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Need some advice. c3/c4 bulge and bony spur. Why is this happening after shoulder surgery?

sswang00ssswang00 Posts: 3
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:48 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Hey everybody.
Just to give a quick history, I had a torn rotator cuff a year ago. Had surgery (arthroscopic decompression) on 8/10/2010.
I have been going to physical therapy to rehab, but about a month after surgery I started having really bad inflammation in my neck.

The right side of my neck feels extremely hot and inflamed. I am also having pain going down the medial side of my arm. I NEVER had these symptoms before and they only started within the last 2 months.
Since the pain did not stop, I finally got an MRI last week.

RESULT: Posterior disc bulge at c3/c4 towards the right and osteophyte (bony spur) found in the spine.

My ortho says to take the conservative route and have physical therapy/traction therapy done.
My only worry is the fact that there is a bony spur in the spine. Im wondering if the spur is causing the irritation and also confused as to why this is happening right after my subacromial decompression surgery.
Its been over 2 months with these symptoms and im wondering what route is best:
-Physical therapy - I already went one and all they had me do so far is neck stretches
-Over the door cervical traction
-Go to see an osteopathic doctor (D.O.)
-See a physician about getting a epidural cortisone injection.

Anyone have ideas?
Im getting really frustrated..I know the most conservative route is physical therapy but Im starting to think my current therapist isn't so great. I'm wondering if I should try another therapist or one of the other alternatives I listed above.
The therapist only suggested stretching (all of which I have already been doing and read on this site: URL Removed )


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Post Edited by Moderator Dave


  • Welcome to Spine Health! (chances are your link will be removed - just so you know). As to your bulge and osteophytes (spurs), they might or might not be related to your shoulder. If you had say an accident, it could have weakened your disk. I have a moderate bulge at my C2/3 - an it's been like that for a few years now. The change is now I have a large osteophyte complex at that level further bulging the disks, and I am now symptomatic at that level. For at least 3 years, I would have never known there was something there.

    I've crashed a helicopter in my past, been a high level gymnast for 11 years (floor, beam and uneven bars), and had two drunk jerks hit me - so sets *me* up for disk failure. My career was also not lacking in impact sports - law enforcement! What is your impact history, or have you had any of this in your family, or your life's activities? See, there is a lot that has to be considered.

    As to doctors. I am big on if I start to question whether I have the right doctor, I think about why I am feeling this. If it is because I don't feel that I am getting the help, or diagnosis based on what I am internally feeling, I seek other opinions. I hope this was of help. None of us are doctors on this side of the site, but nerve and spine patients sharing what we've experienced to help each other from the patient perspective. :) Again, welcome aboard!!

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