tricep pain due to C5/C6 partly relieved by surgery


Hello,

I have arm pain, mainly tricep pain due to C5/C6. I had an anterior cervical discectomy with fusion on 7/15/16 which helped, but still have residual pain. My everyday life is greatly affected - pushing a grocery cart is painful, sleeping on my side impossible (due to arm pain) and lifting even light objects, hurts my arms. The pain radiates down through the radius to my ring and pinky fingers on both arms, but is worse on the right.

I also have tennis and golfer's elbow on both sides. Basically, my arm pain is multifactorial.

Walking often worsens my symptoms, making my arms feel like they are turning into wood. Stiffness in my hands is also a problem. I started taking 40mg of Nortriptyline which has helped. I have tried many other medications without success. I have also tried icing, heat, acupuncture, stretching, you name it, I've done it. Raising my arms over my head helps but doesn't last.

I would like some advice on what to do for my arms. I don't expect a miracle, but would like to be able to return to work and hug people without fear of hurting later.

Thank you


Hello,
It would seem that the pinched nerve has affected your shoulder too, if lifting and sleeping on your side hurts.

The triceps is the most commonly affected muscle in the arm after a neck injury; then your shoulder becomes weak.

What's interesting though is that the pinkie and ring finger nerve do not come from C5/C6 but lower in the neck; you may have another nerve affected, or even the surgery was done at the wrong level; unlikely as you received some relief of pain.

Relief from raising your arms points to the nerve still be affected in your neck; one rarely gets complete relief from any treatment for a bad neck, and you may have to live with some of these symptoms.

I would recommend a careful and thorough examination of your shoulders; ask them also to do the upper limb tension test, and Adson's. Is there also irritation of the C8 nerve root?

Some gentle chiropractic treatment, using an activator, below the level of the surgery may help. Another MRI may even be indicated, or another look at the original set; what does the C7/T1 level look like?

I wish I should suggest more.

Dr B


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Interesting challenges of the day

1. Mr S is a 76 year old man with neck pain of some 9 months duration. Luckily, most of the discomfort is upper cervical which is only rarely arthritic; his lower cervical spine is a degenerative mess that I've left alone. After seven treatments his pain and stiffness is 50 percent better, and he's happy in the circumstances. He can sleep through the night now and that makes a huge difference.

2. Mr P is 32 year old man with very severe lower back pain radiating to the big toe which is 30 percent numb. He had an episode three weeks ago, took anti inflammatories and was soon better as is typical of the medial disc herniation. But before it healed, after a trivia it came roaring back, much worse. The characteristic crossed sign was evident; sitting in a chair, straightening the right leg provoked severe left back pain and tingling in the leg. He's doing well.

3. Severe lower back pain is scary; just ask Mrs P. Just watching her get out of the car I she was in trouble; she had a slipped disc at L4 making her lean towards the opposite side; luckily she had no pain in the leg. Despite family pressure that this was far too severe for a chiropractor, she persevered. Within five days she was standing upright, and after two weeks almost painfree. 

Despite a hectic job, she wisely took my advice and stayed home for what I call exercising bed rest.

4. Mr S has had lower back, groin and back of thigh and calf pain for fourth months.

He has a pincer deformity in the hip causing the stabs in the groin, and a degenerative facet causing the sciatica. Both are responding well to chiropractic and he's well pleased; sixty five percent better after three treatments.

5. Mr T is a wise man; he's taken a warning TIA seriously and has lost 15 pounds, and has at least as much again to lose. A change to a low starch diet and half hour daily walk has made the difference; but the walking is making his foot and back miserable. The expensive orthotic is hopeless; luckily his hips and back are fine, but he needs a simple heel lift.

6. I too have had serious lower back issues, luckily fixed by my own chiropractor; so I too have to do my exercises, take care when lifting supers full of honey, gardening and using the chainsaw. Regaining the function of your spine is just as important as the pain.

7. My own granddaughter, only 7 is hypermobile giving her pelvic, knee and ankle issues. Xrays show a mildly dysplastic hip. Years ago we would have called it growing pains. She too regularly needs chiropractic care and luckily responds well. Increased range of motion is more difficult than too stiff in my opinion. Our care is for kids too.

8. This 65 year old lady is a serious gardener; every day she is bending, lifting and digging for 2 to 3 hours a day. It regularly catches her in the sacroiliac joint, so she has a treatment once a month that sorts it out. She does her lower back exercises faithfully.

9. This 88 year old lady is an inspiration; every day she is busy in the community. With a nasty scoliosis she manages very well with a chiropractic adjustment every six weeks and exercises faithfully done.  

10. Mr X is a 71 year old retired man who wants to continue with maintenance care every six to eight weeks; he had suffered from two years of lower back pain when he first came a year ago. He has no discomfort now after 8 chiropractic treatments, but is aware that danger lurks.

11. Mrs C has been having severe headaches, and taking a lot of analgesics. It's a non complicated upper cervical facet syndrome, and she's doing well.

12. Mr D is a 38 old year man with chronic shoulder pain after a rotator cuff tear playing cricket. It responded well to treatment, but he knows he must do his exercises every day; for two years he couldn't sleep on that shoulder.

13. Mr D, a 71 year old man, has a severe ache in the shoulder and midback since working above his head. Trapped nerve tests are negative but he has advanced degenerative joints of Luschka; after just two treatments he is 50 percent better. Can we reach 90?

And so the day goes; chiropractors shouldn't be treating the elderly most medical sites state but that's so much bunkum.



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