View Full Version : Arm Weakness

12th February 2007, 08:43 PM
Hi all
I've mentioned before that Cerys has a very weak left arm and is currently really struggling to do very simple things ie get dressed and get onto the sofa etc. The consultant noted this and the fact that she also has little feeling as she burnt her finger recently and didn't make a murmur. I'm concerned that her arm seems to be getting worse and am wondering if anybody else has had this problem and if physio would help at all. The consultant seemed to think that there was some nerve damage/compression but we will not get the mri result until we see them again in March. Will the arm respond to physio if it is nerve damage?
Sorry for waffling but I'm worried that if we don't do something soon it will take a long time to correct!
Thanks - Ella

12th February 2007, 10:17 PM
Perhaps it would be worth giving QMC a call, and ask Mr Freeman's secretary if it would be possible to check if anything showed up on the MRI that means she should be seen sooner. It could also be worth asking if there's anything that can be done in the meantime - I know it's preferred not to give a child too many drugs, but perhaps some NSAIDs would help with inflammation and thus help settle the nerve problems a little. Other thought is that you could ring spinal outpatients and ask them if the nurse led clinic on a Friday still runs, as you could take her along to that perhaps.

In general, nerve damage from compression will heal very well given a little time. I remember you saying Cerys has a head tilt, so that could be either stretching the nerve, or closing off nerve root exits, depending on whether the tilt is to the left or the right, and I'd guess either way the surgery will resolve it and she'll regain the function. While it was not severe weakness, and I didn't have actual cervical work done nevertheless being pulled back upright so that I wasn't craning my neck any more had me stop dropping things almost immediately, where I had been just failing to hold onto stuff before my revision surgery, so I know you can get early gains quite quickly if all goes well :-)

I'd be reluctant to suggest physio by anyone other than the guys at QMC because a normal physio just isn't going to know what they're up against - certainly until knowing more of the reason for it, physio could do more harm than good if they take the wrong approach - I'd not think of permanent damage, but just worry that the already irritable nerves could get aggravated further. Something you could perhaps check gently though is whether she's got muscle spasms around her neck and shoulder on that side. If so, *very* gentle massage of the area with some light oil might help a little by relaxing them as sometimes it's more the muscle pinching the nerve than anything else - perhaps applying an ibuprofen or diclofenac gel would be another possibility, and certainly should not do any harm to anything.

Final thing I'd wonder is whether it's not so much that her arm is getting weaker in terms of nerve problems but now that she's not been using it much that there's muscle atrophy - much like you'd get after having your arm in a cast for several weeks for example. That aspect of it should heal pretty quickly as well :-)

13th February 2007, 01:20 PM
Thanks Titch
As always, you are very helpful. I'm just glad to know that it can be reversed after surgery. I was worried about the muscles not being used as they should be and therefore getting even weaker.
I did consider phoning QMC but we are due to be seen in 4 weeks so I doubt that they would get her in before that. When I rang to organise her appt. I got the impression that we wouldn't be told the mri results until then but I suppose we've not got long to wait now. I might ring and see about the drop in clinic if I can get there(I don't drive).
Anyway it's on my list of questions (they are going to love me!)
My friends little girl broke her arm 2 weeks ago and really struggled and it made me realise more what Cerys goes through everyday bless her. She is very determined to be independant though so if it takes her 10 minutes to get her top on she'd rather do it herself than have mum help her!
We do give her a little massage which helps and she will often ask me to "stroke back". A bath also seems to help relax her muscles as she sleeps much better if shes just been in the bath.
Anyway I'd better go, some idiot broke into the car last night and the windscreen is smashed to bits.We're trying to sort it out!
p.s I know some hospitals can put x-rays and ct scans onto disc. Do you know if they can at QMC
Thanks again love Ella x