Hello all, newbie here;
I am only 2 weeks post op for a 4-level ADCF, and recovery has gone absolutely beautifully until just a few days ago. I'm afraid that I've messed something up!!! (eeeeek!). Like many of you I had a highly recommended and renowned orthopedic spinal surgeon whom I've been seeing for 3 years for neck pain and various parenthesis, from my face down my arms, primarily on the right. 2009 MRI showed severe degenerative disc disease with multiple spurs and nerve impingement on the C5-6 level. After a few rounds of PT (which didn't do anything except exacerbate the situation), and nerve root blocks, surgery was discussed. However, my pain and tingling was intermittent and I didn't feel like I was ready for such a huge procedure. My criteria then became, if the pain got out of control or there was a threat of permanent nerve damage from compression, then I would have it. At the time, in 2009, there was no compression or stenosis and only a one level fusion was recommended.
Fast forward to 2012, pain and numbness increased in frequency and intensity. MRI now showed stenosis and cord compression in 3 places - time for surgery. But now it was a 4-level ADCF that was needed. So I has the surgery after consulting with a neurologist and another orthopedic surgeon, both of whom confirmed that surgery was necessary.
Recovery, especially the first week, was typical - hoarseness, difficulty swallowing, pain of course, and had to be propped up on many pillows and/or recliner. The worst part by far was lifting my head unsupported to get out of bed, etc. After a week I was doing better than anticipated. I was fitted for my stimulator, which I west everyday for 4 hours, and even when the PT came with the stimulator he couldn't believe I just had a 4 level. I came home with a hard collar and have never had to wear it. Difficulty swallowing, almost totally off of pain meds, driving, walking, everything after a little more than a week. Awesome right?
Well, I think I must've pushed myself top hard when I took my daughter (2) shopping. I'm not sure if the weight of my purse on my shoulder caused it or what. But now if I do anything physical, such as drive for awhile, wear a purse, or do any activity for longer than 30 mins I get this excruciating burning in my shoulders (mostly my right but sometimes both) and in between my shoulder blades. And I should add that it only happens when I'm doing some activity for longer than 30 mins to an hour. It doesn't hurt at home or washing clothes or anything like that.
My question is: have I done something wrong that might be permanent? I'm scheduled to go back to work in 2 days; thankfully I have a desk job in finance. But I also have to sit for long periods of time and use the computer constantly. I'm afraid if this happens at work I won't be able to take pain pills. I also have a 100 mile round trip to work everyday. Will this go away? Have I just pushed myself too hard in such a short amount of time that I've pinched some nerve? Or could this be permanent? I'm scared to death because the pain is horrible!!
Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
4-level ADCF, C3-C7, 9/25/12