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Cervical Spine Nerve Damage Losing Use of Arm/Hand/Fingers

JoydancerJJoydancer Posts: 463
Wow, I'm really feeling threatened and scared. My previous posts (Cervical Pain - Cervical Surgery Forum) were dealing with Severe Advanced DDD and off-the chart radiculopathy pain past 4 wks.

C-6/7/8 needs surgery both sides nerve impingement. In two months with severe pain and burning spasms down left arm/hand/fingers being horrible next phase that has now taken me on a whole new level = losing the use of my hand/fingers dexterity/strength and doing almost almost any task !

I'm telling you this is horrible knowing I have no surgeon agreeing to do surgery and in the one month since I had my "best surgeon out of state" appt (my surgeon I've had for seven years where I used to live) tell me "changed his mind after reviewing my scans" and he planned with me to do an interventional anterior surgery to open nerve root openings both sides two levels C-7/8 = "not in your or my best interest....not a good candidate for surgery".

I am waiting to hear from a neurosurgeon out-of-state on getting approval for an appt to get full assessment and second opinion.

I'm having all this horrible disabling experience in my hand/fingers the worst ever, I'm dropping things, can't even pick up paper and maneuver it to read. My hand and dexterity is like I have no use of it at all.

I haven't even had a chance to connect with a neurologist in returning from my appt. with my ortho surgeon and the bad verdict. I was hoping to do neurological emg tests if I land the appt. with the new neurosurgeon and my trip to see a highly credentialled experienced cervical spine surgeon.

Has anyone gone to this level of disability pre-surgery or failed post-surgery with nerve impingement?

I am emotionally losing it - - I live alone and I tell you I am beyond anxious with not having ability to do what I have been able to do and basically having "overnight" being suddenly disabled, no arm strength, my hand and fingers are rendered useless - - I can do little to nothing with that hand.

Appreciate hearing from anyone who knows about this and how they've coped and adjusted. My God I don't have a surgeon on board who even thinks it's he can do surgery to correct this = I'm losing my hand completely now !!!


  • Howdy Janelle,

    First off ....*HUGZ*.... of support woman! I am very sorry this is going on, and YES it is scary. I had a bunch of what you're describing before my C6/7 was fused. 6-7 weeks after the surgery, *much* of it returned. Now for me, it is mostly in my right arm and hand. I can type if I watch my fingers, otherwise my right hand gets full fumble and can't seem to find the right keys; dropping things, lost extension strength. Went to a Neurologist for another opinion and EMG. Physical exam and MRI's I am also losing my C7/8 as well. 3/4 of my arm is numb, if I turn it in varies positions, it burns.

    After the EMG, the Neuro changed his physical exam diagnosis to Neuropathy! I still haven't figured that out, and he added the same diagnosis for my legs - even though the issues identify fully corroborate my L2/3 nerve roots (where disc issues show on the MRI to match it)! I am now in process of getting with another Neurologist to find out what in 'Same Fort Useless" is going on!

    Before the EMG, my original NS was figuring revision for my C5/6/7 adding C8 - then later L2/3/4 - now neuropathy and all turned off! Like you I get frustrated. They acknowledge there are problems, but of 3 doctors now (one Ortho spine), no agreeing answers! I'll send you positive energy in that you are able to get answers! Support *HUG*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I also had the tingling and numbness in my arm and hand before surgery. I was dropping things all the time. GOt to the point I stopped using that hand. It got much better after surgery.
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  • Brenda, thanks so much for connecting and your HUGZ ! God am I grateful that there is someone here that knows what the HELL is going on, thank you for letting me know what's happening for you!

    This is a lot of change and loss - the issue of loss of


    I need a neurologist NOW and I hope I can have someone jump in here and assess and confirm, source, I don't believe it's shoulder or thoracic outlet complications, but I guess both can co-exist.

    This stuff neuromuscular is a difficult field and finding good professional assessment I imagine won't be fun now for me. I live in a small community and have chosen to drive 60 miles for most of my medical, care out of state for spinal surgeon specialized in cervical degeneration and complex deformity.

    So...you experience the same level of loss and the neuro is telling you just live with it?

    Did you get any help with OT occupational therapy support, has it come to you needing that?

    I'm overwhelmed, zip lock bags forget it, doing dishes, one hand very hard, bathing drying with a towel, no strength, the weight of the towel is almost too much for me to handle....I could go on and on.

    My gosh...I am sooooo glad you will know what I am talking about, Brenda.

    I'm in hold pattern for hopefully seeing Neurosurgeon second opinion, haven't heard back from them getting my mri and medical reports (worry about the ortho who assessed me as high risk and not a good candidate will influence the neurosurgeon Ive contacted - - hopeless, no but I guess trying to be realistic.

    I have been in spiral nerve spasms pain off the charts for past 4 wks in returning from my orthosurgeon appt and got verdict a week later he changed his mind on surgery.

    Been hoping to have trip to new neurosurgeon and have EMG and any tests they need to do to full assess this advancing disabiling radiculopathy, on my left arm, hand, fingers.

    I'm thinking of getting in to my Primary Dr in town and get him in on this now and take the chances with a referral to a neurologist and doing a good emg eval.

    God, I hate this disease, I had no idea I would have to be losing this much and not have a surgery option.

