Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!


Quick Start Forum Video Tutorial

Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

The main site has all the formal medical articles and videos for you to research on.

Shoulder Problems after Cervical Surgery



  • I went to my OS a couple months ago.He didn't do much,and I haven't had spinal surgery-but the shoulder pain is bad and it IS coming from my cervical.I should add that this was harder to dx because I had dislocated this same shoulder several times-but it's been 2 years since the last dislocation.Still I wasn't sure if that wasn't the problem because the DDD is relatively new to me.I was dx'ed about 18 months ago,but knew nothing about it,and was only found accidently from an MRI (pre-surgery testing).

    The pain is certainly different than a dislocation,but I was not convinced until after a lot of research and a follow up with my PCP & OS.Obviously the nerves in the neck can cause pain in our shoulders/arms/fingers-just as lumbar nerves cause pain in the legs/feet/toes.But it's different in everyone...and I wasn't taken seriously at first.The surgery I would have for my neck pain is actually given to help shoulder and arm pain.Needless to say I'm not having surgery ..only as a last resort for me.Though there is some progression but I'm on hold.
  • Hi

    I never remember having shoulder pain until after my surgery. I was walking one day and started having spasms in my right shoulder. The right has been the worst but if I overdue the left hurts also. I really wish I had better medical information about this. Before surgery I had pain and numbness in the fingers and thumbs of both hands and pain and numbness in my right arm. After surgery my left hand and arm feel pretty good with a tiny bit of numbness in my thumb. My right arm aches a lot and still has some finger and thumb numbness but less then before surgery. My right shoulder hurts the worst these days. PT helps and ice packs rather then heat (although I love heat).
    I find it funny that your NS will not believe that the shoulder is related to the neck since so many of us seem to have it. I don't go back to my NS until Jan 5th and I plan to ask some questions at that point about this shoulder thing.
    Snap Dragon,
    Massage theraphy may help since my PTs do a lot of that type of manipulation and I find it helpful. I also find that cold lazer and ultra sound help when they use it.
    sounds like your surgeon is at least being honest about the surgery maybe being at fault. Mine did tell me right after surgery that I would have some major shoulder pain due to positioning but implyed it would only last a week or two (almost 3 months now and I still have it)
    Sorry you have this pain and since you haven't had surgery, you are most likely right that it is coming from your neck. One thing this surgery and all the research I have done is teach me that a lot of pain is referred and may not be coming from the area we feel it in at all.

    Hope you all start feeling better soon and the doctors start thinking about the shoulder pain and how it relates to ACDF surgery or disc damage. Would be nice if they could find a better way to position folks but I may be asking for too much.
  • advertisement
  • I brought up my shoulder pain to my NS on my last visit. He says there is nothing to indicate it's being caused by my cervical issues; he referred me back to my primary doctor. Saw her, and now I have an appointment on Monday with an orthopedic doctor. Won't it be funny if my shoulder problem is totally unrelated to anything else?! Maybe I need to go find the Shoulder-Health.com site.... :D
  • Please post after you see the othopedic doctor. It will be interesting to hear what he has to say. My Physical therapist seems to think that my shoulder issues are related to my neck issues. I am doing somewhat better since I have been in PT and I know a lot of the stuff now that sets my shoulders off (also sets my neck off).
  • I had an ACDF 2 level c5-c7 in March 08, had problems with shoulder since my injury to the neck. My NS sent me to an OS did MRI seen partial rotator cuff tear. Did surgery, on arm Aug 08, and now 6 months later still not better. It is worse since the shoulder surgery. The doctors and PT just shake their heads. I too believe a lot of the shoulder pain came from having my ACDF. Now they are saying the shoulder is frozen. The pain is unbelievable. So don't rush out and have shoulder surgery, it may make your pain worse as it has for me.
  • advertisement
  • A cervical herniated disc will typically cause pain patterns and neurological deficits as follows:

    C4 - C5 (C5 nerve root) - Can cause weakness in the deltoid muscle in the upper arm. Does not usually cause numbness or tingling. Can cause shoulder pain.
    C5 - C6 (C6 nerve root) - Can cause weakness in the biceps (muscles in the front of the upper arms) and wrist extensor muscles. Numbness and tingling along with pain can radiate to the thumb side of the hand. This is one of the most common levels for a cervical disc herniation to occur.
    C6 - C7 (C7 nerve root) - Can cause weakness in the triceps (muscles in the back of the upper arm and extending to the forearm) and the finger extensor muscles. Numbness and tingling along with pain can radiate down the triceps and into the middle finger. This is also one of the most common levels for a cervical disc herniation (see Figure 1).
    C7 - T1 (C8 nerve root) - Can cause weakness with handgrip. Numbness and tingling and pain can radiate down the arm to the little finger side of hand.

    It is important to note that the above list comprises typical pain patterns associated with a cervical disc herniation, but they are not absolute. Some people are simply wired up differently than others, and therefore their arm pain and other symptoms will be different.

  • Ortho doc is pretty certain it's a rotator cuff injury. I'm off for an MRI of my shoulder on Friday. After talking with him, we have pretty much figured out when I did it -- in Sept I was training for a 1/2 marathon, I did a side plank as part of my core exercises. *pop* Oops. At the time I just chalked it up to my other snap crackle pop sounds that were coming from my neck.

    ***Yes, I walked a half marathon the week before my ACDF surgery. Impressed the heck out of my NS, he was bragging on me in the operating room*** :D
  • I had my surgery 5/21/09 and am experiencing the same issues, as well as weakness in my right arm. My initial symptoms were right-sided but nothing as severe as this burning pain.
  • I wish I could tell you with certainty that it will get better but as you can see from this very long thread that we have all experienced it and sometimes it just never seems to go away for some people. Myself included. Still some 7 months later and I am still dealing with it.Although I have a wonderful Neurosurgeon now who is convinced that the pain generator is a pinched nerve between C6/C7 so it looks like I'm headed back to surgery one more time. And hopefully this will rid me of my shoulder and neck pain once and for all. I will keep you informed.
  • I wore my TENs all night last night on my left shoulder.It seems that all of my pain from last year,right before my mothers death,has returned...this morning I get a phone call that my Uncle has died.My moms brother...weird that my shoulder issues are coinciding with this....again!

    I wish you all the best!
Sign In or Register to comment.