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5 weeks post-op ACDF C 4-6 Burining pain on right side of neck into clavicle and shoulderline! Very

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,321
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:24 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hey everyone,

I had my 2 level ACDF on C 4-6 about 5 weeks ago. 9-3

I think in a few of my posts as I have been going through the recovery process that i have mentioned that i had Maostly left sided buring pain and arm weakness before the surgery.

I only had intermittent pain on the right side of my neck and it never felt like it does now! I also had buring that I would feel under the scapular area really close to the spine around the base of the scapula and nearer to the spine.
After the surgery the burning in the left side of my neck went away, the left sided arm weakness went away and has not returned. The scapular and mid spine burning area had gone away temporarily and hs since returned to the way it was before surgery. The left side feels really great now, but the right side is totally questionable

Now the right side of my neck has really been getting more and more pain ful as the days pass. And the type and way it hurts is changing. feeling worse

The right side now burns and sort of goes down into the clavicle area. It also makes the top of my shoulder hurt. Thus far I have not felt and arm weakness or and radiating pain past the point of my shoulder.

I do from time to time get pain on the posterior side about the level of where my hard aspen collar is that is some what of a burning type of pain. It is on both sides and comes and goes.

Now I admit to overdoing it with the walking a few times, but I have revised the walking into smaller increments and have not done a 3 mile total for a day in two days I thnk.

This morninfg when I woke up my right side of my neck was on fire and the top of the shoulder and clavicle were all having burning types of feelings.
right now the whole right side is aggrivated and really hurting! My Aspen collar at this point is pretty uncomfortable and I ws told I could take it off 3 times a day while sitting very still for 3-5 min only.

Anyway that is it for now because this typing is actually making thngs worse.

Time for some medication and a fruit smoothie with ice cream on the top to make me feel all better!!!lol

I will see the orhto on the 14th next week.

What kinds of things should I ask???? What do you all have to say about this pain.

It has been noted in my discogram that there was also pain coming fro C 3-4 and C 5-7, but not enought owarant surgery. oBoth levels have annular tearring and bulges that are not as severe as the levels that were fused.

I am very concerned that something is going on in there. Please help


  • It does sound like you are having a hard time with all of this. I am so sorry for your pain.

    I think you should call your doctor's office and let them know of these new symptoms. It could be stiffness and pain from wearing the collar, but anything that is this concerning to you should be checked out. We do tend to have all sorts of pains after having this type of surgery, but it is difficult to say what is normal or not.

    Try to relax tonight and see if the pain improves. Could you be having spasms in that area? I wish I could help you more, but know that we are here for you.


    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
  • hi sweetie.
    i will tell you when i had my cervical surgery that was the worst part of recovery. it burned so bad i never thought it would go away. it lasted like 2 months. my drs office said it was normal. But of course every dr is not going to say the same thing.
    the only relief i got was laying icepacks on my shoulders while laying down and on the sides of my neck.
    just relax. if you have any other symptoms besides the burning call them and let them know, but of course your appt is on the 14th. mine is on the 16th.
    just take your meds on time and with the ice rest.
    remember you had to back to school so thats alot of pressure on the neck right there..

    hang in there hun.
    luv ya
    >:D< :* :* >:D< :* >:D< :*
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  • Thanks for the support ladies!

    So I went to be last night and I woke two times in the middle of the night because I had a weird headache on the right side of my head and into the occular area. I went to sort of brush my hair away frommy face and head with my hands and noticed that the back of my head was totally numb to the touch!

    It was very strange! At the same time as the numbness I actually felt as though my eye socket was stinging and my right side of neck was sort if stinging and burning.

    I NEVER had any of these symptoms before i had this surgery.

    I am going to call my surgeons office today and just give them a heads up on the weird feelings I have been having over on that side.

    One time I did call and express concern about the pain over on the right side and the gal from the back office staff told me that I should not worry! She said it would really take a lot to make anything "go wrong there"!!! How can that be???

    I am nervous and a concerned, but I am just going to focus on what I have to focus on today.

    It is very cold outside today with the possibility of snow and possible accumualtion of 1-2 inches and "feet" up in the mountains above my home, so I know the cold and barometric pressure changes effect my pain.
    I plan on giving myself a day off from the walking and just hanging around doing nothing. This is very hard for me to do!

    OK so A few questions here...?????

    If you have this ACDF surgery could there be a chance of a disc above or below going out on you even if you have not had any "trauma" or done anyting out of the scope of Doc's orders??? My discs were bulging but C 3-4 and C 6-7 were less sever then the ones that were fused, but those levels also had fissures and tears in them esspecially the C 6-7.

    I forgot to mention that I have numbness on or over the clavicle area on the right side only....What might this be from???

    ????Is it possible that the Aspen Brace could contribute to some of these symptoms???

    Who know...I am going to make some breakfast and try not to focus on it!
    Any supposrt or info is alway appreciated!
  • Ok darlin had to copy and past your questions as my mind , well is not the same as it was before surgery, hubby may fight me on that one 8} =)) =)) =)) =))

    OK so A few questions here...?????

    If you have this ACDF surgery could there be a chance of a disc above or below going out on you even if you have not had any "trauma" or done anyting out of the scope of Doc's orders??? My discs were bulging but C 3-4 and C 6-7 were less sever then the ones that were fused, but those levels also had fissures and tears in them esspecially the C 6-7.

