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10 days post op c5-6 7-8 recovery questions need support

cgmccgm Posts: 289
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:48 AM in Recovering from Surgery
Hi...a newbie here and I've got a few concerns/questions with hopes the easing of my troubled mind.

My sitch:Female/45 DDD,plate/autograft/2disk removed at 5-6/7-8
Before Surgery: Left side,Chronic neck pain/tendonitis and weakness in arm. shoulder pain. Occasionally would lose complete muscle control in both arms. Major compression on nerve.

After surgery: 10 days post op. I doing good except....I have more weakness in my left arm now than before surgery. Not capable of lifting my arm up or across my body. Tis slightly better than the day I came out of recovery, but it's not getting any better. Shoulder muscles on left are tense and I've got constant muscle aching. Neuro told me evening after my surgery to give it some time. I go back on Dec 3rd with xrays to see how graft is doing. How much time is giving this time??????

I just hope I've done everything right and have a good follow up. Anyone experience loss of motor control in arm and if so, did it return and if so...how long did it take. Thanks so much in advance. Also, I'm dizzy. I've not taken pain meds during the day for 5 days. Last night, I took only muscle relaxers to sleep. What is up with the vertigo? Ooh and walking? I'm walking up and down the street. 1/8 to 1/4 mile. Other than the arm sitch, I'm doing okay...thanks again for easing my troubled mind.


  • Welcome to Spine Health!

    How long were you having the pain and arm problems before the surgery? How long did you know that your nerves were compressed brfore you had the surgery?

    They say longer the surgery is put off after showing nerve involvement the slower the recovery time is, try to be patient :)

    Why are you stopping taking the meds? You should take them as scheduled and get lots of rest.

    Do you think you are being over medicated? What are you taking? You should call you prescribing office and ask about a med change if that is the problem. My NS always kept me pretty medicated the first 2-3 weeks and then I was back to my normal norco,s and flexerils which I took as needed.

    Also 10 days isn't much. Your swelling a lot right now where the fusion is taking place (that is what is suppose to happen- swelling causes good fusion). Unfortunately it also might make things worse for a little while >:D< hang in there. Don't hesitate to call your surgeon office and talk with his nurse (that's what I do) and it usually makes me feel better. She can talk to him or knows what I need to find out.

    Feel Better,


  • Thanks for responding JulieA. Just your written words and kindness of writing back has lifted my spirits.

    The tendonitis started in late July...so 3 months. But I had use of my arm :) Who knows how long the nerve has been compressed. I've had muscle tremors/spasms internally in my head for 5 years. I've had wierd pain that would come and go over the course of 7 years in my left arm...didnt last but a few days here and there...but nothing like that of the last 3 months.

    I've been on Lortabs 7.5 and Soma's (muscle relaxer) as needed. nothing else prescribed. I'm okay during the day and can withstand the aggravation of tense muscles on my left side. Believe me, I'd take it if I was hurting bad. Getting comfy at night is the greatest challange. I'm back in the bed with my Hubby now, but stay in the recliner during the day. I do walk around the block...as long as I can, until I feel my hip starting to hurt from graft.

    Anyway, I know that everyone is different in healing time. I just know getting feedback and reading other peoples experiences in recovering from this surgery would ease my concerns...

    I did shoot the Neuro's Nurse and email...so we'll see what she has to allow.

    thanks again,

  • Welcome to Spine Health. You are now an official member of our 'spiney club' :H

    I haven't had a cervical surgery, but do know some of the pains and problems from my lumbar fusion surgery earlier this year.

    Sometimes the swelling after surgery can cause the symptoms to get worse for a while until things settle down. The vertigo you are feeling is probably from your neck too. I would definately suggest that you contact your surgeon just to keep him informed as to how you are progressing and of the new symptoms that you are having.

    You are very early on in your recovery and there will be a long road to travel before you are at your best. Please hang around here and we will support you through this. :D

  • Thanks Jelly! I've been scouring the post and reading, reading reading. Great community here...I feel as at home here as I do on my HGTV forum! :) Glad I found this place...just wish it had been before the surgery.
    I'm here....got nothing else to do except surf the web on the old laptop!


  • I remember that stage, when you can hardly do anything, so lots of time on your hands, and lots of friends to chat with on Spine Health.

    I am back at work again now (just completed my first week of my full hours, as I was on a phased return).

    I don't get nearly so much time to come and chat, but I do like to try and keep up and see how all my friends are getting on. A lot of the people I used to chat with a lot, are no longer posting as they have got back to their lives. That is a good thing for them! :D But I do miss them. :-(
  • Consider yourself paying it forward Jelly. That's what so cool about forums. People touch others lives for a brief while...heal and move on and so on and so on and so on. And thru my recovery and finding this place, i too, hope to comfort and cheer on the new spineys. I'm glad your here! I'll be around for a while :)

  • I think of it as a relay race.
    We run with the baton of support for newcomers, then, when we improve and get back to our lives, we pass the baton to someone else who runs with it until it is their time to move on and return to their improved life.

