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anterior cervical discectomy and fusion c6-7
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anterior cervical discectomy and fusion c6-7

I had surgery 4 weeks ago a cervical discectomy and fusion of c6-7,
prior to surgery I had a great deal of pain in my Lt shoulder, and arm.
Post surgery most of the arm pain is gone but, I still have EXTREME shoulder pain. My question is will this pain go away? I can't function with this much pain, I am very active and only 46. What can I do?
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16 Comments Post a Comment
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Avatar_n_tn
I had surgery also. in May, I went back to my surgeon he sent me to a pain management doctor he did something called a P/P on my shoulder my pain is NOW gone, if you like u can email me at ***@**** i will get you the exactly name of what he done to me, good luck
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi as I told you in my last message that i will get back to you here it is Trigger point injections can be done anywhere there is a muscle.  The commonest places that have spasm and large knots (the trigger points) are the trapezii muscles of the shoulders, the rhomboids between the shoulder blades, and the low back. this is excaltly what I ad my surgen sent me to a reh doctor and gave me these trigger point injections i feel 100% better now. good luck

Avatar_dr_m_tn
The pain in the shoulders after surgery is not uncommon. It will go away usually by 6-8 weeks.

There are a few theories on why this happens, but it is most likely due to your neck being a bit different after surgery and your body has to learn how to adapt to the changes of the fusion.

My experiences is that it goes away with time - you can try other things, they won't hurt.
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Avatar_n_tn
Please help! I'm supposed to have fusion surgery on October 9th but I'm scared to death after hearing many horror stories. I've heard that people get depressed after surgery and they aren't able to move their necks the same after surgery. But if I don't have the surgery I will continue to suffer pain in my left arm and extreme headaches. What's your advice?
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Avatar_n_tn
Watch out for those trigger point shots, those are steroid shots and they will cause you to gain weight. I know because my mother had those for a very long time until they wouldn't work anymore. What is your advice on the fusion surgery? What complications did you have afterwards? I'm terribly scared of this after hearing many horror stories. I'm a very active person with 2 little boys and I have to stay active. Is this surgery going to hinder me being active? I heard that the narcotics from the surgery causes severe depression. Please give me any advice that you have right now.
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Avatar_n_tn
If this helps any, I have had two cervical fusions and no I am not and have not been depressed. :)

I WAS depressed prior to them because the pain was severe.  Anyway, don't let the horror stories scare you there are plenty of success stories as well.  I still have residual pain but nothing compared to what it was like before.  I also have continued ROM.  But be prepared for spasms afterwards as your neck adjusts.  They will probably give you stretching exercises to do one you feel up to it.  I have never had any depression with the narcotics either...only sedation.  And the doc should give you a muscle relaxer.  My own NS prescribes Norco and Valium afterwards.  Also, I have had several steroid injections through the years and I have to say I did not gain weight.  I gained weight instead from the anti-convulstant meds to the treat nerve pain.  But once I stopped those the weight dropped off.  To answer you though...no complications after either fusion....just the spasms and now I have bit of pain in my shoulders and arms.  But that is because the next level down is taking on the load.  Whenever you are fused the other discs have to compensate and make up for the fusion above and below.  I don't regret mine at all as they needed to be done.  And, for me, the surgery was a piece of cake...I was up and walking within hours of having either one.  The only irritant right away is the incision and that isn't bad at all.  For me, the worst of it was the spasms but they can be controlled and taken care of with a muscle relaxer.  But...just remember...once done...there is no going back.  So, if needs to be done (mine were compressing the spinal cord), then there is nothing much you can do unless you want to wait it out which I would not advise at all.  You will run the risk of neurological deficits which has the potential to lead to disability.  Hang in there and I wish you well.  Oh, forgot to add...I also had SEVERE headaches...cervicogenic to be exact WITH migraines.  But...after the fusion of the C3/C4 they were gone.  
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Avatar_n_tn
How long was it before you had your second fusion?

wnc
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Avatar_n_tn
It was 2 years before I had the second fusion.  But, know too that the C5/C6 was bad at the same time the C3/C4 was.  My NS didn't want to fuse it right away until he saw how well I healed from the first one.  In other words...it wasn't the domino effect.  I had the C3/C4 done in 2004 and the C5/C6 done in 2006.  And I really didn't have too much pain until May of 2006; then by August the neurological deficits started in; I was dropping things, had pain in the base of my thumbs, etc.  In September it was done.
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Avatar_f_tn
joisygirl,

I have cervical fusion C5,C6,C7 in jan 07 i had 3 collapsed disk with my spinal column colapsed with stenosis and spures (large one) i have a cage. I did great i came home the next day noone could beleive i did so well i had 3 dr's and they kept telling me lady did you realize you had major surgery. I also was scared but i have nomore headaces and i have the use of my arms again which i did not realize i was losing strength. Your neck incesion looks worse than it really is. I can move my neck anyway i want sometimes i still have neck pain on my shoulder but thats if i look down alot. Belive me you will get better quick. Now if I could say that with my Lumbar fusion in May 07 i would be happy.

