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Numbness and Pain During Physiotherapy after posterior cervical fusion ...
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Numbness and Pain During Physiotherapy after posterior cervical fusion c4 c5

About 2 1/2 years ago I had a posterior cervical fusion
at c4 and c5 after falling onto the back of my head
causing fractures. The surgeon also needed to remove fragments
and do some other realignments in my neck. My first physiotherapist told me not to do things that cause numbness
or severe pain. Since I had these symtoms (symptoms) of pain increasing
in my neck and numbness and tingling in my left hand and sometimes all the way up the arm, the therapy was limited and
not successful.  However, now a therapist from my insurance
company is telling me I have to work through this. I've been
feeling worse and I don't feel this is safe and proper for me to do. So far, my surgeon says he could do a discectomy and
anterior fusion, but he's not recommending it as he doesn't
believe it will provide much improvement, if any. Thanks for
your comments on this.
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Avatar_n_tn
I cannot give you formal clinical advice without knowing your case more, and in case this could be dangerous interms of the stability of your neck

Hopefully the surgery stabilised theneck sufficiently to allow for physio etc - which should be safe despite any pain as long as the neck is stable. This can be assessed by plain xray films in flexion and extension, and by examination, and MRI. If your neck is not stable, then another operation may be beneficial. Your doctor or another need sto make this judgement. Tingling in the arm as long as it is temporary should not be a contraindication to physio but if tingling is more constant or you develop weakness in the arm or legs, of bladder dyscontrol, this is more concerning.

Good luck
11 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
Hello there, This is scary for me because I just had an anterior cervical fusion C5,6 & 7 done on Nov 17 2005,  I will be starting threapy next week recommended by my Neuro because I was complaining about depression and pain.  I have been on pain meds since surgery but trying to ween off of them.  It is hard because I am still feeling pain and numbness , swollen throat, hard to swallow, I can't sleep at night. The Neuro Dr. said this is normal after surgery..  I hope that therapy will heall, but according to you this has not helped you.. I know every person is different when healing.  How scary though.  Good Luck  wilth the future ...
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi Jewels.  Well, it's just been a month since your surgery.
You probably shouldn't expect too much so soon.  I can only
say to trust your surgeon and listen to your body's signals
during recovery.  Good luck to you.
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Avatar_n_tn
p.s. If you haven't already, you should discuss the depression
with your neurosurgeon and/or family doctor.
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Avatar_n_tn
I'd like to add a few things to my post.  I should say the numbness isn't limited to my left hand/arm.  Periodically I feel it also in my right hand and ankles/feet.  This is not
very often but I thought I'd mention it. I also have moderate to severe headaches.  Sometimes it's shooting, shock like pains from my neck to the front of my head.  Some difficulty swallowing.  Lately my left arm has been feeling weak and kind of awkard and the frequency of numbness has increased dramatically.  The last time I've seen my neuro-surgeon was a year ago and he said that it could take years to feel better and that I'm actually really lucky things weren't worse.
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Avatar_n_tn
You might want to ask for a MRI. When you have a fusion done it puts more stress on the level above and below the fusion "dominoe effect". You can also search cervical dermatones to see which level is causing your problems. Each level has different symptoms.
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Avatar_n_tn
Yes, I'm going to look into seeing another specialist and get a CT scan or MRI to find out what's going on.
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks for your reply.  It gives me some hope that things
can be fixed with another surgery because how I feel
right now is not acceptable.
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Avatar_n_tn
I just had a right anterior cervical discectomy with fusion on december 5th. surgery went well. the pain I was having in my right arm is bearable now. Now 3 weeks after surgery, a wake up to pain in my left arm/hand. Neurosurgeon put me on steriods and muscle relaxers said it was the ulna nerve. I squeeze my arm to make my arm and hand stop throbbing in pain and I get this wierd feeling that goes to the right side of my brain. I also have reflex sympathetic dystrophy in both my legs. When I was going for therapy the therapist would press on my legs to get some of the knots out. I would get a feeling that would go up my leg right to the right side of my brain.
I haven't slept for the past 2 weeks cause of the pain in my left arm waking my up. I am on oxi and vicodin for pain plus topamax and elavil for my RSD. With all those meds I should not wake up at all. The doctors look at me like I'm crazy. I have an appointment 01/09 with the neurosurgeon for follow up from the surgery. I told him I want to have an emg plus a possible left cervical mri to see if I have the same problem on the other side. Wouldn't they have noticed it when they were in there operating? Any suggestions?           Lisa
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Avatar_n_tn
Hello,
I had the Anterior Certical fusion on nov 1st 2005. I am still having some discomfort,little numbness in my face, right arm and right leg. Today I am feeling like something is pressing my oesophagus and coughing since morning. By mistake I lifted my 10 year old nephew when he broke his leg 3 weeks ago. Then I realized about my surgery and dropped him on the couch. I am worried becuase of that something would have happened. How long all these symptoms will stay will I be able to do all the normal activities like lifting weights putting the carry on luggage on the air plane cabin etc., Please help.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi i could not help not to let you know i have the same thing going on as you do i had c-5 c-6 c-7 fused and the numbness and pain still are flaring up after any lifting or to much activity after multi visits to the docs they told me that i have chonic pain and it may never end this is mind you 1 year later so thier for they the doc started what they call pain maintance with methadone they started with 30mgs day and after one month took me up to 60 mgs a day still not much releaf but ive got to go back to the doc on Feb 28/06 and they plan to increase it.If this should help ill let you know
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