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Deltoid pain one week after ACDF C5/C6

Hi All
I'm 13 days post op following ACDF C5/C6 with titanium cage and no collar. I had two and half years of neck,back and ear pain with some tingling in hands and heaviness in my left arm. All my symptoms were left sided. I am recovering well and my neck pain is all but gone and I have good range of motion in my neck. I can sleep flat and on my right side so all's good there.
However about 4 days ago I developed pain in my deltoid muscle in my left arm which is much more painful than before the operation. It's worse when I try to lift my arm away from my body or above my head. It feels like a burning or ripping sensation in a very specific point in my deltoid muscle.
I'm worried and am seeking reassurance that this is a normal part of the healing process and will go away in time. I was off all my strong meds but took one this morning as had a bad night with my arm. A cold pack works well to ease the pain and not using my arm.
I'm trying to be positive and patient but was wondering if anyone out there had any tips, hints, guidance to help me. I have no physiotherapy planned and don't know when my follow up will be with the surgeon. Should I be moving my shoulder or resting it for a few days? Would people recommend B Vitamins. What's the best pain relief for nerve pain. I like Amytriptiline but it knocks me out. Has anyone else had similar symptoms that went away in time?
Any feedback gratefully received.


  • At just a week out of surgery you have barley left the starting blocks. When I had my ACDF almost two years ago I had new pains after surgery. My doc told me that this was the process of the nerves healing. Nerve tissue takes a long time to heal, I had strange pains for weeks after my surgery. I tried to do to much too soon and I am now paying the price for my stubbornness. I would take it easy, do not lift anything heavier that 5-6 pounds, and do not lift or reach over your head if possible. I was told not to lift my arms over my shoulders for 6 weeks.

    I am getting ready to have a revision of my C5-C7 fusion and I will be taking 6-8 weeks of work, and I have a desk job. This surgery takes time to heal properly. As for supplements, consult with your doctor, the only ones recommended to me were vitamin d and calcium.

    As for pain control I used my narcotics as needed for about a month and I had muscle relaxer as well. For the nerve pain now I have been using gabapenten and now moved to Lyrica. It has helped but I am ready to have my surgery on the 4th!
    2012 C5-C7 ACDF with fixation - failed to fuse
    June 2014 - Planned revision surgery
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