Lost of extension of thumb and pointer finger. Weakness in wrist.

by Shelia Kuhn
(Newport Beach, California USA)


Over the last 20 years, I have lost the ability to extend my right thumb and forefinger. My wrist is very weak. I cannot even pick up a glass of water. I have had multiple MRI's of my shoulder and cervical spine. Nothing has been found. On the last MRI report they reported "Concurrent bilateral uncovertebral joint degenerative change is seen. Disc material and uncovertebral joint degenerative change cause mild left neural foraminal narrowing. Bilateral exiting nerve roots are normal. Disc deformity measures 2.3 mm in neutral 1.9 mm in flexion and 2.3 mm in extension position."

Are Luschka's joints normal for everyone? And, I am thinking that my radial nerve is getting pinched at the cervical spine as the same issue is starting on my left hand. I have had little luck with anyone coming up with what the issue is. I was wondering if you might have some insights.

This issue started 20 years ago and has been insidiously progressing. The loss of function has happened so, so, slowly you almost don't know it's happening until you can't so something with your hand that you used to.

Any insights you have would be greatly appreciated! I attached the latest MRI report.


Hello Shelia,
Every cervical spine has joints of Luschka, sometimes call paravertebral joints, or neurocentric joints, or uncovertebral joints. They guard the nerve root as it exists from the intervertebral foramen.
Unfortunately after whiplash, especially T-boned from the side, they are subject to degenerative change that in itself can affect the nerve root. You have only mild narrowing, so may well not be the cause.

Unfortunately the images and reports are too small to read. Please look: is there any mention of cervical ribs?

You make no mention of neck pain or tingling in the arm. If you raise your arm above your head does it bring on symptoms in your arm, as in hanging curtains or the washing? If so, ask your neurologist if Adson's test has been done.

There are of course other muscle wasting diseases but if after twenty years no other have been affected then very unlikely.

Is there only weakness, but no pain or tingling, or numbness in the arm?

Let me have some answers and we see where this goes. Perhaps I can contribute something.

Dr B.R. Lewis DC

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