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Shoulder Problems after Cervical Surgery



  • LJ said:

    So anyone else with shoulder problems after Cervical surgery and if yes what are you doing about the problems.

    I had a 4 lvl cervical laminectomy on April 8th of this year. I just started PT this week. Currently I have often pretty severe pain in my upper back (just below my neck) and the back of my shoulders.

    I was told by my NS that this pain could go on for months because of the muscle groups he had to cut through to get to my cervical spine. I'm not particularly worried about it. I figure PT will help some. I am willing to give it quite a bit more time before I'd be concerned much.

    My main problem is the surgery was supposed to relieve pain in my left arm I have been having for almost 3 years. It did not relieve the pain. What was accomplished was the pressure on my nerve roots at C-5 and C-6 was relieved by removing lamina and bone spurs.

    Both my NS and DO think I may have permanent nerve damage. They say it can take up to a year for nerve root pain to go away too. So, its a waiting game.

    Ken GreyEagle
  • I had the same procedure done in 2006 and when i woke up from surgery i was black and blue all over my shoulders. I couldnt raise my head out of bed without help. They put you in a cervical position lock for this procedure and make a tiny cut and expand it the size of a football which tears muscles etc. The pain didnt last too long because i have a pool and I get in it every day up to past my scare and i exercise under the water. I swim in the winter months where I have physical therapy and the pool is heated. The pain disappears in the water. Hope this helps. :)
    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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  • My shoulder pain turned out to be unrelated to my cervical issues. Ortho tried cortisone shots and PT, it only got worse. I had surgery last week, there was a huge bone spur and a lot of inflamed bursa. He cleaned it all out, now I'm in a sling and back on Vicodin. Oh...and sleeping in the recliner again too. :D

    Upon waking from this surgery, I hurt much more than when I had my ACDF. It was bad for a couple of days, now it seems to be getting better every day. I assume I will have more PT once I'm healed from the surgery.
  • Marie P said:
    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.
    after my fusion i had burning pain too. It went away after the inflammation around the nerve went away. You have a lot of tissue healing to do inside and they moved the nerve away to operate on you and the nerve reacts.
    2005-ACDF with Corpectomy at C3-C-5.
    2006-L4-L5 diskectomy.
    2009-Cervical laminectomy at C3.
    Steroid injections series x 4.
  • I had neck surgery in 2008 they went through the front i have one large plate with eight screws now 2 years later i am still in great pain in my neck and shoulders and my right arm so i went to the doctor and they found out that i have more spurs and that one of the bones did not fuse just right so they want to go through the back of my neck this time and go through it all again and the doctor said it was more painful from the back of the neck then the front and the front was what i had the first time and it was bad because i could not eat or drink anything without chocking and i was in so much pain i don't know what to do does ant one understand what i am going through? please help
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  • I had c6 to c7 and c7 to t1 fused, from the front. In less than a year the screws are backing out and pain and numbness increased. Surgery failed =( I went back in and they fixed it again, but now from the back. My shoulder are killing me! The nurse said it was because they had to push my shoulders down to perform surgery. It has been just over 2 weeks from that surgery and my shoulders are the only thing hurting now (I still feel slight tingling but my grip has improved). I thought searching the WWW might show me how/what was down, I found this site and see I am not alone, I suppose that's helpful. I'll post again in a few weeks and see how my shoulders are feeling. Good luck to everyone, God bless!
  • Hi phxchele,

    Well, I thought I was the only one ' imagining ' this shoulder pain ? It is now 6 weeks since my ACDF on three levels - C4/5, C5/6 and C6/7 ( November 23rd , 2011 ) ... with cages, plates and screws etc. My shoulders are ' burning ' and it feels as though someone is trying to pull them off ( like chicken wings ! ) ...

    Im due to have my first PT session next week ( Jan 11th,2012 ) ...hopefully that will give me some relief ?

    I am glad that I'm not the only one ... would like to hear from others with this pain ?

    Take care,


  • I was having severe left shoulder pain with radiating pain down my arm. I had an appointment with my surgeon this morning(ACDF 4 level in May), now a laminectomy and discectomy at L4-L5). After poking and prodding (Does this hurt? Does this hurt) and having my arm move in different positions, he said the issue was with inflammation or spasms in the muscles in the shoulder area causing pinching of the nerves running through the area.

    I am upping my muscle relaxants to see if that help.

    I didn't read the whole chain, so I apologize if this may have been addressed earlier.

    4 level ACDF C4-C7 5-2-11, laminectomy & discectomy L4-L5 1/26/12, ALIF L4-5, L5-S1 12/10/12.
  • Accidentally hit link.
  • Nancy1987NNancy1987 Posts: 1
    edited 10/17/2012 - 12:07 PM
    Hello everyone!!! Like most of you I thought I was the only one experiencing this until I found this site. I had C5 C6 disk replacement surgery in June. Before the surgery I had pain in my right shoulder blade. After experiencing weakness in my arms and legs, losing my bladder function (which came back after surgery) and eventually being so weak I couldn't walk I ended up in the hospital with the doctors not knowing what was wrong. After a MRI they found I had the buldging disk which was pressed in on my spinal cord 5 cm and your spinal cord is only 8 cm and I had the surgery. After the surgery I felt a lot better and continued to improve. In August I started experiencing pain in my left shoulder blade (which is opposite of what it was before surgery) and also weakness and tingling in my left arm. I talked to my doctor about it and he said that if I wasn't feeling any better two weeks before my next appointment in November to call and he would send me for an MRI. I already had an X-Ray and he said it looked okay but those don't show disc so of course it looked okay.

    I thought this was really weird because the pain seemed to have switched sides after surgery :( I am hoping it is not something that will require surgery again. But the good news is I am walking and that is something that I was not doing on my own before surgery. I do not want to live with this pain the rest of my life so I am hoping there will be an easy solution. I am going to call my doctor for the MRI this month so when I see him in November maybe he can tell me what is wrong. If I find out anything new I will let you all know. :)
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