Is hand weakness/pain due to c5-c6
I have been trying to figure out for almost a year if my hand problems are caused by my neck issues.
After months of neck pain I had an MRI over a year ago that shows a C5-C6 bulging disc mostly on the right side, some on the left side. My Orthopedic surgeon recommended ACDF. The pain was/is manageable, so I tried PT. The PT didn't help much, but steroid injections in the neck did.
My main problem is that about four months after the MRI I started having some pain and slight weakness when gripping a football with my right hand. I had a hand doctor x-ray and look at the hand, and he didn't see anything. Then my handwriting got very messy. I could write neatly if I wrote very slowly, but it made my hand very sore afterwards. Eventually it got to where typing or using the mouse would make my hand ache after only a few minutes. My Ortho sent me for a nerve conduction test. It was negative for carpal tunnel. Also, an EMG showed very slight nerve impact at C5 and C6 on the right side - no glaring cause for the hand issues.
I started using my left hand to do the mouse and type with. This allowed my right hand to rest and not ache, but eventually the left hand started doing the same thing. Now my left hand is about half as bad as my right. My Ortho surgeon and my Neuro surgeon (2nd opinion) both think the hand(s) may be caused by the neck, but are not sure. They want me to have a fusion or disc replacement.
My sticking point is that the pain is not typical of what I read for people with cervical disc problems. My hands are NOT sore if I don't use them. If I just sit and watch TV they feel OK, though there is a weak/non-responsive feel to them. There is some very modest weakening to their grip, but they are still very strong. I don't have numbness or tingling. Just pain after doing anything that requires fine motor control gripping. HAS ANYONE EXPERIENCED THIS STRANGE "USAGE PAIN" FROM A BULGING CERVICAL DISC?? I really don't want to do surgery and find out that the hand problem is some other neurological goodie unrelated to the neck. I can handle the neck pain just fine, but the hands getting worse is a serious issue.
Thanks in advance for any help you can give,