Falling & possible muscle/skeletal issues related to Neuropathy

Posted by birdman518 @birdman518, Dec 29, 2020

Hello all…. new member here. I have had nerve pain from what I believe is a cervical radiculopathy for about 2 years. I have mostly just lived with it, but recently it has gotten worse. Instead of just my thumb and index finger, my whole hand is being affected. I also have nerve pain in my shoulder and down my arm.

Because of this, I have an appointment with a neuro-muscular specialist in January.

Here is my question. In the last month or so, I have also had a lot of instability when I am walking. I am definitely *not* dizzy, but feel shaky and almost like I am tipsy. Twice in that time I have fallen pretty hard. I cannot say for sure that I did not just trip, but it is certainly a little suspicious.

Has anyone had what I am calling “muscle or skeletal (or joint)” issues related to neuropathy?

Oh, and FWIW I am in otherwise pretty good health. I do have a pacemaker and artificial left hip, and definitely have arthritis in my right hip.
And I am 64 years old.

Thanks,

Mitch

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Neuropathy group.

Hello @birdman518 and welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. Thank you for sharing your history and symptoms in order for others to connect with you and provide some support based on their experiences. You will notice I updated the title to also make this discussion easier for others to make the connection to your neuropathy related suspicions.

Members such as @johnbishop @californialen have neuropathy and @jesfactsmon has a wife who suffers. I am thinking they may be of help in sharing their experiences if they can relate to what you are going through.

In the meantime, can I ask you to think about anything that changed around the time of your unsteadiness? I am thinking Rx changes or dosage changes, changes to your diet or sleep routine? Is there anything you can think of that may have brought on this new symptom?

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Amanda, thanks for reaching out. The only thing I can think of is that I tried to play Pickleball one day,and while looking up, I must have pinched the nerve, because I received a great shock down my arm. That same day (I forget if it was before or after), I also took a spill on the court. I had increased my daily walk to about 4 miles, 5 or 6 days a week. But that sometimes made me notice my hip, but I cannot connect it to my unsteadiness.

But no to the other items… I was/am not on *any* meds at this time.

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Hi @birdman518, I would like to add my welcome to Connect along with @amandajro and others. I have small fiber peripheral neuropathy and do have some balance issues so I'm extra careful when I first stand up and take the first few steps. I'm also 77. You mentioned having cervical radiculopathy and were wondering if that can cause balance issues or if they are related to neuropathy. I did read something which I think may be related to possible loss of balance with cervical myelopathy which might also be a possibility.

"Cervical myelopathy results from compression of the spinal cord in the neck (cervical area of the spine). Symptoms of cervical myelopathy may include problems with fine motor skills, pain or stiffness in the neck, loss of balance, and trouble walking." Cervical Myelopathy | Johns Hopkins Medicine: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/cervical-myelopathy

It might be good to make up a list of questions to ask the neuro-muscular specialist in January when you have your appointment. Do you have any symptoms in your legs?

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@johnbishop

Hi @birdman518, I would like to add my welcome to Connect along with @amandajro and others. I have small fiber peripheral neuropathy and do have some balance issues so I'm extra careful when I first stand up and take the first few steps. I'm also 77. You mentioned having cervical radiculopathy and were wondering if that can cause balance issues or if they are related to neuropathy. I did read something which I think may be related to possible loss of balance with cervical myelopathy which might also be a possibility.

"Cervical myelopathy results from compression of the spinal cord in the neck (cervical area of the spine). Symptoms of cervical myelopathy may include problems with fine motor skills, pain or stiffness in the neck, loss of balance, and trouble walking." Cervical Myelopathy | Johns Hopkins Medicine: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/cervical-myelopathy

It might be good to make up a list of questions to ask the neuro-muscular specialist in January when you have your appointment. Do you have any symptoms in your legs?

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John, thanks for taking the time to reply. As a matter of fact, other than the overall "shakiness" I feel in my legs, I have had some numbness and tingling in my left big toe area… it was so intense one day that I wondered if it was gout! It comes and goes, and is not really painful but there is not doubt something seems to be going on there.

I will certainly read up on Cervical Myelopathy". If my problem(s) does end up being related to arthritis or cervical stenosis, I guess it could affect many things.

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@birdman518 I have had cervical problems… I am 83.. my discs are down to almost nothing.. I had a lumbar spinal fusion 25 years ago that was very successful.. that same spine surgeon in OKC prescribed a Cervical Traction Device for me.. that a Physical Therapist taught me how to use it… and that has helped me a lot.. I should use it every day, but when I go without using it for several days I can tell and get into it on the floor to straighten me out for 30 minutes… Those nerves may need to be sorted out by getting an Epidural (steroid shot)… when the epidural does not work after several days the Doctor should know that there is another problem… for example.. I was having real pain in one arm… the doctor gave me the Epidural.. no help…. after a few days of waiting for the medication to work… so the Doctor Said …. You have Cubital Tunnel Syndrome… that is like trouble with what we would call the Crazy bone in your elbow… when I would bend my arm that nerve had to stretch… That stretching caused the pain … so a Hand/Arm Specialist did an Out patient surgery to move that nerve in my arm so it did not get stretched when I moved my arm…..Problem Solved… that was 20 years ago… it stayed Fixed… Ken …good luck.

