From finger lock to deep back pain

by Adrian

Hi Doc.,

I had a radiograph done on my C5/C6 cervical spondylosis 1.5years ago as 3-4 of my fingers will get locked. All is well until 6 weeks ago I woke up again with my left finger locked. The pain will go away after some stretching and heat therapy but it will lock again the next morning when I wake up.

I was given a splint and somehow the locking and pain goes away this week. But what frustrate me is that for past week, I will start to have stiff neck and also deep pain on the right side of my back. Some nights it gets so painful that I cannot even move my body to get up.

I have seen my physician and he recommend an MRI and possible another radiography to remove any protruding disk on my neck. I am a little skeptic that current problem can be cured by another op.

Kindly advise what I can do to improve my situation and what could be the possible cause?

Hello Adrian,
There are some language difficulties here. Do you mean "I had a radiograph done..." that you had surgery on your neck? That would usually mean that you had an x-ray taken.

And I'm not really sure what you mean by "3-4 of your fingers will get locked." Could you explain that with different words. Is it like a "trigger finger" where you can't straighten it?

Radiography is another name for an x-ray, not for another operation.

The MRI would certainly tell a story. The C5 nerve root is the source of the dorsal scapular nerve that supplies the muscles of the upper back, and is often the cause of deep upper back pain. I suspect that this is where your problem lies.

But it won't cause a trigger finger; a locked finger. If the run your thumb over the palm of the other hand, are there very prominent tendons? Is it difficult or impossible to straighten those fingers?

I think it likely that there is either a slipped disc, or degenerative changes in the joints of Luschka, also called the paravertebral joints affecting the nerves in your lower neck.

You make no mention of previous treatment, apart from the "radiography". Isn't it time to get an opinion from a chiropractor? Someone who can actually examine you, look at the x-rays and scans and assess whether you are suffering from Dupuytren's contracture.

Sorry, but I suspect this adds more confusion rather than simple answers to your questions; simple answers to a very complex situation probably don't exist.

Dr B

» From finger lock to deep back pain

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