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Thread: I can't feel my fingers any more - Seriously - Surgery Required - Bummed

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    Senior Member kerrlehr's Avatar
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    Unhappy I can't feel my fingers any more - Seriously - Surgery Required - Bummed

    Seriously - ARM NERVE SURGERY MARCH 20th...
    After extensive CAT scans, MRI's, Nerve conductivity studies, multiple cervical epidurals, even epilepsy medications (gabapentin) the neuro-surgeon has told me that my condition is not un-common with lifetime guitarists, violinists and pianists. He informed me that I have to have a surgery to re route the Ulnar Nerve through my elbow. He says that it is compressed in the medial channel in my left elbow and that after the surgery, I should get full sensation and strength back in my fingers on my fretting hand. He will also be doing a carpel tunnel procedure at the same time. Oh FUN.. - NOT - I am seriously uncomfortable with this idea, but have been experiencing numbness more and more often to a point where I am having problems playing and almost constant pain from my neck to scapula and through out my arm. We all thought that it was my C-6/7 and I was under the impression that I was going to be having neck surgery.
    I am so wound up and worried that one little mistake and I may never fret another chord..
    There, got that off my chest. Thought maybe someone else may have had this, or may not know why they too are losing feeling and experiencing aggravating pain that makes playing not so fun.

    Ulnar Nerve Entrapment at the Elbow (Cubital Tunnel Syndrome) - OrthoInfo - AAOS
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    I had same sort of condition - stemmed from neck vertebrae - felt worst in my shoulder blade and then elbow and then 2 fingers - doc said wear and tear and recommended physio. I went to a chiropractor instead - took a good few sessions - but he freed up my vertebrae and then the ulna nerve gradually returned to full sensitivity. I still go for a regular bone cracking session once or twice a month just as a precaution.

    Here in UK I think Docs like pills, surgery or passing you to physio .... they don't like chiropractitioners - but it certainly worked for me.

  3. #3
    jon
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    Senior Member jon's Avatar
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    wow, that would totally bum me out too :/ what's the typical recovery time like?

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    Senior Member EdgE's Avatar
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    Wow, never hear of it ,Good luck with the surgery

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    Senior Member Scrutinizer's Avatar
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    I've been suffering from Cubital Tunnel Syndrome for about 10 years now, I know what you are going through. I have pain and numbness from my pinky all the way up to my shoulder on my right side.

    Best of luck with your surgery.

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    Member MG-Chris's Avatar
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    Best of luck with this man. I have a buddy that has serious CT (though nothing like what you're going through) and he manages to get by with detuned guitars and really light strings with low action.

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    Member Muzza_Boogie's Avatar
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    thats a rough diagnoses, but looks like the chiro might be worth a crack (heh).. have you tried any other 'alternate' methods??
    I'd certainly look before going under the knife.

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    Member Mott's Avatar
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    I went through about 2 months this year with similar symptoms--my pinky and ring finger were totally numb and I had very weak control of them. Had all the nerve tests, etc. but right before I went in for my final visit with the specialist, it pretty much went away. Rather than do surgery or anything, he said watch it and if it came back again they might operate. So far it hasn't, although the fingers still are a little weak. Scary stuff.

    Best of luck with your surgery.
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    Senior Member henryrobinett's Avatar
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    I'm lucky to be trouble free. But about 6-7 months ago I was starting to feel numbness and tiredness in my left hand. I couldn't play much after a half hour to an hour, which is not much for me.

    I started to doing some simple back stretching and it went away within a few days. It has not been back.

    Good luck!

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    I was diagnosed with Ulnar Nerve Entrapment, I have nerve damage also and had muscle wasting which causes my ring finger on my picking hand to tremble a little bit. It was really bad until I got into a car accident last year and then started working out, since then my hand very rarely goes numb and I can play for hours without problems. My left arm was screwed up from the car wreck (couldn't straighten it all the way) and that was entirely corrected through lifting weights also. I don't know if that's an option for you, but I'd try it even if it seems counterproductive (so long as it doesn't make the condition worse) because I was really between surgery or never playing again, and I'd never have believed it would work if I didn't have it happen to me. Good luck!

