my doctor about and hear his thoughts.

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