I recently had a lot of left arm pain after a mountain bike accident. Numbness in the hand - little finger.. tingles in the fingertips.. throbing main finger.. elbow pain.. couldnt sleep on that side without it all going numb - not good. MRI showed a herniated disk pressing on the nerves. Had the foraminotomy and i'm 4 weeks post-op now. It was outpatient surgery.. I wore a soft collar for 2 weeks - popped vicodin for the first week.. immediately noticed the improvements in my arm and hand - now I can sleep on it. I found that the pain was on the move all over the place for the first few weeks... first week it was like a severe muscle strain on the opposite side of the neck to the surgery.. I had made the mistake of reaching behind my neck with my right arm to loosen the collar .. and boom! pulled muscle. Lying on my back to sleep would cause both my little fingers to go numb! But all that eventually went away and then I got pain on the other side.. in the shoulder and down the back. Eventually that went away too. Now I have a little tingly sensation in my main finger.. but the elbow pain has receeded... and general numbness has gone.
I've been careful not to lift more than 10lbs.. but 3 1/2 weeks in, I made the mistake of trying to pull two things apart.. twisting them and pulling... which caused some other muscle in the back of my neck to twang and boy did that hurt - back on the vicodin for 3 days and now its fine again. Collar is back off.. looking forward to resuming activiites at my local gym .. maybe in a couple of weeks? :-)
lessons learned:
1. dont reach up and around the back to loosen your collar
2. dont pull things apart - its as bad as lifting something heavy.
I also used to have a lot of problems with my left leg .. a sort of heaviness.. sometimes pain behind the knee or in the foot... but now all that seems to be fading away too.. no idea if its related.
happy camper here.
good luck to all.