C5 and C6
About 30 years ago, I had an accident where I hit the windshield (no belt-dumb teen!). I did the same thing 2 years later-both times concussions, stitches, broken bones, etc. My neck started hurting about 10 years after the 2nd and progressively got worse. The neurologist said I had a double crush and that he would fix the severe carpal tunnel first. The right hand turned out great but the left hand (the one that was really bad) has never quite recovered. I feel the nerve if I lightly touch it, I have lost dexterity, I drop things and I have lost full use. I thought it may be leftover from surgery, but it hasn't gotten better. I have had two MRI's in the past 15 months, the second showing my c5 and c6 getting worse and worse. My neck is completely straight at this point-no natural curve. We have done epidural shots, PT, meds (I am allergic to NSAIDS, which is not helpful!)-nothing has helped. The herniations are pressing into the spinal cord and the surgeon said one is actually collapsing to the left. I suffer from daily migraines, severe neck pain, facial pain on the left side, almost no movement in neck (turning), my left arm is progressively getting weaker, this past weekend I have nerve pain to the touch on that arm and my arm physcially hurts to use it. My surgeon said I shouldn't even wait 4 months to have the surgery (two levels-fusion).
My question is: has anyone had the hand/nerve symptoms to this level and did it ever recover? I'm starting to worry that the carpal tunnel and the neck compression together, have permanently damaged it and I am hoping after neck surgery it comes back to full use. The surgeon said recovery can be 8-10 weeks and no driving up to 6 week (I commute 60 miles a day). He said trying to bring the hand back, may prolong my disability time even longer. I am on a computer all day.
Also, what are the signs that the neck is getting worse/to the end of the road? I know when my mom's neck was bad- she woke up one day and she just couldn't move her arm. I am wondering if the new symptoms are leading to that. I plan on having surgery in January-I have to plan for it with my job. They weren't happy with my last leave-that lasted 2 1/2 months longer than is should have because my left hand needed so much physical therapy. At some point my PT benefits ran out and I had to come back to work, one way or another. I was pretty sure they would let me go when I returned..but didn't. It has been awkward with my supervisors, ever since.
Thank you for reading/replying and my thoughts are to everyone in chronic pain. It is exhausting and spiritually draining.