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Old 06-18-2012, 03:31 PM   #1
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Left Arm Weaker After Surgery - Help

I had posterior C3-T2 laminectomy, foramenectony & fusion 7 months ago. I noticed over the last 3 weeks that my left arm which was very weak prior to surgery is now extremely weak in the forearm area. I can't even do a bicep curl with 1 pound where up to 3 weeks ago, I could do anywhere between 2 to 3 lbs. depending on the day & extent of my spasms. I brought it up at my doc's appointment last week & she did acknowledge it is weak & prescribed physical therapy. She also told me that I'm healing extremely well. So what is going on with my left arm? Why is it weaker? She didn't have an answer but said they wouldn't know for 11 months how I've healed.

Has anyone experienced this? Is there anything I should be doing besides physical therapy? I am just so concerned about the lack of strength over the last 3 weeks and I have no idea of what is going on. Please help!

Thank you!

 
Old 06-18-2012, 03:48 PM   #2
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Re: Left Arm Weaker After Surgery - Help

I lost most of the strength in my left biceps a few years ago, and the problem was cleared up by a simple foraminotomy, I think at C5.

Try "making a muscle" with your right arm and then with your left. Is there a very big difference between how well the left and right sides firm up? Try something else, like letting your left arm hang down and then lifting it straight out in front. Trouble doing that might indicate denervation of a shoulder muscle, which could be on the same nerve as the biceps.

While I understand that recovery from such a major surgery must be expected to take a LONG time, still, after seven months, I wouldn't think that anything should be getting WORSE.

It would be nice to know if you've got foraminal blockage at - or adjacent to - C5, but I wonder if an MRI could even show it, given all the hardware you must have in your neck...

Last edited by WebDozer; 06-18-2012 at 03:49 PM.

 
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Old 06-18-2012, 04:13 PM   #3
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Re: Left Arm Weaker After Surgery - Help

Hi Webdozer,

I did what you had suggested. Don't have much of a bicep muscle in the left. When I leave my left arm down, I can bring it up straight from my shoulder. However, I cannot flex it up to a bicep curl. Interestingly, I can flex up from a sitting position & turn the arm palm up from a sitting position in front of me. When I take my arm across my body from a sitting or standing position, I cannot turn it palm up. This is so weird!

 
Old 06-18-2012, 04:47 PM   #4
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Re: Left Arm Weaker After Surgery - Help

I would think they included foraminotomies with that huge surgery you had, but you might want to see if you can find out specifically what levels/sides they did and which they didn't do. Just because you had such an extensive surgery doesn't mean everything was addressed.

And, no, I have no explanation for why you cannot do one thing, but can do something else that would seem to use the same muscles....

 
Old 06-19-2012, 09:14 AM   #5
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Re: Left Arm Weaker After Surgery - Help

Hey Kiddo....not happy, huh. I understand.

I had almost no use of my left arm until 9 months after my second neck surgery...my fusion. It took that long for the nerves to re-grow and re-connect and still, it was dicey for a while. My 6lb. granddaughter was born at 9 months after surgery and I could barely hold her in both arms. I was pretty upset. But once it started to move, I slowly started to work it and strengthen it and as the baby grew, so did my strength.

But I discovered at 3 years post-op that if I stopped working it, it got really weak again. I saw a rehab specialist and she said I have permanent damage and that if I want the use of my arm, it's use it or lose it. I will have to do PT on and off for life. I hit the PT exercise pool 3-4 times a week with a set of exercises for my legs and my arms.

Maybe it's something that will heal with you and you won't know for a while. My doc said he wouldn't touch me for 2 years if it was something surgical....said the same thing for my back. Takes a full 2 years to know the full outcome with these big surgeries. But that doesn't mean you can't keep the doc updated and get an MRI and EMG/NCS and do PT....try everything to see what works if anything.

You lose full use of the arm and then you need to demand answers and stop waiting. But you may find that you are like me....stop exercising and it gets really weak again.

Sorry you are having more problems.

hugs..........Jenny

 
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