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Spinal Cord Disorders Message Board


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hi jenny,
why i am worried is that i did not have numbness or tingling in my arms or hands before the ACDF surgery. I had just pain in both arms to the bicep levels in each, and my hands felt a bit achey at times and seemed to be cold at times.. The numbness on my left has been there since right after the surgery, i kept on being told this is due to post op swelling and is completely normal, AND if i squeeze my left arm at any point,, it hurts terribly, the entire left arm hurts a ton if you squeeze it. My right hand numbness started 3 months post op, it started as a small area at the thumb, now the whole hand, gets numb, and it hurts to turn my forearm badly... That is on BOTH sides too that it hurts to turn my forearm, hurt to open a door, roll down a window, and just holding anything in the hands now hurts. The other thing is my wrists dont actually hurt, my hands, fingers and forearms do..

My post op MRI of the ACDF surgery looked "normal" my family doc said but I am afraid that this numbness and pain radiating down the left arm is coming from my back the c5, c6 nerve i had worked on, because like i said the whole left arm is painful, from my bicep/armpit down. I still have terrible neck pain and upper back pain, and when they did the acdf surgery my left side was worse than the right. I just want to make sure that the surgery to correct this is done at the correct point in my body. My other thought is this, do you have pain all the way up the arm to the bicep and shoulder with carpal tunnel? I remember i had carpal tunnel 17 years ago when i was pregnant with my daughter, and after i delivered i went right away. I remember at that time that the numbness was just at my hand and wrist. I have an appointment with my neurosergeon tommorow and am making a list of questions for him. For now I am wearing splints on both hands/arms, and i do get some relief with wearing them. When i take them off to shower or to dress, i am in a ton of pain/crying. It is a big difference when i dont have them on, althogh my right fingers went slightly numb even with wearing the splint.. How reliable are the EMGs? I am wondering if i should ask my neurosergeon to do an ultrasound of my arms to make sure where the damage to nerve/nerves is. Is the pain relief from the carpal tunnel surgey immediate? thanks,,,, Estella
Hi Estella...I read your 2 PM's and here is what I think. Your MRI looks very good. The only compression you have is of the thecal sac. That is the sac that surrounds the spinal cord and holds in the fluid around it. So if something is compressing that sac, it's okay as there is still fluid to protect the cord. If you had actual cord compression, you generally have symptoms below that level so you'd have problem with your legs or feet, not your hands.

But the test they did do on your wrist did show a problem and it's in the wrist. I had to have those nerve conduction tests on my right arm from my thumb to my spine to try to figure out why I was having so many problems moving my thumb. They attached the sensor to my thumb and then sent signals to my thumb first from above the wrist, then from above the elbow, then from above the shoulder and then from the spine. Usually if there is a problem with compression on the nerve it is at a joint. When they tested your wrist to finger nerve conduction speed, they clearly found it was delayed at the wrist and therefore, the problem was in the wrist. If the doc thought it might be at a higher level then he'd test at a higher level like mine did but he was satisfied that the problem was in your wrist.

But maybe the problem is you thinking it's because you have the typical carpal tunnel syndrome but probably what they are trying to tell you is that no matter what the cause, the treatment is the same....the surgery they do for carpal tunnel syndrome. It appears you have a damaged median nerve in your wrist that is being aggravated by the tightness of the tendons in your wrist going through the carpal tunnel ligament. Even if the cause is not repetative motion, the treatment is still the same....open up the carpal tunnel and give that nerve room to heal. That's all they do, cut the ligament and open the area and let everything spread out a little and give the nerve room to heal, especially if it's swollen. Your wrist size goes up about 1/2 inch.

So no matter how you hurt it, the treatment is still the same. And it beats having a numb and useless hand.

Hope you get the other one tested soon too.

Jenny





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