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9 days post ACDF having shoulder arm pain

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Unread 03-11-2011, 02:17 PM   #1
cath1
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Default 9 days post ACDF having shoulder arm pain

I was starting to feel pretty good, still having issues swallowing, choking and sleeping, but a little better each day. But now I seem to have a lot more pain in my right shoulder going down my right arm... Is this normal muscle spasms? Or something someone else has experienced? Both shoulders have been hurting since surgery, but my right is feeling worse now. I don't think I did anything I wasn't supposed to, but who knows if I slept wrong, twisted, etc.... ???

Someone mentioned a correlation to shoulder pain and surgery that it has something to do with gasses in your blood, does anyone know anything about this? I have never heard anything about it.

Just wondering if I should still be hurting at this point? I'm still taking lots of pain meds, but also trying to reduce those right now also.

Anyone with info that can help?
Thanks
Cathie
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Unread 03-11-2011, 02:34 PM   #2
Jo*mar
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Could be due to positioning during surgery.

It does sound a bit like some of the symptoms I had from my RSI/TOS.
a chronic repetitive injury.
"swallowing, choking and sleeping" I was having spasms in the neck/chest/collarbone area & my top rib was getting pulled up into the collarbone squeezing the brachial plexus area (arm blood flow & nerves affected)

did you have any shoulder/arm/ hand symptoms before the surgery?
Were they all supposedly due to the c spine issues?

Did you have an injury that caused the need for the ACDF or was it a degenerative condition ?
whiplash, repetitive or desk job?
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Unread 03-11-2011, 04:18 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Jo*mar View Post
Could be due to positioning during surgery.

It does sound a bit like some of the symptoms I had from my RSI/TOS.
a chronic repetitive injury.
"swallowing, choking and sleeping" I was having spasms in the neck/chest/collarbone area & my top rib was getting pulled up into the collarbone squeezing the brachial plexus area (arm blood flow & nerves affected)

did you have any shoulder/arm/ hand symptoms before the surgery?
Were they all supposedly due to the c spine issues?

Did you have an injury that caused the need for the ACDF or was it a degenerative condition ?
whiplash, repetitive or desk job?
I had the arm pain, with numbness in the last two fingers in my right hand, severe arm, traps, shoulder and neck pain before surgery. The finger numbness and tingling is gone. My hand is feeling better. The cause for my surgery was a combination of DDD, and repetitive injury due to 20 years of computer work as a graphic designer. All issues were supposedly from c spine issues. I had C5, C6, & C7 fused. They did use a halo during surgery, so I have wondered if it was because of them pulling my shoulder away from the halo to open disc space that could have caused some of the shoulder pain.

Just wondering if I'm recovering at a pace that is normal? I still take oxycontin everyday along with percs for breakthrough pain. I've started using cloranzepam to help with the spasms and get me to relax when I feel like the collar is choking me, and that does help a bit.

Just seems like it's taking such a long time to feel better and get my strength back.
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Unread 03-11-2011, 05:15 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by cath1 View Post
I had the arm pain, with numbness in the last two fingers in my right hand, severe arm, traps, shoulder and neck pain before surgery. The finger numbness and tingling is gone. My hand is feeling better. The cause for my surgery was a combination of DDD, and repetitive injury due to 20 years of computer work as a graphic designer. All issues were supposedly from c spine issues. I had C5, C6, & C7 fused. They did use a halo during surgery, so I have wondered if it was because of them pulling my shoulder away from the halo to open disc space that could have caused some of the shoulder pain.

Just wondering if I'm recovering at a pace that is normal? I still take oxycontin everyday along with percs for breakthrough pain. I've started using cloranzepam to help with the spasms and get me to relax when I feel like the collar is choking me, and that does help a bit.

Just seems like it's taking such a long time to feel better and get my strength back.
Hello Cathie, Please give yourself time to heal, it will not happen over night, you just had major neck surgery there has to be some pain associated with it. Your Dr just opened up the front of your neck and moved everything out of the way in order to fuse your C5/6 and C6/7 discs with donor bone, titanium plate and 6 screws. This is very tramatic to the body, this was MAJOR surgery and has a recovery period of at least 3 months hence the collar and trust me the collar is very important to wear at all times even in the shower, you do not want your neck moving yet. It will take at least a month for your body to start feeling better(surgery pain, and the anesthesia takes at least a month to get out of your system yes it can cause issues). Rest and do not worry about new pain, new symptoms or still taking pain pills use them to stay on top of the pain, I had to use liquid morphine for the first month. Sleep and rest is the best thing with the healing process, laying there worried about new issues and getting stressed out is not healthy. Take the time to heal with positive thoughts and enjoy your hubby assisting you, again you just had major surgery, give it time you will feel better soon.
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Unread 03-11-2011, 05:59 PM   #5
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I'd give it more time to heal and be very careful during recovery.

Then if you still have some arm/shoulder pain after the recovery time, then explore more about TOS - aka thoracic outlet syndrome.
We have a forum for that too if you'd like to read about it.

TOS often will not "show" on MRI or EMG/NCV tests - so many drs don't know or consider it especially if the C spine has some issues happening.
Difficult to sort it all out when multiple issues are going on.
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Unread 03-11-2011, 06:11 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bunz50 View Post
Hello Cathie, Please give yourself time to heal, it will not happen over night, you just had major neck surgery there has to be some pain associated with it. Your Dr just opened up the front of your neck and moved everything out of the way in order to fuse your C5/6 and C6/7 discs with donor bone, titanium plate and 6 screws. This is very tramatic to the body, this was MAJOR surgery and has a recovery period of at least 3 months hence the collar and trust me the collar is very important to wear at all times even in the shower, you do not want your neck moving yet. It will take at least a month for your body to start feeling better(surgery pain, and the anesthesia takes at least a month to get out of your system yes it can cause issues). Rest and do not worry about new pain, new symptoms or still taking pain pills use them to stay on top of the pain, I had to use liquid morphine for the first month. Sleep and rest is the best thing with the healing process, laying there worried about new issues and getting stressed out is not healthy. Take the time to heal with positive thoughts and enjoy your hubby assisting you, again you just had major surgery, give it time you will feel better soon.
Bunz
Thank you, I guess I'm just impatient thinking I should be stronger by now, I will take your advice and rest more and stress less. Nice to hear I'm not the only one.

Appreciate all the advice.
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Unread 03-12-2011, 10:06 AM   #7
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Wink Cath1

You are still very early in your recovery. I was in the hospital for 5 days, you were released after 1 if I remember correctly. Your body did not even have time to adjust to the surgery (anesthesia, change in position with the halo and angle of your shoulders). I was on significant pain meds and muscle relaxers for 2 weeks post surgery before trying to wean off. I still took them at night to make sure I slept which I did in a recliner for at least 6-8 weeks. Do not push yourself. As others have said you just had MAJOR surgery and your body will tell you what you can and can not do. Just listen to your body and your surgeon.Do not hesitate to call their office and ask them any questions you might have. I found keeping a journal of symptoms, what meds I took, how they helped and any questions that I thought of at any time. Do not rely on your memory, mine was gone. I brought my journal of questions, symptoms and anything else I wrote to each visit: 2 and 6 weeks. Now I go for my 3 month visit on Monday. I hope that they see some bone growth this time..
Good luck and take it easy. You only have one neck. Be kind to it.
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