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  • ACDF for numbness and weakness but no pain

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    Old 07-15-2012, 06:52 PM   #1
    fiercekitten
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    ACDF for numbness and weakness but no pain

    Hello all,
    I am going to have a single level ACDF next week (7/25/12) for a herniated C6/C7 disc. I had been in a great deal of pain when this issue started for me around 3 months ago but that has all but resolved. I get an occasional flash of pain down my right arm but nothing too bad. What I am experiencing, however, is weakness in the right arm and numbness in my right index and middle finger. I have tried several weeks of PT and massage and it helped a little but not enough. The concern my surgeon has is that this never is being impinged and soon it will have been damaged beyond repair and I will always have this numbness and weakness.

    The question I have for the group is has anyone had this surgery and not been in pain before it? It seems to me that most people are talking about the relief from pain they are experiencing and how their recovery is being charted in comparison to the pain they had before surgery. I am curious how the recovery goes for people who were not suffering terribly before the operation.

    Can anyone shed some light? My fear is that I am feeling alright now and that the side effects and complications from the surgery will be worse than the unpleasantness of the weakness and numbness with occasional shots of pain I am currently experiencing.

    Thanks in advance!
    Cassie

     
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    Old 07-15-2012, 07:20 PM   #2
    WebDozer
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    Re: ACDF for numbness and weakness but no pain

    I have had three different cervical surgeries (ACDF, foraminotomy and laminoplasty). The ACDF was preceded by what I would call soreness, mixed with weakness. The foraminotomy was preceded only by weakness. The laminoplasty was preceded by a variety of symptoms, but pain (and not much of it) only showed up just before surgery.

    As to your question, yes, an ACDF COULD result in pain that you're not feeling now. It also COULD result in other damage. Not that these things are likely, but they are possible.

    What matters more is the condition of your c-spine right now. You might have quite a serious situation, even if you have no pain. There's no way I or anyone else here can even venture a guess w/o seeing your MRI report.

    Also, since you would seem to have C7 radiculopathy, I would wonder why a less drastic surgery than an ACDF might not be in order. I had what I'd consider to be serious C5 radiculopathy, and a foraminotomy cleared it up nicely, all done outpatient and with practically no ensuing pain or disability.

    Of course, I'm just an amateur (at providing medical services, that is... I'm something of a professional at RECEIVING them). However, before an ACDF - ESPECIALLY ONE YOU HAVE ANY DOUBTS ABOUT - you really should be getting THREE opinions (and that's not counting mine )

    Last edited by WebDozer; 07-15-2012 at 07:23 PM.

     
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    Old 12-03-2012, 11:45 AM   #3
    kmartin66
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    Re: ACDF for numbness and weakness but no pain

    I had a two level (5/6 and 6/7) ACDF with hardware at 5/6 and a double foraminatomy in March, 2012 and prior to surgery I had very little to NO pain at all. Like you, I was simply loosing strength in my arm and had numbness and tingling in my fingers and hand. Unfortunately, following surgery, while it is not severe, there is more pain than before, but I truly believe that it is just because I had so little prior to surgery so it is more noticable and the nerves that were cordoned off are now reawakening. I strongly believe that surgery was the best option (and I got SEVERAL opinions) to retain the use of my left arm (which may be why they suggest the same foryou). Best of luck to you and let us know how surgery goes!

     
    Old 12-03-2012, 03:47 PM   #4
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    Re: ACDF for numbness and weakness but no pain

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by fiercekitten View Post
    Hello all,
    I am going to have a single level ACDF next week (7/25/12) for a herniated C6/C7 disc. I had been in a great deal of pain when this issue started for me around 3 months ago but that has all but resolved. I get an occasional flash of pain down my right arm but nothing too bad. What I am experiencing, however, is weakness in the right arm and numbness in my right index and middle finger. I have tried several weeks of PT and massage and it helped a little but not enough. The concern my surgeon has is that this never is being impinged and soon it will have been damaged beyond repair and I will always have this numbness and weakness.

