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shoulder pain after neck surgery

Hi Im new to this site. Ive read some of the blogs and have a similar situation. shortly after my cervical neck surgery a little over a year ago i was experiencing excruciating pain in my left shoulder. I was convinced my shoulder was broken. I insisted the wc doctor take an xray, like 10 days after surgery. The xray came back clear. So i did 8 wks of pt, primarily the therapist focused on my shoulder. Twice a wk I walked out of that office and was either vomiting from the pain or sleeping, highly medicated for 16 hours a day. The pain was worse than neck surgery, and I couldnt deal with it anymore. I complained to my wc doctor who is a great guy. He ordered an mri, I got the results at my last pt appointment. I had a torn rotator cuff, full thickness tear. I didnt go to pt that day. I went home and cried. Meanwhile I had carpule tunnle release surgery done on my right wrist. At the suture removal ortho doctor said I would require rotator cuff surgery, a pin, and some sort of cast that requires me to be laid up for very long time. He also told me that it is common to have shoulder injuries accompanied with cervical neck surgeries he sees it all the time, like 80% of his patients get similar injuries. It is caused from positioning during neck surgery. I still havent had rotator cuff surgery, insurance company denied it. My attorney says its because it wasnt part of my original claim. well no duh. It happened during surgery. My shoulder is frozen any kind of movement causes extreme pain and crunchy bone sounds. Ive been walking around like this for 15 months and at my deposition my mental health is one of the topics! Yes Im depressed. Yes I can still function with all this pain. Yes I need meds. No I didnt participate in contact sports 10 days after cervical neck surgery. lol! thanks for listening. Has anyone else suffered a torn rotator cuff post cervical neck surgery? peace.


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    edited 08/26/2016 - 6:18 AM
    Please take the time to read this post and refer to it when you have questions

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    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • Hello,

    After having neck surgery I was suffering from shoulder pain. The pain starts at my shoulder and travels up my neck and into the back of my head, past my ear and to the front of my head. But after having treatment from surgeon I have relief now. You must consult to a surgeon as soon as possible.

    Thank you
  • Hi I have had a wrecked rotator cuff for years due to a motor bike accident but they didn't pick it up until the physio taped my shoulder into the correct place. Weird eh. I also had a frozen shoulder for 18 months - it really didn't worry me as I had severe spinal pain, maybe because there is a school of thought you can only feel the worst pain in your body at any one time. Researched frozen shoulder - had acupuncture, did exercises - lots of other treatments, but just like the research says, after 18 months it just went away one day.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,868
    There is a connection here. All parts of our bodies have potential impacts on another part. We are more or less like a stereo system.

    I had shoulder problems several years after my last cervical surgery. My problem was due to the enraging spreading and deterioration of my joints due to arthritis.

    Are you going ahead with the surgery? I've never heard of anyone needing a rotator cuff surgery and avoiding it. What exactly is this cast the doctor is talking about? Read below to see what I went through for my shoulders and never even heard about a cast. I also was not laid up at all. Out of commission? Yes. Its amazing to find out what things you need your shoulders for.

    Shoulder surgeries can be brutal. I had a total replacement / reverse of both shoulders. Part of removing the destroyed joint and preparing for the titanium joint implants, the rotator cuff had to be severed and then surgically repaired after the rest of the shoulder was in place.

    I was in physical therapy for about 35 weeks, plus I used a pulley system at home to stretch the muscles and get them back into shape. Overall , it was about 18 months before my shoulders were back to normal That was in 2010 and now, both of my shoulders are better than I remember for at least 15 years.

    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Liv38LLiv38 Posts: 2
    edited 01/11/2014 - 1:54 PM
    I am 15 months out of a C3-C-7 ACDF and have been thinking I was crazy until reading this. My shoulders still ache, yes a PT can tape them up and it really does help alleviate some of the pain. It was the worst at the 8 month mark and it took several weeks to months for that pain not to paralyze me. I still have some lingering pain when I try to raise my arms, lift or pour things even as light as a small soft drink, and especially driving/steering. My doctors simply say its myofascial and dont offer much other advice. I bought a shoulder pulley and am going to continue to try exercise it out as my new years resolution. However now both hands and wrists are my new enemy, the pain has set in so bad it is worse than before the surgery and it keeps me up at night. They did an EMG on both hands and said I had carpel tunnel in both hands now but what I don't understand is if I had it before the surgery and its just now becoming an issue or its a result of the surgery somehow. I worked on computers for over twenty years so I am surprised I never had issues before this but it may be why my neck is the way it is. Anyway, I had numbness and tingling in my hands and fingers before the surgery but nothing this bad and actual pain in my wrists that feels like a sprain. It is called Double Crush Syndrome and they have me wearing splints on both hands so I don't bend my wrists at night to see if that helps. Has anyone heard of this? Is there a way to reverse this or can it clear up on its own? I feel crazy every time I see my doctor as its always something different post surgery (3 lumbar discs out also but thats another forum) . I have been off work for over a year now myself, it's been an insane up and down crazy ride. Hard to explain to friends, family, co-workers when you have the surgery but don't feel fixed and come out with more issues than when you went in, especially after all this time. I want to work again, I hopefully am very close and its a sign the nerves are simply regenerating? Is my head in the clouds or is it just wishful thinking?
  • TornCuffTTornCuff CaliforniaPosts: 1
    Lori, just had same thing happen during surgery.  How did yours come out?
  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    Hello Torncuff
    This is a very old discussion the member that created it has not been on the forum since posting 4 yrs ago so I will close it. For support I suggest you create a new discussion.
    Please click on the link for useful information

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
This discussion has been closed.
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