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muscle wasting L/hand

butterbeanbbutterbean Posts: 20
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:46 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Hi, new to site call me butterbean. Back around the end of May this year, started having pain in L/shoulder arm and hand. On 14 June got a apt with PCP doc. Told him what was going on, he didn't seem to concerned and reluctantly ordered neck x rays. He looked at x rays said just a muscle strain and sent me home. Fast forward 3 weeks I get a letter saying go back to see him problem with x ray. By now web in between L/thumb and first finger dished in bad, loss of strength arm and hand. severe pain and numbness from shoulder to two small fingers L/hand. 8/5 finally get back into see PCP doc, he calls a spine doc who says I need further studies.
I had to check with my last surgeon to see if I could take a MRI because of lumbar hardware. Finally get a MRI on 8/23. Now have been e-mailing Dr daily to get results of MRI. He shows no concern about muscle wasting getting worse or loss of use of arm.
Am I wrong to be worrying about this muscle wasting? I know from past experience that it will take a very long time to get arm and hand function back. Is it time for me to complain to insurance company for help. Please let me know, any help would be appreciated.
Thanks butterbean


  • Butterbean,

    First off, welcome to Spine Health!!! None of us can diagnose of course, but your symptoms sound a lot like what I went through a few years ago - but the right arm and hand.

    For me it turned out I had my Ulnar nerve (controls the pinkie finger and half the ring finger - as well as that half of your hand) was trapped in my elbow, hand and wrist. I underwent what is called "Subcutaneous Transposition of the Ulnar Nerve" at the elbow, and full release of the Ulnar in my hand and wrist. Due to the entrapments, my A-1 pulleys in my upper palm (the ligaments below your ring and pinkie fingers (in that long crease - Palmer's Crease) were cut as my two fingers started clawing. The wasting for me was around the inner part of the elbow, the web of the hand much like you described, and as it continued, I had divots along the top of my last 2 fingers. "Cubital Tunnel Syndrome".

    Fast forward a year and a half, symptoms, wasting etc., though worse now came back. This time for me the pain goes all the way up to the base of my neck. EMG shows my prior surgery was still good, but now I am losing the C7/8 level (Ulnar) in the neck. I once again can not feel my ring and pinkie, but now the whole ring finger and the others joined in (but I have issues from C5-8 - hence the other fingers), and the clumsy mess with my fingers and hand have returned, the wasting I recovered after my Ulnar transposition has returned, and now even my forearm and wrist are 1/3 of what my other arm is!

    Present day... I posted all this so you can see there can be a lot of areas causing you problems. It could be the hand (I doubt it as you have pain above), it could be the elbow (yep, pain can go up and down the arm), it could be the shoulder, or could be from the neck. Your doctor will probably have you undergo more testing to isolate where the issue(s) are at. Frustrating I know, but when it comes to nerves, sadly 'nothing' is cut and dried. Please let us know what you find out.

    This site is great for support and friendship. Enjoy your stay!!! And again, welcome!!!

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • HI Butterbean,

    First let me say welcome to spine-health. have a look around and you will find many going through what you are or whom have gone through it.

    As far as what is actually happening could be anyone's guess, though. I am not sure where you are located, but you can always go to the facility that did the imaging and ask for a copy of the report. I always get copies of my reports anyway just to have them along with the films. Never know when one might need them.

    You should be concerned with the issues in your hand and your ability to use it. But also know those muscles with the proper therapy, once it is sorted out. can be gotten back.

    Just thought i would stop by and welcome you to spine-health. Please keep us updated on what you find out. Take care for now.
  • Thanks for the welcome and the information. I guess I am anxious and just needed to vent a bit.
    I hope everyone has a good day...Does anyone remember when they had a whole day without pain???
    thanks again, butterbean
  • i know when in the morning it is cold all my finers are numb!! my neck is bad did every test, my keft shoulder c-to c-7 is reccom by 3 doctors enough say already had to major back surgeriers for my neck theraoy and or injection did not help!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Hi, Butterbean!

    Love that name! and Welcome, you found a good place to share and question and get some great support!!

    I have as you will see primarily all my issues chronic with C-Spine and know full well how the C-spine levels affect my hands! It began for me in 1990's with advanced DDD at 3/4/5/6 radiculopathy and neuro symptoms of numbness and tingling and hands going out. Eventually had ACDF 3/4/5/6 with bone spurs encroaching spinal cord and whole left side body going out, successful surgery & reversal of symptoms, but hands have been ongoing with future DDD at 6/7/8 and changes of bone issues at 3/4/5/6.

    Also my hands definitely were compromised with carpal tunnel inflammation (surgery and reversal of symptoms in 2001/2) and degen arthritis in thumb basal joint (lost all cartilage) and had tendon arthroscopy implant at basal joint (reversal of chronic pain & successful until 2007; ligament failure)

    I would encourage you to have an Orthopedic Physician and/or Surgeon to fully evaluate and then do necessary diagnostics, radiology, nerve/muscle testing, etc.

    Having C Spine and Hand Orth-Neuro-Surgeons is an excellent team for hand issues and c-spine might serve you well, depending on where you are in needing treatment/care/assessment.

    Hope this can give you some things to consider in your situation.

    Again, welcome, I think you'll find much support and compassion here.

  • Well, I know about some exercise which may be helpful to
    you to gain muscle mass in your hand or slow down the loss. Try exercising it.

    (1) Make a fist and open it multiple times a day.
    (2) Try to squeeze a stress ball as much as you can and hold it for 5 seconds, do 3 series of 10 repetitions
    (3) Work with play-doh or any form of putty like making bread works
    (4) If you can get of of those finger exerciser, you can squeeze them 10x 5sec, 3x per day.
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