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severe muscle spasm after cervical fusion

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,731
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:22 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
hello, i am 8 months post op from 3 level posterior fusion,i am having horrible muscle pain in my trapezius and collar bone,anyone else experiencing these symptoms?


  • Hi Carol, funny I just ran across your post. I'm having the worst pain and numbness and tingling today on my whole right side including my face. I actually just took some Tylenol and 2 Ibuprofen hoping it will help. Icing it in a few minutes as well.

    I don't go for my next follow up for 3 weeks. I might just call the DO's office tomorrow to see if this is normal.
  • Hi Carol,
    Welcome to spine-health. When is your last set of films taken. Do you know if you have a fusion yet. You could be having problems in one of the level causing the problems. Is one of the levels fused c4-c5. It is common to have pain after fusion but if the pain was gone and then has returned i would be calling the surgeon and have them take a look. Anyway wanted to say welcome to spine-health. Surf around there is a lot of information and members that can help you here. Look forward to reading more of your post.
  • Oh yeah I am having them myself. Sometimes flexerils and a heating pad dont even work. Please keep us posted Carol on what you find out!!
  • 10 months post two level cervical fusion still have severe muscle spasms, (neurological pain resolved immediately following surgery) Have been taking diazepam, parafon forte for too long. Emailed my surgeon (who is excellent) and asked if a new form of botox is a possibility to paralyze the spastic muscles and he said yes, but did not know who to refer. After investigating on internet this is an approved therapy. In 2006 I had an artificial disc replacement and had no complications afterwards, great treatment if you have a single level problem!
  • Add me to the list of neckies with spasms. It has been my experience that when I take a muscle relaxer as needed rather than as prescribed my spasms increase and are more difficult to control. But if I take them every 8 hours as prescribed, I can keep a handle on them. Of course I should take my own advice, because I am down to only taking about one a day and the spasms are increasing.

    Call your doctor and explain what is going on though, like the others have said. Especially if this is new.

    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
  • The numbness has been weird for me today. Right now, it feels worse than when I went in for surgery.

    I've had this on and off for the past 3 of the 5 weeks now. Is this still normal? My doctor's nurse says it is. The pain was gone only for about 2 weeks.

    Should I go to the ER??
  • Jeff, I'm surprised that your numbness is getting worse. When do you see your surgeon again? Have you had post op x-rays? You should be at about the 6 week mark and so I'm hoping that you are scheduled to see the surgeon soon. If not, I would call and get an appointment to discuss this issue with him personally. Ask for x-rays if you haven't had them. Sorry you are worried and in pain. It seems like it never ends, doesn't it?
    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
  • Hey Cindy, I slept for almost 10 hours and just now am awake.

    My appt isn't until 9/4 and he does plan on X-rays at that time.

    Yes, it seems to come and go with the numbnes.
  • As far as the numbness goes. I mean I know i shouldnt be complaining yet. I do go for xrays on 9/17, so we shall see.
  • I just went to see my doc. about pain and numbness in neck and shoulder, same symptoms as before surgery. He told me to try flector patches, due to the fact I was told not to take ibuprofen, and also gave me tramadol for pain and told me to try muscle relaxers. He said it could take awhile to work, but if it don't work in about 2 weeks I am suppose to go in for a cat scan or MRI, but he also said that the fusion looks good. I would recommend going to the doc though.
  • I'm ok and I just needed to go for my own sanity since it will be the 9 week mark before I see my DO for first appt after surgery. Apparently, it is a muscle spasm and possibly pinched nerve in my right shoulder. ER folks said if anything terrible was going on, I'd know it. Whew.

    They prescribed Valium and Lortab. I'll follow up with my DO Monday just to let them know.

  • I have gone back to wearing soft neck collar often, which is next best thing to lying back with heat. Every time I take a muscle relaxant during the day feel like I am losing ~5hrs of my life
  • my last xray was about 3 months ago, i have recently lost my health benefits so , i am paying for my pain managment out of pocket. I really should have a MRI, or Cat scan done,but i cannot afford it as of now,
    Thanks for your reply
  • i always say listen to your body , if it hurts you should go to the doctor....feel better >:D<
  • you have alot of hardware like me.
  • hope your feeling better........ >:D<
  • Hello all,
    Firstly, thank you for this forum. It was so nice to search for my particular problem on the internet and coming across so many of you who are experiencing the same.

    After being in constant pain for just under a month, I had a cervical disc fusion (C5/C6) operation in March 08. I went for 3 opinions, and all 3 neurosurgeons confirmed that I either live with pain or go for the op. And what a relief to wake up afterwards with no pain! I was booked off for 7 weeks, and had to wear neck brace for 4 weeks. Only pain I really experienced since then was back pain when I stand too long, sit too long in one position, etc. However, about a week ago I woke up one morning with terrible muscle spasms/pain in my neck (left side). I sat with this pain for about one week, but what I found strange was that after day 3, the pain moved to the right side and about 2 days later it moved to the middle of my neck! It was especially painful when I laid down on the bed and don't talk about turning around during the night! It felt like my head was going to be left behind if I must turn the one side! I literally had to hold my neck to lay down, turn around or get up. Is this what you guys have experienced? Another thing I also noticed most of you talk about post op x-ray. I wasn't told that this needs to be done. I went for my check-up (4 weeks post op) and the surgeon just checked out movement of my neck and pronounced me "fit and strong", so to speak.
    Once again, thanks for a very informative and very helpful forum. Hope to hear from you soon.
    Regards, Colleen (Johannesburg, South Africa)
  • Colleen,

