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Thread: Dr. Young, Nurses - right side deteriorating

  1. #1
    Senior Member alan's Avatar
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    Dr. Young, Nurses - right side deteriorating

    As long as I'm being verbose today, I might as well ask this. Several years ago (2001), I noticed that my right side seemed to be deteriorating. My right arm was feeling weak and numb, my right eye was blurrier than the left, and the pains on the right side of my body were intensifying faster than those on the left side (save for the left scapula area.) Naturally, I got an MRI (it was my second that year), and I was told nothing had changed from the previous scan, or scans before that one (I've gotten nearly all my MRIs from the same place, and the two that year were done there.) I've continued to have annual MRIs at the facility, and the reports remain the same - no change from prior scan (the hole in cord is stable, apparently.) Yet, the changes on my right side continue - the weak feeling in the arm is there more often, the pain, the blurry eye (that was checked, too - it has a mild astigmatism, but that was there before 2001, and the eye is physically fine otherwise.) I do have degenerating disks above and below my C-4 to C-6 fusion, and some in my thoracic and lumbar spine, but a disk problem wouldn't affect an entire side of the body, would it? There's no pain in my neck, but sometimes (like now), there's very mild pain in my right shoulder.

    Is this just a facet of aging with SCI?
    Alan

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  2. #2
    Senior Member alan's Avatar
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    I don't think this is scoliosis related, and I'd think a disk impinging on a nerve in my neck would not affect an entire side, and would cause pain in my neck.
    Alan

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  3. #3
    Alan, a badly protruding disk can push on the cord, and could cause one-sided symptoms, as could a syrinx or severe stenosis. I know it is difficult for you to get medical care, but you really need to see a neurosurgeon and get this evaluated. If you have cord impingement, the longer it goes on, the less likely that it will improve if decompressed.

    (KLD)

  4. #4
    Alan,

    Given the number of MRI's that you have had and the attention that has been paid to the spinal cord, I can't imagine that you have a disc compressing your spinal cord. It would have discovered by now. The presence of a small syrinx does suggest that you have some tethering of your spinal cord and obstruction to cerebrospinal fluid. You may have tethering and adhesions on the right side but that would not be readily detectable on MRI. Most surgeons, however, would not want to operate for a small stable syrinx because because the surgery itself may produce more adhesions.

    The tendency of symptoms to be worse on one side is not unusual in people with spinal cord injury. I don't think that the astigmatism on the right eye is necessarily related to the injury. For example, when people do have astigmatism, it is often worse in one eye or even present in only one eye. Do you have Horner's syndrome? This is the tendency of one eye to have a more dilated pupil and the eyelid of that eye to be weaker.

    I need to think about this and will post more later.

    Wise.



    Quote Originally Posted by alan
    As long as I'm being verbose today, I might as well ask this. Several years ago (2001), I noticed that my right side seemed to be deteriorating. My right arm was feeling weak and numb, my right eye was blurrier than the left, and the pains on the right side of my body were intensifying faster than those on the left side (save for the left scapula area.) Naturally, I got an MRI (it was my second that year), and I was told nothing had changed from the previous scan, or scans before that one (I've gotten nearly all my MRIs from the same place, and the two that year were done there.) I've continued to have annual MRIs at the facility, and the reports remain the same - no change from prior scan (the hole in cord is stable, apparently.) Yet, the changes on my right side continue - the weak feeling in the arm is there more often, the pain, the blurry eye (that was checked, too - it has a mild astigmatism, but that was there before 2001, and the eye is physically fine otherwise.) I do have degenerating disks above and below my C-4 to C-6 fusion, and some in my thoracic and lumbar spine, but a disk problem wouldn't affect an entire side of the body, would it? There's no pain in my neck, but sometimes (like now), there's very mild pain in my right shoulder.

    Is this just a facet of aging with SCI?

  5. #5
    Senior Member alan's Avatar
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    Thanks for the answers. I saw a neurosurgeon this past spring, and an orthopedist. Both were unimpressed - they said the same thing about my MRIs that the radiologist at the facility always says - they haven't changed from year to year, and there's nothing they could see in my neck that warranted treatment. There's basically no cord between C-4 and C-6, but there is scar tissue. My scoliosis may be making me off-balance, but it's not curved enough for surgery. My popping shoulder blades weren't checked, despite my asking (would a CT scan of the upper back show anything - I have to get an abdominal CT for a suspected hemangioma, and can have my doc add the shoulder blade area.if it would serve any purpose. Ought to scan what's left of my brain, too.)

    Every time I see a doctor, he or she winds up telling me how healthy I am. I'd love to feel as healthy as I'm diagnosed to be, instead of like the poster child for central pain syndrome.

    Horner's Syndrome is a possibility. It hasn't been mentioned recently, but it was in the early years. My eye doesn't droop, but I think the pupillary response is slower on the right side.

    Too bad there's no way to drain that C-4 to C-6 area with a spinal tap needle.
    Last edited by alan; 11-01-2005 at 10:07 PM.
    Alan

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  6. #6
    Senior Member alan's Avatar
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    I really do need to find some treatment for the shoulder blades, at least. Even the few ADLs I was able to do keep getting more difficult because of the combination of the scapulas catching (and the sensation of them sticking through my skin), the pain back there that has everything feeling hard and taut, and my poor balance due to the scoliosis (which also doesn't need treatment, according to the doctors I saw.) All I know is all of this is depressing me and driving me nuts, and it stinks. There should be something helpful out there.
    Last edited by alan; 11-20-2005 at 09:18 PM.
    Alan

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    Senior Member alan's Avatar
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    Does anyone know the proper positions to place electrical stimulator pads to work the muscles that hold down the shoulder blades? I've gotten a muscle stimulator, but don't have any diagrams. I'm hoping that, if those muscles get built up, the scapulas will be held in proper position and stop catching on whatever bones they catch on. That won't help the neuropathic pain in the area, but should make my arms more usable than they are now.

    I'm in another period of not sleeping, eating even less than usual, and being less able to tolerate sitting. I don't know what causes these exacerbated pains periods (on top of the regular intensity increases), but I sure as hell don't need them.

  8. #8
    Thee are numerous muscles in the shoulder/neck area. The electrical stimulation is quite complex.
    If you can't see a therapist, I would suggest just putting one lead over the area that is bothering and start with the lowest energy possible or looking at a diagram.Work from there.

    You can get a diagram of the muscles off the net(google) and this might help you pinpoint it better.Be specific-i e.anatomy,diagram of muscles nerves, scapula or something like that & see what you get.
    There is always a possibility that it could make the pain worse or have an adverse effect.

    CWO

  9. #9
    Senior Member alan's Avatar
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    I'm looking into getting a PT who has some knowledge of e-stim.

    I'm going to try to get to yet another pain doc/neuro next month, but I don't expect anything different than from the previous dozens of docs. "You have a scoliosis, but it isn't bad enough to need repair." "You have no spinal cord between C-4 and C-6." "Post-SCI pain is often untreatable." "I don't know what your shoulder blade is catching on." And so on.
    Alan

    Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.

  10. #10
    Alan, I certainly wish we had more to offer you for your problems like this. I am stumped.

    (KLD)

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