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  • c5-t1 acdf w/hardware done on 2-16-15

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    Old 03-04-2015, 05:36 PM   #1
    RonnieFromLV's Avatar
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    c5-t1 acdf w/hardware done on 2-16-15


    First time poster here. Had the acdf done on the 16th. I've lost most of the use of my left fingers/grip. Slammed me on Nov 25th last year. Got hit w/the pain once before about 6.5 yrs ago and was floored for hours w/pain. The pain subsided and I was left w/some numbness on the pinky side of my left palm. Chiro guy said I had bone spurs and arthritis. Me being me I just moved on thinking as long as the pain was moderate it would stay that way. I was hoping to wake up after surgery and see some change if only minor, but after 2 wks my hand is still about the same as before surgery. Starting pt on Monday and have been trying to build back some forearm strength w/ a can of peas. Started wearing my hard collar again after reading some posts about screws getting torn out. It took basically minutes to go from feeling ok to intense pain in my lower neck w/the loss of most of the use of my left fingers. I'm used to some pain but I'm worried the nerves that were pinched off are dead and my hand will be permanently partially paralyzed. I'm scheduled to get back to work on Apr 13th and was just able to work w/hand partially paralyzed. I work in a tissue paper converting mill as an operator so working w/tools is something I need to do everyday. Any other acdf people get their dexterity/grip back after surgery? Did it take awhile? From what I've learned about nerves it takes them quite some time to regenerate but once they are dead that's it. Well, I've gotten some really good and helpful info from this board so I thought I'd post up.

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    Old 03-05-2015, 03:48 PM   #2
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    Re: c5-t1 acdf w/hardware done on 2-16-15

    Welcome to the board.

    I'm sorry that you haven't received the improvement you hoped from the surgery yet. Although it's impossible to say if/when you might, it's still *very* early. It can take months or longer for damaged nerves to heal.

    An excellent example of this type of recovery is Peyton Manning. He had various issues with neck and arm pain for years and finally had fusion surgery. When he woke up, all the pain was gone but he couldn't prop himself up on his right (throwing) arm, his tricep had lost almost all of it's strength. Over the next 18 months he slowly regained his strength and was able to resume his job as a starting NFL quarterback. He says that it's still a little weaker than it was but is nearly back to normal.

    I also have a recovery story although I did not have surgery. I had a similar background to yours where for about 6 - 7 years I had various neck issues with radiculopathy that always resolved. Then last year I had an episode where for 3 weeks I had the worst pain of my life in my left arm/shoulder radiating from my neck. I also lost about 50 - 60% of my grip strength in that left arm (down to 61lbs vs. 140 in my right). I couldn't pick up a moderate sized book from the wrist or operate jumper cables. Over the next 6 months I worked hard on stabilizing my neck muscles and working out my left arm in PT. I also had a steroid injection and a course of oral steroids. The pain was mostly gone after three weeks and I had about 75-80% return of strength after about 6 months. Now after about a year, I'm still improving. I'd say I have nearly all my strength back although I can feel my left arm getting tired more quickly and it occasionally spasms. My grip is at 154lbs in my left and 170 in my right (so you can see I increased my dominant hand grip as well). My left wrist extensors are still slightly weak in isolation. When I started I had pretty extensive denervation in my left arm in the C5/C6 myotome. At my neurolgist checkup at 4 months it was considerably less, and the checkup at 9 months, the neurologist didn't even recommend another EMG because I had gained so much strength back.

    The point of all of that is that it can take some time to get improvement after nerve injury.

    I would be sure to go to follow ups and ask for "proof" that things are healing as they should. There are a portion of people who get surgery and the surgery causes additional issues (like hardware moving, non-fusion etc). You want to make sure that isn't happening. Follow recovery instructions to the letter. Don't try to do more. Other than that, hang in there.

    Good luck and let us know how you get on...

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