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C5-C6 Post Op Pain After 10 weeks- Some feedback please..:) Thanks

TrevorTTrevor Posts: 19
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:43 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi all,

As an update, my recovery is going well. I did my second post op xray last week and C5/C6 fusing nicely. I am a bit concerned though that I am still having some left shoulder blade pain after ten weeks. The surgeon told me that it's muscle and that it's due to the stretching of the muscles and ligaments during the surgery. It's SLOWLY getting better. I am wondering how long will this last for..? I am very happy i did this surgery as all the pain i had before the surgery is gone. Sometime I get a bit stressed because the muscle pain remind me of the pain i had prior to surgery. I am taking 1 to 2 Vicadin a day and that helps the pain. Is that a lot a day to take and will I be able to stop taking it eventually..?

How long can I be on it? BTW, I think my commute to work is not helping the healing. I drive ~ 3 hrs to the NYC everyday. Te job is not strenous. I am in Technolgy, sit in front of the computer all day.

Thanks all for your help!..



  • hi Trevor,

    Glad your recovery is coming along well. I don't have advice for you but I guess the only question I'd have is have you started PT yet? If not, did your doctor tell you when he would start you?

    The trip the NYC-> round trip or one way? If one way, that's nuts!

    I work in IT too and sitting all day can actually create a little inflammation. I have lumbar issues so it's more stress on the back. But I'm sure it adds stress to the neck too.

    Can you get an ergonomic assessment to ensure your screen, desk, seat, etc are set up right? Also, be sure to get up an walk around periodically. Walking is good for you.

    I wish you the best in continued successs in recovery!
  • Howdy Trevor!! :-)

    Your surgeon is correct - stress and healing pain is what you are describing. Again, I am basing this on my own experience from having that level done. :-)

    If you haven't already done so, see if you can get your monitor positioned so your head isn't leaning (bent) forward. Staying at the computer without breaks every 45 minutes or so isn't good. You can try (could even be a walk around your office and gentle stretching..okay?) will help a lot. Gentle side to side stretches of your neck will also help. Try putting your arms straight out in front of you and arch your upper back gently, and then return to a proper posture position. Hope these help.

    Now, the 3 hour drive...whoa!! That is NOT helping I am sure. I use to live up there, and I am sure you are doing a lot of moving with your neck just for traffic checks!! If you must do the drive, try to work it maybe such that you can pull off the road for about 5 minutes every hour or so and walk around and gently stretch. Even normal necks don't like that kind of daily drive!!! Hehehee

    The Vicadin... I was off my pain meds within like 3 weeks, so can't advise you there. Mine were prescribed "xx per every 4 hours as needed for pain." So my guess is if your doctor feels you still need them, then you are probably fine. I don't know what "normal" allowance is for your prescription.

    Try to relax a bit, remember even at 10 weeks you are still early on recovery, and too your body will be going through a lot of adjustments for up to a year! Most seem to feel big-time better by the 4 month mark. Take care, please keep us posted! *HUG*

    Ps... You otherwise seem to be doing VERY WELL on your recovery. :-)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Hey Trevor,

    The muscles and nerves can take some time to heal. So in my book your doing great. If your doctor is saying it is muscle related, maybe a muscle relaxer would work better for you. I am sure being in front of a computer all day long and the drive would tend to tense them up. Also you might look into some message therapy to help. But keep up the good work and hopefully with summer on the horizon this will all be a thing of the past.
  • You sweetie, you are not letting on in our PM's that you are still feeling so bad trying too hard to provide encouragement for me I guess. Well It sounds as if what you are feeling is normal (per say) for the surgery you had, I guess it can take months for the pain to ease and with your drive I think it would hurt anyone in our position. Hang in there - you really are doing great.
    And by the way I have been on vicodin off and on for the last 6 years (I have 7 total levels bad 2 in my neck and 5 in my back) this was my first surgery to fix ONE of the 7 levels. So 10 weeks on it I am sure you are ok or I am in a mess of trouble lol.
    Hang in there hon!!
  • I'm glad to hear the surgery went well and I also think you're doing well at 10 weeks into recovery.

    Taking one to two vicodins a day is not too much. But like Tamtam said, if your pain is muscular, you might want to try some muscle relaxants. It's very common after an ACDF to have muscle spasms in your shoulder and/or back and even some pain in the back of your neck (that's where the vicodin helps).

    Hang in there. You've had major surgery and 10 weeks is still very early in your recovery. Although sitting sounds like it's not strenuous, for a neckie, it is. It's very difficult to sit at a computer for a long length of time after an ACDF, so be sure to get up often.

    Take care and keep us posted. It really does sound like things are going well and as to be expected.

  • DNice/Brenda/Tamtam/Melissa/Cath

    Thanks for the response and all the encouragements. You are all awesome.
    DNice, my doctor suggested PT but I refused because prior to my surgery.It never helped. So I am hesitant. My trip to NYC is 1 1/2 hr one way, - three hrs a day. Yep, IT can be stressful, even more when you are the head of the dept and days when stuff just doesn’t go right especially the comms/network part..:(I am looking to change the job, but with the economy, it's a bad time.Ergonomically, I am setup ok. I make sure someone came by to validate the setup and make adjustments.I have to be more discipline to take break. Sometime I am so caught up with work, I forget until the shoulder/neck screams at me..
    Brenda, I agree that I should take a break during my commute; I will give that a shot. Sounds like
    A good idea. Yes, I also need to take more breaks. I agree. Also, four months seems like a good time period to recover fully from the muscle pain and I am far away from that. I need to keep telling myself I am still too early in the recovery.
    TamTam, I will ask my doctor about the muscle relaxer, seems like a better option than the vicadin. Does it make you sleepy?
    Melissa, ah...you found out that I have some shoulder pain..:). To be honest, it gets better slowly.I guess I am a bit impatient and want all the pain to go away instantly.You all remind me of being patient. How are you doing? Going back to work tomorrow? Let us know how that goes. Don't rush it.
    Cath, thanks for the note. As everyone says, it’s a major surgery and I have to slap myself to remind me that it was..:) I am glad to hear that two Viacodin is not that bad..! I was wondering if I was getting addicted.

    Thanks all for your encouragement, feedback and sharing your experience. I look forward to reading everyone post. I find comfort here.

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