Donald Corenman, MD, DC
Post count: 8436

Your symptoms sound more like facet syndrome of C2-3 and C3-4. The reason it is called a syndrome is that you can prove facet dysfunction causing the symptoms by elimination of the symptoms through facet blocks (injections) but you cannot identify the disorder by imaging (X-rays and MRI). Now, you can identify (sometimes) degenerative facet disease by X-rays and MRIs but many individuals with facet degeneration do not have your symptoms and some with symptoms have no identifiable facet disease.

Diagnosis is by history, physical examination and injection studies. Your symptoms seem to fit and you can palpate and reproduce symptoms with deep facet pressure, the physical examination test.

Lifting of the left arm is facilitated through the levator scapulae muscle which inserts in this neck region and can aggravate the symptoms but shoulder disorders can also do this. You must rule out tendinitis or tear of the rotator cuff before the diagnosis can be fully made.

The diagnosis is made by facet block (see website for pain diary) and treatment is by rhizotomy (neurolysis of the medial branch of the posterior fascicle- see website). Generally, surgery is rarely needed.

Dr. Corenman