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    Member Spazi's Avatar
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    I tried being paralyzed on the left side of my face for months... wasn't funny...
    I hope you recover well. God speed!
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    Senior Member funny_polymath's Avatar
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    I am a healer and energy worker. I STRONGLY suggest you see an ORTHO-BIONOMY therapist before having surgery. You would be AMAZED how often 'must have' surgery turns out to be unnecessary. go to the Ortho-Bionimy site and see if you can find someone in your area who thinks they can help. Society of Ortho-Bionomy International

    I myself am a former quadriplegic who was never supposed to walk again, let alone play guitar. If I'd listened to my doctors, I'd still be in a wheelchair.

    Good luck.
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    Senior Member henryrobinett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by funny_polymath View Post
    I am a healer and energy worker. I STRONGLY suggest you see an ORTHO-BIONOMY therapist before having surgery. You would be AMAZED how often 'must have' surgery turns out to be unnecessary. go to the Ortho-Bionimy site and see if you can find someone in your area who thinks they can help. Society of Ortho-Bionomy International

    I myself am a former quadriplegic who was never supposed to walk again, let alone play guitar. If I'd listened to my doctors, I'd still be in a wheelchair.

    Good luck.
    Good for you! I have a healthy suspicion? distrust? distance? from the medical establishment, in general. I think they're very good at some things: Diagnosis, and surgery. They go WAY overboard on medication, as far as I'm concerned. Way over. They don't even look for causes nor do they seem to understand them. They treat symptoms which, if you don't understand the cause, can worsen the symptom as you can end up treating the wrong thing.

    It makes sense to me that problems in the hand can be exacerbated or helped by attention to the back, alignment, muscles, stretching - at least first before surgery. It helped me.

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    Senior Member kerrlehr's Avatar
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    Thanks for all of the well wishes and support - I have done all kinds of "other methods" and flat out rejected the surgery option until this last bout. It had me pushed to the limit with tolerating pain. I am also an architect and general contractor now and when I am not playing guitar and keyboards for fun, I am on the computer for paperwork and AutoCAD. I have worked out about three days a week for the last ten years but that is getting to be only core and legs now, as upper body just sets it off. Acupuncture would take the edge off. Chiropractics helped certain things but my DC even says that he can't undo the nerve crush. I am a firm believer of Chiropractics (our own Fractal community KsmithDC is a Doctor of Chiropractics in PA BTW) and alternate methods first. I don't do the pain killers accept to help sleep. I will not let myself have to deal with addiction. PERIOD - I hate drugs after seeing so many good friends be destroyed, or even a few who are gone now. So it was the grin and bare it method I went with primarily. I raced motocross for about 12 years and was a cabinet installer and construction worker for a lot of years as well. I think your body can only take so much.

    Funny_polymath - I love your story man - you are a true inspiration and in my eyes, a hero, as you starred being down for life in the face, told him NO and you won! I will look at that site, if only out of sheer interest.
    I am out of time and having my work and musical life interrupted all too much with this, so after 10 years of coping feels like having a screw driver stuck in my scapula/shoulder and pain shooting down my left arm. I am down with it. I am just doing this surgery. It exists on both sides, so I am doing left first. If I feel it is really worth while, only then will I do the right (Rt. handed) side.

    Cool thing - I just had the best day of playing that I think I have ever had - My AXE-II and I just found our true harmony together today - Hair standing up on my arms good sound. Life is good! (Love the tape delay #043 preset BTW)
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    Senior Member kerrlehr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jon View Post
    wow, that would totally bum me out too :/ what's the typical recovery time like?
    It sounds like the recovery period is 6-8 weeks.
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    Forum Baron Sixstring's Avatar
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    6-8 weeks is not to bad, just think of it as a vacation from the guitar for a wile. I took one thought it wasn't mandatory like your will be but it was needed and I'm having fun again.
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    Member jetspeed747's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear that you have to go through this. I wish you all the best. Have you any feeling that there may have been a way to avoid this through stretching or exercise or something? Would be nice to hear your thoughts.

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    So sorry to hear about this I have a condition where my fingertips go numb with even a moderate amount of pressure - because of this, I have to use the 'lightest guitar strings known to man' for both electric and acoustic guitars (I make my sole living as a guitarist). I have had many tests, but they just can't explain why this is happening. Please let us know how things are going, since you may need a little 'emotional support' during your recovery....this is normal...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spazi View Post
    I tried being paralyzed on the left side of my face for months... wasn't funny...
    I hope you recover well. God speed!
    Belle's Palsy? I've been through that too, and it is a very scary and strange thing! Once again, the doctors still aren't sure what causes it and how to prevent it....

  20. #20
    yek
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    Sorry to hear that. Best of luck with the surgery and recovery!
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