Cervica Radiculopathy or pinched nerve

Posted , 8 users are following.

Good morning all,  I am new to this so please let me tell you my story.

About 2 months ago I started getting a dull ache in my left shoulder. I never associated it with past neck pain that I have had on and off all of my adult life. I work full time as a medical secretary for a very busy general surgery office, so I'm on the computer and phones all day long. I noticed the pain in my shoulder more when I was driving to work in the morning. A little over a month ago the pain started to inensify so on 10/5/16, I went to my primary care office and saw a sports medicine doctor there who dignosed me with bursitis and did a cortisone injection in my shoulder. That did nothing for me so and I wasn't happy with how that doctor pretty much brushed me off, so I saw a orthopedic group who did an xray, ordered pain meds, and ordered an MRI of my shoulder, thinking it was a torn rotator cuff. That was 10/17/16. The next morning, 10/18/16, I woke up in excruciating pain and every movement of my left arm caused pain shooting through my shoulder and down my arm. I was scared so I went to the ER, where they did nothing for me but give me more pain meds. Please keep in mind that I can't take pain meds at their full dosage as it makes me incredably dizzy and nausous, so I tend not to take them, instead I just live with the pain. I left the ER and was scheduled for the MRI of my shoulder on 10/19/16.  I saw a shoulder surgeon afterwards on 10/21/16 who said, oh no, this is not a shoulder injury but rather a pinched nerve in my neck. He did an xray of my neck which showed my neck to be straight and starting to curve in the wrong direction and most likely compression somewhere between c4 and c7. Based on that he put me on high dose steroids for 6 days and referred me to pain management/neck specialist and prescribed physical therapy. I have the appt with the neck specialist on 11/9/16 (I've had to wait since the 21st for this appt) and have had 5 sessions of PT so far, with tractions, massage, and some light excersize on the hand bike and with bands. None of it is working. My pain fluctuates between a 5 and 10 on the pain scale. Today is an 8 and I had PT this morning. I ice and heat all day long. I have been out of work since the 18th of Oct and I can't afford to miss anymore but can't go back til the neck specialist signs off on me returning.  When I see the neck specialist on the 9th, I'm hoping for a cortisone injection in my neck and a new MRI of my neck since they did my shoulder last time. 

My symptoms have progressed to constant pain in my left shoulder/behind my shoulder blade, all the way down my arm into my hand, and my thumb, index, and middle finger are 100% numb, no feeling what-so-ever. There isn't much I can do due to the pain intensity and it drives me crazy. I'm 35 years old, a wife and mother to two daughters, my 17 year old lives with her father an hour away and my 8 year old lives with me and my husband.

I don't know what else to do to deal with the pain. I take 1 half of a hydrocodone once a day because I am afraid to take more than that. I feel lost, depressed, and like there is no end in sight. I found this site hoping to get some advice and reassurance on what I can expect.

Thank you all for your time. 

1 like, 5 replies

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5 Replies

  • Posted


    Your pain is going to lead you into depression if you don't get it sorted.

    You will end up feeling dizzy, dozy and most of the other dwarfs as well, such as crazy and dope, but, heavy pain meds are the only answer, I ended up on morphine patch p,us pain meds, just so I could sleep.

    A pain control clinic may be your best bet.


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  • Posted

    Hi Jennifer,

    so sorry to hear about your situation. I feel for you. I have been diagnosed with degenerative disc disease and have a bone spur in my cervical spine. It causes muscle spasms, headaches, shoulder pain that sometimes radiates down my arm. I have been dealing with this on and off for over a year. I felt depressed and anxious and felt no one understands. I am now seeing a spine/ pain management specialist and I am trying different meds i.e., muscle relaxer, Celebrex. I'm scheduled for an MRI on my cervical spine and it seems like I have a pinched or inflamed nerve that is causing the shoulder pain. I use muscle rubs and epsom baths and that helps somewhat. I also trying breathing exercises to help relax me.

    its hard to keep positive cause you feel like you are going crazy but it is so important your mental health. I try to limit the meds as much as possible but sometimes I need them.

    my one advise is to be proactive about your condition. I ask a lot of questions and do research on line. I don't take every doctors advise literally. It's a trial and error, as far as finding the right treatment and right meds. Hang in there!

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  • Posted

    Hi Jennifer,

    My name is Julie. I too have cervical radiopathy. Its been a journey. About 2 years ago I was having pain in my right shoulder, I too work for surgical facility so I know the job is difficult to do with this kind of pain. I thought pain was brought in by stress but I was wrong. In July 2016 I woke up and was doing my normal household chores when my right shoulder blade started aching...within an hour my whole chest was tightening up and the pain went down both arms. I called nurse hotline and they recommended I be seen. I attempted to pull out of driveway and I couldn't even turn my head in the slightest. I called 911 in fear I was having an MI. Good news it wasn't heart related. They performed x rays and diagnosed me with cervical radiopathy, prescribed steroids and within a week I was back to work. I finally had CT scan which revealed I have Advanced DDD. I'm seeing specialist on 233rd in hopes injection helps. I am very scared that surgery will be only way to resolve this. I know your frustrated and believe me you aren't alone. I just wanted to write and let you know this. Hopefully your appointment goes well and you get some relief...I'm hoping for same in a couple weeks.

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  • Posted

    My story is similar. Long history of progressive cervical issues. About a year ago both shoulders were terribly painful. Cervical epidural injections of steroids by the pain doctor alleviated that. Currently my problem is loss of sensation in middle finger on right hand, cramping of hand and arm, tingling in fingers. Neurologist performed an EMG test in October and diagnosed Double Crush Syndrome (carpal tunnel AND pinched nerve at C7/C8. Saw a hand surgeon this week - he said my issues were WAY more caused by my neck than by carpal tunnel so no carpal tunnel surgery. He is us sending me back to the pain specialist and spine surgeon.

    What works? For me it is epidural injection at C7; wearing carpal tunnel hand brace at night; TENS device called quell which is worn around the calf for me all night and several hours during the day; tramadol prescription synthetic opioid was helping but I had to go off it when I had an unrelated surgery and I no longer need it due to the TENS device; gabapentin prescription does not help me but I need the doctor to titrate me off it and this has not happened yet; sleeping on my side with head elevated in a next of pillows and placing a small pillow under my lower back and sort of leaning back over it like a swoon in a way. Hope this helps.

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  • Posted

    I've had the same pain since April,I've tried everything.. But something think I'm not doing enough... I go to physical therapy but only once a week and I've been taking meds and started to get anxiety which doc put me on meds for that too..So yesterday I stopped taking everything no pills Just vitamins gonna eat right non inflammatory foods force myself to excercise which I used to do all the time before this happened then I just stopped.. So basically I'm gonna force myself to stretch have better posture and good attitude I always feel down and bad for myself it sucks but I have to change..3 kids and a wife want me back to the way I was... I have c5c6 buldge disc pinch nerve and getting an epidural Jan 5th to see if that helps.. Good luck keep me posted on progress and ideas..I also am going to try trigger point therapy...

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