Good Luck
pstone
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Avatar_n_tn
I had a bone spur (osteophyte) pressing against my spinal cord about 14 years ago in the C5-C6 area (I think thats right numbers) and have had no problems until the past few months. Shoulder pain began, migraines began, deep throbbing pain in the elbow area on the right arm...its gotten so bad that I can't lift things (even my purse) with that hand.   My MRI shows 2 broad based bulging disc & another bone spur in the cervical area.  An appt with neurosurgeon is set up and my luck it will be another surgery.   I was given a muscle relaxant after the first surgery to keep the muscles from drawing and I was sooooo relieved that I am not dreading one to come.   Time will help with the pain.
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Avatar_n_tn
In April I had a c5-6, c6-7 fusion and am still having shoulder pain and neck pain. I was an active 40 year old with an (now) eleven month old child. Before my surgery I ran marathons, hiked, camped, ect....
I want to be able to return to work as soon as possible, but I have to consistantly lift 50 pound luggage ( I work for an airline). I have been in PT since May, now doing work conditioning 5 hours a day three times a week. It seems it is one step forward 2 steps back. I know i am getting stronger every day, and as far as the surgery is concerned it WORKED, I have no more numbness or tingling, just pain in my neck and shoulders. Having the two level fusion, do you think I will be able to go back to work, and if so, is there an estimated time it could or would take? I am working very hard to get back in shape.
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Avatar_n_tn
I have had a two level cervical fusion and I can tell you what my NS has said...

Never, ever to lift over 25lbs again.  I orginally had restrictions of 5 lbs., then 10lbs and so on.  But to constantly lift over 50lbs every day is really asking for trouble.  I know you want to to return to work and I can't blame you.  But see if you can modify what it is you have to do...maybe lifting less when you do go back to work.  And really, people with experience with this will tell you...April is not all that long ago...in spiney time.  And I also know what it is like to have a "honeymoon" period where you feel great.  And then it has the potential to "hit" as the fusion gets more and more solid.  The other discs will have to compensate and take on the load.

For me it has been over a year since the last fusion and even now I NEVER lift anything over 25lbs.  I know what can happen.  That's not to say to guard your neck.  I just mean...from here on out be careful with your activities  
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178107_tn?1315951230
I had a two level fusion (C5-C7) in Nov 2006.  I am still having neck, shoulder and arm pain.  My NS says that everything looks great and he dosn't know what is causing my pain.  I'm taking Dermeral and muscle relaxers every 4 hours. It's been almost a year since my surgery and I've not been able to return to work.  Until they can get me out of this pain, I will never be able to go back to work.  I'm 45 and I have a 7 and a 4 year old.  I have to have help to just care for my children.  I know how frustrated you are.  I'm sorry for your pain, I hope you get some releif soon.
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Avatar_n_tn
A related discussion, severe neck pain was started.
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Avatar_f_tn
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Avatar_m_tn
Hi,I just had 2 weeks ago A level 2 cervical discectomy w/ fusion in C7. I have been a beer delivery man for 10 years. I hurt myself on the job, I got Burning pain in my Right arm and shoulder and neck pain. My NS thinks Im gonna be able to go back to work after PT. Right now its really hard for me to belive I will be able to go back pushing pulling and lifting 1000lbs up hills ,in snow, through gravels 50 times a day again.They switched our delivery method to Carts.the cart alone weighs 200lbs,and loaded full with beer it weighs 1400 to 1500 lbs.Since they switched it to the carts Ive had neck and shoulder pain.Im just worried and venting and scared. Im just 32 and I dont know what to do. I have heard and saw alot of people thats had this done and regreted it. I just wonder what are gonna be my options??? Thank you and good luck to all of you guys
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Avatar_m_tn
thank you for your comments its scary but it feels good to know there are other people that has experienced this besides me
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Avatar_m_tn
I will have a cervical decectomy and fusion of c6/c7 next month.  I hope everything comes out ok.
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