Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

Cricopharyngeal Spasm after ACDF Surgery

DonnabeDDonnabe Posts: 597
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:57 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Since about 3 months post op I have been having what I describe as a muscle spasm in my throat. I let my doctor (PM&R) know about it on the 11th of Oct. She wasn't sure what it could be. I did some research and came up with the Cricopharyngeal Spasm. The symptoms fit exactly...

# Lump in the throat sensation
# Feels like a golf ball, tennis ball ... is stuck in my throat
# Feels like my tie is too tight
# Feels like I am being strangled
# My throat feels swollen
# The symptoms can be mimicked by pushing on the cartilage in the neck just below the Adams apple
# The lump comes and goes depending on the day
# Symptoms are usually best in the AM and worse later in the day
# Stress aggravates the symptoms
# Saliva is difficult to swallow yet food is easy to swallow
# Eating, in fact, often makes the tightness go away for a time

My doctor put me on skelaxin and it helps it a little, but not much at all. Has anyone had this after ACDF? It started about 3 months post op. While it is not extremely "painful" it is more very uncomfortable. Like someone is walking around with their hands around your neck choking you constantly. It is causing me to be more stressed.. which after reading the article it says stress makes it worse.

Has anyone had anything like this?

ACDF C4-5 June 23rd, 2011

Another surgery in the near future. I am 26 years old.

Current Meds- Norco 7.5/325, Cymbalta 60mg, Gabapentin, Adderall 20mg


  • Doona,

    The answer is yes, and I am sure your question is what to do about it. The answer is the muscle relaxer, and maybe skelaxin is not strong enough for you. I personally use valium some days and soma some days. But I have a muscle relaxer on board 24-7. Don't let it get so bad that you break out in a panic attack. Have you ever under gone a swallow test? It might be beneficial for you if you haven't? I some extra thing that comes off the esophagus and when they do the surgery all of that was moved and the best guess is they can't get it back the exact same way. WE even had a ENT on my last surgery, due to all the issues I have. But of course your first thing would be to look at your swallowing track and make sure all is going down fine. We even did a CT of soft tissue of my neck given the front of my neck has had 4 entries.

    One big thing is avoid stress like the plague, it will only make it worse. I hope the doctor takes you serious and does further testing to at least come up with a proper diagnoses and treatment for you.
  • Avoiding stress is pretty much impossible for me. Especially right now with work and everything going on in my life. I don't see my doctor now until Nov 8.

    I can swallow fine... The choking feeling is mostly there when I am talking and working. It gets worse at night, especially if I am at work.

    I am hesitant to ask for more Valium because last time they said no and tried flexeril. The flexeril dried me out so much I had a nose bleed. After that they put me on the Skelaxin. I don't want them to think I am just trying to get drugs, because of course I am not. I am taking the skelaxin 3x a day. I took Soma from about January-June and while it helped a lot at first, it seemed to stop working.

    Its odd because this didn't happen until about 3 months post op. It seems to be because the numbness is wearing off around my incision.

    Thanks for your help,

    ACDF C4-5 June 23rd, 2011

    Another surgery in the near future. I am 26 years old.

    Current Meds- Norco 7.5/325, Cymbalta 60mg, Gabapentin, Adderall 20mg
  • Hi Donna,

    I know how unerving this can be, though not really painful. I posted a topic, "my throat seems to be choking off" on 10/9/2011 about this same sort of thing. I however, have not had surgery yet. I feel many of those symptoms that are listed uner that health issue. I also feel like I am being strangled, it gets worse as the day goes on, lump in throat and the adam apple thing. Uh. It is making me nervous. I did see an ENT yesterday and am scheduled for the "swallow" test on Nov. 3rd. What he saw looked pretty normal according to him..... no tumor, no swelling, but some inflammation. He has referred me to a general surgeon for this new testing. I will let you know what I find out but of course everyones situation can be very different. Hope you find out what it is and that we are both dealing with a minor but aggravating issue. Good luck to you!

  • Gracie! I do remember seeing your post and I thought it was similar to mine, just that you are pre op! I guess it can happen at any time. It sure is annoying!
    ACDF C4-5 June 23rd, 2011

    Another surgery in the near future. I am 26 years old.

    Current Meds- Norco 7.5/325, Cymbalta 60mg, Gabapentin, Adderall 20mg
  • BTW, Stress makes things quite worse!

    Try and find things that sooth you after a tough days work. I find music, tv and any distractions seem to help a little.
  • Hi Donna,

    I hope this gets better for you soon.

    So far, I am still looking at a ACDF at the C5-C6 and C6-C7 levels. It sounds much like the same thing.

    Hang in there girl!

  • Hi I broke my neck in june and had an anterior plate and 8 screws placed. The first two weeks I could hardly swallow and had spasms. Now I am still having problems swallowing. But things like laughing makes me go into a coughing attack. I feel like I am beiing strangled most of the time. I see neuro tomorrow . I dont have any answers but can sympathize
  • I wish my doctors could come with some answers. I have the lump feeling and the ENT said it seems to be all right but I have to do the swallowing test. But then I ask myself, for what?i guess is to know that everything is ok but that won't take away the lumpy feeling. What can help?? Can they invent a machine to take away the scar tissue with just a tiny incision something very delicate. A little camara that can go in with a very small instrument that will clean the area.

    When I hear tamtam that he says that they can not put back things as they were, well that makes me think that that is why is so difficult for me to laugh normally. I think my laughter was a combination of movements. Sometimes I wonder if what they put me is to big. But here surgeons don't want to see somebody already operated. Maybe something to big can also affect the throat.

Sign In or Register to comment.