    The question I have for the group is has anyone had this surgery and not been in pain before it? It seems to me that most people are talking about the relief from pain they are experiencing and how their recovery is being charted in comparison to the pain they had before surgery. I am curious how the recovery goes for people who were not suffering terribly before the operation.

    Can anyone shed some light? My fear is that I am feeling alright now and that the side effects and complications from the surgery will be worse than the unpleasantness of the weakness and numbness with occasional shots of pain I am currently experiencing.

    Thanks in advance!
    Cassie
    How many opinions did you get before you decided surgery? If it were me I'd have gotten at least 2 if not 3.

     
    Old 12-03-2012, 05:47 PM   #5
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    Re: ACDF for numbness and weakness but no pain

    I second that...

     
    Old 12-03-2012, 05:52 PM   #6
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    Re: ACDF for numbness and weakness but no pain

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by fiercekitten View Post
    Hello all,
    I am going to have a single level ACDF next week (7/25/12) for a herniated C6/C7 disc. I had been in a great deal of pain when this issue started for me around 3 months ago but that has all but resolved. I get an occasional flash of pain down my right arm but nothing too bad. What I am experiencing, however, is weakness in the right arm and numbness in my right index and middle finger. I have tried several weeks of PT and massage and it helped a little but not enough. The concern my surgeon has is that this never is being impinged and soon it will have been damaged beyond repair and I will always have this numbness and weakness.

    The question I have for the group is has anyone had this surgery and not been in pain before it? It seems to me that most people are talking about the relief from pain they are experiencing and how their recovery is being charted in comparison to the pain they had before surgery. I am curious how the recovery goes for people who were not suffering terribly before the operation.

    Can anyone shed some light? My fear is that I am feeling alright now and that the side effects and complications from the surgery will be worse than the unpleasantness of the weakness and numbness with occasional shots of pain I am currently experiencing.

    Thanks in advance!
    Cassie
    Hi,

    I maybe in the initial stage of what you are going through. I had pain that radiated from my neck to my right upper arm for the first week but the pain resolved itself after 1-2 weeks. Now (3 weeks or so) its just a feels a little ache in the neck. What worried me was my arm feeling weak. especially wrist action. Its not a total lost of strength but noticeably weaker.No numbness though. I am awaiting MRI so I cannot say beyond this. But from what I heard PT do take sometime to work. A collague of mine had c4-c5 degenerative disk, he suffered for 1 year before going to see a orthpedic. He had pain, 50% loss of arm strength and numbness in fingers that comes and goes. The orthepedic suggested PT. He did it for 1 year (twice a month), his strength has returned, no more numbness and pain is now only in the neck that comes in in the evenings but its relatively mild. I am no MD but I concur that you should seek more than 1 opinon an maybe give PT more time.

     
    Old 12-04-2012, 12:20 AM   #7
    fiercekitten
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    Re: ACDF for numbness and weakness but no pain

    Hello all,
    It's been over 4 months since my surgery and I am pretty much fully recovered. I am still dealing with some soreness in the muscles that used to support the fused discs as they figure out what their new job is but it's nothing too bad. The weakness has pretty much resolved but there is still some numbness in the fingers. The doctor and physical therapist tells me that this could take up to 18 months to resolve. It's better than it was before surgery but not all the way. I have gotten pretty used to it at this point and, while I don't love it, I can live with it if this is how it is from now on.

    Before surgery I had several opinions and everyone pretty much across the board said I should have surgery. I am glad I did it so that I can move on with my life. I wish you all the best of luck with your situations.

     
    Old 12-04-2012, 10:37 PM   #8
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    Re: ACDF for numbness and weakness but no pain

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by fiercekitten View Post
    Hello all,
    It's been over 4 months since my surgery and I am pretty much fully recovered. I am still dealing with some soreness in the muscles that used to support the fused discs as they figure out what their new job is but it's nothing too bad. The weakness has pretty much resolved but there is still some numbness in the fingers. The doctor and physical therapist tells me that this could take up to 18 months to resolve. It's better than it was before surgery but not all the way. I have gotten pretty used to it at this point and, while I don't love it, I can live with it if this is how it is from now on.

