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Are my symptoms due to nerve compression or stroke?

Q: I suffered a mild stroke 3 years ago due to 70% blockage in the right internal carotid artery, which left a small infarct on the right side of the brain. Blockage was diagnosed at 45% a year back by colour doppler. Three years back there was nerve compression at C4, C5 and C6 in the x-ray. The recent x-ray shows compression at C3, C4, C5 and C6. I have continous stiffness in the last three fingers of my left hand and heaviness in the left arm and leg. I took treament from an orthopaedician laser, ultrasonography and traction but the problem still persists. What should it be attributed to?

A:Part of the answer to your question depends upon the symptoms you suffered as a result of your stroke, particularly with reference to what you have now; the remainder of the answer will come from a formal examination by a Neurologist probably with the aid of a test such as EMG or MRI of the neck. Nerve compression results in pain and a pattern of loss of strength and sensation typical for the site of compression. Coughing and sneezing can aggrevate this pain. The initial approach for nerve compression is usually conservative (anti-inflammatory medication, a soft collar, etc.); under certain circumstances surgical intervention becomes necessary. The first step for you is to see a Neurologist, who can use your medical history in conjuction with the examination to determine the likeliest cause for your symptoms.

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