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still hurting after shoulder surgery, and neck worse

leocat46lleocat46 Posts: 125
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:25 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
hello everyone, i just thought i would let you know that i have been in p.t. now for 10 wks. and my shoulder is not any better. my surgery was 8-21-08, and if anything it seems worse. the shoulder pain, and neck pain feels like someone is sticking an ice pick in there trying to dig out. my arm cannot still raise up. the pain, and burning in my upper back. i know it is commen to have shoulder pain with cervical issues. but i arm is still swelled somewhat. i finally made an appt with my P.C. dr., and let him know everything that was going on, and the way i felt. He listened , and told me he was not going to leave me hanging, like i have felt for a long time. so i went mon., and today i get a call from my p.c. dr. telling me that he did talk to my O.S. who did my surgery, and he tells me to STOP all p.t. , and he will see me on my next appt. , which is 12-19 . 2 wks. from today. that is all he said, well i have all these things running thru my head, like nerve damage, scar tissue, maybe i tore it again without knowing it. needless to say it will be a long 2 wks. , i know alot of do alot of waiting on here :W . i still have an appt. with N.S. on the 30th. i do not know what he will be saying to me also.
you know i thought p.t. was helping me somewhat with the strengthening, but these last few sessions my arms are so weak, i cannot even get through them, it like when i first started. my left shoulder is the one i had the surgery on, but also lately my right is bothering me alot also. i feel numbness, and shake, in my arms, and i also have occasionally have things drop right out of my hand. i am at my wits end. please does anyone have any thing to add, i would appreciate it. always LEO :''( :T @)


  • It sounds like you are really struggling. I don't have anything really of substance to add, but wanted to just acknowledge your frustration and pain.

    I was told a long time ago to view the exercises I do like a traffic light. If an exercise or activity causes no pain, proceed as a green light with no worries. If it causes pain but the pain goes away within an hour after doing the activity, proceed as if it were a yello light but go cautiously. If it causes increased pain that does not go away or causes you to be weaker overall, that is a red light and STOP. It does sound like a good idea for you to stop PT until after seeing your surgeon again.

    Hopefully someone else will come along who has had both shoulder surgery and ACDF. I know with my posterior surgery on my neck my shoulder muscles are shot, and I get spasms across that area that take my breath away. But it does sound like you have more going on than neck related shoulder pain. Please be sure to post a report after seeing the doctor.

    Gentle cyber hugs coming your way. ;)
    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
  • I'm sorry to hear you are still having pain and swelling and I think it's a good idea that you're holding off on PT. May I ask what kind of surgery did they do on your shoulder? I'm having surgery on my right one on the 23rd. They are cutting off the ends of two bones bones in there and will be 'cleaning up' around the rotator cuff and ac joint.
  • Wow Girl, I was hoping you were feeling better by now. Shoulders are really hard to heal up, since we move them all the time. But as I told you before, mine has never been the same since my surgery. And since my disectomy and fusion last June (year ago+) I am in constant pain and spasms. I just finished 23 sessions of PT last Thurs, with absolutly no improvement what-so-ever. Very frustrating. I worked overtime today, and now my left shoulder/upper arm is really hurting. :''( Wouldn't it be nice if just for one hour our docs could feel our pain, then maybe they would be a little more pro-active, instead of 2 weeks here, now a month, come back in 3 months, etc. I'm sure you know if the nerves in your neck are affected, it can cause you to drop things. Maybe you could ask for new MRI's of the cervical and shoulder area to see if something new has developed. Take it easy, and try not to use your shoulder too much until you see your surgeon. Hang in there, thangs have to get better soon! Don't they? :T

  • O.S. repaired torn rotary cuff, with 2 bone spurs.

