Neck nerve issue -

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SpokaneCY

Well-Known Member
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Apr 11, 2006
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Spokane, WA
As I near 56 (and retirement this year - NONhumble brag) I'm having an unwelcome pattern of neck pain which radiates into shoulder, down biceps and into my fingers causing numbness and tingling. LOTS of pain with shoulder and bad tightness of neck. Looking back at earlier health issues (carpal tunnel, biceps tendonitis, shoulder issues) and based on an MRI the cause is sadly clear. I have moderate to sever stenosis from C1-C7 with some other crap in there as well all on the left side. My last flare this summer took nearly 3 months to clear and on Sunday I had the start of another, so far worse, flare.

Started a course of prednisone to get me over the hump until I go in Monday for cervical steroid injections. Will be a first for me.

Has anyone had something similar - including epidural injections for pain relief? Did you get relief?

Has anyone had to have surgery? And did it provide relief?

How have others managed the pain and flare-ups?

One of primary reasons for an early retirement is to enjoy and active retirement (hike, bike, ski, travel) before infirmity sets in and its getting me down thinking I might have to enter the cycle of pain and mobility management.

On the plus side, my wife won't let me have a motorcycle so "hoping" I can get a very sporty Rascal to feed that jones with that sweet, sweet parking pass. :)
 

kansascy

Active Member
Apr 28, 2006
337
58
28
Wichita, KS
As I near 56 (and retirement this year - NONhumble brag) I'm having an unwelcome pattern of neck pain which radiates into shoulder, down biceps and into my fingers causing numbness and tingling. LOTS of pain with shoulder and bad tightness of neck. Looking back at earlier health issues (carpal tunnel, biceps tendonitis, shoulder issues) and based on an MRI the cause is sadly clear. I have moderate to sever stenosis from C1-C7 with some other crap in there as well all on the left side. My last flare this summer took nearly 3 months to clear and on Sunday I had the start of another, so far worse, flare.

Started a course of prednisone to get me over the hump until I go in Monday for cervical steroid injections. Will be a first for me.

Has anyone had something similar - including epidural injections for pain relief? Did you get relief?

Has anyone had to have surgery? And did it provide relief?

How have others managed the pain and flare-ups?

One of primary reasons for an early retirement is to enjoy and active retirement (hike, bike, ski, travel) before infirmity sets in and its getting me down thinking I might have to enter the cycle of pain and mobility management.

On the plus side, my wife won't let me have a motorcycle so "hoping" I can get a very sporty Rascal to feed that jones with that sweet, sweet parking pass. :)
I've had very similar symptoms caused by a pinched nerve where it exits the vertebrae, but not sure exactly which one. Originally diagnosed as carpal tunnel, the neurologist gave me the option of steroid injects, but didn't hold out much hope. After the first injection (literally within minutes) 75% of the pain, numbness and tingling was gone. The second injection a week or two later took care of the rest. I had it repeated 6 months later, then a year after that. Finally I had a chiropractor tell me there wasn't anything she could do for it, but I should try stretches with forearms on the sides of a door and stepping into the doorway to stretch my shoulders back. That has kept me from having injections for the last 6 years. The injections weren't nearly as bad as they sounded. Hope you have as much success with it as I did.
 

washington

Member
Sep 1, 2006
77
14
8
I have had similar stenosis pain in C6 and C7. I have had 2 steroid cervical injections and they definitely help. I can get them every 3 to 4 months.
 
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jdoggivjc

Well-Known Member
Sep 27, 2006
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Macomb, MI
This honestly sounds a lot like my future, and I know it's because of how I sit at my desk at work. My desk isn't designed for someone my height. My desk is really too tall for keeping my keyboard and mouse on top of it, but too short to have one of those gizmos that puts it basically in your lap as I'd never be able to put my legs under the desk. Then my monitors are really too low for my line of sight and, quite honestly, too small and/or too far away for the amount of detail work I do, even with corrected vision. The end result is most of the time I end up bent over my keyboard and my mouse. I end up with serious neck pain that sometimes shoots down to my shoulder blade, and the tightness in my neck is such that most of the time my wife can't even massage it out.
 
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lmsoup

Member
Apr 11, 2006
175
5
18
Cedar Falls, IA
My left arm was asleep from shoulder to fingers in various stages for years. Received steroid injections once a year for 4-5 years. Worked and then symptoms would come back....get another shot. My last shot three years ago did nothing to alleviate pain/symptoms. Finally diagnosed with DDD and had C4/C5/C6 fused. Went through the front of my neck. Check the procedure out on YouTube.

