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Spine and Back Health

Numbness, hardness & tingling

05/26/2011

Question:

I have had numbness and tingling in my rt ring and pinky finger ever since I have fusion of my C5-6-7-. The Dr. said it can take up to 6 months for the feeling to come back. It has been a year and a half now and the problem persists. I have been to the best neurologist and have had Physical Therapy along with some manipulation all to no avail. I take 3-300 mgs Neurontin a day but still have the problem. Now the pain is travelling up my arm. Help...

Answer:

Normally we don't associate problems with the 4th and 5th fingers (ring and pinky, as you said) with problems between C5 and C7. Those two fingers are usually supplied by the C8 nerve which would be below the area you had treated. This raises the question of whether the neck issue is the true cause of your fingers tingling. Another common condition is called "ulnar neuropathy" and can mimic symptoms from cervical disc problems but actually comes from the nerve in the arm, not from the neck. One option you could look into would be to get an EMG (electromyogram) to see if they can determine whether the problem is in the neck or not. Keep in mind this does not constitute specific medical advice or treatment recommendation -- only general information designed to help you work with your doctor toward a solution. Good luck.

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Response by:

David J Hart, MD David J Hart, MD
Associate Professor of Neurosurgery
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University