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I'm male and 66 yrs old. 4 weeks after ACDF of C4C5C6C7, I have minimal pain but have limited use of left arm Cannot raise arm from shoulder and arm is weak. Can lift arm at elbow partially. Forearm movement & strength affected. Am doing PT & OCT but see little difference. Like this immediately after surgery & not before. Any other knowledge of similar? Really need encouragement. Very depressing complication as always a very active person.

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On Oct. 20th I had the same exact procedure as you and I too am experiencing the same thing. I'm doing OT and will have a NCS done next week on both arms. I am having quite a bit of pain in my left arm. Ask your doctor to a nerve test. Try and stay positive, I know it's hard I have bouts of depression. Just keep telling yourself one day at a time and it will get better.
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Thanks for the response Jesse.

The PT & OCT have succeded in giving me some strength and more control of my forearm & hand. the deltoid & bicep continue to be weak and have a lot of muscle atrophy in deltoid/shoulder area. Have been told by family Dr there is little chance of recovery of the use of my arm. Not willing to accept this and keep working at PT & OCT. The surgeon had said regeneration could take 6 months. The surgeon left the area & not available for follow up. I'll need to look into this nerve test you mention.

I hope your recovery is proceeding more quickly than mine. Let we know of any improvement & of anything you learn I could use.
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My husband had the same thing after surgery in November 2008. The doctor referred to it as C5 Palsy and said it happens in 5% of the cases and they don't know why. He required PT and OT. From the elbow down came back but the shoulder area was just useless. After 4 months we were referred to a Nerve Specialist and it was recommended that we look at nerve transplant surgery. Our last appointment with this specialist was in May; he decided to wait another month before continuing with surgery. The very next week after the appointment - the shoulder area began to work, like overnight. He can now lift the arm above his head. He still goes to PT to help get the strength back; but things are now looking a whole lot brighter :-D .

Nerve regeneration can take a very long time as the nerves grow very slowly. There seems to be very little information out there on C5 palsy (most only be clinical) and since there was no further postings here with updates on the 2 original posters; I thought it was necessary to let people know that there CAN be light at the end of the tunnel - it just may be a very long walk to get there!
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I just had anterior discetomy w/ fusion (cage) on July 14. A 'spur' was removed from spine and my C-5 nerve 'jumped' and took out my left bicept and shoulder. Useless. A little better now and start pt next week. Been told it will come back but may take 6 mo to one year and may not be 100% even then. Yes, very depressing! Contact me if you like. BTW: I am 67.
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I have just had the same triple fusion. I have C5 palsy as you do. My daughter is a physical therapist and says that it usually will repair itself on 2 circumstances. The repair will be so gradule that you won't notice it. It will take 9-12 months with signs of improvement in 3-6 months. You have to do your exercises that the P.T. is showing you. The more you work, the more you improve. If you do nothing after your P.T. leaves, you will gain little back. I am 4 weeks out now and am seeing signs already. Good luck.
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I am wondering how you progressed and if you regained functioning of your upper arm. I had ACDF at C4-5 on 2/19/13. This was my third neck surgery in less than a year, with ACDF at C5-6 and C6-7 in May and June, 2012. I have residual nerve damage in two fingers and my thumb on my left hand from surgery last year, worse in the index finger, with pain and numbness, which worsens with activity. Unfortunately, I have C5 palsy in my right arm from my most recent surgery. I am right-hand dominant, so this is very devastating to me. I have been in PT since one week after surgery. I have no activity in my deltoid muscle and significant weakness in my bicep muscle. Since starting PT, I have improved motion in my forearm and hand, but any activity with my hand and forearm causes significant pain in my forearm and upper arm and trembling in my hand. I also have significant atrophy in my shoulder and my muscles have dropped. I go next week for an EMG of both upper extremities and am waiting for an MRI to be scheduled. So far all my neurosurgeon says is that it is going to take a long time and that all of his patients who have had C5 palsy recovered to an adequate level of functioning with the exception of one patient who had no recovery. This condition is very frustrating because I am so limited in performing any activities whatsoever and experience constant pain. It is also very depressing, but I am trying very hard to fight depression since I know that will hinder my recovery. It is difficult finding information on this condition, and particularly about recovery. Any information you can offer would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
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My post on 4/02/13 is in reply to Tod Cyester. I thought it would show up as a reply to his post from August 2012 since I hit the reply button on his post, but it did not. I am typing this on my cell phone since I am unable to use my laptop, so I'm not sure if the mobile view affected how it posted.

