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Old 04-20-2006, 02:28 PM   #1
stef bradford
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Okay. Posted this a while back. It's now in the archives (through Apr 06) but the original post was:


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"History:
Started with mild neck pain/stiff neck 12 hours after introducing ring dips, increasing pain, apparent C7 over 24 hrs. Severe stiff neck, neck pain for ~48hrs. This gradually abated, but radial numbness and down arms, and pain in specific positions (first pull on snatch and clean, certain positions while trying to sleep) started growing, C5/C6 type distribution.

At ~2weeks got a quickie, under the table visit to a PT friend of a friend. Poked/prodded, admired my muscular development and pronounced it "scalene syndrome". Prescibed a couple stretches, told me to come back in two weeks if not signicantly better.

Now, there just isn't anything on me that's tight, but I stretched anyway. Numbness went from present only in specific positions to persistent numbness in some areas (thumb, L side) over one week. Greater pain while training. Cut back on pullups presses and rows, but kept up with the snatches, cleans and other varieties of pulls. Worsening pain/numbness.

Went to a friend of a friend massage therapist. Pushed, prodded, found nothing of note except my supposedly high pain tolerance (she couldn't quite grasp that her squishing and mashing just wasn't producing any pain). Accused me of being "tight" (sorry, but the right word is "muscular" though I can see how working on jellyfish-chicks might skew her perspective) and suggested more stretching for my not tight or inflexible self.

Tried more stretches and pokes and manipulations suggested on site after site. When looking at something called a "first rib stretch" it reminded me that when the neck hurt the worst, and I did the front squats anyway, the pain had dropped markedly during the actual sets. Now, the suggested first rib stretch was pretty silly-- drape a towel over one shoulder, pull it diagonally across and down the chest and back with the other hand-- not a good position to pull from. Instead, I grabbed a green band, put it over the left shoulder just medial to the delt, brought it across the body and stomped on it with my right foot. Held there with relaxed shoulder so that side was pulled down quite strongly.

Result: immediate decreased numbness, improved symptoms over the next 36hrs (with band-forced downward stretching done for 2 x 30 sec per side 3 times a day).

Predicition: extra rib or first rib malformation.

Any comments or suggestions?

s."------------------------------------------
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Here's the follow up---
MRI shows some compromise of nerve root + thecal sac in the C5-C6 area on the left side. This is consistent with some of the symptoms. Of course, as everyone knows, pathology on MRI does not equal an actual problem or cause of pain/paresthesia.

Plain film x-ray shows a little cervical rib on the left side. Naturally, cervical rib does not equal pain/numbness related to the structural abnormality-- most never are associated with any symptoms.

PT, still thinks it may be scalene and/or pec minor related. Either due to hypertrophy or the particular arrangement of nerve/muscle (scalene attachments and nerve paths through this area are quite variable). Haven't yet got a consult with the area's best neuro man for his opinion.

So far I'm stuck with what may be the worst possible situation-- multiple possibilities, all which might or might not be the actual cause. I'm going mad, mad, MAD!!!!

s.
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Old 04-20-2006, 07:42 PM   #2
Jason Erickson
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I'll say it again - you would be a fascinating person to work with. With a congenital issue like a cervical rib, it seems odd that you wouldn't have had these (or very similar) symptoms earlier in life. Could be the activities just prior to onset of the symptoms were merely the "straw on the camel's back" and the cervical rib merely set you up for an eventual fall.

Have you noticed changes in your pain-free ROM? How do they compare R to L? Other than the band stretches, what other movements have you been doing to work on this?

Do to the success of the band stretching, it seems likely that long-term relief may be had without surgical intervention. Hope you find the right combination of manual therapy and exercise instruction to relieve the symptoms and keep them at bay!

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Old 04-20-2006, 10:31 PM   #3
stef bradford
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Typically, cervical ribs are not problems until some sort of injury, esp car accident. Still don't know if it is that or up in the c5-6 area.

It is much more the paresthesia than actual pain and only in specific movements. I'm doing my regular training BTW, just being slightly more conservative than I can usually force myself to be -- iow, less 90%+ olympic lifts, more squats than usual, less total reps on presses and so on. I'm not adding anything else for stretches or whatever as I don't have problems with inflexibility or strength deficits to correct.

Right now, the wait is to see what input I can get from the neuro guy. He might be able to differentiate the potential causes. I can be pretty patient with adding in extra movements or avoiding some regular life activities, but have little use for advice that consists of "stop lifting weights" (as the radiologist suggested) as that is not acceptable.

s.

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Old 04-25-2006, 09:11 AM   #4
Richard Paul Ham-Williams
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have you had your posture checked dude?

sometimes the simplest things can be overlooked due to the severity of the symptons.

have you had any injuries unrelated to that area at all over the past year?

hows your breathing -or rather do you carry out breathing exercises aside from huffing and puffing through a workout? if not - you should.
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