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  • rbryant
    Participant
    Post count: 5

    Hello, recently had ACDF on C5-C6 (on August 12). Recovery has been mostly very good. Prior to the procedure I had moderate to severe pain in my right upper back, with pins and needles down my right arm to hand. Surgery pretty much ended those symptoms.

    In the past week I have noticed very bad tension headaches, shoulder pain in my left side and occasional shooting pain in left upper back. I’ve not really noticed numbness or pain down my left arm (yet), other than occasional cramping feeling in right upper arm. According to Neurosurgeon, C6-7 was bulging per MRI but he did not feel an ACDF was appropriate for this level.

    Given the new symptoms naturally I’m concerned that things have changed and perhaps there is some herniation now. To summarize, primary symptoms are intense headache, left shoulder pain and some cramping upper left arm. I have a follow up with NS in 2 weeks and wonder if a followup MRI is prudent.

    Donald Corenman, MD, DC
    Moderator
    Post count: 8465

    You are now 3 months post surgery. Are these “new” symptoms different than the original pain you had before surgery or are they new and distinct symptoms? Tension headaches can occasionally originate from the cervical spine but are normally associated with upper disc disorder (C2-4). Also check with your surgeon to confirm there is a good fusion of your C5-6 level. Flexion-Extension X-rays would be helpful.

    Dr. Corenman

    rbryant
    Participant
    Post count: 5

    Thank you for your response! To clarify, prior to surgery my primary symptoms was intense pain in my right trapezius with pins and needles radiating down right arm.

    Surgery on 8/12, ACDF on C5/6. Pain and numbness resolved.

    Within last week noting pain in left arm, shoulder, mostly noted when I bring arm into hyperextension. Nothing noted on flexion. This pain is more dull and primarily noted in left shoulder, left upper back and lateral left arm.

    These symptoms are entirely new and separate of prior to fusion. The right side is mostly pain free, save for occasional cramping and no numbness or pins/needles. Also to note, prior to fusion I was unable to look up without severe pain. I no longer have this symptom

    I return to my Neurosurgeon in 2 weeks for X-rays and given new symptoms should I anticipate the possibility of adjacent disc herniation, or issues with fusion, or perhaps a separate issue with my shoulder ranging from tendinitis to SLAP tear

    Thank you again

    Donald Corenman, MD, DC
    Moderator
    Post count: 8465

    You now have opposite sided pain “pain in left arm, shoulder, mostly noted when I bring arm into hyperextension’. The potential pain generators could be a shoulder disorder or even thoracic outlet syndrome. It is possible but unlikely that your level below at C6-7 could be causing your pain.

    Dr. Corenman

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