    I like to come here and take a turn in still carrying that baton when I can. :D

    Wishing you a wonderful recovery >:D<
  • Thanks Jelly,

    I heard back from my Neuro's nurse, she was a comfort. She said to walk as much as i could tolerate. I told her "i'm walking the streets like a hooker wearing sweats"

    One day at a time.

  • That made me laugh out loud cgm! :))(

    I am doing the same. I'll have a giggle next time I am out walking!
  • my shoulder area, closer in to my spine just plain burns and aches. This has been going on since day go. Anyone have this issue? Would this pain be relative to my lack of muscle control in my left arm? I've 3 weeks before I go back to see the neuro with my new xrays. But hoped someone here might have had this experience.
  • :W 2 weeks to the day....I wish i'd never had this surgery. Atleast not right now. I wish I could fast forward thru time and wake up in the Spring, Feeling perfect, able to bend, squat and pick up anything that I drop. My left arm is seemingly making minuscle progress. I'm able to touch the top of my head, though I shake from weakness. I cant touch my right ear yet...but I am able to make a low messy ponytail now...of course it takes me 3 minutes =D>
    I think I've inadvertently done too much...or atleast worried that I leaned forward to much or strained my neck in my getting up out of bed throughout the night. I'm just worrying..... :sick: Maybe it's a chick thing?

    It's been raining the last couple days, but its beautiful today and I am going to head out to walk the streets of the neighborhood.
  • I hope you had a nice walk, and that the sunshine has made you feel more positive and that perhaps it has also helped your neck.

    I remember, after my lumbar fusion, my walks in the sunshine, feeling a breeze on my face and hearing the birds used to do wonders for my morale. It made me feel part of the world again.

    Keep healing cgm. 14 days post op is very early.
    We know before our surgeries that it is going to be a long road to recovery, but then while we are travelling it, it seems endless. Things will get better. :D >:D<

    Feel better soon. xx
  • Thanks jelly. I'm just in pain today...worse after my long walk. I've not been on my pain meds...but i'm going to have to take something. I sound so negative...re-reading my post. Sorry to be such a downer! This shall pass!
  • Don't try to manage without pain meds if you need them. It is not surprising that you need to take them only 2 weeks after fusion surgery. Use them to manage your pain - that is what they are for.

    You are going to have days, perhaps several in a row, when you feel absolutely fed up with all this. Try to look back and see how far you have come. :-) (That won't be very far only 2 weeks after surgery!) (|: Perhaps, for the time being, just be glad that your surgery is over, and you are now on the road to recovery. The end is not in sight yet, there will be lots of bumps in the road along the way, but you have started your journey and each week that goes by, you are a week closer to feeling better.

    Don't expect too much of yourself, and please don't apologise for being a downer. We have all been there, and are very willing to be a sympathetic ear. >:D<

    Don't walk too far. If you have worse pain after your walk, you have probably walked too far. It is better to take several shorter walks, than one long one.

    cgm, I am going to be watching out for your posts and will try to help you over this very difficult part of your recovery.
    A very positive thing to hang on to, is that you have found a great place for help and support. You are not alone, and have lots of spiney friends who truly understand what you are going through.

    Very gentle hugs >:D<
  • Hi there, my name is Lisa and I had my 2 level lumbar fusion August 27th. I started walking soon after my surgery and usually feel great afterward, but always try not to overdue it, just listen to your body. I found out the hard way that standing for too long in one place is very bad for me. I stood in a long line and for three days my feet were swollen and my back ached. Now I am almost 3 months post op and feel really great. Physical therapy is a big help to me, I love the treadmill and stationary bike. I am down to 1/2 of a percocet twice a day. Just wanted to let you know a little bit about my recovery, it does get easier with time, and there will be minor setbacks, but take it easy, follow your doctor's advice and I pray that your surgery will be as sucessful as mine seemed to be.
    Take care, Lisa
  • I think part of my problem in that last post was PMS...I'm over that hump so thats good. I posted on Cervical Neck pain board and found comfort regarding my arm weakness...I'm not alone. I have cabin fever no doubt but I did drive for the first time on Saturday! So I'm going to start getting out, maybe go to the park to walk just for a change of scenery.

    Before Everyone gets to busy....Happy Thanksgiving to ya'll...enjoy family and food! I give thanks that I have a wonderful Husband who has been so helpful and supportive and PATIENT! I'm thankful for this forum. I'm thankful that this surgery has given me the strength to quit smoking....19 days now!

  • Good to hear from you again today. You sound more positive today. :D

    I don't know what the weather is like where you are, but do try to get outside each day for a short walk; especially on a sunny day. That feels great. Once the icy weather arrives, it is very difficult and perhaps dangerous to walk, so make the most of better weather while it is still here.

    I am in the UK, so we don't celebrate Thanksgiving, but hope that you have a wonderful time with your family.

    Great to hear that you are driving again. That will bring independence to get out and about again, but don't drive too far.

