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Post-op cervical posterior foraminotomy -- questions

inchwormiinchworm Posts: 719
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:30 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery

I'm 6 days post-op cervical posterior foraminotomy for herniation at C6-7 which is pressing on the C7 nerve root.

My question is whether the pain I'm experiencing is post-op and to be expected, or is it possibly recurrence of the nerve pain meaning the disc has herniated further? Except for the expected stiffness and muscle spasms, I was pain free for the first 3 days post-op and then on the 4th day my shoulder started to hurt again very similarly to the pre-op pain, and I occasionally have arm pain like I did before. There never was any numbness to deal with, just pain. Oxycodone and Robaxin control the pain well enough that I can do my usual day-to-day things, although I'm taking it easy and not lifting more than 10 lbs, as instructed. Sometimes I have burning pain over my spine in the surgical area which goes away in maybe half an hour.

The surgeon told me it would take up to a month to realize results from the surgery but I felt better while still in the hospital so naturally to have the pain return is kind of depressing. Am I expecting too much, too soon?

My first post-op appointment is in 2 days and I know I can ask my questions then, but thought I'd see what others have experienced with this surgery.

Thanks in advance, and best wishes to all of you who have back pain. I have empathy for you!

2009 Foraminotomy C6-72010 PLIF L4-S1Multi RFA's, cervical inj, lumbar injLaminectomy L3-4 and fusion w/internal fixation T10-L4 July 17Fusion C2-C5 yet to be scheduled


  • Hello, I am very new to this site. I am going to be having a very similar surgery in about 3 weeks. Posterior and anterior. Had a surgery gone wrong in 2003. anterior fusion of 5/6 and 6/7. screw was put into another disc and ruined it, two discs above 2003 surgery level are herniated. I am with you on the pain questions. I would also like to know. I am very concerned on what my outcome will be. both my arms hurt and are very weak. i really have no choice anymore.
  • I, too, am very new to this site. :H

    Just to clarify for you, a cervical posterior foraminotomy is where the surgeon goes in from the back of the spine and enlarges the opening through which the nerve root exits the spine. It is done to relieve pressure on the nerve.

    I'm not familiar with what you're experiencing but I hope your surgery relieves your arm pain. I saw my surgeon this morning for my first post-op visit and he thinks my shoulder pain is from the muscles due to the surgery and is not nerve pain. I hope he is right but I expect it will be a number of days yet before I can tell for sure because I'm still having muscle spasms, burning and what I consider strange muscle pain from the surgery.

    2009 Foraminotomy C6-72010 PLIF L4-S1Multi RFA's, cervical inj, lumbar injLaminectomy L3-4 and fusion w/internal fixation T10-L4 July 17Fusion C2-C5 yet to be scheduled
  • Hi there
    I had a similar procedure on Friday last week and similarly started having the same symptoms as before numbness in my fingers and pain in arm as well as some stiffness in the back and shoulder blade area. Doc said it is normal and he had to move the nerve to clean up the area so it could take a while to calm down. I tried carrying something heavier than 10lbs on tuesday which caused mincreased issues but mypain is not worse than surgery . I also expected immediate relief but alas with nerve it is a lengthy process. Did you grt it done outpatient? using METRX medtronic tubes or just an incision ? mine was a very small incision less than an inch.
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