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@ken82

@birdman518 I have had cervical problems… I am 83.. my discs are down to almost nothing.. I had a lumbar spinal fusion 25 years ago that was very successful.. that same spine surgeon in OKC prescribed a Cervical Traction Device for me.. that a Physical Therapist taught me how to use it… and that has helped me a lot.. I should use it every day, but when I go without using it for several days I can tell and get into it on the floor to straighten me out for 30 minutes… Those nerves may need to be sorted out by getting an Epidural (steroid shot)… when the epidural does not work after several days the Doctor should know that there is another problem… for example.. I was having real pain in one arm… the doctor gave me the Epidural.. no help…. after a few days of waiting for the medication to work… so the Doctor Said …. You have Cubital Tunnel Syndrome… that is like trouble with what we would call the Crazy bone in your elbow… when I would bend my arm that nerve had to stretch… That stretching caused the pain … so a Hand/Arm Specialist did an Out patient surgery to move that nerve in my arm so it did not get stretched when I moved my arm…..Problem Solved… that was 20 years ago… it stayed Fixed… Ken …good luck.

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Ken, thank you for sharing your story. It seems like many of these neurological pathologies do not have many good treatment options.
Although the arm/hand issues I am having are annoying, I could live with them. But falling like I have can be pretty dangerous. I will plan to update this topic after I see the neurologist in Jan.

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Hello all,
Well tomorrow is my appointment (first time) with my neurosurgeon. I just went back and reviewed (wrote down) peoples' responses to my questions and their advice about what to ask. Still, if anyone wishes to add anything new I would appreciate it.. I will be home until about 10am EST tomorrow.
One of my worries is that he will expect that my neurologist had done more to explore non-surgical options (he did absolutely nothing except one PT trial which did not help).

Mitch

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@birdman518
Thank you for updating us after your appointment. I fall frequently but my feet are numb and I have had thousands of seizures and take seizure meds that alter my balance.
Good luck with your appointment Mitch.
Jake

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@birdman518

Hello all,
Well tomorrow is my appointment (first time) with my neurosurgeon. I just went back and reviewed (wrote down) peoples' responses to my questions and their advice about what to ask. Still, if anyone wishes to add anything new I would appreciate it.. I will be home until about 10am EST tomorrow.
One of my worries is that he will expect that my neurologist had done more to explore non-surgical options (he did absolutely nothing except one PT trial which did not help).

Mitch

Jump to this post

Good luck with your appointment. I had lumbar spinal stenosis surgery three years ago and it was very successful. Beforehand, it seemed like everyone had a terrible story they wanted to tell me, of themselves or someone they knew having awful results, but my surgery was a game changer. Post-surgery, following PT and faithful performance (to this day) of the PT home exercise program, my pain is drastically reduced and I’m able to walk, with special shoes for my lower leg neuropathy. My balance is off, but I’m careful- removed all throw rugs, had grab bars installed in the bathtub, and railings on any stairs, don’t walk on grass, etc.
My recommendation if you go ahead with surgery- insist on Home Care for Skilled Nursing- wound management of the incision and medication management (you’ll at least be on a pain med) and for PT- the PT will get you going on light exercise and walker to cane use, ready for outpatient in 2 weeks. In my case, the hospital PT was reluctant, told me I should just go to outpatient clinic, BUT once home, I wasn’t to ride in a car for 2 weeks, so I would have been vegetating at home, instead the Home Care PT got me up and going, instilled a lot of confidence too.

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@centre

Good luck with your appointment. I had lumbar spinal stenosis surgery three years ago and it was very successful. Beforehand, it seemed like everyone had a terrible story they wanted to tell me, of themselves or someone they knew having awful results, but my surgery was a game changer. Post-surgery, following PT and faithful performance (to this day) of the PT home exercise program, my pain is drastically reduced and I’m able to walk, with special shoes for my lower leg neuropathy. My balance is off, but I’m careful- removed all throw rugs, had grab bars installed in the bathtub, and railings on any stairs, don’t walk on grass, etc.
My recommendation if you go ahead with surgery- insist on Home Care for Skilled Nursing- wound management of the incision and medication management (you’ll at least be on a pain med) and for PT- the PT will get you going on light exercise and walker to cane use, ready for outpatient in 2 weeks. In my case, the hospital PT was reluctant, told me I should just go to outpatient clinic, BUT once home, I wasn’t to ride in a car for 2 weeks, so I would have been vegetating at home, instead the Home Care PT got me up and going, instilled a lot of confidence too.

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Thanks, centre…

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@centre

Good luck with your appointment. I had lumbar spinal stenosis surgery three years ago and it was very successful. Beforehand, it seemed like everyone had a terrible story they wanted to tell me, of themselves or someone they knew having awful results, but my surgery was a game changer. Post-surgery, following PT and faithful performance (to this day) of the PT home exercise program, my pain is drastically reduced and I’m able to walk, with special shoes for my lower leg neuropathy. My balance is off, but I’m careful- removed all throw rugs, had grab bars installed in the bathtub, and railings on any stairs, don’t walk on grass, etc.
My recommendation if you go ahead with surgery- insist on Home Care for Skilled Nursing- wound management of the incision and medication management (you’ll at least be on a pain med) and for PT- the PT will get you going on light exercise and walker to cane use, ready for outpatient in 2 weeks. In my case, the hospital PT was reluctant, told me I should just go to outpatient clinic, BUT once home, I wasn’t to ride in a car for 2 weeks, so I would have been vegetating at home, instead the Home Care PT got me up and going, instilled a lot of confidence too.

Jump to this post

From @efgh1020
This was the aftercare I recommended to my surgeon after my own spinal fusion, which seemed successful at first, but after falls and 2UTI’s I have developed polyneuropathy. He said the data did not support such aftercare. I was a rare case (!) Your response is a validation for me. I have bookmarked 8t, and will make sure he sees it.

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Met my neurosurgeon yesterday, but all that happened is that he schedule a myelogram for me, since I do not have an MRI (thanks to my pacemaker). So I guess it will be another couple of weeks before I go back. I liked my Dr and feel like he will work with me and be conservative in my treatments.

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