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CRASH21CCRASH21 Posts: 139
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:38 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Has anyone had shoulder pain after ACDF. I am over 1 year post op and it feels as if someone has dropped a brick on my shoulder. I have pain at the top of my shoulder (the boney part that sticks up) and of course my neck and down through my shoulder blades. I have been patiently recovering and doing PT but I am now getting frustrated. I had planned on being 100% by now. I can barely made it through the day without having to take a break and get off my feet to try and get some relief. However, laying down usually causes more pain and numbness through my arms, hands and fingers. I feel like a whiner!


  • Just currious. I have not had mine yet but after having a really tough work day yesterday I awoke to upper left shoulder pain/neck/upperback all throbbing.


  • but i had a acdr in c5 c6 in 2007 was good for about a year and started getting the same thing you are talking about. after many dr appt and other hoops they made me jump thru i finally had another mri in aug 2009. come to find out i had 2 foremans, not good speller sorry, that were completely closed so had 2 nerves that were blocked. just had posterior cervical nerve decompression done on c5 c6 area on nov 2nd so i will see if that helps. dont know if that helps you but try not to wait to long to have something done could end up with perm nerve damage.
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  • Howdy Crash,

    You didn't say what level, but that doesn't matter for this. In March 2008 I had and ACDF at level C5/6, and after I year I felt great. Then literally a year and a month after that I felt a pop, and then had burning pain in the top back portion of my shoulder, the top of the shoulder blade and down the triceps of the arm. My C6/7 disk herniated and burst! Whinning? No, I don't think so!

    Obviously this isn't a "little ouchie" pain, it is affecting your activities. I would consider getting with either your primary doctor, or if your insurance allows, your surgeon for an exam and possible MRI. You might have what they call "adjacent level" degeneration. Hope not. Take care and good luck. Please let us know what you find out. :-)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Yes, I've had my c4/5 & c5/6 fusion in 2004. But the arm & shoulder blade muscle pain is incredible. My triceps and muscle that goes from my elbow to my wrist was burning. I was told this was from nerve/fascia that suffered so long while trying to AVOID surgery. Turns out, I should've done in a lot sooner that waiting 8 1/2 years or so. I tried all those things we've all tried. But the surgery stopped the tingling & numbness back then.

    Then, lately I had a near miss accident that caused my c6/7 to bulge and more excruciating pain was the result. I just had an epidural last week and am still feeling the effects of the drug. I'm a 110 lb. woman who was given a standard dose of 60 mg. of steroid in my neck. Whoa...if that wasn't a bit of a eye opener! I felt like I was on 10 cups of coffee for 5 days. My blood pressure was really high, I felt flushed and my head had a lot of pressure in it.... low grade fever. It was awful. But at least the tingling & numbness in my arms disappeared again. Now I still am left with pain, pain, and more pain. Hpefully the nerves will calm down from the steroid to level off. I don't know that I'll ever be free of pain, but if I decide to , I may try the SCS. Good luck to you with your pending surgery.

  • I had the same pain you describe the night after C5/6 fusion. I had to be readmitted to the hospital for 3 days for pain control. It was about 2 months later that it finally calmed down. I recommend you see your surgeon for further work-up.

    Best to you,

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  • I woke up from ACD&F with severe scapular pain. The surgeon blew me off and said it was muscular and it would resolve with time. It's been over a year and 3 injections and it's still there!! Wish I knew all this before surgery..
    ACD&F c5/6; Lumbar DDD and bilat neuropathy..
  • I hear you so loud. It has been 3 years for me. I have had injections, used a tens unit, thought about having SCS implants and now I am on 60 mg of oxycotin per day, 30 mg of Oxycodone, 750 mg of Robaxin, and 120 mg of Cymbalta for pain and depression. I work full time through the pain which radiates around my left scapula, and down my right and left arm to my fingers and hands. As you can tell by my username, I am tired of the pain and the quality of life issues, not to mention the 70 lbs I have gained in 3 years. Really! There should be some kind of informed consent that is specific to exactly what Failed Neck Surgery Syndrome is. We are not all nuts. I had begun to think that until I found this in the forum.
  • I had two level ACDF 10 days ago: C-6-7, C5-6 to resolve pain in my left shoulder, bicep, forearm, and numbness in my left hand. I am a retired fighter pilot. All of my cervical discs have degenerated from years of g-loads, heavy helmets with goggles, etc, C 6-7 was the worst. Arthritis is also present. Unfortunately, while the pain in my left arm is totally resolved, I woke up with severe pain in my right shoulder 1 week after the surgery. At first I thought I had a muscle ache, but it is radicular, creeping around my upper arm and shoulder. I have had shoulder joint pain before--this new pain is a dead ringer for labrum pain at times. It comes on during the night after I fall asleep for about 4 hours, it builds to level 8 or 9, and I have to get up. After I take a walk, about 30 inures, it goes away, almost totally. I see the surgeon day after tomorrow (2 weeks after surgery). I'm bracing for: just give it time.....here are some more (new) meds.....let's do C4-5...... I had been very active before and after the symptoms leading to surgery, I walked, swam, and did Pilates mat program vigorously on a daily basis up until the day before surgery. I am concerned those days are gone, even if pain free on one side. Thank you for this site.
  • LizLiz Posts: 8,835
    edited 06/03/2014 - 12:49 AM
    This is a very old thread, for best support and information I suggest you make a new thread, you can do this by clicking on 'create forum post' on the left column.

    Welcome to Spine-Health and how to get started here

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • given some time. If there was nerve compression prior to the surgery, it is common for that type of pain to flare post op once the compression is relieved.
    If you suspect that it is a shoulder injury, then a consult with an ortho who specializes in the shoulder, might be in order.
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