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Worried about dad's shoulder pain (recovering from L5/S1 fusion)

Hey all,

I am quite worried about my poor old dad (49 yo). He had to have a L5/S1 fusion on June this year. We are going to the specialist this week for a 6 month post op appointment. Fingers crossed that the fusion had started (no fusion as of 1 month and 3 month post op appointment). Dad has been doing mild physio and has been walking about 4km a day now. He hasn't been able to go back to work which has taken a toll on his mental health. Currently on 75mg Lyrica twice a day. Stopped taking Endone about 3 weeks ago (tapered down). He was fine without it for a while until this shoulder/neck/arm trouble started.

However, we think his cervical symptoms have started since the last 2 weeks. Last year he had pain, numbness and pins and needles on his right arm. Pain originally started from his shoulder. We did get a MRI of the cervical spine and it showed some degeneration, foraminal narrowing and osteophytes in the C5-C7 level. It was described as 'moderate' on the MRI report. Our orthopaedic surgeon however thought it was an Ulnar Nerve problem @ the elbow and performed surgery to relieve the nerve. Dad's hand movement did return and his pain on the shoulder etc subsided.

However, just 2 weeks ago we think it is returning. Current symptoms are now that same right shoulder pain, weakness of the r hand, slight shaking of the r hand too, and general discomfort. It's worst after he has slept (on his back). We've tried all the pillow and soft collar options as listed on this website without too much success. He has gotten an new MRI done just 2 days ago and we are hoping to show that to the specialist when we go in for the lumbar 6 month appointment.

I am scared that Dad will have to go through this new hurdle in his life. He is BARELY able to live through the after effects of the lumbar fusion recovery and if the specialist says there is a big problem in the cervical spine I am not sure how well Dad will take it at all.

Anyone been in a similar situation with lumbar troubles and THEN cervical troubles? I am guessing surgery might be out of the question until the back fully heals. Anything in particular that we should ask the specialist when we visit him regarding the neck (he is an Orthopaedic Surgeon).

Thanks for reading. If you need more info please let me know. You were all very helpful when I had questions about Dad's lumbar condition (L5S1 DDD disc bulge issues, foraminal stenosis)



  • Sorry about your dads pain, my situation is the reverse. I had cervical issues operated on then my back. Then cervical issues again. Before they touched my cervical again they ordered a mri of my shoulders as a precaution. I was told other spine areas become weak after spine surgery. I am also on lyrica and I use a heating pad in my recliner so my muscles are relaxed. I also wear a soft collar to relieve some pain and for protection. I've had 3 spine surgeries and injection series four times. The entire process is draining mentally and emotionally. I try to keep my mind busy with projects I enjoy, watch funny tv shows and good family and friends to keep the depression away. Hang in there :)
    2005-ACDF with Corpectomy at C3-C-5.
    2006-L4-L5 diskectomy.
    2009-Cervical laminectomy at C3.
    Steroid injections series x 4.
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