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Is rib cage pain normal with cervical fusion?

grandmesamomggrandmesamom Posts: 181
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:26 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Hi Guys,
I am 6 weeks post op ACDF C5 C6 after a severe spinal cord compression. I was doing pretty good . We had to put physical therapy on hold because it caused me more pain than prior to surgery. The NS said it was severe muscle spasms and wanted me to rest and take muscle relaxers for another 4 weeks.
I started having severe pain around my my entire rib cage. It hurt to walk,cough and take deep breaths. My whole insides hurt. If I hit a bump while driving,the pain was horrible.
By Thursday I could hardly walk so i went to my PCP. She thought I had a blood clot but all of that was ruled out.She gave me more muscle relaxers and vicodin. As long as i take it the pain is tolerable. I can now walk without intense pain.
Has anyone ever had muscle spasms they can spread from your neck and shoulders all the way down into your ribs? When do these spasms end?


  • I have the same pain but havent had any surgery. It sounds like yours is a little worse, not much thought. The chiropractor that is working on my muscles told me it because they are all connected to the spine and thats where the pain is coming from. I dont know if thats true but it does make a little sense.
  • I had (and sometimes still have) muscle spasms that not only affect my ribs and back but can go from my head all the way down to my legs. I found that massage therapy, along with heat wraps for my neck and back, help a great deal with them, with muscle relaxants added to make sure it all sticks. This time of year seems to be the worst!

    You need to ask your surgeon if massage is an option for you. If so, try to find one that has experiences with neck injuries, not just someone who hung a sign outside their door. If you smell patchouli incense, get the heck out LOL!

    I'm sorry that you're having this glitch in your recovery. I'm sure you'll get it workedout and be back on the road to recovery soon.

    Hang in there!

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  • I'm almost 7-mos post op from c6-c7 ACDF in June... I was starting to have pain again in my lower/mid back, kind of around to the bottom of my ribs (had this before, but went away while recovering from my neck surgery). My Ortho thought maybe something in my mid back (thoracic spine), but MRI came up good, so he says. Informed me I have some degenerative disc in upper t's, but nothing that should be causing me issues.

    Strange part, I have had a great recovery from my cervical problems, no real issues at all since my surgery. However, just like you, Friday night at work I had the worst pain in the middle of my back on the left-side of my spine (normally only mild, like a tight feeling), but Friday it felt like someone was stabbing me. The pain was also in my chest, hurt to breath, move anything, or take deep breaths. Lasted until early Saturday morning. I took some of my old Darvocets from my neck for the pain, and it was bearable. Sunday, like nothing had happened, all gone.

    Today, I feel just fine, just a little lower back pain, but nothing major. My lumbar spine is just fine... I would be interested to know what anyone finds out. My Ortho is at a loss, sending me back to my PCP to go to a Rumitologist(?), or something that sounds like that. maybe some trigger-point injections, would like to send me back to my pain-management doctor as well.

    I am still on Flexeril for muscle spasms, use to be on Skelaxin until just after my my neck surgery. It's strange, all my issues were with my neck, upper back and shoulders, now these other issues with no root cause, and my cervical area is just fine now, still only a very small bulge at c3-c4, which might explain why I am feeling a little soar/tight around the base of my head today.

    I have almost beat this demon, but would love to have my lower/mid back pain go away now too!
  • My PCP decided i had costochondritis after all the cardiac and ct scans came back normal. If you google it i think you might find the symptoms interesting. The Dr put me back on muscle relaxers and pain pills and that did improve my symptoms greatly. I was taking valium for severe neck spasms and quit taking it. My symptoms of severe rib pain and sternal pain stated about a week later.
    I also had thoracic MRI that showed arthritis. Usually they treat it with NSAIDS but I am unable to take them yet because of the new fusion. I am just thankful I can deep breath and cough again without pain. Hope his helps, Bethy
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