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Facing loss of ability at 35 without established life



  • Did you have x-rays or an MRI of your hand?

  • L4_L5: Neither. They just MRI'ed my brain and neck. What would xrays/MRI of hand show?
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  • I know a woman who had a CT or MRI of her hand and that determined she needed surgery for carpal tunnel.

    Since her surgery her hand has felt a lot better.

  • Was that concurrent with cervical/neck/back issues?

  • No.

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  • L4_L5 - I have an elbow MRI tomorrow (PCP thought left elbow was good because it was most commonly affected.) I get the results almost instantaneously over my hospital's web account - what kind of stuff would they be looking for? Tendon damage? Can they see peripheral nerves or anything like that?

  • Thanks for checking in. Good luck with the MRI. Please keep us posted.

    I’m not a doctor so I’m afraid I can’t say what they’re looking for. In my case they’re looking for what is called “ligamentous laxity.”

    Google that phrase for more info. 

  • You could very well have both carpel tunnel and neck issues and they could be playing off each other.  I had c4-c7 ACDF and 4 years later started experiencing symptoms of radiculopathy again as well as trigger fingers and what I thought was ulnar nerve impingement. I had the emg study which showed moderate carpel tunnel so my neck surgeon thinks that's the issue.  I had surgery on my left had for carpel tunnel and trigger finger 8 months ago.  I had some relief in my forearm but still have quite a bit of pain and weakness that hand surgeon says is definitely coming from neck.  Hang in there, it does get easier, I went through very similar depression and anger.  I still have bad days but as others have said, chronic pain will not win...

    laminectomy c4/c5 2008, ACDF c4-c7 Jan 20 2014 sched
  • My PCP is out 'till next week but the sneak preview from my elbow MRI is tendinosis with some degree of tendon tear. I worked on a farm all last year and it got worse and worse throughout the season. Should've just stopped...oh well. Looks like I was right to begin with and it might not be my neck at all that is affecting my arms. Will have to check with my PCP and see about more tests. My arms have been getting really bad lately, and in some ways tendinosis is even scarier than neck problems because tendons are super hard to heal. I've also been unemployed for the past 2 months just doing normal at-home activities and even that is making it worse. Anywho, will let you know how it goes once I move forward. Good to know about the tendinosis now and not after getting my neck cut and glued back together ;)

  • Talked to PCP and I continue to be amazed at how clueless and compartmentalized doctors have become. I spent the previous week googling lateral epidondylosis and related pathologies, treatments, success rates, etc. All she has was the most basic: "Start with NSAIDs and put on a brace. Get some PT."

    From what I can tell lateral epicondylosis (not "itis," that's the old misnomer that assumes easily-treatable inflammation) can be closely related to C5 C6 nerve compression. A few places even hypothesize that the nerve compression leads to decreased wrist extension strength which can, in turn, trickle up the kinetic chain of the arm. This seems to be what I'm suffering from, as my arm disability started at my wrist, went to my extensors, then to my elbow, then to my bicep, and is now finally affecting one of my shoulders as well.

    I'm torn between aggressively treating my elbow/epicondylosis (with stretches and strengthening and weights once I feel I'm ready) or just saying fuck it and getting my ACDF. While, on the one hand, it would be great to avoid surgery and get my arms back, there's also the possibility that this is just going to get worse and worse until I get the nerve/spinal compression released.

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