Numbness in hands and lower arms, pain in shoulders
I was injured in a fall in July 2010. I fell 14 feet down to a concrete floor, landing on my upper back/neck and right shoulder. I did strike an object at my lower back half way down the fall. Since that time, I have continued to suffer with numbness in my arms, pain in my right elbow, right and left shoulder. I had carpal tunnel surgery about 6 months after the fall, but that hand now hurts after very limited use.
My question is this: Could the fall have caused me to have facet joint arthropathy? I had a c-spine fusion over 12 years ago, but did not have any of these symptoms prior to this injury in 2010.
Now, the doctor is saying I have facet joint arthropathy and says it is most likely due to the spinal fusion 12 years ago. When I told him I was having no adverse symptoms before the fall and subsequent injury, he said the fall simply aggravated the existing problem.
The facet joint is greatly distorted with spurs and growth. I just had a myelogram 3 weeks ago, almost 4 years after the accident. Could the facet joint issue have developed in that amount of time? This is a work comp case and now I feel they are looking for a way to call my issue completely preexisting! I'm also having continued problems with the hand that had the carpal tunnel surgery. They have scheduled a FCE next week. I'm looking for answers that I can't get from my work comp team or physician.
I would appreciate your thoughts!
When there are large sums of money involved, it is indeed hard to know who to trust.
Clearly you did have pre-existent problems in your neck.
There are two questions to be answered:
1. If you were young and hadn't had all the previous issues, would you now be experiencing all these symptoms?
2. If you hadn't had the fall four years ago, would your neck and arms be largely fine? Not perfect, but not with all these pains.
The answer to the first is that you would probably be having some of them, but perhaps not all of them. A fall from 14 feet onto your neck and shoulder would inevitably cause some injury.
To the second, it's very speculative. You would probably be reasonable; after all it had been stable for 12 years. I would push that line, but the truth is that you could have started having problems even without the fall.
The advanced degenerative changes in that facet probably predate the fall; however the fall would have aggravated it.
However, what you really want is relief of pain, not another surgery paid by workman's compensation. Why not ask if you can consult an experienced chiropractor for an opinion, and perhaps three months of treatment?
WC is generally pro chiropractic because we save them a lot of money. They would probably be agreeable.
Think too about a home traction unit. One that you can apply, lying down, every day for twenty minutes.
I hope this contributes; let us know what transpires.