I apologize for the long post but I need advice so I have gone into detail.
Next week I have neck surgery scheduled. Fusion at C4/5, C5/6. It has been a 4 month battle with Work Comp since my injury but now that the time is here, I am worried about having the surgery.
In 2007 I had a spine fusion at L3/4, two operations a day apart and then hardware removal surgery in 2008. So I am no stranger to spine surgery.
In March this year I got injured again. I got clobbered when my head hit a concrete support beam and supposedly the impact, that caused my head to snap back harshly, pushed two discs out that are pushing into my spinal cord. It SEEMS since then, that I have been getting this buzzing and tingling in my fingers? It moves around to different areas of the hands and sometimes I get pain in my forearm although that seems to have become less. Mostly my fingers though and fingertips especially. Sometimes it feels like a tens unit is attached and running at high frequency especially after doing work with lifting or impact like hammering nails. Sometimes I get short pain stabs like a needle prick. Most often they throb a little...not too severely, but constant low intensity throbbing.
Having been a guitar player for about 40yrs, professional for much of it, I am really in tune with my hands and fingers down to minute details. The slightest flaw in my playing and I notice it immediately. I am accutely aware of my hand and finger performance you might say.
The main symptoms are pronounced in my thumb tips and 1st fingers it seems but sometimes also seems on the tops of my fingers. I won't call it out and out pain but I am aware of it all the time. What bothers me is that, while it does not seem like pain, it is enough to make playing guitar unpleasant as the action of pushing down on the strings is weird......it is like a loss of sensation or a slight disconnect in sensation. I have my dexterity intact, from years of staying on top of it, but I sometimes make silly mistakes or miss notes when running fast passages..... and I cannot figure out why. Lately I also might get fatigued sooner than usual when practicing guitar. My forearm muscles sometimes seem affected and the numbness in my fingertips affects things big time.
This is all frightening for me! I have embarked on a journey to record and write music for film and I would hate to find myself unable to do this, not only for the years of time invested in my music, but also the financial outlay getting my studio up and running and all the hardware and software
My spine surgeon, who did my fusion at L3/4 in 2007 for an unrelated work injury, tells me the problems in my hands are due to my latest injury. He says the discs pushing into the spinal cord is the culprit. I have seen the MRI's and CT's, you can clearly see the discs pushing into the cord. I asked him about carpal tunnel/tendonitis but he says it affects the hands differently. The problem is, he is very confident and has written medical papers on spine surgery and is very well known in these circles.He has pioneered some procedures....so it is hard to make suggestions to him as to what might be the issue. It would be like someone who does not play guitar at all, trying to tell me why my guitar is going out of tune or something. He may have a good point, but my years of experience and confidence in my knowledge, might lead me to brush off his input.
Look,my spine Doc is a genius....I'd have nobody else work on me. He is highly in demand and whether he does a surgery on me or not is not all that much of a big deal to him financially.....there will be others trust me. BUT.....I have never been tested for anything else and I fear the surgery since all the nerves that affect my ability to play, are right there.......and, once again,....I will be altering my spine forever! I also fear doing nothing.....such a lousy place to be. Darned if you do, darned if you don't....a huge gamble.
Here is what I am concerned about.[/u]
I use a laptop 24/7 and it is a MacBook Pro with a very sharp front edge that the edge of my hands rest on....the heel of my hands. It really seems to cut into my hands and I can pinpoint the spot where they rest on the laptop. If not that I am on my desktop in my recording studio and here is the second problem...... I have terrible typing" technique" .........I type [u]hunt and peck. I use the first fingers and thumb for the spacebar and I come straight down on the keyboard with my 1st fingers, not at an angle.....funny, they are the one's most affected.
I also use my second finger, right hand on the trackpad and it has numbness in that contact spot. My last job was on the show "24" where I was for almost 7 years. I was on the computer a lot as I ran the admin part of a department as well as doing a ton of physical and extreme work. My poor typing technique has been in play for about 8 years.
Is it possible this is what has caused my hand issues and that is is coincidental that it appeared right after my injury? Maybe the hand problems are both...due to the injury and the typing method/computer edge. I am so confused...out of touch with what my body/mind is telling me.
Could my hands be having a circulation or nerve impingement issue caused by the edge of my laptop, leading to some sort of tendonitis or carpal tunnel and my fingertips slamming down on the keys leading to numbness? Could this have been exaggerated or brought to the forefront, by my neck injury?
Has anyone had this sort of issue due to repetitive motion injury like using a computer so much? Has anyone come out of neck surgery to find the pain and tingling symptoms gone? Has it become worse for anyone?
I really appreciate you taking the time out your day to read this and perhaps respond.