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pain in opposite arm after ACDF for left neck pain

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:26 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Hi everyone,
I have had cervical spondylosis for over 20 years. I am a cellist and this has inhibited my playing. Had a fusion this past Wednesday afternoon(C5-7) with my own hip bone. Most of the pain initially post op was in my throat and hip. I had to really flex my neck to be able to eat or drink anything. Percocet really helped. My surgeon is outstanding, has very successful results in Cincinnati. I use the collar to move around but when sitting do not need the collar. I sleep on a chair. Just yesterday I started to get stabbing pain in my right rear neck(around the C7 vertebrae) and ache in my right arm. I thought maybe I had done something. Maybe I had been too aggressive shifting myself in the chair. I called the office and they said pain in the opposite side is to be expected. The hip is feeling better. I was also told to begin moving my neck right away. Pain is such a bitch. But I think it is the fear that we have done something to hurt ourselves that is the worse aspect of the pain. I get the stitches out on Monday.

Best wishes to all of you.
Sharon in Cincinnati


  • Hi Sharon: :)

    I wish for you a speedy recovery! I'd be thinking 'Oh my! Now I'm having issues on another level of my cervical spine!' if my opposite arm started hurting. I'm no medical professional so I sure don't know.

    I would have called the Doctor's office too as you did, though and worried about having done some damage from my moving around wrong. I'm happy they believe you are on the right track!

    I have cervical spine surgery coming as well. I don't know the details of the extent yet, however.

    Anyway, I wish all the best for you in your recovery!

    Ken GreyEagle
  • Best wishes for a speedy, successful recovery. Surely, after 20 years of pain you deserve complete relief! Please keep us posted on your progress. By posting your experience, you are helping those of us who have not yet had surgery prepare for the experience. God Bless!--Mazy
  • I had a fusion of the 5-7th vertebrae in 04/08 to relieve intense nerve pain in my right neck, back, shoulder, arm and hand. That was successful, but beginning in 12/08 I began to have the same symptoms on my left side. Have others experienced this also? I realize that the work done on 5,6 and 7 should take care of any problems on either side. What could have happened? Any ideas?
  • I am chasing down a similar issue that started about 5 weeks after surgery - the pain in my arms (mostly right side) having been gone. It came back after I got the collar off and started to do more and more. Seems odd to me since I there is so much structure in place to prevent recurrance of pinching those nerves (grafts, titatium plate, screws).

    BTW, I had acdf c5-7 right before Thanksgiving.

    I am going to call my Dr. tomorrow and see if I can get an earlier appointment. I want to see a current xray to make sure nothing shifted. I also want to hear what the Dr. has to say about this as well. However, I sort of expect to see that all is good because probability of something like a graft collapse is so low it is not likely except in extreme cases. I also sort of expect to get reassurance from the Dr. without a clear answer of why. Things neurological tend to be a mystery on some levels - even to the doctors - and every case is different in some way. I will post what I find out asap.

    I would say to take it easy - slow down - be careful what you do - and see if the pain gets better. Take care.
  • Hello there,
    Welcome to the board Sharon!
    When I first had my ACDF I got all kinds of concerning new and weird pains...Still do sometimes..
    I remember in the very begining the pain was always changing!! I had C 4-6 fused with a carbon fiber spacer and titanium plate and screws...I feel for you with the added pain of the bone graft!

    I know this is easy for me to say, but please try to understand that your so fresh out from surgery that your body is still trying to adjust to the changes, and along with that process comes some weird and unexplainable pains.

    It is difficult to not become concernedor even scared when this happens...I must have called my surgeons office on a number of occasions to find out if what I was feeling was normal.

    There is hope!!!
    I am now Four months post op and some days...I am feeling better with my neck every day. I di and still do have pain in my neck but it is not the burning numb stuff that was present before surgery....no more arm heaviness or weakness any more!

    Ever since my car accidnet I dod have some pain in the t-spin and scapular area which still bothers me but at this time i am working in that as well and making some progress with this pain too.

    Follow your doctor's instructions to the T and you should do well. Walk as much as you can is what I was told, and I had to start very slow with frequent trips and short distances...

    This is a healing process and your body will let you know how much you can or can not do...

    Your surgeons office is there to help you with any concerns or wuestions that may come up...do not hesitate to ask even if it seems silly....I did even if it was for my peace of mind only!!!

    Hang in there and Please feel free to PM me for added support throughout your healing process....
  • I'm kind of wondering how long after surgery one could think about an exercise like swimming. The reason is I have flat feet and I'm always getting severe inflammation in my feet (I forget what the condition is called).

    I'll be 57 yrs old in March and on LTD. Everyone seems to think I'm headed for SSDI with my added issues of diabetes, hypertension plus the DDD.

    Anyway, just curious if swimming is a viable alternative to walking. I'm thinking of joining the local YMCA.

    Ken GreyEagle
  • Hi Misty,

    I got the stitches out yesterday. I have taken only one pain pill today, (percocet). I still need to flex my neck to swallow easily. I have intermittant mild grinding pain in my left neck which is where the very bad pain was pre-op. The hip,(graft site), is feeling much better. I slept in a chair for the first four days post op but slept in my bed last night. My NS is very liberal regarding movement of the neck. He advises full range of motion. I wear a soft collar in the car only. I walk a lot and have a very healthy appetite. I am watching lots of old classic movies! The NS says not to be afraid of moving, I cannot break what he did. He even says I could play my cello now if I want although I have not tried it yet. All in all a good recovery I think.
    Sharon in Cincinnati
  • after an acdf 15 months ago, i have been having pain and muscle weakness in the opposite arm. i have an upcoming appt. with my ortho surgeon scheduled. i hope to have answers in a few days.
  • i had surgery for c5 c6 on jan 7.. after a few days i ahve started having pain in my left arm.. original pain was in the right arm.
    how long does this last.. they said before surgery they may rile up alot of things because of the way you are positioned in surgery..
    should i call my dr again? or wait this out..
    i dont see him till feb 7.. i had no stitches.. my incision was all glued
  • I am 5+ weeks post surgery for C4-7, removed three disk and bone spurs,installed cage & plate. Presugery problems were pain in neck, left shoulder, left arm and left hand.
    I woke up from surgery with the left side problems gone, including my right wrist (last summer company doctor said I had corp/tunnel) and my right wrist pain gone also.
    Two weeks ago I start to have servere pain under my right shoulder while sleeping turning on my right side, this has moved to my right side of neck, shoulder and behind my upper right arm.
    I called my doctor office and they said "It's normal for what he did to me" and they changed my pain med from vicodin to norco and keep taking the flexeril.
    I see my doctor on the 23rd and I hope can tell me what is happening to body,I thought at six weeks I would be feeling a lot better than this.
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