Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

Guitar player concerns

L-DoggLL-Dogg Posts: 101
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:44 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi all. I am a long time member going back to the old forum here. I used to post as Gypsyguitar.

I work on the Fox show 24....well we are shutting down the stages in a week.

I have had my fair share of injuries on this show. I had a huge set wall fall on me in 2006 that resulted in ALIF and PLIF lower lumbar fusion surgery in 2007 and hardware removal in 2008. My fusion was a success however that injury left me with big time nerve pain problems in my feet that I take Neurontin for and still also take Norco and occasionally Percocet.

Then in March of this year, I knocked myself out when I hit my head on a concrete beam while on location.

The action of my head snapping back resulted in a disc pushing out into my spinal cord..... cervical spondylotic myeloradiculopathy I guess it is called. My surgeon wants to do a fusion at C5/6-C6/7. He will go in through the side of my neck.

All good and well except I am totally paranoid about any loss of ability regarding my guitar playing. I am a long time professional guitarist and I am working towards a career in writing music for Film and Television. I also sing but ...well let's just say surgery could not make my singing voice much worse. =))

Seriously though, with all the nerves that go to he hands and fingers in the area of C5,6 and 7....I am so worried I could end up not being able to play or some sort of detriment to my ability. I have been a musician for a very long time and at the level I am playing at even a 1 or 2 % reduction is going to be noticeable to me.

I sometimes feel tingling in my fingers and 2 weeks ago it got very bad. My fingers were "buzzing" like a Tens unit was connected to my fingertips. My Doc put me on light duty and it has calmed down a lot.

He is recommending surgery though....he claims it is a serious situation that I do not want to mess with....the pressure of the disc pushing into my spinal cord. He wants to take that pressure off.

Has anyone had this type of surgery and then had hand and finger problems afterwards? Tingling, loss of sensation, numbness, weakness etc.



  • I have never had that surgery but I just wanted to stop by and tell you good luck.. I did have a 360 degree with is a cut to the belly and back and I don't have anyt problems from it.. If I do to much bending or lifting I am very sore the following day but that is all.. Every surgery has it's risk but you are going to weight your options.. Pain vs surgery.. In 10 months I had 2 spinal surgery (1 Lumbar and 2nd thoracic) and I have not have any long lasting problems.. So I figure if I can make it through 2 spinal surgeries w/o any complications ( Including the thoracic which called for a cut a foot long from right shoulder blade curving around to right side.. And they had to collapse my lung to get to my spine.. And the main blood supply that goes through your spinal canal moves into the front of ur spine from T5 to T12 right where I have sugery). U really have to be comfortable with your choice and trust your surgeon.. I hope everything goes great with your surgery and with your hands.. You have come to the right place for help.. Bye..
  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    If you currently have arm/hand symptoms those can commonly be relieved by an ACDF (anterior discectomy and fusion). I did wait a bit too long and have very minor numbness in my left index finger. But it hasn't affected my typing (which is as close as I can related to guitar fingering). So if you have arm and hand symptoms do not wait before getting evaluated for surgery. If you wait to long radiculopathy can become permanent.
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
  • for what they are worth are; is it possible that if you wait too long, you will have problems with your hands and fingers anyway.

    I know with lumbar problems, the radiculopathy can, and often does, progress until the pain becomes numbness and then loss of muscle control.

    I can understand your anxiety about having this surgery and hope that you manage to collect enough information to help you to make your decision.

    Let us know what you decide and we will be hear to support you. :-)
  • Thanks everyone. I guess I know in my heart that I have to do this surgery....it is my soul I suppose that is questioning :0)

    The finger buzzing improved so much in just one week from not doing a lot of repetitive lifting and heavy work with my hands, running power tools like palm sanders, drills, sawzall's etc etc where there is a lot of vibration feedback into the hands.....and most importantly working in a bent position with my neck extended.

    Yesterday at the end of the day I did a bit of this and lo and behold my fingertips are going of again.

    I suppose I am just wanting to find out if any of you had a bad result from surgery. For example, I was in agony before my spine fusion. I would get out of my car at the end of each day, as I arrived home, bent over double like a 90 year old man. The pain was excruciating and it got to where I could not mow the lawn, vacuum the house or do dishes without ending up in severe pain.This with me not being a stranger to pain....I do extreme work in my dayjob, we get hurt a lot and it is not cool to wimp out. Very un-manly.....LOL!!! ( This is why I want to get back into music full time...sit at home and compose ) B)

    My point is that the back surgery was very effective in removing much of that pain ( although I still take pain meds to make a hard day doable ).
    What I was left with though is wicked nerve pains in my feet and in the backs of my legs, from just above my knees down.

    I suppose that was from waiting too long to have the back surgery. That right there is the ticket.

    Thanks again.

    I'd still like to hear from anyone else with their experience with neck fusion.
  • Hey Dogg (been waiting to write that all morning - lol) have you ever been re-evaluated for the back problems? Sounds almost like you have new or more problems there.

    I personally don't believe in waiting when there is no hope of the problem going away. Especially if you are young. But I am wondering if they have looked into carpal tunnel as the cause of finger issues. If you have all those levels bad you would probably have alot more pains in other areas of your arm. Remember we only treat what is causing pain or could cause permanent damage.

