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ACDF C5-6 Post Op 7 week pain in left shoulder and arm

Betty PBBetty P Posts: 1
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:52 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical

I am new to this board and I hope that my membership can help others as well as help me. I had ACDF C5-6 done on March 4, 2011 and right away my pain in the neck, soulder, and left arm were gone. But as of the last few days I have been experiencing some pain on my left shoulder and left forearm and wrist which has me worried. Is this normal?

I have not been doing any PT the DR did not prescribe any and I have not been exercising, he told me it was ok to walk if I wanted to but I have been lazy, too tired. I went back to work after a week, no collar, and was on pain meds and muscle relaxants for only a month. I see the Dr for my second month follow-up and x-ray next week.

Any responses or advice welcome, thanks!



  • Betty,

    First off, Welcome to Spine Health! You've found a great place the get support, and when you feel up to it, give support. Great folks, tons of info!!

    7 weeks out believe it or not is still fairly early on your recovery, couple that with going back to work - what kind of work?

    When we are fused, the spine is changed forever. We sit different, walk different, have different loading on our spine (even into your back). What happens a lot of the time is we start getting muscle spasms as the spine adjusts and the nerves heal. This can transmit to other parts of our body, especially those parts that where originally affected in the first place! Some of what helped me?

    Gentle massage of my shoulder down to my hands. Ice/heat for the neck and shoulder. Elevation, rest, walking, proper posture etc. The best of course being making sure you keep your doctor in the loop as this way if there is a symptom of concern, he/she will know better than the patient. On both of my fusions, some of my spasms lasted up to 6 months! It can take a year or more to fuse.

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

    I'm 6 weeks post op today and looking back I've made tremendous recovery. In saying that, I still experience arm pain on and off and my neck is always pretty painful and tired which my NS told me is normal. I wear an Aspen Collar 7x24 and will do until 3 months post op. I'm starting to walk and exercise with 5 pound dumb bells. Hopefully this helps with my recovery. When my NS told me I would be off for 3 months I thought he was crazy, however I believe this length of time is required to ensure the bone fuses properly. Just remember one thing, you do not want to have this procedure repeated and you only have one neck! Over the past 6 weeks the term "money isn't everything" really resonates with me! Without your health you have NOTHING!

    Look after yourself and good luck with your recovery.
  • Hi Betty. I had the same surgery 10 weeks ago and I still get pain intermittently. Recovery takes months! For most of us, the pain can be brought on by doing too much. My neck, shoulders and arms still give me pain and are in spasm. I suggest walking everyday to get much needed oxygenated blood to circulate for healing. My NS will give me a script for PT at the 3 month appointment, but no sooner. I'm not even allowed to stretch the muscles in the neck. Take care and hope you are feeling better! :)
    2011 ACDF C5-6 for Spondylosis with Myleopathy
    2012 L4-5 herniated disc and hernated disc at C4/5 2013 Taking Amitriptyline for headaches
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