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Back pains going away - old pain (non-back) return

NEBakerNNEBaker Posts: 53
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:37 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I'm sure there is someone out there who can explain this to me, so here goes:

Let me back track a little: prior to the back pain, I was having some very severe pain in my arms. MRIs found large tendon tears in both arms, three places in each arm. Because of my career, I wanted to avoid surgery so I was traveling 1500 miles once a month to undergo a controversial treatment (PRP) for the tendon tears but then the back pain started and it was so severe that I abandoned the PRP therapy for the arms and honestly, I did not feel the arm pain anymore, maybe the back pain took over. I wasn't questioning why the arm pain was gone, it just was, but now I was dealing with the back pain.

Now, three weeks post op from ALIF and my back pain is gone, truly gone - at least for now. I am so happy to just feel the ache from the surgical trauma and no longer feel the back, buttocks, leg and foot pain that I was in for so many years. BUT, a few days ago the arm pain came back, in full force, in both arms. I had almost forgotten what it felt like but here it is again.

My question for you: do you think that back pain, being as painful as it is, is powerful enough to cause our bodies to "forget" or "put on hold" other pain so it can focus and place healing energy on our back injury? Once our back is no longer as compromised does our brain then begin to remind our body of our other, less serious injuries?

I hope this makes sense to someone out there and you can explain this to me. In addition, I'm no longer taking any pain medications, maybe this too is why I'm feeling the arm pain. I cut out the Tramadol and the Tylenol. Maybe I'll add the Tylenol back...Argh! If it's not one thing, it's another.


  • Just a thought....now that your back pain is gone, have you increased your daily activities? Maybe you are moving around more and using your arms more for lifting or whatever you may not have been doing as much of while your back was hurting.
  • I have found that back and or radicular pain can overshadow other pain. Once the main source of pain is dealt with, suddenly the other pain jumps to the forefront. At times it may even seem worse than before, but I think it is due to perception ... but then pain is all about perception.

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  • Thanks haglandc and Ming. I wish I could figure this darn thing out. I went ahead and started taking Tylenol again so we'll see if that helps at all. Since I am only 3 weeks post-op, I'm not doing much of anything other than the required resting, walking, etc. so I'm not doing anything that aggravates the arms. Who knows, maybe it comes from sleeping on my side - maybe I'm putting too much pressure on my arms when I do this...
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