I waited way too long and lost almost 50% muscle tissue. If you have the symptoms described above, I bet 90% you have DDD.
 
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SCyclone

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Mar 11, 2014
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Fort Dodge, IA
I, too, recently realized that my work posture was causing a lot of neck and shoulder pain. It was the way I cocked my head when writing. (I do a lot of estimating, and prefer to hand write things first....keeps me from going too fast and missing stuff.)

I have recently been trying to change my sitting posture (it's not easy!) and when I do that things are fine.

Sounds like you might have some permanent nerve damage, have you been to a pain clinic?
 

SpokaneCY

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Apr 11, 2006
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Spokane, WA
I, too, recently realized that my work posture was causing a lot of neck and shoulder pain. It was the way I cocked my head when writing. (I do a lot of estimating, and prefer to hand write things first....keeps me from going too fast and missing stuff.)

I have recently been trying to change my sitting posture (it's not easy!) and when I do that things are fine.

Sounds like you might have some permanent nerve damage, have you been to a pain clinic?
I'm trying the shots early next week and I have a FEAR of being a "pain management" patient (my stereotype of pain management is people craving opioids) but my activity level in retirement is the MOST important thing right now. I'm encouraged by the small sample size of good results with steroid injections...

On the PT front, I've had some sessions that were focused on nerve glides but it wasn't until late last year where we pinned the problem to the neck and not a shoulder impingement or carpal tunnel or biceps tendon impingement.

There my be some genetics at work here - at least structuarally... My Dad had 2-3 verts fused a few years ago and they went in through the neck like another poster mentioned.

I have 1 chair at home that is the perfect combo of lean and padding where it really takes the pressure off. But the minute I go vertical things just start lighting up and don't quit. Tough to get to sleep but with an Ambian I can get good rest. Wake up and it starts pinging again in the shower... Lather rinse and repeat...

I'm generally quick to go under the knife - 2 hip replacements, shoulder rebuilt, 3 knee scopes - and have had complete relief with them but I again have an old-fashioned view in my head of what a back surgery outcome looked like based on techniques and results from 30+ years ago. I'll probably seek a surgical opinion and inquire about PT but I really don't want to start down a path I can't come back from.
 

Cycsk

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Aug 17, 2009
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This honestly sounds a lot like my future, and I know it's because of how I sit at my desk at work. My desk isn't designed for someone my height. My desk is really too tall for keeping my keyboard and mouse on top of it, but too short to have one of those gizmos that puts it basically in your lap as I'd never be able to put my legs under the desk. Then my monitors are really too low for my line of sight and, quite honestly, too small and/or too far away for the amount of detail work I do, even with corrected vision. The end result is most of the time I end up bent over my keyboard and my mouse. I end up with serious neck pain that sometimes shoots down to my shoulder blade, and the tightness in my neck is such that most of the time my wife can't even massage it out.

Sounds awful. Could you spend a few hundred and donate a new desk and chair? It might be worth it, even in the short-run, but definitely in the long-run.
 

SCyclone

Well-Known Member
Mar 11, 2014
8,312
10,677
113
Fort Dodge, IA
I'm trying the shots early next week and I have a FEAR of being a "pain management" patient (my stereotype of pain management is people craving opioids) but my activity level in retirement is the MOST important thing right now. I'm encouraged by the small sample size of good results with steroid injections...

On the PT front, I've had some sessions that were focused on nerve glides but it wasn't until late last year where we pinned the problem to the neck and not a shoulder impingement or carpal tunnel or biceps tendon impingement.

There my be some genetics at work here - at least structuarally... My Dad had 2-3 verts fused a few years ago and they went in through the neck like another poster mentioned.

I have 1 chair at home that is the perfect combo of lean and padding where it really takes the pressure off. But the minute I go vertical things just start lighting up and don't quit. Tough to get to sleep but with an Ambian I can get good rest. Wake up and it starts pinging again in the shower... Lather rinse and repeat...

I'm generally quick to go under the knife - 2 hip replacements, shoulder rebuilt, 3 knee scopes - and have had complete relief with them but I again have an old-fashioned view in my head of what a back surgery outcome looked like based on techniques and results from 30+ years ago. I'll probably seek a surgical opinion and inquire about PT but I really don't want to start down a path I can't come back from.
My Dad had two back surgeries - both were disc repairs, L-4 and L-5 - and though he dreaded them, they turned out to be a real blessing. He used to brag that those two surgeries were the best thing that ever happened to his golf game, because they limited how violently he could swing the clubs!

