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Cannot turn head left

Had a fusion 8 years ago this month.  Woke up this morning with severe neck pain and cannot turn my head left or look up.  There is swelling at the base of my neck.  My left side is week and there is pain in my shoulder, elbow and hand on pinky side.  Nsaids and Muscle relaxant no help, and one percocet no help.  I have used heat all day and it has not improved.  Could it be just tortocollis or is there a chance something is messed up below my fusion?  I am so uncomfortable and scared that this could mean something is wrong.  Any help is appreciated.  
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547368 tn?1440541785
Please excuse my tardy response.

I am so very sorry to hear about your new pain that is not relieved by your efforts. I hope you've given your medical provider a call. You need to have this evaluated. I have cervical spine pain and can relate. My heart goes out to you.

When you apply heat to an area - especially an area that has "new" edema (swelling) -  it can increase the swelling and inflammation. I know it often feels better to apply heat - but ice should be your first choice. Ice will help reduce the edema and inflammation. It doesn't have to be for more than 20 minutes -  but apply it 4-5 times a day.

I'm hoping you only "slept wrong" and have a common crick in your neck. Given the edema and severity of your SX (symptoms) it sounds like it may be something more serious.

It is concerning that you are experiencing weakness in the shoulder downward. Is there also pain, tingling or numbness in the area? I don't want you to mistake a spinal issue with a Cardiovascular event.

If you have pain, numbness and/or tingling from your shoulder down to a finger - it could be due to nerve impingement, inflammation and/or irritation.

Spinal Fusions have pros and cons. One major issue/con with a fusion is that often the vertebrae above or below - or both - will fail. When your spine is fused it places more demands on the structures above and below it. Those area have to do all the moving post-fusion - meaning the turning and twisting, etc. Those areas often develop issues due to those demands.

I'd be sure to consult your PCP,  Neurologist - or Neurosurgeon if indicated.  Hopefully it's too soon to even consider invasive measures.

NSAIDs take time to reach a therapeutic level. Obviously they should provide some pain relief and begin to reduce inflammation with that first dose. However it may take 1-3 weeks of continued therapeutic doses to reach a optimum therapeutic level. That means you have to take them religiously through out the day - and not just one here of there. Your Pharmacist can direct you - or your medical provider to the actual dose.

How are you doing today? Is there any improvement or new SX? I'll look forward to hearing from you and hope your pain and SX have improved.  

Best Regards,
~Tuck

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Avatar universal
Hi hattlady.  :)

Please let me join with Tuckamore in letting you know how sorry I am to be late in answering your post.   :(  

I want you to know I'm glad you have found our Back & Neck Community here on MH (MedHelp).

I, too, am very sorry to hear of your new pain that is now effecting neck and shoulder.  Everything that Tuck said is exactly correct and I HOPE you did call your Doctor immediately as this could be something that needs to he brought to his/her attention sooner rather than later.  

I hope you will keep.us informed as to how you are doing, as well as to what your Doctor says is going.on with these new neck issues that are causing you such pain.

I'm hoping you WILL take everything that Tuck suggested to you  ERY seriously!  

Thinking of you and sending you my VERY BEST WISHES! We'll be looking for all of your updates.             ..........      Sherry   :)
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