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What is the cause for severe pain in the neck and shoulders?

Q: My friend is suffering from severe pain in the left arm from the shoulder downwards. The MRI findings are: 1. Diffuse bulges C3-4 and C4-5 discs causing moderate compression of the thecal sac 2. Diffuse bulges C5-6 and C6-7 discs causing mild compression on the thecal sac The doctor suggested mild physiotherapy followed by pain relieving drugs. Requesting your advice and suggestions.

A:The findings described by you show compression of the nerves travelling down the upper limbs by bulging discs in the neck. If the compression is mild, physiotherapy and, at times, traction may help relieve compression and thus abolish pain. If, however, physiotherapy fails or the doctor finds evidence of interference with the function of the compressed nerves in the form of deficiency of sensation or weakness of muscles in the affected limb(s), it may be necessary to carry out an operation to relieve the nerves. Your doctor will be happy to discuss his findings and these options with the patient and you.

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