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Spinal Cord Disorders Message Board

Spinal Cord Disorders Board Index

Hi Everyone,
I have been on this site since my ACDF surgery 12/9/2010. Mainly on the recovering from surgery section. Unfortunately it is time for a new location. Hope to get some wonderful advice but not happy to have to be here.
My neck is in pretty good shape but started having issues with my hands and shoulders around the 4 month post surgery mark. My hands started turning ice cold, reddish and white and fingertips blueish. My right hands is slightly swollen where I can't make a tight fist in the morning. My shoulders, pecs and traps are painful and tight. The ROM in my left shoulder isn't there. (I can't put my left arm around my back in order to itch or wash.
The issues with my hands and not resolved themselves independently or with medical help. Went to a vscular surgeon at my OSS suggestion - dopler showed good blood flow to the left hand. Then to a hand surgeon in April. He tool the wait and see approach since I wasn't in enough pain. I went back to the hand surgeon this week. Hated having to wait 1 1/2 hours which puts me in a bad mood. I felt he gave me more time than he did the last time I saw him. After reading the report I do not feel he put in my concerns or everything he told the woman taking the notes. SO I need to call back about that. One of the tests he did was Adson's test which is used to assess for the presence of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome at the scalene triangle. The examiner palpates the radial pulse while moving the upper extremity in abduction, extension, and external rotation. The patient then is asked to rotate her head toward the involved side while taking a deep breath and holding it. A positive exam will result in a diminished or absent radial pulse. I copied and pasted this info. I tested positive in both arms although more-so in the left hand. The color changes and coldness are not as strong as they were in the past but still quite sisgnificant. But now I feel my right hand is more swollen than it had been, not horrible but enough for me to notice. The hand surgeon wants me to go for physical therapy for 4 weeks and then go back to him. (I have been going for TENS, heat and massage for a month and I can't do that and PT at the same time due to insurance. I am going to bring the PT script to them and see what they think. They are holistic and have been really helping my knots and tightness). He also took x-rays which looked good on my left shoulder. He said there were other tests that would show more info (MRA, angio... CAT scan) but didn't want to perform yet. I told him I do not want to put off testing until issues get much worse which I did with my neck. Never a dull moment. My ROM is pretty good once the day gets going. First thing in the am I am very tight, but after a few hours and exercises I am looser and better. Went back to the 2 pound weights in the Left hand and 5 pound weights with my right hand. I thought I would be stronger by now. I feel they are still so weak. As with you , I want all of the pain and discomfort to stop and feel good in order to participate in life to the fullest. I know that you understand. There are days that I wake up in pain like prior to surgery but those are few and far apart. But it scares me when it happens.
Have a Painless Day. :)

12/9/2010 ACDF C5-6 C6-7 with plate, screws,
BMP & bone fragment filled cages
2/14/2011 trying to go back to work as a teacher
2/17/2011 starting PT
wearing bone stimulator 4 hours a day
DDD, arthritis, herniated disks, pinched nerves
3 months saw a little bit of bone growth (YEAH)
4/15/2011 Home Tens Unit
6/2011 end plate growth no more bone stimulator
pretty good ROM
still working on the strength
some issues with knots and spasms
Hands turning red and bluish and cold
8/2011 Hand surgeon feels I have TOS ( 2nd visit since 4/2011)

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