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  • DKDC
    Member
    Post count: 2

    Hello Dr. Corenman,

    How nice of you to be answering questions :)

    Since October 2010, I have had numbness in my left hand/fingers, mainly index and middle fingers, but it can change to the other fingers and tingling in the palm throughout the day, and slight weakness in the left arm. Also, muscle cramping in my left armpit area throughout the day, but mostly in the morning. I had an MRI of my c-spine and it showed moderate DDD between C5/6 with mild bilateral foraminal stenosis and moderate DDD between C6/7 with mild left foraminal stenosis. My neurologist sent me to physical therapy in which the PT did massage and manual traction, gave me a set of exercises to follow (which I continue to do at home), and he tried mechanical traction twice, in which after the second time, I developed an eyelid twitch after the session (which took about a week to go away). So, he decided to not continue the traction. I’ve had people recommending other therapies to me: acupuncture, chiropractic, and other physical therapy clinics. I’m really at a loss as to what to try next. If anything? Can a chiropractor or acupuncturist help with DDD? Would another PT do anything different? I have been working on my posture, which the PT said is probably the major culprit in contributing to the DDD. Do I have to live with numb fingers for the rest of my life? (I’m a 46 yo female). I’ve also noticed in the last month or so the bottom of my left foot being tingly and a ‘weird’ feeling in my lower leg-not really a numbness, but a heaviness-upon waking in the morning.

    From what I understand about DDD from my neurologist and the PT, is that it won’t get any better, I just have to try to avoid exercises/postures that will make it worse.

    To me, traction makes the most sense, but maybe I can’t tolerate it?

    Any advice/suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you!!

    Donald Corenman, MD, DC
    Moderator
    Post count: 8436

    You mention that your symptoms are arm related and do not mention neck pain. This is very good because degenerative disc disease causes both neck pain and arm symptoms. The fact you have no neck pain means this degenerative disc disease should give you no neck trouble other than some stiffness.

    In regards to your arm symptoms, it would be unusual to have weakness associated with mild foraminal stenosis. Arm paresthesias (pins and needles) and “numbness” can occur but if foraminal stenosis is present, the symptoms should become more intense with bending the head backwards or to the side of the symptoms. If that is not the case, then have your physician look for something called “thoracic outlet syndrome” or a peripheral nerve entrapment.

    Chiropractic for degenerative disc disease works well in general. For nerve irritability, it can work well as long as the nerve is not aggravated. Acupuncture can be effective for temporary relief but generally doesn’t yield long term relief of symptoms. Traction can be effective for significant nerve compression but for your neck will probably not be as effective. The eye twitching most likely was not directly related to the traction. If the numbness in your arm is related to compression of the nerve root or even irritability, an epidural can be effective also.

    Without any cord compression, your leg symptoms are not related to your neck.

    Dr. Corenman

    DKDC
    Member
    Post count: 2

    Thank you Dr. Corenman.

    Thoracic outlet syndrome was something that I came across when I was in my acute pain phase and I was researching what might be wrong with me. I had terrible left shoulder and arm pain and muscle spasms that started 4 days after receiving a flu shot (and I had the eyelid twitching-that’s why I mentioned it earlier). I went for almost 3 months with this pain until I saw a neurologist that ordered the MRI. When he saw the DDD, he attributed my symptoms to that and I feel like I’ve been dismissed to have this numbness with no relief. I do not really have any neck pain, other than a little soreness and stiffness on some days. Could it be coincidental that I have the DDD and something else is really causing my numbness and tingling? I think it is positional with my neck though.

    Thank you so much for your time.

    Donald Corenman, MD, DC
    Moderator
    Post count: 8436

    Having severe pain 4 days from a flu shot may or may not be interrelated. There is a syndrome called Parsonage Turner Syndrome that is associated with weakness and rarely pain. Feel free to look it up but I am not clear if you had that. Your differential also includes shoulder pathology (like rotator cuff tear) and entrapment neuropathy. I think another set of eyes on you might be helpful and possibly an EMG/NCV test. This all might be from the neck but your MRI report does not fit. Occasionally, radiologists under read films and there might be more on your films then you are aware.

    Dr. Corenman

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