    ANSWER: Very possible Chrissy. From my ortho anyway. That is why we fused L4 this time in my revision. There was nothing wrong with it, for more stablization, but eventually there would of been.
    I did get some more slight herniations in my cervical after my fusion in 04 due to the stress of the fusion on the 1 level I had done.

    I forgot to mention that I have numbness on or over the clavicle area on the right side only....What might this be from???

    ANSWER: I would really mention this at the post op appt, could be coming from anywhere from nerves to muscles or from the pressure of the collar.

    ????Is it possible that the Aspen Brace could contribute to some of these symptoms???

    ANSWER: Yes it is possible. These things are hard and uncomfortable and push on certain areas of the neck and shoulders its like a forgein object for the body. I remember ALWAYS in the ambulance or in in training I hated that thing on my neck. Well patients did to it felt like they were being crushed. So mabe it does need to be adjusted for you. OR just mabye mention the soft collar to them at your appt. Its so much more comfortable and does the same job.

    **THESE are my opinions only and not medical** ;) ;) ;)

    HANG IN THERE MY LITTLE pumpkin. You already made huge leaps and jumps by going back to school!!! =D> =D> =D> And that right there is putting extra stress on your body and neck hun..
    Let us know how you make out at your post op appt!!!!
    Love ya lots
    Terri :* >:D< :* >:D<
  • Chrissy - I had numbness on the left side of my head for hmm -- well, I still do occasionally, but very rarely. However, the left side of head was almost always numb the year after the surgery. If you have a copy of your OR report, you might look to see if they cut any of the nerves in the surgery. They cut my c2 nerve (and I wish it hadn't grown back, b/c I'm pretty sure my headaches are a result of the c2 nerve root). My doctor warned me that I would have numbness on the left side of my head though so I was prepared.

    I now get numbness in my hands when lying flat or when I'm in bed, but that's a different story entirely and it reflects the C5-c7 nerve impingement I have.

    I know you *know* this, and are working hard not to focus on it, but anxiety and worry (and I am so not one to talk here!) will make your pain go up. The worse my mood, the worse my pain becomes (I don't need to be in a bad mood to have pain, but if I am in a bad mood, I can count on my pain rising).

    When you call, can you talk w/ a nurse or PA? The staff isn't going to know and they've already shown just how helpful they are...I know the PA or nurse may not be a lot better given how they have handled some situations, but they are supposed to be there to address your concerns.

    If something really drastic happened *during* the surgery, they would know. I'm not sure what they did with you after your surgery, but after mine, I had a ton of x-rays and a CT (I think I got a CT...) done. If they didn't image the fusion afterwards though, I imagine it would be less clear, and something could have happened since your surgery.

    I think it is far more likely that the surgery has made everything in that area inflamed - your surgery was 'right next door to the two areas that have problems - the trauma to the area has probably made your c3/4 and c6/7 *temporarily* much worse because it was irritated (to put it mildly) by the surgery & the inflammation that is part of the response to the trauma of surgery and healing. As you heal and the area begins to "calm down," I imagine that the adjacent disc will go back to their former state. Obviously, I'm not a doctor, and this is just an educated guess. But it's an explanation for what is happening right now that makes a lot of sense to me.

    I'm not discounting the possibility that you have a serious issue though. Anything is possible -I just wanted to wanted to offer a possibility that could account for the new pain on the right side.

    Also, if the Aspen is really bothering you - a. consider going in to make sure it is fitting correctly and/or ask for a different collar - the Miami J is another good one and a bit "sportier" looking too :-) Izz (if I recall correctly) and I both had the Miami J after our surgeries. I know this would require shopping for an entirely new wardrobe to match the new blue color, but a girl's got to do what a girl's got to do ;-)

    Try not to worry; really, there isn't any way to worry and not tighten up your muscles in that area. As I said, much much easier said than done. When you see your PM, let him know how much you're hurting and what your pain levels are...Are you still keeping a pain diary or journal about your pain?

    Ok, have to check out for the night...My hand is killing me. Other than that however, I had a really good day in terms of my pain!


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  • Hi ladies!

    I actually just posted in the Aug Sept. recovery form some of what I already had posted here.. Opps did not look here first. Anyhow..
    Right now I have nothing to do but to wait until tuesday when I go see the Ortho.

    Confusa, I do still keep a pain journal. I write a lot in that thing. When I take meds and what I take.
    All my activities etc. It is like a daily acount of how I am as the day goes and I rate my pain quite a few times a day. Also keep track when I walk and how far, and whatever else I do, like lay down and nap or watch tv or study, wash a load of laundry. those types of things.

    I have not other choice but to wait.

    I do feel like I focis to much on it, but I sure like to hear what other peoples experiences are or were.

    So I will jsut keep you all posted alright!!

    I am glad your feeling better today Confusa,
    and Terri...well you are one brave and strong person...I know you appt is on the 16th right? Well we should speak after we both have our appt's alright.
    Gotta go make a fruit smoothie. Yes with ice cream on top.
  • I'm so sorry you are having so many problems right now. :''( I've never had neck surgery, but several years ago I was having trouble with one of those discs and the dr. put me in a soft collar. Immediately, all my muscles complained to the point where I absolutely had to remove it. The only way I could get any relief from the pain was to lie down on the floor (no pillow under the head), and lay my legs across the edge of the bed. I can't imagine what it must be like to have one of those hard collars on. Please let us know what your dr. says after your appointment. Please know that we are all pulling for you and care about you!
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