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Need help!

Lili_InuLLili_Inu Posts: 633
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:55 AM in Chronic Pain
My surgery seemed to have resolved some of the pain I had, but some of the pain has stayed. I had an ACDF at C5/6 in February this year and I really listened to the NS and rested a lot and focused on recovery. I was practically pain free at the 2 month mark, but once I started to get back into life, I realized that some of the pain came back and the muscles that are spasming the most are the levator scapula and the semispinalis capitas - causing headaches, dizziness and nausea. My traps are actually doing pretty good. My left shoulder is always cracking when I move it. I'm starting to think that I have a shoulder problem that was disguised by the C5/6 issues. :? I do not regret having surgery because the headaches have been much better.

Does anyone else have same muscles that spasm? How do I know if this is a shoulder issue versus a recovery issue from my surgery? According to my NS, this is not part of the recovery and they think I have an alignment issue. I think I have a short leg discrepancy problem on top of all this. Any insight is much appreciated! :)
2011 ACDF C5-6 for Spondylosis with Myleopathy
2012 L4-5 herniated disc and hernated disc at C4/5 2013 Taking Amitriptyline for headaches


  • If you think it could be a shoulder problem, I would ask for a referral to an orthopaedic surgeon, as they are really the only people who could give you the answers you are looking for.
    APROUD CANADIANveteranButNOTa doctor, my thoughts are my own
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,476
    ...cervical spine issue also..docs told me my shoulder pain was from the arthritis of cervical spine. Sometimes I want to rip my arm off thinking I will get relief'
    An ortho consult does sound like a good idea.
    I'm happy for you that you were pain free before as you said "getting back into life."
    That must mean doc did something right. That seems to build confidence that you may need a little change with life...no BLT. It can be difficult when you think you're fixed.
    good luck to you!
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,865
    I had two ACDF surgeries (1994 and 2000 - C4/C5 & C6/C7). There was no question that these surgeries eliminated the problems I was having (headaches, numbness/tingling in the arm/hand/fingers, not being able to grasp things, etc)

    I started having some shoulder pain and pain at the base of my neck. Around 2006, I herniated several thoracic discs which I've haven't had surgery on.

    Meanwhile my upper back / shoulders were bothering me.
    A bone scan identified arthritis masses in both shoulders and hips. But nothing that alarming.

    For several years, all my physical therapy was focused in on my thoracic disc and cervical problems. When my shoulder problems started to really bother me, I had steroid injections in both shoulders which immediately relieved the pain.

    After 3 years of steroid injections every 6 months, I was no longer getting relief. We knew for a while that the only action were two complete shoulder replacements. I had those down last year and there has been a big relief in my upper back area as well as cervical.

    My doctors and therapists now believe that much of my pain from 2000 was shoulder related.

    I am not saying that your situation is similar in having arthritis in your shoulder. But, knowing how my shoulder problems affected so much else, I really encourage you to have a good Orthopedic doctor look at you.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Thanks Ron for your reply! I am starting to think that my shoulder is and was the bigger issue compared to my cervical.

    Yes, I am going to set up an appointment with an ortho who specializes in the shoulder. It never occurred to me to meet with one until now. My shoulder pain is the worse now and if I'm up for a long period of time, the neck pain and headaches start up too. My right hip is also starting to bother me recently and wonder if it's also related to my short leg or degeneration in cervical and lumbar discs.

    I'm getting some relief right now from an acupuncturist, but I'm getting tired of just treating the symptoms and not really knowing what's wrong! :W
    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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