Neck issue - loss of movement in hand

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Hello, an old recurring neck issue has started up again for me. It reoccured in July and has been gradually getting worse. I'ts my back and all down my right arm and hand. A couple of weeks ago it got so bad I did not sleep at all for four nights in a row. It has settled a bit but have only had a couple of hours the last two nights.

I've had an MRI and am being referred to a surgeon. The main problem area is c6/c7. The disk has degenerated and the bone has grown  so the opening for the nerve has got smaller. My chiropractor explained this to me from the report. GP just said it was a disk problem and didn't seem to have read the report properly. I have booked my appt with the surgeon but the earliest (only) appt available was in January.

GP initially gave me naproxin, but as it wasn't helping he then gave me amitriptyline. This didn't help the pain either so I went back and the nurse prescribed co-codomal. Nothing really seems to be touching the pain.

In the last few days my right hand has stopped functioning properly. can't control it very well - hard to type with. Am trying to avoid using it as it hurts when i do.

Am I right to be worried or is this all temporary and should I wait for the appt in January? Is there any point seeing a Chiropractor? Am I just being a wimp about the pain? When I try to explain how bad it is to the GP and nurse they just seemed uninterested. Should I ask to be signed off from work as commuting and having to sit at a desk seems to make it worse?

Sorry for all the questions - I think I am getting into a bit of a state mentally. Any opinions welcome.

 

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  • Posted

    Hi there,

    I have problems with my left arm on and off which also involves parts of my hand, as well as problems with my lower back with are mentioned plenty on this site !! As I have a background in science / pharma industry I understand what you are talking about, as I have always taken a keen interest in my own scans and any treatment. 

    One : You are not being a wuss, nerve pain is one of the most difficult sorts of pain to treat and can be nasty. It is not easily treated by normal pain killers, that's why they tried you on low dose amitrptiline, they use it for nerve pain at a dose way lower than it is of use as an antidepressant. I have tried it and I didn't get on with it, it does have a lot of side effects, which even at a low dose affected me a lot ( hot sweats, like having flu ), but it works for some people ! Other nerve pain meds used are pregabalin and gabapentin, you'll find plenty of chatter on here about those too, can be good, I had it down as both the wonder pill and the pill from hell, and have tried both of them but in the end weaned myself off as had long term effects on my congnitive function that even 5 months after stopping it are affecting me. some people like it more than others. 

    From a personal perspective I was 19 and at Uni when one morning I locked my neck whilst getting ready for lectures, and was left shoulder blade area that felt like a dagger had beeen plunged into it. It seems to be a weak spot ever since, I am now 41. In the last 10 years I have recurring problems with my left arm and nerve pain. At it's worst a few years ago my whole arm felt have and numb, the pain went into my little finger and rin finger and radiated into my thumb, and my hand clawed. They thought it was my ulnar nerve and sent me for tests, but that was negative. I saw a shoulder specialist and he said there was nothing wrong with shoulder. In the end the pain clinic dr I saw for my lower back offered to give me an epidural of steroid into the top par of my spine, and this did significantly reduce the pain and increase the mobility from shoulder blade thru to my fingers, I have only had it done the once but it really helped.

    It sounds like they know you have impingement on your nerve, and to my reckoning so long as that nerve is irritated you will bet pain and symptoms and poss. numbness. I have tingling in my outer fingers right now, but they have been worse !!

    I think you need a specialist opinion as to whether it is operable, if that means no pills as they all have poor side effect profiles !. You will not hurt it by trying to sue it, in fact if you avoid using it for any length of time it may get weaker and you may lose mroe function over time ( what I get told with my back all the time !!)....good luck, hope you get a good resolution. I raraely get more than 3/4 hrs sleep a night due to nerve pain and back pain, and I locked my neck and caused a flare up of my left arm taking a photograph of a Typhoon at Southport Air Show a month or so ago, I slepy an hour here and another hour there for 2 weeks until started to settle. If I lie on that side still though I wake up and cannot move my left arm. I think that the problems I have with mine were masked by my taking gabapentin / pregabalin for nerve pain assoc'd with my lower back problems, and now I ma off those meds its open season on any nerve pain !! Good Luck

