Cervical stenosis/ radiculopathy advice

Mat48
Mat48 Member Posts: 1,075
edited 9. Dec 2023, 20:25 in Living with arthritis

Hi I wonder if anyone here can advise me on how long I might have wait for an MRI looking for this? I’m in Scotland and this started suddenly as tennis elbow in left arm 7 weeks ago but now radiates from neck up into head and down my left arm through ulnar nerve into fingers. I already have significant cervical disc degeneration affecting left side along with lumbar degeneration in same left side. My neurologist said she was ordering another MRI when I saw her on Thursday but since then my arm problems have escalated and I’m feeling scared about this progression. I’m immunesuppressed for systemic sclerosis and have a bad track record with pain drugs and surgery so I’m just using a tubigrip an OT gave me for my elbow and 5% lidocaine ointment - which really helps with pain. I’m scared I won’t know if this suddenly becomes a medical emergency until too late to stop immunesuppression or that the wait is going to cause long term damage to my spinal cord. Some reassurance and awareness of what symptoms to watch out for would be greatly appreciated 🤞🏻😊

If you get lemons, make lemonade

Comments

  • Trish9556
    Trish9556 Member Posts: 450

    Hi @Mat48

    Would you describe the sensation in your arm like severe pins and needles, like someone is squeezing a plastic bag of marbles until the bag pops?

    Trish xx

  • Mat48
    Mat48 Member Posts: 1,075
    edited 9. Dec 2023, 20:51

    Thanks for replying. Yes it is a bit like that. I described it to my neurologist as like a warm glow from my neck down into my elbow with tendon pain (tennis elbow meaning I can’t lift or squeeze without pain). Also pins and needles in the ulnar part. And new - a tight squeezing sensation in my elbow and surrounds. I keep feeling I have the tubigrip on even when I don’t?

    If you get lemons, make lemonade
  • Trish9556
    Trish9556 Member Posts: 450

    I had the pins and needles in my arm for a long time before my surgeon gave me a c6/7 foraminitomy in march. It's like an acdf surgery but done through the back of the neck. Stopped all symptoms. I was originally scheduled for an acdf until they found my vertebral artery was in the wrong place.

    My problem started with headaches shooting up I toy head progressing to pain going across shoulder and down to my fingers with the pins and needles.

    Not sure if that is any help? Took a long time to get to the bottom of it.

    Try not restricting with elastic bandage, I found that made everything feel more uncomfortable

    Trish xx

  • Mat48
    Mat48 Member Posts: 1,075
    edited 9. Dec 2023, 21:11

    Thanks so much Trish. That’s good news that surgery worked well for you.

    I’m already long diagnosed with Cervicogenic headaches and severe disc degeneration in C5/6 and C6/7 affecting my left side. So I knew to see a GP - who requested a neurology review. Initially my main symptom was headaches on waking which I already knew were neck related - even though I don’t have much neck pain. I’m pretty sure it’s this causing the pain and weakness in my left arm but I’m worried about having to wait too long for surgery if so. I’m not sure if it’s classed as urgent or is it just like the long wait people have for knee and hip replacements do you know? I’d hope because it’s spinal it would be sooner rather than later 🤞🏻

    If you get lemons, make lemonade
  • Mat48
    Mat48 Member Posts: 1,075

    Ps I will stop using the tube now you’ve advised. Thanks so much xx

    If you get lemons, make lemonade
  • Trish9556
    Trish9556 Member Posts: 450

    I think you would be better seeing a good neurosurgeon to organise the CT and MRI scans to diagnose you properly. They would also want you to undergo carpel tunnel test before sling any decision.

    Mine did take a very long time to get sorted with COVID messing up surgery once I had got to that stage.

    I did find a long wheatbag helped round my neck and also a neck massager. I was given gabapentin as that's all I could have. Also helps not having too many pillow.

    I hope you get some help soon, not sure how things work in Scotland but I hope you don't have to wait as long as me.

    Trish xx

  • Mat48
    Mat48 Member Posts: 1,075
    edited 9. Dec 2023, 23:37

    Thanks but I’m sure my neurologist will refer me onto a neurosurgeon if MRI flags up as they work side by side in my hospital. I happen to already be one of her patients for this and other Sjögren’s related problems so my GP felt this was quickest way.

    My main consultant is a rheumatologist and I can email her directly too but she said to ask the GP to sort as osteoarthritis of the spine not really for her to manage.

    It’s taken over 12 years to get correctly diagnosed with my rheumatic autoimmune overlap and 61 years to be diagnosed with EDS. So I’m used to having to things taking a very long time with the NHS! However I’m a bit scared of this cervical spondylosis because it seems to be associated with all sorts of neurological symptoms, leg weakness, bladder and other problems etc that I’ve had progressing for many years. With Christmas and New Year looming and a long weekend away booked for next month - I worry about what to do if this turns into a medical emergency? I have an old friend who was almost left completely paralysed by cauda equina which kept being dismissed as sciatica.

    They aren’t dismissing me so far but my experiences of doctors joining up the dots wrongly makes me very wary! X

    If you get lemons, make lemonade
  • Trish9556
    Trish9556 Member Posts: 450

    Hi @Mat48

    I hope you get some resolution soon. I was thrown around the system for twenty years before I got the surgery. Mine was relatively easily treated as a trapped nerve which depending on where abouts it is depends on which part of the body is affected including bladder and bowels and weakness in the various joints which is why I think you would be better seen by a neurosurgeon.

    My initial diagnoses over the years included nothing, nothing but take this pill and go away, carpal tunnel and oh you must have had a horrendous head on car accident. These were all by medical professionals at msk teams before I got to a real surgeon who diagnosed helped and understood. If you can get seen by somebody who understands how to diagnose and fix problems stemming from your neck rather than going the long way round you should save a lot of pain frustration and delay.

    Love n hugs

    Trish xx