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Shoulder injury post acdf

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:25 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Has anyone ended up with severe shoulder pain after a surgical procedure? I believe it is from surgical positioning, as I did not have this or any type of shoulder pain before my 2-level acdf.

I did see my surgeon last week because the pain was so horrible and he thinks it is muscular from the surgical procedure. It the mean time, he precribed a Voltaren gel for the pain, which does not help in the least.

The pain is not getting worse, but it is not getting any better.

Has this happened to anyone else. How long do the pain last and what didyou do to resolve it?



  • Hi Elle,

    Yes this has happened to me and it usually resides within a week or two.

  • Thanks C for the response... I will try to be patient with my recovery! :)
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  • Hi Elle,

    You are asking the same question that has been on my mind. I don't remember my shoulders hurting before surgery but now........wow!! After surgery I woke to a lot of neck and shoulder pain. My surgeon explained that this was normal and would go away. It sort of did but then when walking one day (with in the first 2 weeks of surgery) I got a very painful muscle spasm in my right shoulder and have been having problems since. I started PT about 5 or 6 weeks post surgery and my PT spends most of her time working on my right shoulder before they have me do exercises for my neck. My right shoulder hurts all the time now. She says I have soft tissue disfunction and she thinks its because of having neck pain for some many years and holding my shoulders funny to protect my neck. Who knows? I just want it to get better and so far the PT has not improved the pain at all but I am hopeful.

    Disclaimer............I am not in the medical field and the opinions I express are just that, my opinions.

  • And I'm 6 weeks post op. It's not really pain right now. It's more of an ache but it can sometimes turn into pain in a hurry if I over do it.
  • You were in a car wreck in sept? So was I. It was me vs a semi. He ran over me because I guess he REALLY wanted to be in my lane even though I was already in it.
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  • Yes, I was. Apparently, the 18-year-old girl on her cell phone felt her call was more important than paying attention to driving. She ended up right in my lane and hit me head-on.

    I am still a wreck about being in the car as a passenger. Have you driven yet?

  • Sorry. I lost track of this post. But to answer your question I was terrified to drive until after my surgery and the doctor put me on valium for muscle spams. I told him I got an added benefit from it. I no longer feel the need to jump out of my car and sit and cry for hours when I pass the part of the interstate where the wreck happened. (I was on my way home from work so I have to pass it every day.) I can drive between semi's and am only a little apprehensive but not so scared that I forget to breathe. I can see a black Lincoln (that was my car) going down the road and not have a complete emotional breakdown. I was actually having panic attacks when any one of the above mentioned happened before I started valium. As a matter of fact I was so bad that I REFUSED to drive. I'm better now but I no longer trust other drivers at all.
  • I had c5-6 fused July 31st. no shoulder problems at all..until october during PT..turns out the new exercise that was added was for my shoulders..MRI of my neck is fine..but the shoulder shows tears and calcification tendonitis. I had one shot in the shoulder and will start PT for it this week. Typically NSAIDS are give, but can't take those..
    I don't know if the surgery caused the shoulder issues or the "stress" of lifting 2 lb weights caused the shoulder issues. I think it is a combination; my body is out of shape from limiting movements and a little extra stress...just put it over the edge.
    It could be muscle spasms: I had so much spasms shortly after surgery...Hope you feel better soon. Donna
  • Tonya,

    How soon after your car accident did you have your surgery? After that, when did you start to drive?

    I have a panic attack just being a passenger in a car! I believe I will get out of the hard collar the second week of December. I do not know if I will have PT or not. But, I need to get back to work ASAP!

    Continue your good work getting back on the road. You give me hope. =D>
  • I got ran over by the semi on Sept. 15th and was in surgery on Oct. 8th. Before the valium you COULD NOT even beg me to drive. But I'm now back at work part time and can drive short distances. I won't be travelling 600 miles to Texas to visit friends for Thanksgiving which is a bummer.
    PT I won't lie HURTS sometimes!!! But I know I'm going to appreciate it in the end. Every time my therapist sees I've mastered something she throws in something new. I think that's why all the pain. I just hope in the end I'm left with NO shoulder pain.
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