    Before surgery I had several opinions and everyone pretty much across the board said I should have surgery. I am glad I did it so that I can move on with my life. I wish you all the best of luck with your situations.

    Glad to hear the surgery went well and you are doing good. I share you sentiments-glad I had the surgery so that I could move on with my life.

     
    Old 12-10-2012, 11:26 AM   #9
    MarkAA
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    Re: ACDF for numbness and weakness but no pain

    Curious how your surgery and recovery went. ACDF for C4-5, and C5-6 has been recommended to me. I have numbness and burning down my right arm from time to time, as well as some numbness in my fingers. I don't have severe pain. The worst pain is muscular near my scapula and I'm concerned about pain being worst after surgery, so you insights would be greatly appreciated.

     
    Old 12-10-2012, 11:35 AM   #10
    MarkAA
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    Re: ACDF for numbness and weakness but no pain

    Sorry FierceKitten. New to this site and didn't see your response until after I posed the question. Great to hear that it went well. I'm dealing with indecision of whether to do, or not to do, the surgery. I lean towards it. Then I read the response of Big Fish above, regarding his friend doing PT for a year, and the symptoms sound exactly like mine. Neck pain at night that won't let me sleep for long.

     
    Old 12-10-2012, 01:31 PM   #11
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    Re: ACDF for numbness and weakness but no pain

    How many hours are you able to sleep at night?
    Yes, with neck pain, most people cannot sleep for too long. Forget the 8-9 hours....

     
    Old 12-10-2012, 01:44 PM   #12
    MarkAA
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    Re: ACDF for numbness and weakness but no pain

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nochange View Post
    How many hours are you able to sleep at night?
    Yes, with neck pain, most people cannot sleep for too long. Forget the 8-9 hours....
    4 hours without Ambien

    5-6 hours with Ambien

    Not too bad from my viewpoint. My biggest concern is that its fairly obvious the cervical disc is right up against the spinal cord. I live with a certain degree of anxiety about falling or some other car accident occurring (my current condition is due, in part, to a car accident 10 months ago).

     
    Old 12-10-2012, 08:48 PM   #13
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    Re: ACDF for numbness and weakness but no pain

    Well then, you had a whiplash. Even if you do a surgery it won't take the pain away.
    Reason: All your tendons, ligaments and muscles have been damaged for life.
    THey don't have the technology to fix damaged ligaments, tendons and muscles. It's called "intractable" pain.

    How did this accident happen? Were you sitting in the back sit?

    Last edited by nochange; 12-10-2012 at 08:50 PM.

     
    Old 12-13-2012, 06:26 AM   #14
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    Re: ACDF for numbness and weakness but no pain

    No, driving. Another car ran a stop sign, and I wasn't able to stop the vehicle before impact. Airbag deployed and at first just minor aches in neck and back. I had a prior accident where a piece of luggage fell on my head when another airline passenger tried to take out her 70lb suitcase full of books out of the overhead. I had prior problems with my neck so its a situation that went from bad to worse.

     
    Old 12-14-2012, 12:20 PM   #15
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    Re: ACDF for numbness and weakness but no pain

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MarkAA View Post
    No, driving. Another car ran a stop sign, and I wasn't able to stop the vehicle before impact. Airbag deployed and at first just minor aches in neck and back. I had a prior accident where a piece of luggage fell on my head when another airline passenger tried to take out her 70lb suitcase full of books out of the overhead. I had prior problems with my neck so its a situation that went from bad to worse.
    Just a week from my surgery being done (c5 6 and c6 7}pain was GONE! Now weakness and other stuff different story. Going to be a long recovery

    Last edited by rockenmama; 12-14-2012 at 12:22 PM.

     
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