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Spinal Cord Disorders Message Board


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My shoulder pain, as it relates to my neck at that time, was all over the place, it was on the front, side and back and felt like it was inside the joint. The pain began to shoot down my arms and probably some of the worst pain I've ever had. Imagine if you will, not even being able to use the restroom because just sitting there was so excruciating. I've had pain in my life but never like that without it being something post op.

I had numbness in my thumb, pointer and index finger as well and extreme weakness in my right arm. Left appeared fine. Basically the same symptoms you had. Never once did I have neck pain which is why I had shoulder surgery even after and MRI indicated no tears. We were so sure it was a tear.

The pain was so severe I would take my pain medication, wait for it to kick in and use a heating pad on my shoulder (again absolutely no neck pain), sleep 3 hours, wake up, rinse and repeat. I lived like this for months until the surgery was done. According to the nuero surgeon it was literally in the nick of time, my spinal cord was being severely compromised and the herniations that had shown on the MRI had grown quite large in that short period of time from November to February.

Lately the pain is frontal and in the joint which is why I had an injection in my shoulder, more of an indication of bursitis. The injection helped so it was on the money. But once in a blue moon (it's been 3 weeks) I do get a sharp shoulder pain. Numbness is always there in my fingers.

I refuse cervical injections, had them and they didn't help. ESI's or steriod injections as a whole only work for swelling, things that are damaged or herniated, it will not help at all. My own PM admitted this during my injection. I did the shoulder injection to rule out my neck and had had them in the past when I first started having bursitis issues at age 20 so I knew, for me, if that didn't do the trick it's back to the neck. Not saying you should have injections in your shoulder, in fact I wouldn't even do it until you know for a fact what the problem is. Steriods are bad for your joints, cartilage and ligaments when done repeatedly.

Because both of your arms are affected the likelyhood of a torn rotator is pretty slim unless you did something major to both arms at the same time. Have you lifted any cars recently? (just a little humor)

Rotator problems generally do not cause numbness, bursitis generally does not cause numbness either unless your bursa is so swollen it might be pinching a nerve. I suspect is is your C-Spine and really encourage you to get a new MRI done since it is both arms.

I can tell you rotator cuff tears are pretty painful as well. The last one I had I was unable to lift my arm above my head, in fact I couldn't lift it to a level horizontal position from my body. It was incredibly weak and my bursa sac actually became so full of fluid it popped out of the joint and it looked as though I had a baseball stuck under my shoulder skin.

The primary disks invovled at the time of my ACDF were C4 - C7. Each disk has a set of nerves that correlate to it, when impinged certain fingers will often be numb. There's a map called a dermatone map that clearly defines which disk relates to which set of nerves.

I still have numbness in both hands/fingers. I have new herniations and am maybe 5 years post op? I forget, I've had so many operations. A year after my surgery I was rear ended while at a dead stop, it broke some of my screws. I have gotten several MRI's since then and it has shown that between the last one and the one previous, which was less than a year apart, a 4.5 cm herniation has grown. I also have permanent muscle and soft tissue damage as a result. Debating myself wether to go under the knife agian or not. My neck probably causes the worst pain of all my joints and I get massive headaches.

When the shoulder pain started I thought oh no here we go again, I'm just glad as far as my shoulder itself so far so good.

Can you ask your PM to do another cervical? That's how I ended up getting my last one. He's pretty good when I ask him about having things checked out as he knows my long history of joint problems etc. I didn't go to the neuro about it, still haven't as he's rude. I'm not sure how much longer I can go on like this though.

Last time I went he told me nothing was wrong other than broken screws and ignored the small herniations (which are now large). He said his surgery was perfect so he wasn't the problem. Not sure what it is with nuero's but that's the mindset around here.

Good luck to you, please get an MRI done, even if it's just for piece of mind!





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