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Susie Rosenberg
12-24-2007, 04:05 PM
The last couple of times I did deadlifts (with someone watching my form), I experienced L'Hermitte sign: a sensation akin to an electric shock traveling down my arms. The weights were actually fairly light at the time.

I'm assuming in my case, it's caused by cervical spine issues, since one year ago, I had two herniated discs and now I have plates and screws at C5/6 and C6/7. My doctors told me I have a fair amount of osteoarthritis of the cervical spine.

I know I need to evaluate this with my physician, but I'm wondering how pathological this symptom might be....in other words, does anyone else experience this, and if so, what's do you do about it?

Have you heard of this before?

Thanks so much,
Susie

Garrett Smith
12-24-2007, 04:37 PM
I'd guess your assumption is correct.

First thing first, I'd suggest keeping a neutral cervical posture while lifting, ie. head in line with spine, not looking parallel to the ground or (even worse) up.

Get off the nightshades, if you aren't already.

Maybe check to see if this happens only on one style of DLs (ie. "normal" or sumo). There could be a difference due to the change in angle of the arms in relation to the torso and the torso-to-ground angle.

With plates and screws already in place, unless it is remedied some other way, I'd say early on that ditching DLs would be a small price to pay.

Kevin Perry
12-24-2007, 05:34 PM
I tend to have this issue with my left wrist when doing the press. I wish I could help you but I have not had the issue for a while and im not sure if it could have been diet related or what.

William Hunter
12-24-2007, 07:02 PM
Hey Susie,

As you know, anything bilateral in the extremities should cause a good bit more concern than when just one arm is affected. For obvious reasons, the spinal cord itself has to be ruled out first before other options are entertained.

Hopefully, as Garrett mentioned, the worst that happens is that you give up nightshades, or DL's, or both.

However, while you experiment with his suggestions, I would not be too far away from an updated MRI to check on stenosis from an adjacent or nearby spinal level.

Good luck.

Susie Rosenberg
12-25-2007, 08:15 AM
Thanks, folks. It was wishful thinking on my part to hope you'd tell me, "oh, yeah, everybody gets that."

I think I felt it on both sides, but moreso on the left....I will try DLing with head neutral and see what happens, but if the symptom persists, will have to lay off DLs and see the doc.

Phooey. That's all I can say. Phooey.

Susie

Mohamed F. El-Hewie
12-25-2007, 08:57 PM
Neuralgia
The last couple of times I did deadlifts (with someone watching my form), I experienced L'Hermitte sign: a sensation akin to an electric shock traveling down my arms. The weights were actually fairly light at the time.

I'm assuming in my case, it's caused by cervical spine issues, since one year ago, I had two herniated discs and now I have plates and screws at C5/6 and C6/7. My doctors told me I have a fair amount of osteoarthritis of the cervical spine.

I know I need to evaluate this with my physician, but I'm wondering how pathological this symptom might be....in other words, does anyone else experience this, and if so, what's do you do about it?

Have you heard of this before?

Thanks so much,
Susie
1) You sort of answered your own question, to some extent. Whether the herniated discs still the underlying cause of pinching the cervical roots of the nerves, or the unstable muscular support of the neck is causing the roots to get pinched, remains unknown.

2) Osteoarthritis would not cause pain that shot remotely. Osteoarthritis is a local joint disease that causes localized pain.

3) Would a calcium deficiency cause acute neuralgia (nerve pain) upon compression?

4) Nerve pinching could also be caused by weak and unconditioned muscles that thin out when stretched and squeeze the underlying nerve. A good example is the winging of the scapula that is caused by lifting heavy dumbbells. In that case, the Trapezius muscle thins out under tension and severs the long thoracic nerve that supplies the muscles that hold the scapulas to the chest. The muscle becomes paralyzed and the recovery takes few months for the nerve re-grow.

Garrett Smith
12-26-2007, 05:44 AM
Susie,
Does the sensation run down any particular side of your arms, to any particular fingers, perhaps?

One important thing I concentrate on while lifting is consciously relaxing/releasing my posterior neck muscles, that may help with any impingement that is going on.

If you need any suggestions as to therapies you might utilize, ask here or PM me.

Susie Rosenberg
12-26-2007, 07:52 AM
Susie,
Does the sensation run down any particular side of your arms, to any particular fingers, perhaps?

One important thing I concentrate on while lifting is consciously relaxing/releasing my posterior neck muscles, that may help with any impingement that is going on.

If you need any suggestions as to therapies you might utilize, ask here or PM me.

I think it runs down to the thumb-side, but I'm not certain. Next time I DL, I will pay more attention to the symptom, but I guess I'm resigning myself to being tentative about weight lifting, especially heavy, given the condition of my neck. (I know from my experience a year ago, I have osteophytes and areas of osteoarthritis at other levels. I need to not herniate whatever discs are left in there! Two are already gone and fused, limiting my ROM, especially in extension.)

