I just came across this site. Unlike many of you who have been living for years with chronic pain it has been 1 1/2 years for me. It started with pain in my forearm just below the elbow on the lateral side. Working in healthcare and being a nursing student I assumed it to be Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis). I saw my family Dr. who agreed that it did in fact sound like tennis elbow, he gave me a tennis elbow band and some pain medicine and on my way I went. With each passing week it felt like the pain was getting worse and spreading down my arm into my hands and fingers affecting my muscle control and dexterity and then eventually up my arm into my shoulder. I was sent for a battery of tests - a Cervical & Thoracic MRI, Which showed some mild changes in C4, C5 & C6, from there I was referred to Physical Therapy for what they thought then was Cervical Radiculopathy. The PT that I saw on the 1st visit after taking my history and examining me said that it sounded more like Thoracic Outlet Syndrome to him. With that information I went back to my family doctor, she sent me for an EMG/NCS which showed nerve impingement at C8, from there I was sent for a Doppler Ultrasound which came back confirming Neurogenic TOS. With that my family Dr. sent me to a Vascualr Surgeon who specializes in TOS, he confirmed the diagnosis and I was then referred to a pain management Dr and it has been the 2 of them that have been treating my problem. I have to date had a Brachial Plexus Block, 2 Stellate Ganglion Blocks and 1 Cervical Epidural Injection. It recently has been thought that I suffer from Cervical Radiculopathy and TOS. I am on chronic pain meds, Oxycodone 10 mg every 6 hrs., Flexeril which is a muscle relaxer, they tried me on a round of Neurontin 100's and 300's but this only exacerbated my Anxiety and Panic Disorder so they have since stopped that medication. There are other medications like Neurontin with lower side effects but of course my insurance company will not pay for them due to there expense. For me it just seems like even with all the treatments my problem is just getting worse and spreading for now I have pain in my shoulder, the right side of my neck and scapular region on my back. I also have tenderness which can be palpated right under my collar bone and if my 2 yr old climbs on me when I'm stretching out my upper back on the floor tha pain in my scapular region on my back come right through to the front in my rib cage like someone stabbed me with a dull knife. I was forced to drop out of school and I am unable to work since I am right hand dominate and what job is there that doesn't involve your hands. The thing that is really weird is that smaller things like typing or writing cause me more pain than picking up my 2 y/o who is 30 #. This has taken it's toll on every aspect of my life. As stated above I also suffer from Major Depressive Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Panic Disorder. I had those long before the pain all started. However, I know that living with chronic pain came make these mental conditions worse and vice-versa depression can make pain worse. In other words your completely stuck in a realm all on your own outcasted by everyday people some who believe you have these medical problems but are making them out to be worse then they really are and others who don't believe you at all that you are faking to stay out of work and get out of doing things and for sympathy. Family that is supposed to love, care and support you turns their back on you and your left to fend for yourself which just starts the spiral of depression, pain, depression, pain all over again. There have been days that I just wanted to walk into the hospital and say just cut it off, I can't live with the pain and uselessness of this arm anymore. I've had rounds of prednisone with little or no relief. The injections help a little but only for a short while. And the pain meds since I've been on them for so long just don't seem as well anymore. I think I need to discuss a dosage adjustment with my Dr. at my next visit. Just like most of you I have my better days and my completely debilitating days. And if I start off fairly good in the morning by night fall I am in agony unable to sleep. I have also had 3 isolated seizures and suffer from IBS and reflux so I have to be extremely careful about medications prescribed. If anyone out ther is in the same boat and has any ideas please let me know. I'm only 35 with 3 children and can't even fathom going through the rest of my life like this.
Published On: January 12, 2009