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any body out there ever felt pressure?

Hi everyone, I have a question that maybe someone can answer. March 3rd I had 5 level (C3-C7). posterior decompression and fusion surgery. About 3 months ago I started having this pressure/swelling feeling in my neck and across my shoulders. I went to Dr.,had an MRI and it showed a C7-T1 disc protrusion and a right C8 nerve compression. My Dr. said he couldn't see anything that would be causing my arm pain and the pain between my shoulder blades. So he sent me to a pain consultant for EPIDURAL INJECTIONS. I had one. It did not work. I had two more scheduled but the pain center said since the first one didn't do anything they would just cancel the other two. 2 weeks later I had Trigger Point Injections. I still feel the fullness/pressure in my neck. So now I am in PT again. I'm ok when I'm lying down, but when I get up,even raising up from a lying down position, it feels like someone is pushing me back down at my shoulders and neck. It feels like my neck and shoulders are twice their size. I walk "stiffed neck" all the time. It is SO UNCOMFORTABLE!!! My question is.........Has any body else experienced this? Did you go to the Dr. to find out what was causing it? And if you did what was the treatment? I am wondering if it's the rods in my neck giving me discomfort. Or could it be scar tissue. The therapy doesn't seem to be helping. I do the exercises 10 times every hour. I am thinking I originally started PT too soon after surgery (2 weeks). Any input would be appreciated.

Thank you,


  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 7,385
    I'm very sorry to hear about your symptoms and that horrible "pressure" pain!

    With my thoracic issues, I've experienced pressure that I didn't think my body could contain.
    I've not had any spinal surgeries, so can't speak to that.

    Did you have an EMG to see if other nerves are effected? I know for me, my EMG showed many, previously unknown issues, different areas of my spine effected.

    Honorary Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • Hi Savage, I have not had an EMG. The last thing I had was the MRI in August. It showed a disc protrusion and nerve compression. My Dr. said he didn't see anything that was causing my pain. Thank you for responding.
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  • Wow, that is a big surgery. Was it all from the front? Or did they do posterior? Tell me more.
    I often feel like my neck and shoulders won't support my head. I actually put a hand behind my neck and squeeze some pressure points that eases the pain/tightness/pressure feelings. It sounds like your muscles are giving you problems. Trigger point injections may help; I have had many.
    Do you use heat, by any chance? I am not sure if we are feeling the same thing, but heat does help me. Exactly where is the pressure you are feeling? Also, the C8 nerve root can cause radiating arm pain, and pain between your shoulder blade. I know that from my own experiences. the only relief I got from the arm pain prior to surgery was by raising my arm above my head. It seemed to ease the throbbing a little. Also, laying flat helped a bit. The shoulder blade pain was a problem and nothing took that away. I know it was that nerve root because immediately after my surgery, those symptoms were gone. Unfortunately a bunch of other stuff happened, but that is another story.
    I would suggest continuing with the physical therapy. Take it slow though. Also, ask for a TENS unit to see if you can settle it down that way.
    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
  • Since you are about 6 months post op, your films should be able to tell you if fusion has occurred. My surgeon always said MRIs are good for checking tissue, CT SCans are best to check for fusion. He recommends a 3-D CT Scan to see exactly what is going on. Perhaps that would be a good idea for you.
    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
  • Wow, where do I begin...... First, my pain started mid November 2014. I just thought I strained a muscle lifting too many boxes at work. I am also a " wait and see " type person. I slowly got worse over time. Pain between my shoulders and pain down my arm got worse. Arm was getting weaker and weaker. I thought "This is no sore muscle". After 2 months of waiting to see if it got better, I went to my Dr. Had MRI on 1-16-15. It turned out I had 5 herniated discs and severe spinal stenosis. I saw a Neurosurgeon in February. He immediately took me out of work and put me in a hard neck brace. I was scheduled for surgery 3 weeks later. Everything happened so fast. I had so much cord compression, he told me I had a spinal stroke. He was very amazed I was still walking. I had posterior surgery. He said since I had so many levels, if he went in from the front I would have so much swelling I would not be able to swallow or breathe, so in my case going from the back would be better. I know the recovery time is longer and more painful. I had 5 level decompression Laminectomy and fusion with hardware. After the surgery The pain down my arm was gone, but my fingers were numb, they were not before. Today four fingers are numb and tingly. My thumb is fine. This is all on my right arm and hand. I started Therapy 2 weeks after surgery. My hubby thought that was way too early. I was in so much pain and the muscle spasms were brutal. Well back in June the pain started down my arm again and the pain between my shoulder blades are worse now than before. I had another MRI in August and that's when it showed another disc protrusion and nerve compression with stenosis at C7-T1 and severe DDD at T1-T2, plus "subluxations" on the 5 vertebrae I had fused. It did not show that fusion was taking place. All the report said was "Post surgical changes at C3-C7". I did have 1 Epidual Injection which did not work. 2 weeks later I had 2 Trigger Point Injections. I can't tell any difference from those. The Pressure in my neck and across my shoulders is still there. It feels like I am carrying a bowling ball on my neck and shoulders. No kidding....!!! That's how I feel. I do have a TENS unit at home and I use it. I also use one at Therapy. Heat seems to help, and ice does too. I guess I use heat more. My neck and upper back and between my shoulder blades hurt so bad I just sit and cry . Today, I was vacuuming the LR and before I finished, I had to stop cause I was hurting so bad. I go back to the NS on the 14th and I really don't know what he will do. The last time I saw him he told me if the shots and therapy don't work, he would have to do surgery again.. I think I will ask him about a CT. Thanks........Linda
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  • Hi Linda I had similar surgery but my neuro calls my C3 to C7 a 4 level. I also had severe cervical stenosis that was impinging imy spinal cord. I had burning and right side weakness. Laminectomy , much hardware (screws, rods, etc). Mine was posterior also. I was in hard collar for 3 months and then gently weaned out. My surgery was in June of 2013 and could not start therapy until mid Oct.. 3 months of therapy and ice, heat whatever helped. I think the more active you are the better the healing and adjusting to much hardware. I have other spine problems which prevents me from being active. I'm still working on it. So far I can tell you that it feels like a brick in back of my neck and laying down often relieves it. It took me a long time to heal and I'm surprised you had therapy so soon. I have not yet tried any of the injections since I've been concentrating on my lumbar and have had all of what you discussed in my lumbar. Maybe you need a second neuro opinions. It took about 18 months for me to recover. I am so sorry for your pain but seems like you started way to soon. How did you have therapy? I was in collar 24/7 and the first month and a half every hair on my head hurt so bad that I can't imagine therapy so soon. Neuro followed me for 18 months then turned me over to pain management.

