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As my readers know I have been struggling with arm pain and pins and needles for a while now and I saw my Neurosurgeon back in September last year to see if he could help me with this problem. It was originally thought that it was another trapped ulnar nerve which I have had before and even had surgery to rectify this problem. It was an instant success so I was not too worried if this needed to be repeated although my surgeon did explain that second surgeries for this type of nerve problem are never as successful second time around.

I was sent for an MRI of my cervical spine to see if the problem was coming from that area and an MRI of my elbow to look at what was going on there and also for some nerve conduction tests. I had all these before the end of last year and went back to see my consultant for the results recently.

The nerve conduction studies of my upper limb showed some radicular EMG ( electrical activity in muscle) changes relating to cervical spine C7/C8 and my MRI of my cervical spine showed worsening right C8 foraminal stenosis at C7/T1 from my previous MRI in 2020. The results showed no sign of any ulnar nerve compression or ulnar neuropathy.

We discussed a number of options from conservative oral analgesia/cervical core muscle strengthening exercises, to a CT guided right C8 nerve root block injection or surgery in the form of a C7/T1 ACDF(Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion) or right C7/foraminotomy (surgery to enlarge the area around one of the bones in my spinal column. The surgery relieves pressure on compressed nerves).

I decided to get a nerve root block booked in as I knew the wait would be quite long and I will continue with the conservative method in the hope it helps until I can have the injection. I am completely against surgery which my consultant knows but he just wanted to explain to me that it could be done if it gets worse.

Spinal stenosis usually affects the lower (lumbar) spine. The next most commonly affected part of the spine is the cervical spine in the neck. Stenosis of the spine at the back of your chest (thoracic spine) is much less common. Spinal stenosis is blockages that narrow the spinal column or block an intervertebral foramen.

Symptoms of spinal stenosis in the lumbar spine causes Weakness of the legs which may affect both legs or just one leg. Spinal stenosis affecting the cervical spine can cause pain and weakness in the shoulders and arms and pins and needles.

An MRI is the best way to find out if you are suffering from any type of spinal stenosis.

Some ways to help with the pain of spinal stenosis include weight loss if you are overweight, increase your walking if its in your lumbar spine, follow exercises for either area which should be given to you by a physiotherapist or other health professional and/or pain relief, muscle relaxants etc. The other option is the spinal injection which can be done in either the lumbar area or the cervical area.

The symptoms will not improve and can only get worse but they can also come and go with an episode of really bad pain which might then settle down again. Although treatments for spinal stenosis are often effective at reducing symptoms, the symptoms don’t usually completely resolve.



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