Avatar universal

post fusion c5/c6

well it's been 2 weeks since surgery.  I'm not sure which is worse pre or post surgery.

The pain down my left arm is gone.  Not to say I don't have pain on my left side but the original pain is gone.

The pain in my upper back just at the base of my neck is still bad with any activity.  

I have a terrible pain in my right shoulder joint. it gets worse then I'm sitting up or standing for very long.  To use my right arm is to ask for the pain to get worse.  It is so bad my pain meds don't touch it.  If I layback down it goes away so I don't need stronger pain meds.

the front of my neck from the insision site (right site) across to 1/2 way to my left ear is numb, from the jaw line to the collar bone.  it swells with any activity and my face starts to go to sleep after a short time.  

The left side of my face swells daily. There is numbness at the jaw line.

I still get the numb feeling down the left shoulder blade.  not as common as pre surgery but still there.

can anyone tell me how long till this goes away?

Oh the worse thing is the large marble size knot on the left side of the insision.  It sits right on the throat and makes it hard to breath on occasion.  Produces a cough and a choking feeling.

Thank for any help.
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Avatar universal
I responded to your post over in the Neurology Forum several days ago, I’m glad you came back.

From me post surgery was worse, before surgery my pain levels were much lower, I was taking some pain medication, but not much. After surgery my pain levels were off the chart and I was taking the maximum dosage of everything.

The upper back pain is normal; we all suffered from that. I read about your shoulder problem in your last post, have you mentioned this to your Doctor? I didn’t have any problem with facial swelling, so I don’t know much about that, it could be from the trauma of the surgery. I do have left sided facial numbness about 80% of the time which I’m reasonably certain is referred from one of the other levels in my C-spine. I think your numbness will get better in time. Are you sure your incision is healing properly, does it hurt more than it should? The coughing and choking feeling sounds awful, I did have trouble swallowing for awhile, but nothing like that.

I don’t know if you read my reply to your post in the other forum, so I’ll say it again. At 2 weeks out, you’re just beginning your recovery. The 1st 2 -3 weeks after surgery for me were [email protected], it hurt to move and I was taking maximum dosages of every med I had, just to take the edge off. This is one of the reasons why I’ve been putting my surgery off; unfortunately, I need to have another one. A lot of the pain you’re having is normal and you’re going to have it for awhile, but you should slowly begin to feel better as time goes on.

How soon do you go back for your 1st post-op appointment? Make sure you tell your Doctor all your concerns, particularly about your shoulder pain. This is a rough surgery for some people to recover from, I’ve had back surgery and the recovery from that wasn’t exactly a walk in the park, but it wasn’t anywhere near as bad as the ACDF. Your pain should begin to lighten up soon; it’s just going to take awhile.

Take Care
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Avatar universal
Hi Lisa, I was reading your questions and I am at awh of what I have read. Your symptoms are the same as my own with my first surgery. I had these same symptoms post surgery within three week after my C5 C6 ACDF. After continual meds and no relief from my pain my surgeon sent me to physical therapy, I was diagnosed with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome and they started therapy for that along with strengthening my neck muscles. It took a while but after seeing the therapist 3X a week and following the exercises program at home I began to improve and the pain was starting to subside little by little. This Thoracic Outlet Syndrome was more painful than what I went into surgery for. I thank the therapist for diagnosis of the problem and correcting it with therapy and constant feedback to the surgeon/doctor.
Believe me the surgeon that I had at the time didn't like the diagnosis the therapist had concluded and fought him on his conclusions but in the end the therapist was right and corrected the problem and I was on my way to recovery.
The therapy is no cake walk and there is allot of pressure point therapy and that is painful, but I could feel the areas he worked on where finally relaxing/releasing and the pain slowly was subsiding....Talk with your doctor if he/she ignores your request for help or act's as if your nuts go for a second opinion. Don’t let your surgeon/Doctors arrogance delay your healing process.

I hope this helps and take it easy....healing takes time!
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Avatar universal
thanks for the responses.  It is great in a way to know I'm not alone.  My surgeon didn't schedule my follow up appointment until week 8 post surgery.  I have been to my GP for refills on my meds but the surgeon was specific about doing nothing for 8 weeks so my GP won't schedule any therapy until he gets the go ahead.  

I suspect that I will be sent for physio therapy at the 8 week mark and am still unsure about whether he will send me back to work then or not.  I unload trucks for a living so I think those days are done but perhaps there is something else I can do.

At this time any use of my arms puts me in bed for a day or more.  What a fun way to live!  right now my daughter jokes about the position of my head.  I can't get it straigh up right.  I have a small tilt to the right (the insision side).  I tell her I'm just taking the world in from a different point of view.  I would like to be able to straighten my head but I guess physio will take care of that.  :)  My husband says I look like a teenager waiting for a kiss.  hahaha  

Did any of you have this trouble?  I can make my head tip the other way but the muscle tightness, cramps, choking feeling and pain are not far behind.  

as for the pain.... I tried almost everything.  I spend months either in pain of out of it from the meds.  I have a new younger doctor who tried non narcotic Tramicet and Ralivia together.  They are both tramadol just in different strengths and release time.  I found this controls the pain better than anything and so far I don't feel out of it.  something to think about if your meds aren't working.  Ralivia is new to Canada and there are things about it that should be looked into before you try it or any new medication.  I tried tramicet alone at first and it did nothing.  I'm thankful I found a DR that is up on new stuff.  :)

Right now I'm trying TIME.... I hate it but I hear it might help.  hahaha  Thanks for giving me someone to talk to.  there is so much going on with my health that having this site and someone to talk to make the days a bit easier.

Take care, feel better and keep in touch.
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