    I'm having the same problem as you are experiencing. Neuro doc told me my hardware looks good. need to come back in 3 months to see if the fusion actually took. Until then I'm experiencing muscle spasms/aches constantly unless I'm sleep. Taking Hydrocodone 3x daily to help. Only relieves some of the pain. Will also need a drug for muscle spasms like Zanaflex...usually does the trick! On my next post I will include a more detailed story of my experience dealing with Cervical neck pain.
  • After lots of pain and treatments . MRI showed spinal stenosis and the neck of a 74 year old. I was only 45 then.I had the neck fusion in 2006 after going thru lots of pain they used cadaver bones for c3,4,5,6.I did have some muscle pain after surgery but soon felt alot better.During the surgery they found a cracked vertebrae.
    I have recently had very bad muscle pain in right trapizoid. Feels like Knife Stab. I even went to emergency room recently. Thier recomendation was to go thru phisical therapy.And perscribed 2 muscle relaxers plus pain killer. Is Pt the answer shouldent they take another MRI. My heart goes out to others who suffer with this terrible problem.
  • My neuro told me if you have 6 months of nerve pain, it takes 6 months to heal. Have any of your docs told you this as well? I also have permanent nerve damage so I may never get it back. Don't let yourself get as bad
    as I did. Good Luck! I had three years of nerve pain so I guess I have a long road. One crushed root nerve and one pinched nerve. This isn't fun and I have one month before school starts. I am still trying to see how I will be able to work. Just not fun!!!

  • Take care of yourself and u are in the right place here.
    I know how u feel and it's pretty rough.
    And there are so many more here who know and feel ur pain.
    I have learned alot here and feel really informed and confident about my next pain mangement appointment, and I don't feel like the only one going through this pain.
    It's real and we all need to be heard.
  • I read some of your post about your insurance problem. If you were covered by insurance for your 3 surgeries and have proof you were covered then you can get medical insurance again. The time your coverage ended till now if you developed something that is what is not covered. So lets say you found out you had diabetes a week ago, and you have no insurance then anything related to diabetes is pre existing. Obama is trying to change it so people can get insured for pre existing conditions. There are a few out there that do accept pre existing, but I cant think of there names. on to the next problem. I also have same symptoms before surgery. My doc said it could last up to a year. fyi
    2005-ACDF with Corpectomy at C3-C-5.
    2006-L4-L5 diskectomy.
    2009-Cervical laminectomy at C3.
    Steroid injections series x 4.
  • I had surgery to repair C4-C5 following my neck being "cracked" when I was rear ended in a car accident. Constant pain in my neck and down my left arm. Had surgery in April 2010. Was feeling ok, and then the last 2 months the pain has started all over again and actually causing spasming in my neck and back (back wasn't an issue before).

    I had a cervical discography and they couldn't test C7 so I"m wondering if C7 is taking the brunt since the others are fused. Going back next week to the surgeon. Anyone else feel good for a bit and then start all over again?
  • I had surgery to repair C4-C5 following my neck being "cracked" when I was rear ended in a car accident. Constant pain in my neck and down my left arm. Had surgery in April 2010. Was feeling ok, and then the last 2 months the pain has started all over again and actually causing spasming in my neck and back (back wasn't an issue before).

    I had a cervical discography and they couldn't test C7 so I"m wondering if C7 is taking the brunt since the others are fused. Going back next week to the surgeon. Anyone else feel good for a bit and then start all over again?
  • Hate to hear of so many people suffering with these spasms, but glad to know it's not just me. I'm a new teacher this year (and I'm 51 years old....maybe too old for a new career!) and these spasms are killing me. I am so exhausted after work I can barely function. Will this ever end?
  • I hear ya!!! I see my surgeon on Friday it will be interesting to see what he says because lately, I've been having symptoms worse than before.

    The cold weather in the Northeast has made things worse...looks like a southern move is in the near future.
  • Also, I used to drive 2 hours into work for a great paying job. But I cannot drive 2 hours into work and sit at a desk to drive 2 hours home. I'm lucky I can drive an hour. If I'm a passenger I seem to be ok...but to have my hands held on the wheel and be in one position does me in. At least as a passenger I can move and change my position.
  • sunny1966ssunny1966 VIRGINIAPosts: 1,385
    Hi and welcome to SH.

    I had an acdf c5-6 on October 4 and I can sympathize with you both on the muscle spasms. Boy, can I??!! I can't offer you any advice but do offer you my best wishes that you can figure out a cure/relief for them. If you do, let me know. ;)

    Again, welcome to both of you. Thanks for joining our family.

  • My ACDF was in March. I started getting mucle spasms in April (when I was T-Boned). My NS's PA put me on valium for about 30 days and it helped a lot. Then they came back so I had my first ESI/Slective Nerve Root Block there (C8/T1). It worked great. Stopped the spasms pretty much since then. I have had a couple but they stopped on there own with ice packs/zanaflex and I feel were brought on by over doing it.

    Hang in there and feel better >:D<

  • Thanks Debbie and Julie!

    It's just weird how the spasms and pain have started back up. Yesterday my left arm went completely numb and holding a cup of coffee actually caused discomfort.

    I know I'll have an x-ray on Friday to make sure nothing has come loose, move, etc.

    My range of motion is back to presurgery.

    This site is great and I am very thankful for it. I've learned a lot and appreciate the support!

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