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  • Posted

    Hi D&R, I don't think anyone who hasn't experienced the type of pain we get can really understand. I once went to A&e and refused to leave until I got some relief. In the end I was given a cocktail of 3 drugs

    I took the prescription to the pharmacy in the hospital and took the first dose. It was only when I started getting some relief that I went home and spent the next few days like a zombie but oh the relief. I am currently getting relief with a combination of gabapentin, tramadol and amitriptline. I can't take anti inflammatorirs. I have also found osteopathy very helpful. The pain clinic has also helped with physio and now an exercise programme which I will start next Thursday. I definitely think you should be off work. I do hope the surgeon can help. My injections, one in the spine has worked wonders. I have also had two in my hand to treat trigger finger

    Good luck and take care of yourself. D

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    • Posted

      Hi,

      I agree with you that someone who has not experienced nerve pain seems to have no idea what it is like. The drugs you mention, 2 of 3 are specifically aimed ar nerve pain, amitryptiline being a TCAD, and old style antidepressant used at tiny doses for tmt of nerve pain ( gives me flu like symptoms even at 10mg !, didn;t settel so stopped that one ), and the other you mention gabapentin is one of two drugs available to drs which works on GABA receptors, they are still finding a lot more out about how these work and long term effects, I found once settled past initial side effects of this that is was a wonder drug, but then in the long term, 5 years on, that the effect on my nerve pain was less than initially and I was suffering side effects on my memeory and cognitive side effects, inc'g being half way through a sentence and forgetting what I was talking about....lots of people report it now, when I first stared noticing it happening it was less known about and I was convinced by my dr to keep on with it, and I took 1800mg a day ( spilt in 3 doses of 600mg). The tramadol is pain killer. Over time I also tolerated tramadol, as I have been on with my back and nerve pain 9/10 years now, and now take slow release morphine. not much use on nerve pain though. The trigger point injections I got at pain clinic were def. the most effective thing I had done to get my arm and hand pain, to a manageable level.

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  • Posted

    Hello

    Just thought I'd update.

    Eventually went back to doctors as wasn't getting any relief and couldnt cope with work due to pain and no sleep. Doctors response was "there must be something else going on with you for you to react like this". Eventually convinced him the pain was bad so he put me on pregabalin and signed me off work for two weeks. He also said he'd put in for an emergency referral for me due to the loss of movement and strength in right hand.

    After two weeks the pain had calmed down so went back to work. Came off the pregablin and cocodomal and didnt sleep for a week. Walked round like a zombie.

    Had to chase the appointment myself as the GP cancelled my original appointment when they sent over the letter requesting an emergency one. Was panicking I'd have to wait even longer. Was calling the hospital every hour and getting no response. Eventually had to make a guess on what a secretaries email address was and finally got a response. Once I contacted a real person directly she was really helpful, even calling me with the date of my appt before it was official.

    Saw surgeon on 5 Dec. He said I have the option of leaving it and hoping it doesn't get worse but its not going to get better without surgery. 80% chance of improvement with surgery. 1 in 300 chance of being paralysed which I am really stressing about. I am also stressed by the fact that I have been dizzy for about three weeks and not sure if its my neck or a virus causing it but hopefully it will be gone by the time of my preop assessment. Jan , if not I will tell them.

    I think the lesson I'm taking from all this is you don't get anywhere without making a fuss which is hard for an ill patient when the Doctor is making you feel like you are making a fuss over nothing.I had to more or less have a breakdown in the surgery before they would take the pain even semi seriously.

    Also don't trust NHS admin. Everything seems to be 20 years out of date and they still use faxes to communicate. I had to get my GP to refax everything aa couple of times and then ring the hospital with the exact time it was faxed over so they could find it.

    A couple of days ago I got a second letter asking me to come for a referral appointment with another surgeon.

