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Muscle pain from Thoracic laminectomy

Hi there, can anyone tell me if they have had surgery on the Thoracic spine around the T4 T5 area and if there post op pain is the same as I am having now. I was in pain before the surgery for around 8 years around the right rib area that would paralyze me in bed early morning and after 8 years of paying god knows how many different doctors here in New Zealand to tell me there is nothing wrong with me I payed a orthopaedic surgeon to get me a MRI (which I payed for also) to find a 4cm intradural schwannoma tumour pressing my spinal cord to the size of a shoe lace. I had a laminectomy on the T4 T5 to get the tumour removed and had what I thought was a good recovery in the hospital for seven days and then returned home for more recovery etc. Third week was able to drive and walk for up to two hours with my wife looking around the city etc thinking this is going well. Just after four weeks all the muscles around my spine were the surgery was done and under my shoulder blades started giving me a lot of pain as soon as I was getting out of bed. There was no pain in the muscles before the four weeks just were the surgery was done and the meds made this ok as I was going into this knowing that there would be quite a lot of pain from surgery. Can someone tell me if this is a normal part of the healing and how long this took to repair itself etc. I am in my ninth week now and am still getting this muscle pain more so at the end of the day but am still not working at all only walking, stretching every day and doing things around the house to live etc. Getting in contact with the surgeon is difficult and my GP does not really know too much about what is to happen post op either so have come here to see if someone has been down the same road. Thank you for your time.



  • Hi Cliff welcome to the forum. There are so many good people here to offer encouragement and a listening ear. I had a microdiscectomy of T7-T8 on May 24. I had the pain that wrapped around left ribs and upper abdomen. I have also experienced worsening pain since surgery which includes severe muscle pain at incision site. The incision was made about 2 inches from left side of spine. My surgeon told me that I may have muscle and nerve pain post-op that may or may not resolve. They had to move muscle and nerves and cut through so there is always the chance or damage. Hopefully it won't be permanent. I also have not been able to walk any distances at all or do PT due to other issues with spine. I have not returned to work and don't know if I will be able to. I hope that you continue to heal and that the pain lessens more each day. Please keep in touch and let us know how you are doing.

  • Cliff,
    I had t5/6 surgery 9 years ago . I had lots of pain around the shoulder blades and ribs (and still do to a certain extent) . I knew a rib had been removed , so that accounted for some of he pain and that it had been necessary to cut through some muscle and tendons, but I only discovered when the surgeon mentioned in passing, that he had dislocated my shoulder during surgery to "give myself more room to work" which accounted for the shoulder pain.

    Might be an explanation.

    I'm not young enough to know everything - Oscar Wilde
  • Hi Cliff, I had a similar surgery in 2003 with T3 - 6 removed to take out an arachnoid cyst. Surgery was very successful, but they never even sent me to physio. It wasn't until two months later when I was still in pain that I finally saw a physio privately. If you are not seeing one regularly at present, my first thought is GO NOW! The physio immediately diagnosed another problem that I had not been able to understand.... I had incredibly painful ribs for a couple of years every time I sneezed. Thought they were breaking. Turns out that they were fused in place as a result of my spine curving forward to try and escape the cyst. She fixed that in a matter of days.
    As to the recovery pain - the bad news that no one tells you is that the muscles, tendons and ligaments NEEDED those spinal processes they no doubt removed in the laminectomy to attach to. What you have been left with will fuse into a mass of scar tissue and the muscles will not ever do quite the same job again. Which is why it is so important to develop a relationship with a good physio. They can teach you how to keep the muscles strong and flexible to give yourself the best chance in the future.
    My full recovery took about five months, and I had very little pain for many years. After 8 years I found myself with pain so severe I can't even roll over in bed without help. Turns out arthritic bone growths have appeared where the processes were removed. So now we are into round two to try and find a solution to the pain.
    Best advice - stay fit, do your physio exercises every day - for life.
    Best of luck.
  • Hi vee. I need to have an arachnoid cyst removed. It's from t2-t6. I wanted to ask you a couple ques if I could about your surgery. Please let me know as soon as you can. It's scheduled for next week. I really appreciate it!!! I don't know how this forum works. If it will notify me when you reply or not. I would give my email on here but not sure if its safe. Thanks. I hope to here from you soon!!!
  • jellyhalljjellyhall Posts: 4,373
    edited 08/24/2013 - 11:16 AM

    Sorry to hear that you will be having surgery next week.
    This thread is a year old and so you may not get an answer to your questions.

    Can I suggest that you start your own new thread here in the thoracic area.
    Using the subject Arachnoid cyst will be good and then explain your position and question.
    Hopefully that way you will get some answers from other people who have had thoracic surgery.

    If you click on 'view My Posts' in the My Stuff area on the left of the page, it should show you any new posts and answers to your post.