    Keep up the good healing >:D<
  • Hope you get good news from the surgeon on Friday. :D
  • Each week gets a little better so that is a positive. My Vertigo/dizzyness is not getting better. I'll Chalk that up to not being the side effects of the SOMA. I go in for my xray tomorrow and to see the NS on Friday. Keeping my fingers crossed that there are signs of fusion! I've been taking calcium+D vitamins here and there. I've been smoke free for 28.5 days apart from my 3 drags of a cigarette on day 17. So I hope I've done the right things...I just want to get back to having a life!
  • You have done everything you can to help things along and deserve to have a good result.

    I had x-rays taken at 8 weeks and there was no sign of fusion. Since then, I am eating very well and walking every day to aid things. I don't get my next x-ray until March next year, so I hope that by then (12 month anniversary), there will be good news.

    I will watch out to see how you get on on Friday.
  • Sorry - deleting my post and re-posting...got confused and put it in the wrong place!
  • Of course I can't tell squat. I have a new found appreciate for radiologist and their ability to read mri's xrays etc etc. I would think that at 28 days the untrained eye couldnt detect whether there is a glimmer of fusing taking place....I can only hope. My new hardware is lovely! But my neck/cervical area is kinda crooked looking...I can blame this on my posture.

    Just typing outload!
  • I had the same surgery C5/C6, C6/C7 on 12/6 - had severe spinal cord compression so still weakness and numbness in arms but the severe pain has subsided now just pretty sore neck and muscles. I am curious if you have had any signs of fusion yet?? I see that you were a smoker and are smoke free except for a few drags .. I am a former smoker and quit the morning of my surgery. I find that to be the hardest as I am home and bored to death which makes me want to smoke. I have had a few drags on 2 separate days so hoping that won't impact any fusion. I used to smoke about a 1/2 pack per day ... really nervous about the fusion - can't go thru this again! My1st Xray is on Jan 6tt ..
  • I had a c4-c6 with severe stenosis and tethered cord. I woke up with my left arm and hand not working at all. I called my husband and before i could tell him what was wrong he said u cant move your left arm i bet!! My ortho already told him that would happen but only temporary. I started physical therapy 2 weeks after surgery and in 3 months it was 99% back. So give it time and hopefully u are going to therapy because those exercises really helped.

    Take care
  • Thanks for your comment - I am 3 weeks post surgery and hoping at next week NS appt I get the clearance to go to PT - really looking forward to getting arm strength back. Question for you? Did your fusion work and after how long? Just a little stressed to know if the fusion is working?
  • I started pt last monday, Went again on thursday and it's Friday was the best my arm has felt since surgery. I'm still very weak, but the exercises do help. I'm 2 months post op today. My upper neck hurts more on the left than the right especially when I turn my neck a little. Other than that, i'm doing okay and each week gets better. i go to Dr on next Tuesday and will know where I stand on two months as far as fusing. Doubt anything can be seen on the xrays but I sure hope so.
  • I think you and I had exact same surgery - mine was on Dec 6th so going for my 1 month Xray this week so I assume will be too early to tell if any fusion. I also have neck shoulder and arm pain on left side and prior to surgery it was always on right side so a little concerned it has changed. Hoping to be allowed to start PT soon ... Still struggling with the smoking thing - been taking about 3-5 drags of 2 cigs per day -- was thinking of trying the Nicotine Free cigarettes but not too sure about buying something like that online.. just need to get some more will power .. just soo bored at home! Find this site so helpful to know there are so many others that had this surgery ..
  • sorry i'd not been on in a while and saw your post regardig smoking....I'm 2 months one day without a cig today. I smoked for 30 years. I got an personal vaporizer/electronic cigarette 7 days after surgery and ordered 0mg's of nicotine. the nic is out of my body, its just the cravings. Hand to mouth stuff. I got a blu ecig, you can google in electronic e cigs and get a lot of info on these. Anyhoo....I hope your are doing good, i'm plugging along as well. I understand your boredom gal. I'm there too. Not sure when I'll start looking for a new job...but soon! as I miss my little happy checks for incidental goodies. Oh and fwiw, I have lit up 3 cigs since quitting. The taste and smell is so foul that I couldnt do anything but put it out. But I still have my carton in the fridge. Not sure why, but I wont let my H throw them out. lol....your doing good.
  • Great Job on the Smoke Free. I am so mad at myself went 20 days no smoking and then felt better and was so bored at home and allowed to drive so off I went to shop and got 1 pack .. took 2 drags gagged and threw it away - few days later 2 more drags etc.. that is how is has been! Almost the fact that I shouldn't smoke is making me want to more - insane! I know!I am determined -read online that the brand NOW has the lowest levels of nicotine so I may just use them if I am desparate. The good thing is my husband will kill me if he knew so that keeps me down to my few drags every now and then .. don't know what I will do when I go back to work as I have a very stressful job and long commutes-will be tough! Anyway good luck to you on your 2month follow up hope it goes well!
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