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MRI, bulging disc, pain in back and shoulder, anti-inflammatories, numbness in thumbs, weakness, muscle atrophy. Recovery possible?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2004
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I had an mri in May that showed I had a bulging disc in my neck. It caused severe pain in my back/shoulder and it shot down my arm to my hand. Through physical therapy and anti-inflammatories they believe the impingement is off. The pain has been gone for almost 2 months but I have numbness in my thumb and forefinger along with weakness and muscle atrophy in my left arm, pec and slightly in my hand. What are my chances of recovering from these symptoms? I know nerves heal very slowly but I'm so surprised how quickly this all happened. If it is healing when could I expect to see some improvement?
Posted Tue, 24 Apr 2012 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar 4 hours later

Thank you for sharing your problem.

I understand you are suffering from prolapsed intervertebral disc of your cervical spine. I am happy to
know that your pain has come down; but you have weakness and atrophy.

Well, you must continue with your physiotherapy sessions and work on your muscles as tolerated. Its hard to predict when it would return, as it may take from 8-12weeks or much longer depending on the compression of the nerve.

It would be good if you could be seen by a spine surgeon to have a complete assessment and need for considering surgery; should you not improve.

Hope this answers your query. In case of any doubts, I am available for the follow ups.

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