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ejs001
@ejs001

Posts: 4
Joined: Jul 27, 2018

Pinched nerve

Posted by @ejs001, Tue, Aug 28 7:57am

I know compared to many of these posts, this is not as serious an issue, but I am at a loss as to what to do. My husband has been having pain in his upper arm (stabbing pain) It really hurts when it hits. Sometimes it lasts a little while and sometimes quite a while. Over the course of a year the dr has had him on prednisone but you can only take that so many times. But then the pain returns after the prednisone is over. He is also on Lyrica. We know the pain in the arm is from a pinched nerve in the neck (and right now he doesn't want surgery as he just had a knee replacement and he is still dealing with that healing process). The neck never hurts but the arm can be extremely painful at times. Anyone have any ideas on how to combat the pain, other than snipping the nerve. He thinks it is worse when he is at work because of all the computer usage, but it can be just as bad on a weekend. He is on so many heart medicines (he had bypass and a new heart valve put in about three years ago) that he can't take any NSAIDS. He tries Tylenol. Sometimes it dulls the pain, other times it does not do anything. What can he do?

REPLY

Have you tried physical therapy? First, a therapist needs the reports from any imaging he has had and they need to know if there is any instability in his neck. They have some treatments to block pain which I've done myself. I've had spine surgery at Mayo, but before coming to Mayo, my PT bought me some time when I couldn't find a surgeon who would help me. There is a "cold" laser (low level), and a Dolphin Neurostimular which sends current between 2 hand held devices that blocks the neurotransmitters than conduct the nerve impulses. Both of these measure feedback during treatment and adjust accordingly. My PT would do that across all the nerve roots in my neck. She also manually treated the muscles spasms which are also a source of pain when they move the vertebrae around increasing the pressure that can cause a pinched nerve to get worse. It's also possible that the pain can be coming from someplace other than the neck, for example thoracic outlet syndrome. I have this and it is a compression of nerves and blood vessels inbetween the collar bone and rib cage. It's a muscular tightness from the neck to the chest and it causes arm pain and weakness. I've had both a spine problem and TOS together. Physical therapy can also help TOS. Computer usage usually makes TOS worse because it's a positional problem and incorrect posture with forward head and shoulders makes it worse as does stress. A neurologist can evaluate to see if there are other places that nerves might be pinched. He could also have something like carpal tunnel syndrome with nerve compression in the wrist (and I've had that too). I am getting better with therapy and exercise, and my PT also does myofascial release work that stretches out the tight fascia that binds everything together. This helps get things back where they are supposed to be. Posture is very important. FYI, usually a surgeon decompresses a nerve. It's important to figure out exactly where the pain is coming from in order to try to fix it. In his case, there may also be surgical scar tissue that can be contributing to the pain. I wish him well in his recovery from knee surgery.

Here is some information about TOS . https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/thoracic-outlet-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20353988

Here is some information on carpal tunnel syndrome. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/carpal-tunnel-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20355603

@jenniferhunter

Have you tried physical therapy? First, a therapist needs the reports from any imaging he has had and they need to know if there is any instability in his neck. They have some treatments to block pain which I've done myself. I've had spine surgery at Mayo, but before coming to Mayo, my PT bought me some time when I couldn't find a surgeon who would help me. There is a "cold" laser (low level), and a Dolphin Neurostimular which sends current between 2 hand held devices that blocks the neurotransmitters than conduct the nerve impulses. Both of these measure feedback during treatment and adjust accordingly. My PT would do that across all the nerve roots in my neck. She also manually treated the muscles spasms which are also a source of pain when they move the vertebrae around increasing the pressure that can cause a pinched nerve to get worse. It's also possible that the pain can be coming from someplace other than the neck, for example thoracic outlet syndrome. I have this and it is a compression of nerves and blood vessels inbetween the collar bone and rib cage. It's a muscular tightness from the neck to the chest and it causes arm pain and weakness. I've had both a spine problem and TOS together. Physical therapy can also help TOS. Computer usage usually makes TOS worse because it's a positional problem and incorrect posture with forward head and shoulders makes it worse as does stress. A neurologist can evaluate to see if there are other places that nerves might be pinched. He could also have something like carpal tunnel syndrome with nerve compression in the wrist (and I've had that too). I am getting better with therapy and exercise, and my PT also does myofascial release work that stretches out the tight fascia that binds everything together. This helps get things back where they are supposed to be. Posture is very important. FYI, usually a surgeon decompresses a nerve. It's important to figure out exactly where the pain is coming from in order to try to fix it. In his case, there may also be surgical scar tissue that can be contributing to the pain. I wish him well in his recovery from knee surgery.

Here is some information about TOS . https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/thoracic-outlet-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20353988

Here is some information on carpal tunnel syndrome. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/carpal-tunnel-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20355603

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Thank you. Physical therapy is out for right now as he has exhausted his benefits from all the physical therapy from the knee. We do have imaging and we do know it is a pinched nerve in the neck. I forgot to say that he does have carpal tunnel of the wrist and of the elbow. He also has arthritis (osteo). He is thinking of asking for a better chair than we all have here (we work at the same place) They say our chairs are ergonomic but we really don't think they are. I appreciate your input.

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