Many moons ago, in 2005, I posted about going through brachial plexus neuritis.
I’d have to say I fully recovered from that quite some time ago, but I am constantly surprised when a new sufferer discovers that post and shares their experience. It really is a fairly rare disorder, striking about 1 in 100,000 people.
Depending on the skill of your doctor and the health system your in, it can take weeks or even many months to be properly diagnosed. In the meantime, you live in excruciating and constant pain. At best it gets managed with something like oxyconton. Which doesn’t at all solve the pain, but leaves you so fuzzy and tired that you just don’t care as much. It’s also of course highly addictive.
Some excellent information about brachial plexus neuritis is available at the American Acadamy of Family Physicians website.
Magnetic resonance imaging of the shoulder and upper arm musculature may reveal denervation within days, allowing prompt diagnosis. Electromyography, conducted three to four weeks after the onset of symptoms, can localize the lesion and help confirm the diagnosis.
It’s a difficult diagnosis for a doctor to make, and it can be a huge help if your doctor has a good network of specialists he can call on. I have an excellent doctor, with a frighteningly good professional network to call on, and it still took some time to get to the correct answer.
It can be mis-diagnosed as cervical spondylosis and cervical radiculopathy, and typified by acute pain and profound weakness in the upper arm and shoulder.
For me, the pain was nightmarish. Constant and agonizing. My entire shoulder area and upper back was locked up, extreme panic level pain shooting down my arm and the continuous progressive gradual loss of sensation in my finger tips.
I’m glad my blog post has proven to be a helpful resource for the people who find it. It’s heartening to know people are still benefiting from my having shared the experience and information.
To anyone out there suffering from this, there is light at the end of the tunnel. I feel 100% better. Courtesy of Dr Karim Surani, I got the treatment and referrals I needed to be diagnosed quickly and helped. I am very grateful to him and the specialists who worked on my case.