    I know i feel the same way, i wish the drs. could feel what we do. I know surgery is not an exact science, and there are risks, but I really thought that i would be healed by now. that is what i wish for christmas , Santa please bring me a new MRI? O:) (that is sad isn't it?) I would really like to know if something new has appeared. I do not want to him to be guessing! =;
    Maggie - How is your ROM? are you able to move your arm all over? I cannot work like this if i wanted to. the doc said minimal movement until i see him. Listening to others on here, i know i am not alone. what are they doing for you and your shoulder and neck pain, Is he just letting you live with it? :/ that is what i don't understand , your body is trying to tell you something for a reason. why don't they listen? in the mean time we all are suffering from one thing or another. X( i guess i am just frustrated with the holidays here and all, and things are very rough here at our house, financially , and cannot do anything to help. i know everyone is going thru a rough time with the economy and all, but if i could work, my job is still there, i would bringing home a paycheck, and we would not be in situation we are in. I lost my position i was in, but they said if i could return, they would find something for me. Me and my husband know that i will not be returning anytime soon. sorry for rambling on

    thanks for responses everyone LEO :S
  • Hey, Leocat!
    Sorry I haven't been on here much lately. You sound in the same position I am. I am still in PT for my shoulder(surgery Aug 28, 08), and now the neck is acting up again!(Has ACDF in March 08 2 levels c5-c7) ~X( The PT did some traction on the neck, don't know if it made it better or worse. I am able to get my arm up over my head some, but OH the cramping!!!!!! :''( The PT just makes me cry when he wants to push it that little more. Now the PT is thinking that I have TOS, and the nerve at T1-T3 may be causing the spasms in the upper arm. OH, dear does this ever end?????????? 8}
    I was able to help put the lights on the Christmas tree, and then had to ice the darn arm for an hour after.
    I see my OS the same day you do. I sure hope he has something good up his sleeve to help the pain. I had a cortizone shot in Oct. that did nothing, and was put on methylpredisone pack for 6 days, and all that did was make me gain 7 pounds! Just what I didn't need. :S
    I will see my NS after the first of the year, and hopefully he will listen a little more than the OS does.
    The good news is, I am very slowly getting my range of motion back. Still can't really put my hand behind my back, or reach for high things and reach to pick something up, the darn upper arm just does terrible spasms. These spasms just take my breath away, and hurt :''( The neck seems to be tight now too, I get a lot of tenderness between the shoulder blades and the left Trapezius.
    If you find out anything let me know...
  • glad to hear from ya. boy its rough isn't it? what is TOS? I was told by o.s. to stop p.t. It hurts to lift anything at all in my arms, and fingers, my cup of coffee, my hand shakes when i try to lift something with that arm, because the muscles are so weak. yesterday i was setting up in bed with my arm propped up, just because i still need to have something under it, because of just hanging there, and it was hurting no matter what. so i had the bright idea of calling my o.s. to see if i could get in any earlier, maybe there was a cancellation. she told me flat out no, they are booking up until the end of Jan. i am not a NEW patient! i should be taken care of for surgery he has already done on me. i am having problems, and she made it clear he could not see me. (the receptionist that is). i cannot even talk to him. :T i was so upset :''( i hung up, and burst out crying, and couldn't stop. i just want him to pay attention. my husband is mad and he is making sure he is going to dr. appt. with me. it feels sometimes like something is broken in there sometimes. it will not do any good to go to e.r. , because they will just probably give me pain pills, and send me home to wait on dr. appt. anyway . i am sorry to hear you having problems also. i cannot even begin to get my arm up like that. that darn pregnisone , i hope he don't give me that, it does put the weight on. i have gained weight also, which depresses me also, i used to be so active, especially at work.
    that is ironic we both go back to dr. on same day, my appt. is at 10:00 . i always look forward to dr's appts. , but come out not knowing anymore than when i went in. ~X(
    then i feel really let down. my husband said this time it is not going to happen. if he wants to pussyfoot around, we will be getting a different dr. , and a lawyer. i just want to be taken care of after surgery, is that to much to ask? i am sorry for going on , i hope we both get some results, if anyone else has input, please do, i would like to hear anything! thanks LEO @)
  • my neck has been hurting me for awhile.I do have 2 herinated disc in my neck. also fibro and osteoporosis and boy am I flaring bad today. hurt everywhere. Sue Brown :''(
  • can't believe you're having such horrible pain all these months later. If you're suffering this much, there is no excuse why they shouldn't try to work you in ASAP. I'm glad to hear your husband is going to your next appointment. Hopefully the two of you can light a fire under someones a$$ there and they can figure out what the heck is going on.
  • that is exactly what i have been saying! it will be 4 mths. on the 21st, (since surgery that is). this is ridiculous i think, no more pussyfooting around! this is his last chance to make things right, i am sick of being put off. today after some advice i read somewhere, i went and got the operative report from hospital for my surgery. i understand some of it.

