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Neck Problems and Slow Healing from Shoulder Surgery

basilbbasil Posts: 9
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:50 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I had C4/5 and 5/6 fused in April 2009. The arm pain was supposed to go away, however, as it turns out I actually had several problems with my shoulder that didn't show up in the shoulder MRI prior to my neck surgery. All the pain was supposedly coming from my neck. Anyway, I had labral tear repair and subaccromial decompression surgery done on December 1st and now more than 2 and a half months later, my shoulder and arm and still in horrible pain. I even developed a frozen shoulder after the surgery which apparently is more common in people with neck problems. My physical therapist thinks I'm taking a lot longer to rehab b/c of my neck issues.

Anyone else experienced this? It's so frustrating too especially b/c all the spine surgeons and shoulder specialists I went to before deciding on neck surgery all said the problem was coming from my arthritic neck. The neck surgery did nothing for either the neck or shoulder pain! I'm hoping eventually, the shoulder surgery will have done some good.


  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 11,347
    I have had multiple cervical surgeries, and in 2010, I had both shoulders completely replaced with surgery and implants. This was due to severe arthritis tearing apart my shoulder joints.

    There is a definite relationship between the shoulder and cervical/thoracic areas. The muscles and tendons share so much of the same area.

    One of the biggest problems I was faced with during my shoulder surgery, was the impact it would have on the rest of my spine. My shoulder surgeon didnt't think that would happen, but it did.

    My physical therapy for my shoulder was put on hold because of the negative impacts it was having on my cervical and thoracic areas.

    For now, I've stopped PT for my shoulder and am concentrating on my deep tissue person taking care of my shoulder.

    There is a definite relationship between shoulder problems and cervical/thoracic problems.
    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Thanks for your response Ron. My neck is definitely flared up and my physical therapist thinks its all from nerve inflammation and irritation which is also affecting my shoulder. I'm going to cut down on PT visits for awhile and do more gentle stretching on my own. When we push it more in PT, everything locks up which accomplishes nothing. Of course, my shoulder surgeon says the only way to improve my shoulder is aggressive stretching, but he doesn't understand or have any interest in my neck problems!
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  • Im on the same boat!
    I never ever had cervical issues in my life!

    I had a subacromial decompression for rotator cuff impingement in august (6.5 months ago)
    Now my neck is flared up and i have tingling in my arm

    What should I do? I have been doing neck stretches and traction but nothing is helping. I am so depressed..

    Will cortisone injection help me?
    I dont understand why im having these symptoms....especially since i never had neck problems before! And it has been more than 6 months since surgery..i dont get it.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 11,347
    I have to assume your have been to a doctor. What have they identified your problem to be and what are their action plan for you?

    Shoulder surgery, minor or major can potentially impact the cervical area. For the most part it would be related to tendons and muscles.

    I've discussed this with my surgeon, physiatrist and my therapists and they all totally agree.

    I am still recovering from my last complete shoulder replacement and do have cervical issues. I have had two ACDFs in the past, but my current cervical problems are related to my shoulder surgery.

    In my recover phase from my shoulder surgery, there is a lot of stretching and manipulation of muscles leading up my neck.

    Please discuss this problem more with your doctor(s) to determine what is going on.
    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • My physical therapist spends at least 15 minutes working on my neck before even starting on my shoulder. Maybe your shoulder is still not moving correctly and it's just flaring up the connecting muscles and nerves in your neck. I need to continually do neck stretches throughout the day and that also stretches the top of my shoulder.
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