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HELP! awful stiffness/spasm ten days after posterior cervical laminoplasty

Hi everyone. I'm so glad to be here. I have had cervical laminoplasty c4-7 last Wednesday and was wondering if anyone has had such awful "shortening" feeling of the back of the neck and upper back muscles post-surgery either laminoplasty or other posterior cervical surgery. I'm taking a lot of various pain killers and using a heating pad. Help!!!


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
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    Spinal stenosis since 1995
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  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,110
    Are you on a muscle relaxer? That is the problem with the posterior surgery, the spasms are enough to bring you to your knees. I was told to walk as much as possible during my post op period to help these muscles relax. It did help. Too much heat can be a bad thing also. Make sure you have a good pillow to support your neck and shoulders and if I remember correct it took about 2 weeks for things to start calming down for me. If you are on a muscle relaxer call your surgeon and tell him it is not working and is there a different one you could try. Good luck and welcome to the other side
  • I was put on Baclofen which did nothing and now I take Klonopin which is only slightly helpful. My surgeon won't call me back...ever. Unless you are having palsy he won't ever return a call so I've been dealing with pain mgmt at the hospital and they've put me on one narcotic after another that makes me itch or break out on my chest. The narcs help though. I'm desperate! It's three weeks now and the sides of my neck and shoulders and the incision site feels made out of brick. It has been raining here so I do walking videos at the moment. Glad to hear the walking helped Ill go try it thank you! The pain mgmt people are terrible I feel. So depressed
  • Susan can I ask you a few more things? I had laminoplasty c4-c7...what did you have? Also, how long did you take narcotics and did you take Tylenol and ibuprofen as well? Are you back to normal now and how long did it take? Sorry to trouble you I'm very grateful. Amy
  • Stpaul5SStpaul5 Posts: 14
    edited 06/07/2013 - 4:59 PM
    Oh also...I'm on a GERD foam wedge with a flat pillow to sleep on. Does that sound right? Thx!!!
  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,110
    edited 06/08/2013 - 1:09 AM
    I think it was c3-c7, I ve had so many cervical surgeries I get mixed up on what disc were operated on. I do have 2 rods and a plate, screws, wires , you name it they put it in there. I did not even try to reduce my pain meds until I believe the 4 week mark. Am I back to normal? Depends what you call normal. I went back to work I believe at the 4 week mark, I wasnt ready but I was out of FMLA and had no choice. The posterior surgery was my last hope at fixing my neck after 4 failed. It worked I am fully fused and stable. For me like I said the most important thing was walking. That helped me more then anything. Oh how I remember trying to get up from laying down while I was in recovery. The pain was brutal. Try alternating heat and ice that seemed to work for me. I actually used a bag of peas as my ice bag. Hope your starting to feel better
  • Thx! Still so stiff at 11 weeks post-op. They had to take me out of physical therapy for three weeks because it cost so much pain. I'm now back in PT and still taking muscle relaxers but I have to be really careful not to overdo it for I get even worse the next day. I asked work if I could have another three months off because I'm professional singer and I can't do my job right now. The surgeons nurse told me most people with laminoplasty are stiff from between 6 to 9 months. I'm waiting. Thanks for the tip on walking if I can't go outside I walk in place to YouTube video called walking in place exercise it's excellent. Hope to speak to you again thank you again
  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,110
    edited 07/25/2013 - 4:29 AM
    I just remembered something but it worked for me. I would take Tylenol PM and it helped my spasms, weird but it worked for me. I am not a big fan of PT it always seemed to cause me more harm then good. Hope things start to get better for you, it is a rough surgery to recover from
  • Susan thx. I am in SO much pain from PT that I'm not going back. This therapist keeps telling me to push through pain and my neck and upper back are literally burning with pain after seeing him four times. I told him I can't do 20 reps of ROM three times a day and 40 reps of scapular retraction three times a day. He's not aware.
  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,110
    I will just about bet he will tell you to stop going. No one said PT is painless but it should not cause debilitating pain. Hang in there. You are still new into the recovery from this surgery and the hardest part of surgery in my opinion is patience. Patience to heal. In this world we all want instant gratification, who wouldn't. When we go into surgery we want to come out pain free and feeling great. That is not a true expectation of what happens. Hang in there and speak to your surgeon and tell him it is time to try something else. What you are doing is not working for you. If they will not call you back make a appointment. When they ask what the appointment is for tell them since no one will call me back with advice what to do then you have left me no choice but to schedule. That is the problem with most surgeons, once the surgery is done they are done. Most don't want anything to do with aftercare. I am not Dr bashing but you really need is a team of Drs during recovery. Your primary, Pain management and the surgeon. If I were you since the surgeon wouldn't call back I would see my primary and tell them what is going on and you need a new direction to take for recovery. hang in there
  • I think you're totally right and today I'm calling pain management/rehab to see what they have to say. There are specific range of motion exercises namely chin tucks and bending chin to chest that cause such extreme tightness in my throat area that I feel that I'm literally being strangled. So I Judy refuse to do them. But then I get a lot of warnings about needing to do ROM after surgery so I feel worried.
  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,110
    This is after 4 years. I have good range of motion from left to right but up an down forget it. I can look up but pay dearly for it the next day. I learned that after watching fireworks one year. I have full range of motion from the right and about 75% to the left. Hopefully by now you have spoke with a Dr that is leading you to the right direction for your recovery.
  • Paul, I'm facing the exact same surgery (laminoplasty C3 - C7) next month but after reading what you went thru I'm not sure anymore, frankly I'm now scared to death now. Did the pain and spasms improve by now ? I really hope you are doing better now !!!
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