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C7-T1 Post operative pain
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C7-T1 Post operative pain

5 days ago I had C7-T1 surgery. The doc said that my nerve root was extensively conmpressed which had been causing my severe pain. The surgery was difficult because of where the disc had located itself below the nerve root. The doc took 4 hours to remove it compared to the typical 1-1 1/2 hours for this procedure. I woke from surgery up with complete releif from the arm and back pain.

Before the surgery my back and entire right arm had severe pain which had started 3 weeks before. Starting a couple days before surgery the side of my hand and the pinky and ring finger went numb. They continue to be numb after the surgery, although they may be improving. I am now also getting pain along the bottom of the arm and again in my back. The surgery site pain is healing well, but this seeming return of the nerve pain is making me nervous.

Should I expect some return of the nerve pain as the nerve heals?

Is there much chance of the numbness ever going away?
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi, I'm in a similar situation, only on my left side.  It's now 2 weeks past my cervical discectomy of C6-7.  My index and middle finger are completly numb still (this started when i woke up after surgery).  The pain has returned full force in my shoulder/arm/hand.  It took about a week for my pain to come back.  I wonder if it never went away, just the pain killers i was on immediatly after the surgery masked it. I've been taking a lot of antiinfammatories, but it's not helping.  I'm REALLY frustrated.  I hoped surgery would help. My neck and incision area is doing good though. I've got the same questions as you do.  i see the Doc tomorrow, i'll keep you posted
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Avatar_f_tn
Did the surgeon give you any idea of what they found when you were in surgery? Did you get to keep a piece of your disc? I have put together an entire question sheet for my doc visit which is Monday. My questions are below. Feel free to use any you want.

I woke up from surgery with no pain. I was in the hospital overnight. The only pain meds I have had since surgery is one shot of torodol and two regular tylenol for a headache that night in the hospital. There just hasn't been enough pain to take the heavy stuff.

BUT, especially with certain movements the pain radiates from the shoulder blade again, which is the site of the initial agony. My arm only aches a bit, but I am afraid that in another week I'll be like you saying the pain is back fullforce.

The hardest thing is not knowing what to expect, and not knowing if there are moves, positions or activities that could make the remaining disc either break again or "slip" They told me to walk a lot so I have been out for a 1 mile, a 2 mile and today a 3.5 mile walk. I am hopeful the doctor will take time to go over these questions with me. I don't want to be rushed with this part.

Post surgery questions:
1.Time frame for following:
  a.Work -
  b.Flying -
  c.Amusement park rides - (i'm headed to Disney this month)
  d.Golf -
  e.Running -
  f.Yoga -
  g.Weight lifting -
  h.Sex -
2.Any photos or videos of the actual surgery? (I like that kind of stuff)
3.How degenerated are my discs?
4.Is weight training a good idea
5.Physical Therapy
6.Numbness will it go away
7.Arm pain along forearm. Will that stop?
8.What to do if feel pain returning in future?
9.As I understand what I have read, the outer layers of the disc actually adhere to the bones of the vertebrae. Is that correct. Do they regenerate, reforming a “whole” disc?
10. Based on the description of my disc is it safe to say an inversion machine wouldn’t have taken care of this problem? (everyone said go to chiropractor or get an inversion machine)
11.Any way to determine if the problems I had 15 years ago were part of a chronic condition? (I have an MRI from back then)
12.Any judgment about whether the events which I can recall could caused or contributed to this?
  a.Carrying upwards of 40 pounds of bags (computer, workout, pocketbook and paperwork) twice a day (always on my left shoulder.) regularly for years.
  b.Pain following heavy snow removal (pushing the snow like a plow more than any lifting) - January
  c.Pain following falling a couple of times on a snowy trail. – 1 week before the acute event
  d.Sprinting hard for the last 100 yards of a race – the morning of the night that I ended up in severe pain.
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Avatar_f_tn
How did your appointment go? Did you get any more information about the pain? My appointment is monday. I am very tired toiday. This is the first time I've felt so wrung out. I have been in my recliner on my laptop all day, but not particularly productive.
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Avatar_n_tn
WOW! great questions!
He said the nerve pain is totally normal, don't worry.  He said it would take 3 more months for the nerve to calm down and up to a year to feel back to normal.  I just need to be patient. He gave me Cymbolta for the nerve pain and i took it today.  IT IS AWSOME!!! i actually feel like my old self again.  The drug is an antidepressant but was really made to treat nerve pain in diabetics.  It really helped today and i haven't had any side effects (keeping my fingers crossed). Doc said disc would scar over.  Mine was really broken up.
I forgot to ask for a piece of disc, too nervous on the day of surgery.  I teach science and would have LOVED to show the kids, they would think it was awesome.
I'm going back to work Monday, but no lifting more than 10lbs.  It will be almost 3 weeks from the date of surgery.  
I got my herniation from tripping over a kid in the hallway and falling real hard.  It took a couple of days before i noticed the tingling in my hands.
I've been walking too, but too much hurts my shoulder more.  I do a bit of yoga.  I'll be going back to physical therapy, and I also bought a TENS unit to help with the muscle pain (but cymbolta seems to be helping with that so maybe I don't need it).
I'm a bit nervous to start lifting weights or do more vigorous exercise.  I'm scared to death of another herniation or reinjury.  I will probably never go on another amusement park ride. I'm only 32. I never want to experience this again
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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks for the update. That sure does make me feel better. I know what you mean about being scared it could happen again. I fell while running the week before it got really bad. Then the day it went nuts was after a race that I ran in the morning. I actually run very slow, but at the end of a race I sprint hard. I think I may have to stop that. I don't want to stop running though. It makes me feel so much better in every way.

The assistant told me he wanted to give me a piece of my disc, but that he had to send it to pathology. I see the doc on Monday. hopefully he will be as reassuring as yours.

Good luck to you.
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Avatar_n_tn
Good luck at the Docs today.  Although cymbalta worked great for the nerve pain I ended up having a reaction so I've stopped taking it.  I couldn't sleep and was wheezing. oh well.
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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks for the note. I was lying in bed this morning in quite a bit of pain thinking about the Cymbalta. I also don't like taking meds, but I really need to get back to work. I'm thinking I am just goign to have to get used to the pain for now. I'll let you know what he says.
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Avatar_n_tn
Yeah, i hate taking stuff too.  I've had the pain since september, i'll just tough it out a few more months.  I've been taking fish oil.  The omega 3s are supposed to help with inflammation.
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Avatar_n_tn
How are you doing? I'm feeling much better!
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Avatar_f_tn
I am doing pretty well. Doc said I could go back to work so I worked all week. Only real problem I have is the muscles in the back of my neck cramp up if I do much of anything  with my left hand. My right hand is fine, although I still have some numbness and a significant loss of strength. He said I am doing really well. I am getting physical therapy for the neck muscles.once I get those back into shape I will be fine. Glad to hear you are doing better.
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1166428_tn?1263072019
I have the same problem, i have severe pain in my left arm that radiates down my tricep to my forearm and to my middle and index finger. i am in the navy so i have to have this fix but if i have the surgery i don't know if they'll allow me to go back to a ship. Which wouldn't hurt my feelings.
The steroid pack that i am taking helps with the pain and swelling. But i still down have much feeling in my fingers. Good luck
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