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ACDF C5-C7 Left Upper Body Pain Gone, Right Upper Body Pain/Weakness Worse

Almost 4 weeks post two-level ACDF (C5-C7).  The pain/weakness before surgery was on both sides of the shoulders/shoulder blades, arms, chest and numbness in the left hand/fingers.  The pain is mostly gone from the left side (which was worse than the right before surgery) and since surgery, the right side is worse than before I had surgery.  I have have also lost strength and dexterity on the right side in addition to my right thumb now being numb.  My surgeon put me on a Prednisone Taper at my 10 day follow-up because he thought it may be nerve irritation.  The Prednisone did nothing to help with the pain or weakness.  Oxycodone 5mg IR or 5/325 does not help with the amount of pain I am in.  I am on 800mg X 3 of Gabapentin per day and I'm still having much more pain/weakness on the right side than before surgery.  I have started PT and I've been doing all exercises prescribed.  I'm at a loss as to what to say to my surgeon at the next follow-up.  I don't want to take more pain medication because it's just not working, makes me itch, makes me nauseated and generally makes me feel strange.  I viewed these forums before I had surgery and after and all I can find is that people are wondering about different pain meds or higher doses which I am not looking for.  I am looking for advice as to what I should say to my surgeon.  I rarely get a full 10 minutes with him, so I need to say what I need to quickly and I'm not sure I know how to explain it in that short of a time frame.  What are some suggestions I can take back to my doctor?
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Comments

  • Bruce EitmanBruce Eitman Akron, OH, USAPosts: 1,437
    MissyMondor

    Welcome to the Spine-Health forums.

    I am sorry that you are going through this.  I am curious, are there any differences between the pain/tingling/numbness on your right side vs left side?  I ask to rule out that it could be from a different disc.

    One possibility is that you have swelling that is effecting the nerves.  Ask your surgeon about this.

    Please click on the following link for some helpful information to get you started Welcome to Spine-Health

    Bruce

    Read my story at Bruce - My Story
    ACDF C4-C5-C6-C7, and getting better every day
    It has been a process of healing, learning, exercising, and resting - and figuring out when to do which.

  • Bruce EitmanBruce Eitman Akron, OH, USAPosts: 1,437
    edited 08/23/2016 - 10:24 PM

    well, I managed to double submit that.  so ignore this...

    Bruce

    Read my story at Bruce - My Story
    ACDF C4-C5-C6-C7, and getting better every day
    It has been a process of healing, learning, exercising, and resting - and figuring out when to do which.

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  • MissyMondorMMissyMondor Washington, DCPosts: 2
    Hi, Bruce.  Thank you for replying.  I barely have pain on my left side anymore.  The index finger, middle finger and thumb are still numb on the left side, but I only feel aches on the left side.  The right side pain is excruciating, but it's in the same places as I had the pain prior to surgery, only worse.  The physical therapist said muscle relaxers may help and I asked if massage would be okay.  She said that the massage may help relax the muscles and take them out of spasm.  I have talked to my surgeon about the worsened right side pain and that's why he prescribed the Prednisone.  .  I want to see if the massage will help alleviate the what feels like deep muscle pain/tension.  I'd like to get feedback on other's experiences and suggestions for next steps to discuss with my surgeon.
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