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Pain in neck, shoulder blade, numbness.Have injuries to cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine. MRI, NCV, NCS tests suggest carpal tunnel and ulnar nerve damage. What do you advise?

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Hello. I am a 48yr old female. I was injured on the job several times. In 2005, 2006, and 2007. I have injuries to my cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine. The symptoms from the injuries have progressively worsened over time. I had surgery on my neck in December of 0000 where two cages were placed in my neck. I had some improvements however one area the surgeon assured me would have an 80% or higher chance of being fixed was in my arms and hands. I had pain along with numbness in both of my upper extremities. Surgery did not work. Further testing showed carpal tunnel and ulnar nerve damage. Dr.'s went back and forth on this issue with none stepping in to do anything more than give me wrist braces to wear at night. I have had MRI studies done and NCV or NCS tests repeated a couple times. The lastest of those show no ulnar issue, severe carpal tunnel on the right and mild on the left. I am unsure as to why I no longer show any ulnar nerve damage. As someone who likes to stay on top of my health care issues, I have done alot of research and one thing i have found and Drs are actually in agreement, painful/numb pinky and half of the ring finger is not carpal tunnel. Usually it signals ulnar nerve problem. My pinky on both hands is usually the first to go numb followed by every other finger and the entire hand. I also have pain and throbbing throughout my entire arm especially the inside forearm, at times around my elbow and inside upper arm. It aches and throbs all over and feels as if my hand should look as big as a baseball mitt. Except for slight swelling it mostly cant be seen physically. Sometimes I get reddish purple spots on my hands and fingers. Sometimes those spots are painful to the touch. I also have severe pain in my right shoulder blade. Sometimes the left. If I lay down, bend over, on my hands and knees reach forward, push while using the restroom, my arms start throbbing and go numb. I become numb very quickly and very easily. I cant sleep at night with pain constantly awaking me and I take Oxycontin wich should be enough to alleviate it. I do also get a stiff neck still which at times has a severe burning sensation. I also have spots on my back that are numb to the touch and my arms get cold to the touch as well. At times its like i put my hands in the freezer. I also get electric shock like sensations. I dont know if its connected or relevant to this or not but my lumbar spine gets sudden "pop" sensations which are fast and intense and always make me yell out. Sometimes my legs hurt very badly and my right leg suddenly will just collapse while im walking etc. I get purplish red places on my lower legs, feet and knees. Elbows too besides the spots on my hands. Again unsure if related but I also have been experiencing issues with my skin and nails and I have sores on my buttocks that refuse to go away. I hope someone can give me some possible answers. Thanks for giving this your time and attention. XXXXXXX T.
Posted Wed, 24 Apr 2013 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Raju A.T 5 hours later

Thanks for your query.

The symptoms you have in your upperlimb may not be due to involvement of any single nerve in the hand. I suspect there is a compression of varying degrees on different parts of the cervical cord. The symptoms like shock sensation, burning, pain, purple spots are in accord with cervical cord compression rather than a single nerve like ulnar or median nerve involvement.

The symptoms in your lower limb too may be due to the cord disease rather than an individual nerve involvement.

Since the problem is in the cord, the tests like NCS and NCV are inconclusive. Do continue Oxycontin for pain and also you can take medication like Pregabalin which helps in regeneration of neuronal element and reduce the symptoms.

Hope I answered your query.

Please let me know if there are any other concerns.

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