    but listen to this preoperative diagnosis: torn rotary cuff
    Post Operative diagnosis: torn rotary
    cuff with impingement syndrome.
    it says digital palpation revealed that there was minimal for exercursion of the rotary cuff and it was elected to perform subacrominal decompression at that time. a l" osteotome was then used to remove a triangular piece of bone from the undersurgace of the acromion with its base located anteriorly. the bone was then removed and the undersurface of the acromion was polished with a motorized rasp to a smooth surface. there is so much more, but i thought i would share some of it with you. i did not know he removed any part of bone from my body! i will stop for now. i look forward to hearing anyone's comments. thanks again for listening LEO
  • That sounds a lot like what I'm having done. They are taking off the tip of the clavicle and the tip of the ac bone (or subacromion bone not sure which it's called) but it's a bone underneath. As far as we know or at least going by the MRI I had done in Feb. I don't have any tears in the rotator cuff just inflammation in two of the muscles there. So he's cleaning that up as well. From what I've read it's normal that with rotator cuff problems they do remove some bone and/or smooth them out to help the bones move like they should. He should have been very clear with you after the surgery that he'd done that. I would definitely push for an MRI at your next appointment because it sounds like they've either missed something or you've reinjured it somehow. I wonder if PT is to blame for that.
  • My shoulder surgery was termed medically as "Right Shoulder Acromioplasty" A real mouthful. What it boiled down to is he went in and routed out the joint area, and took a quarter inch off of my collar bone, to allow the joint to more (somewhat) normally. It has never been right since, and the surgery was in 1991. Of course without the surgery it would have been much worse.. I have now developed arthritis and bursitis in the shoulder. And pressing on the very outside of the shoulder at the top point causes extreme pain, also all along the top of shoulder and along the collarbone. I guess it's a joint that really shouldn't be messed with, LOL :O I was off of work a year total, counting before and after the surgery, had PT, etc. The WC evaluator determined I could not go back to job I was doing when I got hurt, as I could not do any above shoulder height sustained work, as the muscles were permanently weakned, both by the injury, and the surgery itself. I'm sorry you are still in so much pain. I think chronic pain is one of the most debilitating things there is. Take care. When do you see your surgeon again? If you have any questions, please ask me, will help all I can.

  • My surgery also was on 8/21 and is going to be four months. I am still struggling on a day-to-day basis. I am done with PT. Some days I have pain and other days I have severe pain, spasm in upper back. I don't know what my next step should be. Hopefully something that will fix this for good. Good luck with your Dr's appt.
  • hey that is ironic. tell me what did your dr. say to you on your last appt.? does he see a problem? is he just leaving it go,or do more tests or anything? sorry so many questions. i am at my whits end, and know something is not right. i am not leaving it go, even if i have to get another dr. you can see the swelling in my arm, even without touching it. i did nothing yesterday except lay around, and it was swollen last evening, hurts to touch, and move. darvocet is all i have. i hope to hear back from ya for more info. thanks LEO
  • Well, My Dr. for now has asked me to continue the PT and see him after 3 months. I saw him last in November and scheduled to see him in January. And, yese I am not going to let it be. I work with Percocet / Vicodin and several OTC pain relievers. Yesterday, I could not move also. Sitting and not being able to do anything is upsetting, isn't it? This morning I am pushing myself to do something. I did my PT exercises and hope to do better. Hope you feel better.

