Numbness in hands and lower arms, pain in shoulders

by Brian
(Piedmont, Alabama)

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!

Hello Brian,
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.

Dr B

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Jul 09, 2017
pain and numbness in arms and leg
by: ron

I got adjusted by a chiropractor June 30th for headaches; after that he put me in traction machine; came home that day felt very weird; light-headed, dizzy and a sense of spinning; really weird.

Can I get readjusted by another chiropractor? Need something to go away; I'm having numbness in my arms and pain down my leg; please help.

Hello Ron,
After a reaction of vertigo like that I would not recommend an upper cervical adjustment in the near future; and you should certainly tell all chiropractors in the future about it.

For your lower cervical, without full rotation, and lower back it should be okay; but first a Wallenberg test should be done.

If you have numbness in the arms I would first want an x-ray, including oblique views.

I hope this helps.

Dr B

Jan 21, 2016
cervical angina
by: Brian

Thanks for your reply. I am now seeing a pain management doctor set up by work comp. I forgot to mention that I have been having chest pain, racing heart/palpitations, shortness of breath and some pain radiating down my left arm. I have had every conceivable heart test and 2 cardiologist agree that I have no heart issues. They also agree that it is likely caused by an injury/condition in the neck. The symptoms are usually brought on by exertion, climbing stairs, lifting (even light weight). Sometimes my heart will race and chest will feel tight and it wakes me up. I would like to know if a neck condition can cause this type of discomfort and if so, what are the possible remedies?

I am unsure, Brian. Frankly not sure that a cervical condition would cause these symptoms. I would want strong signs that this is indeed a neck condition, before agreeing with the cardiologists. Pain can do strange things though.

Let me know how it goes.

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