    Good luck next week for your surgery. This is a great place to be able to talk to others who have had spinal surgery and understand how difficult the recovery can be. Being able to talk to other thoracic surgery patients will be even better.

  • I had a 12mm tumor crushing my spinal cord that had to come out.. I got lucky, it came out in its entirety and was benign.. The nerve monitors lit up like "a Christmas tree" when it came out according to the tech... After two weeks in a rehab center, I can stand and walk with the help of a walker, for the first time in 4 months.. I am still numb around the incision and a little tight in the shoulder blades.. but my Sciatic pain is gone and I feel a whole lot better.. I have a long tough road to recovery, but have alot better outlook than when I was paralyzed from the waist down three weeks ago... Good luck everyone.
  • OylOOyl Posts: 6
    edited 03/13/2015 - 5:50 AM
    I am 7 weeks post-op and my back muscles and ribs really hurt after being up and about for more than a couple of hours. This was my first surgery, but due to the progressive nature of ossified yellow ligament , it won't be my last. My pain onset was sudden and I was shocked to find out that I have a spine disease. Luckily, I had really started working out hard the 6 months prior to the onset of pain and developed a really strong core of abdominal muscles that have helped me to walk since day 4. I have decided that this whole surgery/recovery has been an exercise in humility and patience. I live on a small island so it is expensive for me to fly to checkups and my doctor doesn't recommend physical therapy from our 6 week phone consult. I feel like I'm heal sooooo slowly. I returned to work for a couple hours a day this week and I've had to come home and sleep the rest of the day from exhaustion. I'm only on Lyrica and Tylenol. Tramadol makes me terribly sick to my stomach and Celebrex gives me stomach ulcers. I walk so slow that elderly people are holding doors open for me and offer to help me with my bags (I'm only 37). I hope that I will make a full recovery in time. I would love to hear from anyone else who has oyl or has successfully recovered from thoracic spine surgery. Thank you to everyone who has shared their experiences and good luck.
    1 in a million
  • Castle PCCastle P Posts: 2
    edited 05/20/2015 - 4:17 AM
    I had a fortunately benign meningioma covering both T-10 and T- 11, so much so in T-11 that it was blocking CSF , it was pushing spinal cord to the right side but I had not starting developing symptoms yet . It was discovered accidentally in a C-scan my cardiologist did. During the few months leading up to the removal and triple laminectomy I started getting sick a lot, had lowered IGG, had to have a four hour gamma globulin infusion to beef up my immunity before the surgery, I think we all thought it was going to be malignant.
    My surgery was done by the xxxx. It turned out it was completely calcified like a rock pressing on my spinal cord, very rare and hard to get out. He said in his whole career he's one seen two three of these. He has removed 70-80 spinal cord tumors. They were I think as relieved as I was that I wasn't paralyzed after. I was walking to the bathroom the next day , with help because I get shocky after anesthesia, but I could walk. Needed a lot of pain pills first few weeks got off week three am on neurotin and Advil beginning week four. Started PT a week ago very easy stuff. I can't sit longer than about twenty minutes maybe thirty but I can stand walk around very easily, cook, , futz around house, I don't lift heavy things but am getting more flexible, sometimes an hour or two. My back then feels like inside it's one big wooden back pack inside that I'm lugging around pulling and dragging me down. If it gets really bad or if lying down on my back too long instead of on one side or the other , the incision site of the triple laminectomy feels like a smaller wooden block pressing on my spine. Sometimes needle pain shooting around from there. I heard nerve tissue can take a year or two to heal is that true?
    I am already stronger and sleep less during the day. But am worried about this all over the back pain I get after sitting or standing too long. I was hoping to be able to work and return to normal in a month and it doesn't feel like that will happen. I feel lucky though reading other people's laminectomy stories. I think I had a fantastic surgeon. He told me in recovery- you don't have cancer and you won't even need PT ! Meaning to walk - not just to get stronger like I am doing. But reading other people's bogs I am noticing other people have this same all over the back pain after standing or sitting. So PT is the answer? Or will I always have this? I am already turning down work and don't know when I can work again? I am a very young and strong 64. Hoping to return to work soon in the creative world. Turning down work is dangerous in that offers will stop coming.
  • LgkimseyLLgkimsey Posts: 1
    edited 09/11/2015 - 9:20 PM
    I am now 3 weeks post surgery to remove a benign meningioma approx 3cm x 1cm x 2cm. Incidental finding...no symptoms.
    The previous post hit home. I feel like I have a wooden rectangular back pack several times during the day. Had to be re admitted for a pseudomeningiocele...essentially CSF collecting at incision site. The back pack was especially heavy then!! That pain is less but still there. I am on oxy, Tylenol, robaxin, and Valium...trying to wean off daily. I continue to be amazed at how hard it is to concentrate and how tired I get, in addition to the wooden back pack.

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