  • My shoulder arm and wrist are still quite painful and my arm is extremely weak to lift after 5 months past the surgery, in fact I think my arm is getting weaker. Lately I notice if I put my elbow on the table with my hand up I get nerve issues as if I had hit my funny bone. I am getting really tired of my arm and neck always being tired and tense feeling. I am no longer taking pain relievers or even Tylenol, but now I take (starting last week) an herbal supplement for inflammation and a rub-on ointment. Initially I thought this helped alot, but the benefits seem to be diminishing. I can't go see the doctor as we currently live outside the US (where I had my surgery done. I would like some advice on whether I should back off these exercises and how long is it going to take to ever get over this all. What advice did your doctor give you?

  • Hi all..I too have been experiencing nothing but chronic pain after having my shoulder surgery. I had it done in April 2010 and almost 6 months out, I can honestly say this is really getting old! The pain before surgery was bad I'm sure you can all agree, but I was not prepared to have such intense daily pain after it. I cannot sleep because the pain becomes so intense at night, I have tried all the pain meds available, licocaine patches, still in PT and nothing is helping to alleviate the daily pain. I almost wish that I hadn't had the surgery, which as a nurse I know is foolish, but, I can truly sympathize with everyone out there that is suffering from chronic pain. Is there anyone out there that has seen improvement? Is there a light at the end of the tunnel? Hope to hear from you guys and I wish you all healing and peace. :)
  • sunny1966ssunny1966 VIRGINIAPosts: 1,385
    Welcome to spine health. I'm sorry you're still having so much trouble. I haven't had the surgery you had but I just wanted to welcome you. I'm sure there will be others with more information reply to your post soon. There are some terrific members here who will gladly share their experiences and knowledge with you.
    Again, welcome to sh.
  • Have your doctors looked to see if there might be other damage? Also what did they have to do in your surgery?
  • Sorry to hear you are having such a difficult time after your rotator cuff surgery. I had my right shoulder done in 2003. Yes it is one of the most painful surgeries I have had to date. It also takes a long time to recover from. Some of it depends on the severity of your injury and what type of surgery you had. Did you have a complete tear? And was yours an open surgery or orthascopic (sp?) I had a complete tear with open surgery my father had partial tear with orthascopic. He healed so much faster than I but his was extremely painful and took a very long time to heal. I am no doctor so just telling you what I went through. After I was released from the hospital which was 3 days, they kept me in longer due to severity and pain issues. The very next day they started me on PT. It was horrendous, I think I cried every session and generally not a big baby. Finally what my husband and I thought was normal swelling turned out to be a bloodclot about the size of a large grapefruit. Surgeon immediately stopped PT and tried to aspirate the bloodclot. It had already solidified so that did not work. Due to lack of PT and waiting for the bloodclot to absorb into my body I then got frozen shoulder which required a manipulation under sedation. I honestly felt as though I had just had the surgery again. Unfortunately that did not work either so he decided nothing more he could do for me and released me from his care. My PCP ordered another MRI and found the rt rotator cuff was retorn. Much to my dismay of course as in between that time I was injured at work and ended up with a cervical fusion C5-6, C6-7. Also Lumbar problems L3,L4, L5 & S1.
    Quite honestly six months seems like a long time but this is a very painful surgery. I was told it can take up to a year to heal completely under good circumstances. Keep the faith up. Are you still going to PT? I know my left should hurt so bad afterwards but have been told it is because we are babying the shoulder which was operated on and putting all the stress on our good shoulder. I tell you one thing that felt great and I happened to be going to aquatherapy for cervical and lumbar problems. I found that therapy felt great on my shoulder. I have been back to a surgeon in the meantime and he said the only way to check it out was another surgery to look inside and see what is going on. Perhaps another opinion and an updated MRI would be your next step. My heart goes out to you I remember laying in my living room in a chaise lounger like the ones you lay in the sun. My hubby put a blow up single mattress on it and for some reason that was the only way I could get comfortable.
    I remember my dad calling me from FL and for some reason he could only get comfortable sleeping in his car. Another thing that is great is keeping a frozen bag of peas in your freezer. Believe it or not it really helps. Good luck to you.
  • I rotator surgery on May 7 2015 where I tore my tendon in my shoulder. I am still having extreme pain and swelling in my arm. At times it feels like
    it is on fire. I also get a lot of numbness and am told that all of this is normal. I have had 2 MRI the first show extensive tearing and the last one said all they could see is inflammation and excessive fluid build-up around the surgery site. I feel that there is more to this. I should not be having this much pain after 5 post op surgery. I was given a steroid pack and shot neither of which helped. Dr. says there is nothing he can do for my pain.
    I am suppose to get a FCE done in a couple of weeks not sure how I am supposed do that if I can't handle 1 hr. of PT and I am supposed to that for
    3-4 hours not going to happen. Anybody have any advice as what to do.? Sincerely Denise