If anyone can give me any information about C5 palsy after reading my post, I would be greatly appreciative. Thank you.
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I HAD C3-T2 FUSED 6 LEVELS IT WAS ROUGH AND I HAVE THE SAME THING 7 WEEKS AFTER SURGERY, I HAD THIS OVER 8 YEARS AGO AND IT TOOK 8 MONTHS TO GET TO THE POINT WHERE I COULD SWIM. I AM STARTING TO GET IMPROVEMENT BUT YOU HAVE TO REALLY STICK TO THE THERAPY. THIS IS MY 2ND TIME AROUND. I THINK I HAD THE BEST SURGEON ON EARTH I AM HAVING HARDLY ANY PAIN. I CAN'T BELIEVE WITH ALL THE SCREWS I FEEL SO GOOD. I JUST WANT TO RETURN TO SWIMING. I MAY ASK MY SURGEON ABOUT MY LUMBAR SPINE IN ANOTHER MONTH OR 2. I THINK ALOT DEPENDS ON THE SURGEON. MINE WAS INCREDIBLE AND HE DID IT IN 3 OR 4 HOURS THE WHOLE OPERATION
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Ok I just had my surgery today. I came in with right arm palsy It does wen worsened after the surgery. This is not fun and I am reading your posts and hearing pretty tough stories. I had it done at Cornell Weilll in ny with a competent surgeon.
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Oh I am so excited to finally see something more recent.. I had surgery Feb. 6th 2015.
Mine started with a chiropractic adjustment.. with in half and hour I was in excruciating pain! It was 10 days before I could get into surgery.. due to so many professionals not doing their jobs..
Anyway my left arm started getting paralyzed 4 days into this.. thought I was having a stroke when to different county to ER. Not a stroke but C-5 root nerve was being pinched.. By the time I got to the neurosurgeon it was a total of 10 days pinched.. I had disks 3&4 and 5&6 replaced with fusion.. (I think?) when I woke my elbow to my wrist was paralyzed too.. and here I am 3 month out and still not a heck of a lot of improvement.. very discouraging.. I have tried PT (Physical Therapy).. pretty much a waste of money.. I do the exercises at home,
I had a very competent surgeon! It was all the people before him that were incapable of doing their jobs!
I am a very active woman, fight to overcome this every day.. still I have lots of pain and have problems sleeping at night.. But not giving up!!
I just started a blog.. I want people to know about it.. I would love it if people could post comments about their recovery and different people have different levels of recovery..

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The very same thing happened to me, going thru PT now. Painful!!
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I am experiencing very similar symptoms. I had a 3 level fusion 5 weeks ago and immediately waking from surgery I noticed weakness in my right arm and a lack of coordination. Prior to surgery my right arm was fine. I had numbness in my left and the surgery fixed that problem.. It is difficult to do simple things like brush my hair, scoop ice cream, put on make-up, etc.
I was told by the doctor that sometimes that particular nerve can sometimes "goes to sleep." They have been very vague and I am concerned that this will be permanent.
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Surgery July 27th c5-6 Artificial Disk replacement woke up with not being able to move my left arm, barley wiggle the fingers. Left arm was very painful. After 5 months lots of painful therapy at home and professional therapy in two different offices I can use my arm but no deltoid use. Still painful but not as bad and maybe the deltoid will start soon. Neck is fine.
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Hello my name is Doug Miller. On Sept. 25 i acdf surgery on 4 levels. I also woke from surgery with paralysis of left arm. Can wiggle fingers and move wrist just can't lift arm at shoulder and can only move elbow if I'm laying on my right side. It's been 12 weeks and still no improvement. They said pt would not be very helpful at this point just to do exercises at home. Hasn't helped at all. Should I think this will get better on its on. Please reply.
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