I'm 63, and the only reconstructive surgery I've had was to reconnect a ruptured Achilles tendon (playing football in the street at age 50). But the surgeon did a wonderful job, it's like nothing ever happened.

Side note: Saturday night I was bowling and my right Achilles was strained (the left one had been ruptured years ago). I'm 99% sure this isn't nearly as bad, but it still hurts. Hope I don't need surgery, the rehab is long and demanding.
 
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cyfanatic

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Oct 18, 2006
4,659
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83
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
I had neck pain/shoulder pain/numbness down to my fingers for almost 2 decades. After years of PT/blockers/epidural (sp?) treatments...my doctor finally suggested surgery. All of the treatments worked...but the pain always returned and it seemed as though the pain would be stronger when it returned. My doctor offered me a choice between disk replacement or fusion. After discussing both he urged me to choose disk replacement and I went ahead and had it done. Best thing ever! I still have a bit of neck pain now and then but likely a different cause. My arm/shoulder/neck feel great compared to the situation prior to surgery. So glad I had that procedure. Here is my x-ray about 6 weeks after my surgery.
 

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jdoggivjc

Well-Known Member
Sep 27, 2006
53,045
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Macomb, MI
Sounds awful. Could you spend a few hundred and donate a new desk and chair? It might be worth it, even in the short-run, but definitely in the long-run.
Chair I probably could, assuming someone doesn’t come and steal it from me (we have a serious theft problem in our office - and that even includes chairs). Desk is a no as that’s fixed equipment, and monitors no as that’s furnished and accounted “property book” equipment.
 

ISUEmbassy

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Jun 13, 2014
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I'm trying the shots early next week and I have a FEAR of being a "pain management" patient (my stereotype of pain management is people craving opioids) but my activity level in retirement is the MOST important thing right now.
Opioids are not part of chronic pain management (w some exceptions like cancer related pain issues). Conservative therapy including PT, cognitive behavioral therapy, non-opioid meds, aqua therapy are typical regimens. Steroid or other fluoroscopic injections are next options. Surgical options if above doesnt help or if there are significant neurological issues
 

HardcoreClone

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Jul 28, 2006
1,088
479
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Those of you who have had spine fusion, disc replacements, etc, what/if any activities are you no longer allowed to participate in? I would hate not being able to golf the rest of my life.
 

cyfanatic

Well-Known Member
Oct 18, 2006
4,659
465
83
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Those of you who have had spine fusion, disc replacements, etc, what/if any activities are you no longer allowed to participate in? I would hate not being able to golf the rest of my life.
Disc replacement: six weeks after my surgery I was given the green light to do whatever I wanted to do...no restrictions on activities. My artificial disc is in the neck region so not sure what if any restrictions I would have expected...but I haven't been afraid to do engage in anything since...all feels great here!
 

SpokaneCY

Well-Known Member
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Apr 11, 2006
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Spokane, WA
I had neck pain/shoulder pain/numbness down to my fingers for almost 2 decades. After years of PT/blockers/epidural (sp?) treatments...my doctor finally suggested surgery. All of the treatments worked...but the pain always returned and it seemed as though the pain would be stronger when it returned. My doctor offered me a choice between disk replacement or fusion. After discussing both he urged me to choose disk replacement and I went ahead and had it done. Best thing ever! I still have a bit of neck pain now and then but likely a different cause. My arm/shoulder/neck feel great compared to the situation prior to surgery. So glad I had that procedure. Here is my x-ray about 6 weeks after my surgery.
Seems like I'm following your pattern. Each episode sets in harder and seems to last longer each time.

And I don't know about you, but x-rays like yours are oddly interesting and creepy at the same time. My hip replacement x-rays make me look bionic.
 
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Remo Gaggi

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Aug 28, 2018
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Similar symptoms hit me last summer, along with numbness on right side of face occasionally. Pain in shoulder, and arm. Went to PT and they thought it might be rotator cuff issue. Got an injection which didn't help. Eventually went away, but flared up again after bowl game. Looks like hoisting up luggage into overhead bins might have made the issue return.

Getting old isn't for sissies.
 

jcyclonee

Well-Known Member
Apr 12, 2006
17,035
17,693
113
Minneapolis
I've had similar issues. I've noticed that it gets worse when I stress about it. The first time it happened I checked WebMD and it told me that I likely had MS or ALS. That didn't help with the stress. The booze did, though.
 
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