    P.S. The first doctor I saw said that it was muscle sprain and spastic muscle. I was put on a 5 lb. weight lifting limit and worked that way for almost a month before they did the first
    MRI and that is when they found that it was torn. I am in so much pain can't sleep at night and it hurts even while doing light duty at my job.

  • I had rotator cuff surgery in June 2015. I've also had 2 neck fusion surgeries. I can honestly say, this shoulder surgery was brutal! I also had a frozen shoulder.
    I feel like my shoulder is about 75% better now. But I am having a lot of nerve pain issues. My doctor said its my ulnar nerve being compressed in my elbow? I started having pain in my elbow right after shoulder surgery. My therapist thought it was from the arm sling I had to wear for 2 months. It was rubbing very much on my elbow.
    Well, I've been out of the sling since July and my nerve is still fired up. I am getting an EMG the first week in November.
    I think the pain starts in my neck though? I have really bad nerve pain there. It seems like the shoulder surgery stirred up a bunch of things?
    I am in therapy 3x a week for 1 1/2-2 hours a session. It is very tough to do. I am a work comp case & they tried to make me do an FCE before my shoulder surgery. My attorney told them we were declining the FCE. I knew there was no way I'd be able to do 4 hours of therapy! We ended up in court. My court date was scheduled for 2 weeks after my surgery. The judge took a look at me with a sling on my arm & asked the work comp attorney why we were all here if I just had surgery? Needless to say, he told me I didn't have to go for the FCE!
    Have you tried any muscle relaxers? How about a TENS unit? My therapist got me a different kind of unit. It's called an H-wave. It's the same one that she uses on her patients. I use it all the time at home.
    I'm sorry you are having so much pain. I hope you can get some answers soon.
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,233
    edited 10/22/2015 - 11:04 AM
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  • I had a grade 4 ac joint dislocation after a car accident in March 2015. I had surgery in may 2015. Ever since I have had pain like a tooth ache sensation in my shoulder which when gets really bad radiates to my back. I also kept getting a shooting pain down my arm and numbness in my fingers at times which made my little and ring finger close fast and I was unable to open them for a few minutes which was when it was at its worst. I have been on pregabalin for that which definitely helps but it's messing with my memory and I am having trouble concentrating and remember what people say when attempting to relay messages at work. Also the shoulder pain does not seem to budge even when taking strong pain killers such as cosine or tramadol. I have stopped taking these as it just doesn't seem to have any effect and the pain is still persistent after a year and a half. Is this normal after having a shoulder reconstruction as I cant seem to find alot on the Internet. 
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