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Soreness in forefingers after C5/C6 ACDF

CMCCM Posts: 100
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:28 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I had ACDF at C5/C6 about a week and a half ago. A couple of days after the surgery I began to notice soreness along the forefingers of both hands (in the finger, knuckle, and into the wrist) whenever I try to grip something, like when I try to twist a tight cap off a bottled drink. I had a little bit of this soreness before surgery, but it seems more pronounced now. I mentioned this problem to my doctor at my first follow-up appointment, but he did not offer any opinion about what might be causing it. He did the standard strength tests on my fingers and arms. I guess he was satisfied because he didn't say anything was wrong.

I am just wondering if anyone else who's had C5/C6 ACDF has experienced soreness in their forefingers after surgery. If so, did it go away after a while?



  • I had numbness that has almost gone...I was worried at first because it was far worse than before surgery. I also had terrible shoulder and arm pain for the first week. I am two weeks out now and the numbness is only very slight. Have you been walking? I have found that I am getting much better now that I am walking around.
  • Hi,

    I had C5/6 fusion a year ago. I was readmitted for pain management 2 days after. I had horrible left shoulder to fingertips pain, couldn't grip anything with my left hand. After a few more days the pain got a little better. I had trouble for almost 3 months but now have no pain and no numbness at all in my fingers. My neurosurgeon said that when they free up the area around your nerves that it is like "waking" them up from a deep sleep. Hang in there. It will get better. Lyrica worked very well for me during that time.

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  • TJNCALI and marirpln, thank you both for sharing your experience and for the words of encouragement. I feel a little better knowing you both had setbacks after surgery, but gradually improved :) . I just keep wondering if it's something I did (moved my head too far one way or another). I really do not understand why my doctor did not require me to wear a collar. I had to ask for one. I mainly asked because I wanted one to wear in the car for the ride home, but I now think that if I had continued to wear it more often after I got home I might have had less pain. I don't know. Maybe not.

    What's strange is that the instructions (handout) I was given prior to surgery said to expect to wear a collar for at least one week. In fact, it said I would have two collars: a Miami J collar to wear most of the time, and a Philadelphia collar to wear in the shower. Yet, when I asked my surgeon about the collar (before surgery) he said it would not be necessary :/ and that handout needed to be updated. (When I looked closely at the bottom of the page the date on the instructions was 2003.) Similarly, according to the handout, no driving for at least six weeks. But when I asked my surgeon at my first follow-up appointment - just 11 days after surgery - how soon I could start driving, he said he didn't see any reason I could not start driving right away :O but that I should wear my collar. The inconsistency really bothers me. First he says no collar is necessary, then when he tells me I can start driving he tells me to wear the collar - which I only have because I asked for one! :S
  • Hi again,

    I wasn't required by my surgeon to wear a collar, but my physical therapist wanted me to wear one. I only wore one if I was having some pain, but for the most part I didn't wear it.

    Let me know how you progress with your pain. Hope you get better soon.


  • I had fusion with plate c4-c6 a year ago. At first the numbness was worse then it got better until it was the same as before surgery. I take Lyrica to help with the numbness, but all my strength did come back. My neurosurgeon said it can take up to a year or more to find out what you will be left with. Oh yea I had the fusion to prevent permanent paralysis.
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  • Now the muscle tightness in my right shoulder has returned. Boy I was really fooled by that first post-surgery week of having no pain on the right side of my neck and upper back. I know I need to be patient, but it is really discouraging to have symptoms return :(
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