    I always had the just an MRI and xray. It does sound like something else is going on but still so soon after surgery. How old are you?
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 7,385
    I have never been a candidate for surgery, so can't speak to that.

    Curious if doctor has you on any restrictions or limitations re your activity level?
    My doctor has told me vacuuming is one of the worse activities I can do, so that's been a long time restriction.
    Besides him telling me, I had to find out the hard way by testing it out myself.

    I know better, but over the years, on those better than most days day, I'm trying to stay all aligned....I have vacuumed, and it always causes severe pain. Often times the pain ...knocks me out....to the point of bed rest for rest of day.
    Thus, I ruined my better than most days day.
    Honorary Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • Thanks for your input. I also have two rods and 10 screws in my neck. I too, believe I started turning my head too soon. Like I said, I started 2 weeks after surgery. The things I have to do in Therapy is turn my head left to right and look up as far back as I can and put my chin to my chest. I also have to try to put my ear to my shoulder. With metal rods in my neck, that's really hard to do. I also have massages to get the spasms out of my neck. I had one last Thursday and my neck is still sore from it. It felt like she (therapist) was digging her fingernails in my neck. So far nothing is working. .. I do have another disc protrusion and nerve compression in C7-T1, and severe DDD at T1-T2. I also have lumbar problems. I have no disc at L4-L5 and L5-S1.
    My right leg goes numb when I'm sitting too long and If I am walking too much. I am 54. I had my 1st heart attack at 40. Had 2nd one at 47. It's hereditary. Got heart condition from my Dad. About my neck.....I feel a lot of pressure in my neck around the incision and across my shoulders. And A LOT of pain between my shoulder blades. My incision has sunken in. The NP said it was because of the swelling in that area. I go back to my NS next week.
  • Thanks for your input. As far as restrictions, He told me I was never gonna be able to do the things I used to do. I am not able to lift anything over my head or bend down to pick up anything heavy. No pushing or pulling. I also have very severe pain when I am vacuuming. Yesterday was a prime example. I had to stop before I finished cause I was hurting so bad. It brings me to tears at times. Bending to fill/empty the dishwasher puts strain/pressure on my neck and shoulders. Even lifting a half gallon jug feels like my neck and shoulder muscles are being pulled on; and while I am pouring from the jug, my hand starts shaking. Even grocery shopping feels like a chore. I have to get my husband to get stuff down for me or lift a 24 pk of water. Sometimes I have to get him to push the shopping cart cause it causes pain.

  • c3-t1 posterior laminectomy with rods and screws
    My surgery was a year ago and I'm fused but I still have pain. I take tramadol & tylenol
    My neck feels pressure from the back between the shoulder blades in a circle to the front collarbones also with stiffness
    Some shirts and coats hurt so I where soft sweaters and sweatshirts or hoodie
    Also a loose head band around the neck helps
    I'm starting to get better but maybe it takes a couple years ?
    I'm 56
    Good luck
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