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Anyone experience painful nerve regeneration months after ACDF

gdgilggdgil Posts: 2
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:53 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Hi everyone. I posted here a few times after my two level ACDF last fall and received some very helpful responses. You are a very supportive and knowledgeable group. I forgot my login info so I had to create a new one.

I am wondering if anyone has experienced painful nerve regeneration after a period of calm after their ACDF. I was completely pain-free, with the exception of the usual muscle spasms, after my ACDF for about 4 months. At the beginning of month 5 my arm started twitching all the time in all different spots. At month 7 the burning in my armpit and down my triceps began (my C7 root was badly compressed for 2 1/2 years). The pain is nowhere near what it was pre-surgery and it is not constant but tends to come and go (50% of the time nerve pain, the other 50% is fine). It is definitely the painful nerve burning though. The back of my armpit and my elbow at the radial nerve twitches all the time and all the muscles in my forearm are in a constant state of spasm.

My physio tests my strength every two weeks and I am stronger than ever. My triceps, back and hand muscles on the left side were wasted pre-surgery but are now stronger than the right due to physio exercises. So there is no motor weakness involved with this pain and twitching.

I will be seeing a neurologist for testing in a few weeks but of course am imagining all sorts of horrible other things it could be. My doctor thinks it is nerve regeneration but reallly doesn't know for sure.

Anyone else experience anything like this?


  • I was doing fine and virtually pain-free at 2 and a half months post op and injured myself by forcing a window to open. My back muscles were so tight and I was getting pain in both the back and the upper arm on my left side (the problem side before surgery) and I had twitching in my triceps. I tried rest, heat/ice therapy, trigger point injection into muscles and had x-rays where my NS said that the fusion site was doing fine. NS said that I probably tweeked my muscle and needed a good massage. I tried a couple of different massage therapists, but did not get relief. Finally, today (after suffering for 4 weeks) I went to see a massage therapist who focused on deep tissue and creating blood circulation in the damaged muscles. I feel like a new person! My arm isn't hurting and the pain is localized in just the shoulder blade. It's amazing what a good massage therapist can do! I think you might need a deep tissue massage to loosen up tight muscles. Good luck and let us know what happens! :)
    2011 ACDF C5-6 for Spondylosis with Myleopathy
    2012 L4-5 herniated disc and hernated disc at C4/5 2013 Taking Amitriptyline for headaches
  • Thank you so much for your reply. I saw my physio today and we had a great discussion. It sounds like you are right on the money. She thinks my scalene (sp?) muscles are inflamed and that is causing my problems. We devised a plan which includes tons of stretching and massage by her so hopefully this will help. I seriously thought I was losing my mind.
  • Hope to hear further, Lilli and Gdgil, how you both - - and anyone else out there, who have neuropathy issues and nerve damage....Gdgil asked, how is the process of re-generation of nerves/muscles after post-op???

    I have neuropathy in left and right arm and hands, with the left being severe, right moderate. I had severe and very painful 2-3 weeks duration episodes from April, 2010 to present, with muscle wasting in lower left arm and palm of hand.

    I'm pending ACDF decompression surgery soon and very curious of actual experience of any peripheral regeneration of I nerves and muscles. I've sustained major loss in my lower arm and severely in hand and fingers, dexterity, coordination and strength.

    Be nice to hear about someone's actual experience...have researched nerve regeneration, mostly written on trauma injury and not spinal degeneration as source.

    Thanks Lilli & Ggdil for connecting and sharing on this :)

  • Checking in to see how you are doing lately. I just have a flare up over the weekend and have been getting pain in both thumbs. The burning came back with vengeance and is slowly dying down. How long do you flare ups last? How are you doing and did you seek out a massage therapist? :)
    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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