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Recovery from Cervical Spine Laminectomy and Fusion

MASMMAS Posts: 2
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:59 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I am wondering if anyone has experience as a patient or Physician with cervicial spine surgery (laminectonmy and fusion), and can offer some advice on my situation.

I had a cervical spine laminectomy and fusion from C3-C7 almost 5 months ago. This was done to correct severe spinal stenosis which had led to compression of spinal chord and condition known as Myelomalacia. The symptoms I was experiencing prior to surgery were numbness and tingling in my left hand (thumb and adjacent 2 fingers), and drunken sailor syndrome (off balance and weakness in walking on one side.)

The post surgical MRI looks great, indicating the surgery has dramatically increased the room in my spinal canal and relieved the compression. My walking is also almost back to normal, but no improvement in hand yet. (I realize this may or may not improve, and could take a year or so.)

My problem is...I am now experiencing severe pain in my neck and shoulder (on left side), a symptom which I did not have prior to the surgery. The pain in my neck is a severe ache (on left side, and occasionally in center.) The pain in my back (upper left trapazoid area) feels as if that muscle is in a tight knot. (I often find my left shoulder 6 inches higher than the right side, and have to force it down.

I have been going to PT for 4 months, and also taking many Feldenkrais lessons, but these symptoms have not improved.

My question is...is this pain in my neck and shoulders normal after 5 months, and can I expect it to go away or improve on its own by allowing more time; or, do I need to have some further diagnostics done, to understand what is causing this. This pain is so severe, I have not been able to return to work, so I would appreciate any comments or suggestions. Many thanks...MAS


  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,110
    That was a big surgery, it will take a long time to heal. Is your surgeon concerned? I know with mine it took about 7 or 8 months before everything was back to normal. The positions we are put in during surgery can cause alot of pain. I was always told to walk, walk and walk some more. It keeps the muscles from tightening up. It did help. I would walk my dog 3 times a day.
  • Thanks for reply. It was very helpful. My MD is not concerned since X-Rays and post-op MRI look good. I can deal with It taking time, as long as I know it's all part of the healing journey, and there's nothing wrong. Did you have a lot of pain that eventually subsided? Also, did you have any nerve damage in hand/fingers (or anywhere else), and if so, did you see any improvement?

    BTW--I have a fun Pug. Take him for a long walk every day. Could not get through this without him!
  • I will say the pain i had before the surgery is gone. The pain i woke up with after the surgery is not. I'm about 3 months out now, and i still get the stiffness and achiness in my neck. its like a ring around the back of my neck. It acts up when i am turning my head to the extreme end of my range of motion in any direction. When i woke up from surgery i was told that when they replace the discs with spacers (c4-5-6) i gained about a quarter of an inch in height. So at first i attributed the pain to everything being stretched. i asked at my last follow up about it, and the doc said not to worry, its still early on. I would have thought by now everything would have settled down, but i guess not. i know this isn't helping you any, in terms of knowing when things might settle down, but i'm glad to see the post to know what i might expect going forward. Oh and my x-rays have been fine since the surgery.
    Microdisectomy / hemi-laminectomy 6/2010 and revision 10/2010
    Cervical fusion C4-5 and C5-6 9/2011
    Lumbar Fusion L5-S1 6/2012
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