If the structure is weak, what can be done about that, other than eliminate nightshades, get adequate calcium and Vit. D, and take fish oil? (All of which I do!)

Sheesh, this is just no fun. I wanted a 200 lb. DL, and it looks like it ain't gonna happen.

Susie

Steven Low
12-26-2007, 09:27 AM
The thumb is C6 I believe.

It is possible to try to open up more space (cervical traction.. manual or machine) or eliminate swelling if it's there. Although since it only occurs when you DL, it's probably that you need to keep the head neutral most like most have been saying.

Garrett Smith
12-26-2007, 10:06 AM
Susie,
I'd look into finding a Z-Health trainer in your area to teach you mobility exercises for your neck & thoracic spine. See www.zhealth.net to find someone or email them through their site.

Even with fusion(s), the rest of the "normal" spine needs to be mobilized in order to maintain proper health. In your case, I'd definitely suggest going to someone who has proper training.

William Hunter
12-26-2007, 10:16 AM
The thumb is C6 I believe.

It is possible to try to open up more space (cervical traction.. manual or machine) or eliminate swelling if it's there. Although since it only occurs when you DL, it's probably that you need to keep the head neutral most like most have been saying.

Well, it'd be hard to open up more space since she has had previous plate and screw fixation at that level :)

One other possibility to throw into your differential is evaluating the scalene muscles. They refer pain down the thumb side of the arm/hand, and attach to your area of previous surgery, so may be scarred over. I guess a good question would be whether you had anterior or posterior entry into the neck.

Garrett Smith
12-26-2007, 11:19 AM
Susie,
I'm all for helping you find ways that you can continue to DL without causing more pain/damage. No need to give up quite yet, far from it! If you'd like some suggestions on modalities/practitioners, just let me know, in public or PM.

And yes, the scalenes could absolutely be involved, as William said.

Susie Rosenberg
12-26-2007, 02:25 PM
Well, it'd be hard to open up more space since she has had previous plate and screw fixation at that level :)

One other possibility to throw into your differential is evaluating the scalene muscles. They refer pain down the thumb side of the arm/hand, and attach to your area of previous surgery, so may be scarred over. I guess a good question would be whether you had anterior or posterior entry into the neck.

Anterior.....(she said, hopefully)....

I'll be sure to come back after my next encounter with DLs and let ya'll know if head positioning takes care of it, or where the shock travels if I get it again.

I really appreciate the suggestions.

Susie

William Hunter
12-26-2007, 04:54 PM
I'd say that an anterior fusion surgery keeps hope alive that it's the scalene's vs bony encroachment. The anterior approach really does spare the structure of the neck itself when you compare it to the posterior surgeries. Either way, posture during heavy lifting, and all ADL's for that matter, is super critical. You mentioned loss of cervical extension ROM. For sure most of that is from the dbl fusion, but there's a chance that a nice 10-25% chunk of ROM is still available from a functional POV. Just have to find a qualified practitioner of worthy technique(s).

Susie Rosenberg
12-26-2007, 08:07 PM
Susie,
I'm all for helping you find ways that you can continue to DL without causing more pain/damage. No need to give up quite yet, far from it! If you'd like some suggestions on modalities/practitioners, just let me know, in public or PM.

And yes, the scalenes could absolutely be involved, as William said.

There's no Zhealth practitioners anywhere near me.....but before you knock yourself out making recommendations, let me come back after being more careful with my head and neck position and see what happens...

I'm going to lift light and pay attention and see if I can lift without neuro symptoms....

Dayum.

Susie

Susie Rosenberg
01-02-2008, 07:02 PM
Well, I deadlifted light today (up to 135 lbs.) and was supercareful about my head position and form, and I didn't get the electric shock sensations. That's the good news.

I did, however, feel very tentative at 135 lbs. (which is not heavy for me) because I felt....sort of unstable....in my neck. It's hard to describe, it's a sensation that something isn't right.

I'm just going to be very careful and tentative about lifting heavy. I had my trainer with me cueing me on form, so I felt safe, and we both agreed to stop at 5 reps at 135 for today.

But no L'Hermitte today! Yay!

Susie

sarena kopciel
01-02-2008, 07:12 PM
Well, I deadlifted light today (up to 135 lbs.) and was supercareful about my head position and form, and I didn't get the electric shock sensations. That's the good news.

I did, however, feel very tentative at 135 lbs. (which is not heavy for me) because I felt....sort of unstable....in my neck. It's hard to describe, it's a sensation that something isn't right.

I'm just going to be very careful and tentative about lifting heavy. I had my trainer with me cueing me on form, so I felt safe, and we both agreed to stop at 5 reps at 135 for today.

