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8 Months Post Op ACDF C5-C6 - Frustration :0(

BuddycampBBuddycamp Posts: 20
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:43 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi Everyone.

I had an ACDF C5-C6 at the end of Aug. My surgery went well except for issues coming out of General Anesthesia and the 'Swallow Dr.'(Dietitian?) wouldn't allow me to go home because I couldn't swallow anything without coughing. So I had a feeding tube inserted (Truly the most foul experience I had to deal with in my adult life!) and my overnight stay ended up being 5! Other than that, all was going well.

I took pain meds for the first month on and off and slowly weaned off of them nearly entirely. My arm and shoulder muscles were so weak from the pain I had been experiencing, doing mundane tasks such as scrubbing the shower knocked me on my rear end for the rest of the day. The heating pad and muscle relaxers were my savior! That was 4 months post op. I started doing Physical Therapy about 3 months ago and have learned which muscles were affected and how to strengthen them back up so I can do repetitious motions again. It's getting harder to get out of scrubbing the shower now! Ha ha ha.

Well, about 6-8 wks ago I noticed a tingling in my left shoulder blade and other times it would feel like something heavy was sitting on it(numbness). It would happen on occasion and I mentioned it to my PT. He thought that perhaps since I'm strengthening up the muscles on the rt. side of my shoulder/neck (the side the majority of my pain was on)that maybe it's making other pain and issues more pronounced that have always existed?! (FWIW, I do exercises that work both sides equally.) Well, since the initial tingling and numbness started it's now escalated to several times daily with the pain radiating down to my left bicep area. I've been working on re-posturing myself (I had developed a chicken neck stance - head/neck cocked out- and my shoulders were up under my ears in an 'I dunno' fashion.) My PT has noticed that upon manipulation he can feel the muscles in the rt. side of my shoulders are making great progress but the left side is extremely unresponsive and still quite atrophied. I'm getting concerned that there might be a problem. At what point do I go back to my NS and request an MRI? One part of me wants to work even harder on the left side in hopes it will relieve pressure on the nerve that's obviously being pinched but another part of me thinks something isn't right. I really didn't have left side pain before my surgery, it was 95% rt. sided.
Has anyone else experienced this before? If you don't mind, I would really appreciate some advice on what to do.

Thank you!


  • I think I would ask your physical therapist to document your symptoms and to forward his notes to the surgeon. He should be doing this. I then would follow up him sending those notes with a phone call to your surgeon. Eight months after I wouldn't think you'd be having these symptoms.

    Best wishes,

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