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  • Posted

    Hi I just came across this forum, worried about my own issues which seem very similar. How are you going? I would appreciate any insights or info re progress you may have made. I am in NZ so some treatment options may vary, but overall pretty similar. I have nerve pain and both thumbs have trigger thumb the right thumb in particular has lost a lot of movement, I wonder if i will ever get it back. But its the neck pain that is diabolical, horrible situation that has been going on for months and still waiting for results from an MRI, and still trying to hang in with work, barely coping with one day a week. I am juggling painkillers and finding none of them are particularly good and often make me feel weird and spacey. Can anyone tell me there is light at the end of this tunnel?
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  • Posted

    Hi there,

    I am so sorry to hear everyone's chronic pain but I can totally feel for all of you. I was involved in a RTA 3 years ago and it has left me with severe chronic syndrome pain in the neck and shoulders. I have issues sleeping, dressing and just being able to have a better quality of life, I have also taken all the painkillers which have not helped but if anything have given me a lot of side affects. I am lecturer which makes it even harder to be able to teach, plan and maneuvere. I was off work for 6 months after the accident I list numbness in my left side even since the accident it's just escalated to chronic. I have tried so many private interventions the osteopath treatment is better than physio the staff work on the direct nerve area and trigger points also acupuncture / capping also helps for the whole spine. ...Unfortunately you get some relief but the pain is still chronic....I have forgotten what it feels like to sleep i wake up every 3 hrs in pain I can't lie on my back the neck aches or on my shoulder side left/right. You need to have regular interventions at a pain management hospital I live in London and visit the national neurologist hosp which is fantastic.....I have nerve infusions, trigger point injections and sculpular procedures on my shoulder .....I'm gping in again in 2 weeks for the sculpular shoulder procedure on the left and more trigger points in the neck. ...my pain has got worse I've realised that I need these injections every 2 months not 4 months it's been 4 know and I am in so much pain ...I would also recommend hydrotherapy a warm pool with physio exervises especially for issues with your lower back. ...I would also advice anyone who is in serious pain to diffinately take time off so you can try some of these interventions emotionally when you are in a lot of pain people cannot see from the outside that you are suffering and of you are like me I have to try and laugh wheb I'm in agony otherwise I will just burst out crying. You also cannot perform to your best ability so take time off to sleep as much as you can with the medication that allow you to do so. ...try and build up your energy! Wish me luck going in for injections in two weeks I am counting the days!😕

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    • Posted

      Hi hey good luck with the injections! I recently found a physiotherapist who does accupuncture and was able to enjoy three days pain free! I actually had another physio who did accupuncture years ago who was the only person who could relieve pain for me. I have had plenty of accpuncture from other practitioners but its only been the physios who are sucessful. I still have lack of movement in my hands - wondering if this is permanent - and lots of pain - trying to see a neurologist for an assessment. even typing right now is getting too painful. Better stop. All the best to others in similar predicaments. very testing..
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    • Posted

      Hi there, sorry to hear about your pain you need to try and get this seen to as soon as possible otherwise the nerve pain can increase towards your shoulder and possibly your kneck. Do you sleep ok or does the pain sometimes keep you up? If you are based in London the National neurologist hospital is fantastic for your type of symptoms and North Wick park hospital in Harrow. I know an excellent Dr / surgeon who deals with your type of symptoms his based in central London sloane square Dr Keats you properly can locate him on line. I visited him privately and he provided me with a thorough examination and the appropriate medication to take which really helped. If you would like his details or further information of the national hospital so that your Dr can refer you please let me know and I will forward the information over.....take care ☺
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    • Posted

      Yes it is already a neck problem and probably originates from there. Sleeping ok at present and the neck pain has subsided - resting from work helps -  but financially its not so good. Weakness and loss of movement in the hands is a worry. And I live in NZ so not so much choice for good doctors. Thanks for your thoughts. I am working on it! And I hope your situation improves also. No I wont just leave it doing the rounds of various practitioners and changing diet - seems I am sensitive to wheat and gluten and these are very inflammatory - so maybe that will make a difference been a week so far - I am feeling more energised - will see, Thanks
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