    Have you gotten at least a second or third opinion? If you tell us what area you are in I'm sure someone will PM you with surgeon recommendations.
  • First let me say welcome to spine-health. There is something in your post that concerns me more which is the myeloradicular. In some terms we look at myelopathy and when someone has myelopathy, the only option is surgery and the sooner the better. The surgery won't help the damage that has happened but rather used to stop the progression of it. I have had multiple cervical surgeries both anterior and posterior, but not that familiar with a side incision. Does the surgeon mean anterior just not on center? For example i have incision on the anterior of my neck just both incisions are either more left or more right of the center. AS far as loosing anything or it becoming permanent it is a risk of surgery, although I haven't seen that many it happen to. But the question is what are you risking by not doing the surgery? Sometimes the longer the compression goes on the harder it is for the patient to regain what they had. I am by no means in the medical field just by my experience and what I have observed around the forums. I did loose the use of my left arm following one of my posterior surgeries. Now I have it back took lots of therapy and effort on my part to get it back. It will never come back to the point it once was but from where I was to where I am still consider it a success. Many patients wake from surgery and all the symptoms are gone and they only thing they are dealing with is surgical pain. The nice thing about cervical surgery is the surgery pain is not as great as that of lumbar surgery. However because the cord is there the risk are higher. Typically cervical patients feel so much better once the surgery pain heals and tend to over do it causing more issues.

    So I am not sure if your surgeon is suggest fusing or just relieving the compression on the cord? But what I would find out is what will happen the longer you wait sense you have a cord compression? Anyway if there is anything I can do don't hesitate to pm me. Take care.
  • Glad to see you back again.

    I had a 3-lvl ACDF and although my symptoms, from onset to surgery, were only five months, they were very serious in terms of pain, tingling and the loss of use of my left arm. After my surgery, all sensations and symptoms were gone and have never returned. I think that, assuming there's no permanent damage, you'll have an excellent chance that your pre-op symptoms will be significantly reduced or gone post-op.

    One thing I was thinking though in reading your post, is that it's difficult, at least for me, to keep my head in a down position, especially if turned slightly. So my concern for you is that let's assume you come out of surgery with your arms in perfect condition, how will you do with looking down at your hands and the guitar while playing? To me, this may be the bigger concern. Hopefully, you've been playing the guitar so long and know it so well that you can play without worrying about having to keep your head down for any length of time.

    I'm not talking ROM, though - for as large of a surgery as I had, my ROM is excellent and was improved through PT. I still can't put my chin to my chest, but it's still good enough considering the extent of hardware and fusion in my cervical spine.

    So, for what all that was worth, those are my two cents. I'm hoping that like many of us you come out of this surgery with your arms back to the way they should be and all gets healed and fused properly.

    Take care and be sure to keep us posted.
  • Metalneck..yikes!! Sorry to hear that but thanks for the heads up. If that is your neck in the avatar, there is a lot going on there!

    Yeah....I was looking at my CT Scan today and you can clearly see the disc pressing into the spinal cord. Plus it is like the dentist....when you are on your way there, the toothache stops.

    My fingers have calmed down so much in the last couple days. Neck is a problem though, no doubt.

    Thanks Kris-NY, tamtam and Cath111.

  • MetalneckMetalneck Island of Misfit toysPosts: 1,364
    That was inadvertantly funny!! Thanks for the smile!!

    Wish I could say it was just photoshopped ... but yep thats me and mine!!

    When people ask me how my neck is ... I reply ... still connected.

    Keep us posted on how your doing.


    Spine-health Moderator
    Welcome to Spine-Health  Please read the linked guidelines!!

  • MetalneckMetalneck Island of Misfit toysPosts: 1,364
    Welcome to our forums!

    You asked a simple question:

    "Has anyone had this type of surgery and then had hand and finger problems afterwards? Tingling, loss of sensation, numbness, weakness etc."

    I'll give my simple answer:


    I am hoping that the degree of your injury(s) and the surgical intervention is no where close to mine.

    In my case I do have permenant damage and radiculopathy - numbness and weakness to my left fingers and hand. I played guitar badly before my surgeries and now I play worse (or not at all because of increased pain from the position to finger and fret).

    Good luck with your outcomes - I have a couple of guitars for sale.


    Spine-health Moderator
    Welcome to Spine-Health  Please read the linked guidelines!!

  • I just read your signature...... I am sorry you are having such a rough time. It makes my situation pale in comparison and I feel like a "whiney, worrying wimp" next to what you have gone through....are going through.

    You are welcome for the pun. I'll throw something in that my dad always used to say in tough times..."Keep your chin up and your back straight!" .......LOL! :D That, in and of itself, has a whole new set of difficulties attached nowadays.

    I sincerely hope things improve all around for you soon.

    All the best.
  • MetalneckMetalneck Island of Misfit toysPosts: 1,364
    My situation is - has been making me tougher than titanium!!

    Live in the day!

    Spine-health Moderator
    Welcome to Spine-Health  Please read the linked guidelines!!

  • Dude, I can't really offer any cervical insight, as my surgery was lumbar. I can offer much sympathy (for what that's worth). I'm a pretty serious guitar myself, and I have wondered how I'd react if my playing becomes impeded by spinal troubles. Will wearing a guitar strap over your shoulder be trouble with incisions? I really wish you the best outcome. I can only imagine how much it would suck without music in my life.

    Best wishes & Aloha
    p.s. Oh, here's this.. a guy in town to whom I've been starting to give lessons recently shot off most of his left hand middle finger (ouch!) He asked me "how's this going to impact my playing?" I asked him if he'd ever considered taking up slide guitar! haha.
  • Thanks B52. Yeah man....I work with power tools all the time, table saws etc. I have never had my fingers in line with the barrell of any of my handguns though...ouch...how did he shoot that off.

    Buddy, my surgeon told me no more surfing!!!!

    It is a lot to chew I tell ya. Hey, if I cannot play guitar anymore, I am going to Pipeline or Teahupoo LOL!!!
  • Wait till winter time and meet me at Peahi/Jaws on Maui. I won't be in the water, but we can watch people get chewed up in epic fashion! Sorry to hear you can't surf anymore. I tell ya, this spine stuff ain't for sissies!

Sign In or Register to comment.