    Thanks again Brenda, I am so sorry to know you have this too, but oh my God am I grateful that I can connect with you and not be alone in this "falling into a dark hole" with neuromuscular havoc and wondering where the a h.... does this go!!???!!

  • Kris,

    Hi, thanks for your reply.

    Do you have the major loss of strength and multi-dexterity all fingers??

    How long was your symptoms going on prior to your surgery?

    I've been in a wait till it's absolutely necessary for a C-6/7/8 T-1/2 posterior approach surgery, my orthosurgeon for 7 yrs said it was complex high-risk no problem to do surgery but a BIG one because of the junction of C-6/7/8 levels into the thoracic T-1/2/3.
    Also I have C-4/5/6 already fused, leaving only my malformed bone/tissue above that, 1 hemi-vertebrae hypermobile where I would get the only motion from (congenital Klippel Feil deformity scoliosis no normal vertebrae for what should have been C
    -1/2/3) - - if they did the posterior surgery and fusion with plates/screws.

    Kris, your name has NY in it, are you in New York?
    I would love to chat further with you - - re: getting best neuro/ortho surgeon and am in process of wsiting to hear back from a neurosurgeon out-of-state with the latest bowing out of my ortho-surgeon in doing an ACDF for bilateral two level narrow nerve space C-6/7/8.

    I guess we could PM each other on that, more appropriate.

    Let me know. Thanks much.

  • Sorry Janelle, I looked to see if you replied, but I saw the other post with the same title and nothing, so I thought it was deleted or something! :)

    You're very welcome! My NS hasn't told me that there isn't anything to be done anymore, what he did was refer me to a Neurologist that he feels is very good at figuring out what else might be going on. That is why he put a stop on my surgeries for now. So, hehe, he hasn't dropped me off his list yet thank goodness!

    I am hoping this Neurologist orders a new Cervical MRI as my last was only 8 weeks after my last surgery, and there was a lot of inflammation in there still, so nothing really showed then. My guess is since the NCV/EMG states that I now have upper motor neuron lesions, one will be ordered to see if in fact that is the case, if not the EMG does confirm I have issues from C5/6/7/8. I also at the 6 month x-rays showed a cracked through and through below the bottom screw from my last fusion, so that too is making things happen - my voice has been crap since around 5 months after the fusion. ENT confirmed my 'hardware' is moving and irritating my vocal cords. Whew...okay with all that said...

    Like your finding, for my right arm:

    Strength, Dexterity and Movement - all affected.

    1. Drying after a shower - can't pull the towel up across my back - no triceps strength
    2. Lifting even a can of Coke, wrist folds forward and I drop the can.
    3. Can't brush my teeth or hair with the right hand/arm.
    4. Pony tails - can't spread the fingers out enough to put the band over my hair. etc.,etc., etc.

    In the back of my mind I just wonder like you, is this going to get better again or is this the best it is going to get? It is scary just thinking about it that way.

    Down here in South Florida, it is the dreaded Horsefly season. Those suckers hurt almost as much as a bee when they bite. Whelps..hehe... I found that there is a plus for much of my arm, and most of my hand being numb - had two of those suckers bite me yesterday, didn't feel a thing! (G) I still hate horseflies!

    Unless and until I am told that there is nothing more that can be done, I will keep after doctors to figure this out. Hopefully this next Neurologist will have a clue, and a plan. Same goes for you Janelle, don't give up and keep after the doctors to figure out what is going on. I am here if you need to chat. Please keep us updated on what you find out. *HUGZ*

    Your fellow 'fumble fingers' friend! :)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
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  • I've got the same problem you guys have described due to holding my arms over my head too long four days ago. All four limbs are scary-weak-numb. The worst of it was- I could make a fist but couldn't move my fingers independently to type on the keyboard. That got better though. Whew.

    I haven't gone to the ER because reading about myelopathy, spactisity, and HERE...has kept me calmer over it. I truly appreciate your posts. It gives me a better idea of what to expect (or not) from a Neuro appt on June 29. It's going to be hard waiting that long but I've got confidence to wait. I wrote your names down so I could follow your progress. I've never had spine surgery or an EMG.

    I'm hoping it's just a contusion and not a lesion or anything. Bleh...

    I live alone too. When I get up to walk, my legs are really kinked up, buttocks,thighs,calves, feet - but I can "walk it off" (the stiffness, lack of muscle cooperation) ...with the first few steps. Can't walk all of it off but the first few steps are the hardest. I never dreamt in my wildest imagination that it "may be" considered okay to be like this and not run to the ER. I seem stable enough. My strength is still good but I'm weak. Weird.

    My memory has gone out the window. It's a struggle to keep my mind functioning. Like I'm sleep walking.

    Whatever. I just wanted to say "thanks".


    My right arm/hand is in much better shape than the left...so I'm trying to use it for everything too. Fear of damaging the weaker arm/hand more by forcing it to work so hard. My limbs feel swollen, feverish and ache but don't look swollen.

    I'm encouraged that you drive so far like this. All of the neck turning doesn't hurt you more. I'm still wary...but encouraged. Thanks.

  • I experience the same exact thing. I'm 33 and have been experiencing this since 2003. Its been a long time since your post so I'm sure your status with coping has changed. I'd really like it if u could update me as to the solutions, remedies or coping skills you have reached. Kellygoolsby79@yahoo.com
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