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Chronic C8 Radiculopathy with no numbness/tingling -- depression/anxiety (33M)

Hi all -- I am a 33 year old male who was hit at 60mph in a rear end accident a couple years back.  I was fortunate to have no neck pain, but had some numbness/tingling in my ring & pinky fingers at night that would wake me up, yet my MRI said my C7-T1 and T1-T2 were "Normal".  

I had some clicking in my thoracic spine that started occurring with deep breaths, so I decided to seek more treatment.  I had no neck pain, but thought there might be still something contributing from the neck so I figured why not (I had my neck adjusted probably 8 or 9 times prior with no complications)  I went to a chiropractor just twice over two weeks -- first visit went fine, but on the 2nd visit, my body involuntarily flinched and resisted with all its might.  It was the fast high-velocity kind with a lot of rotation. I was not distracted for the adjustment.  The chiropractor didn't let up, and instead forced through my resistance -- no audible pops, just a ton of muscle tension and my head was held at end range for a couple seconds.  I didn't have pain immediately at the time, but in the days and weeks afterwards I started getting shocks on the left side of my neck, along the upper part of my trapezius.

My neck was torqued, and I've never been the same since.  It bulged C7-T1, effaced the ventral thecal sac and ventral nerve root -- small 1.6mm, 5.2mm wide bulge, but its there.  T1-T2 has now lost height and I have facet arthritis there as well.  EMG revealed "moderate chronic radiculopathy" just 3 weeks after the adjustment.  While it does say chronic, I have no doubt in my mind it would say normal had my neck not been torqued.  The numbness in my ring & pinky fingers at night is very likely caused by my mild thoracic outlet syndrome (or perhaps because my elbows hitting the mattress while I have rest with my hands on my stomach -- it doesn't happen if I have my hands to my sides)

The last 9 months have been hell -- I had already accepted my post-accident life, and it was so so so much better than what I'm dealing with currently.  Thus the depression and anxiety.

I've tried PT, Airrosti, Oral Steroids, MORE Chirorpractic, Cranial Sacral Therapy, Osteopathic Manipulation.  Two surgeons have recommended the Epidural Steroid and I have not yet gone down that route out of fear.  I have read that it's not effective unless you have symptoms down into your arm, which I don't.  I just have this chronic upper trapezius spasm that gives me electric shock symptoms when I use it intensely.  I can also create the electric shock sensation when I flex my trap (hand behind head) and palpate the spasm near my paraspinals.  

I'm not sure at this point if I should go forward with the ESI or just give it more time...

Anyways... I just wanted to vent and say hello.  I am sure many of you also have horror chiro stories... the guy I saw had 20 years in the business and nearly 100 5-star reviews across all platforms.  One reviewer said "he doesn't force things".  Ugh, still dealing with guilt over going and trying to move on; it's just really hard since I miss my old life so much.



  • memerainboltmemerainbolt IndianaPosts: 4,703

    Welcome X2020 to the Veritas Health Forum.

    Chronic pain, depression and anxiety all go hand in hand. Most of us here have gone this and/or are still fighting the battle every day. I find that it's mind over body and I'm not letting my mind take over and be depressed. It's a work in progress. Over the years I have had a lot of injections, but mine are lumbar. Still, some have helped, some didn't. But the ones that did were worth it just to get the inflammation down.

    While you’re waiting for a reply to your first post, please take a few moments to review the Code of Conduct and FAQ section, located under Forum Tools. There you will find important information about posting in the forum and helpful tips for new members.

    Have you read through our Chronic Pain Resources on Spine-health? You’ll find a number of valuable Chronic Pain Coping Techniques and resources for Understanding Neuropathy Symptoms. It’s a comprehensive resource for those seeking more information about chronic pain. I hope you find these resources helpful.

    Again, welcome to the Veritas Health Forum.
    Veritas Health Forum Moderator

  • Hi X2020, sorry to hear about your issues. I have suffered from neck pain for years and it can be quite depression and cause lots of anxiety.  I stayed away from chiropractors as I didn't like the idea of someone torquing my already sore neck i stuck with physiotherapy. Everyone is different but I would recommend seeking a good physiotherapist as it may help relieve some of the pain you are feeling. Have you had an MRI on your cervical spine? If not I would suggest getting one to see if you have issues there. It can be really frustrating especially at a young age, I am only 45 and it sucks. Recently had C5/C6 fused as i had long term spinal compression, was not a lot of pain with it but neck mobility was bad and painful to turn to far left and or right and looking up or down. Im still in recovery mode as COVID slowed it all down. Good luck and feel free to PM me if you have any questions.

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  • I had that adjustment once 30 years ago and didn’t even know what the heck he was doing. I was so in shock I will never let that happen again or tell anyone to get that done .  But have had gentle stretches in the lower back but no snaps ever. Like there should be a video of what they want to do to you.

    But you have numbness in your pinky, Did you get an EMG?

    I had Torticollis neck strain and lasted 9 months then it was gone. I hope yours goes gets better and not overdo exercises. Charry

  • Charry -- thank you for your comment.  I feel so silly since I had no neck pain at the time... I even had the vigorous 90-degree twist one week prior and can't believe I allowed it to be done again.  Clearly I was anxious about it if I flinched, but then again I'm not the doctor who forced it all.  

    I did get an EMG, which said "moderate chronic radiculopathy of C8, left", but I don't have any weakness/numbness/tingling.  The numbness in my ring & pinky finger only ever happened at night, and was only when I had my hands on my stomach & resting my elbows on the bed (local ulnar nerve compression).  

    What were your symptoms of torticollis?  Was your head cocked to the side with limited movement, and what did you do to resolve yours?  

    I haven't had this diagnosed yet, but I'm almost positive that my trapezius spasm is "splinting" an injured area to stabilize it, but I don't know what specifically is injured.  The disc shows a minor bulge... but it could be a ruptured facet joint, weakened/strained ligament, etc.  

    I saw a neurosurgeon this morning, who said he wouldn't operate and that my MRI is relatively clean -- he said I shouldn't do an epidural since I don't have constant pain and nothing down into the arm, and that I should just get massages and take muscle relaxers.  Possibly trigger point injections... but I don't feel like I have tender trigger points.  Even the spasm itself isn't symptomatic to touch until I get to where it attaches to my bottom neck vertebrae.

  • charryccharry Posts: 264
    edited 06/20/2020 - 9:24 AM

    Sternoclodialmastoid muscle (Sp?) 

    I took muscle relaxants, Physio massage acupuncture once or twice. Started biking and stuff but it was a horrid time being young and dropped out of a clinical specialty area because I couldn’t concentrate at school. But got a office job and like I said 9 months later got better and got more active at the gym aerobics and got a more active job. 

    I think I even wore a collar sometimes magnet therapy support for shoulders ice  &  heat alternate. But it was 30 years ago and hard to remember everything. 

    Everyone has a different timeline in healing but  surely they have better treatments then 30 years ago? 

    Keep us posted. Ice is my best friend but moist heat awesome as well. Physiotherapist was always first and muscle relaxants but make you sleepy and you can’t drive taking them . Take care

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  • A chiropractor damaged a facet joint in my neck and i was told not to sue as it would be my word against his, chiropracticy should be banned

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