But no L'Hermitte today! Yay!

Susie

Sounds like change in the right direction but hey you're the doc!

Susie Rosenberg
01-04-2008, 02:10 PM
Well, today was pretty disconcerting.

I did well with squats, no neuro symptoms, but DLing was another story.

I did ok up until 135 lbs., which just wasn't heavy at all, but man did I have scary symptoms. I got intense electric shock sensations in both upper and lower extremities bilaterally, and then I had a few minutes of residual motor clumsiness and numbness in my left thumb, index and middle fingers.

Clearly, something is amiss in a big way.

I know there are worse things if it means that I can't lift heavy, or can't do deadlifts at all....I know I should go back to my neurosurgeon and update my MRI....but it stinks because I know he's going to tell me not to lift weights in any serious way, and that bums me out big time. I'm also worried about the rest of my exercise capacity.

Maybe I'll have to become a bodyweight exercise specialist, she said, looking for a silver lining....

I'm seriously bummed. I wanted to be a badass 'ole mama.

Susie

Steven Low
01-04-2008, 08:14 PM
That sucks.

Nothing wrong with being a bodyweight specialist though (I suppose I am more or less now). You'll get to love rings a whole heck of a lot as well as pistols and sprinting. :D

Chris Forbis
01-04-2008, 08:22 PM
That sucks.

Nothing wrong with being a bodyweight specialist though (I suppose I am more or less now). You'll get to love rings a whole heck of a lot as well as pistols and sprinting. :D

I have come to love my rings, pistols, sprinting, and jumping very much. If anything, the little barbell work I do (power cleans and snatch-grip deadlifts off a platform) is accessory work to the bodyweight stuff.

Susie Rosenberg
01-05-2008, 04:04 AM
Thanks, Chris and Steven,

Do you know of any resources for developing strength through bodyweight work? Websites, books, etc?

I'm woefully weak in my upper body, which is why I was so excited about an organized approach to weight lifting. (My gym essentially began offering strength training classes.)

I can barely do a handful of real, good pushups. I'm pretty beat up, I guess. Pushups hurt my elbows 'cause I have a tendinitis going on there. At least I can start with pushups, pullups and air squats. (Those are pretty much all the body weight exercises I can do...no HSPUs, pistols, etc. yet.)

Sheesh, 50 years, 50,000 miles and the warranty's up. I need some body work!

Susie

Steven Low
01-05-2008, 04:33 AM
As far as rings goes:

http://www.drillsandskills.com/article/17

There's also some stuff at http://ringtraining.com . I can different progressions for stuff if you need them. Blair Robert Lowe had a good post on CF forums if you wanna look that up.

As far as other stuff like bodyweight legs.. Coach Sommer has a pistol progression. But yeah, just work up to stuff first with sprinting and such. :)

Tom Rawls
01-06-2008, 09:56 AM
Eva T posts basic bodyweight workouts on her site:

www.skievat.com

click on her blog.

Susie Rosenberg
01-06-2008, 11:57 AM
Thanks, everybody...I really appreciate the tips. It's helping me feel less bummed out about this, knowing I can still work strength in some fashion or another.


Susie

Susie Rosenberg
01-18-2008, 01:18 PM
Saw the neurosurgeon today, and it ain't great news.

Apparently, I have a pretty tight cervical canal on a congenital basis, and because of osteoarthritis, I'm developing bone spurs (osteophytes) which are further impinging the cord, especially at c3/4.

My exam actually even scared me! I knew I've been feeling weak at the gym---can't squat any weight---but I had motor weakness in arms and legs that was obvious during the exam. (I didn't expect to see weakness on clinical exam, I thought it was only in relation to my usual weights in the gym.) Plus I had hyperreflexia in my lower extremities. So, yes, I have a degree of myelopathy.

Doc put me on a steroid taper and will see me back in six weeks. Told me to stay off my road bike, as any fall puts me at risk of cord injury because of the fragility of my c-spine. Told me not to lift heavy, but that's moot because I couldn't lift heavy even if I wanted to.

The funny part was, when I was telling him about when the symptoms first started, I said, "I was deadlifting really light, only 135 lbs." (I'm 145 lbs.) He looked at me like I was nuts and said, "That's a considerable amount of weight." Ha. Depends on who's sayin'.

In six weeks, we'll discuss surgical options.

Sucks.

Susie

Derek Simonds
01-18-2008, 01:38 PM
Don't have much to add but we are here for you if you have any questions on the fitness side.

I know a lot of the people on here do a lot of rehab work.

You certainly have my best wishes.

sarena kopciel
01-18-2008, 01:44 PM
Wow Susie, I hope the steroids help and surgery wont need to be. I would call Dr. G ASAP as he might have something to offer. I have been consulting with him for a while with great results!