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  • Sunshine9
    Member
    Post count: 3

    I had a 3 level cervical fusion on June 3rd. I returned for my first checkup after 10 days feeling very upbeat about results of my surgery. My pain in my neck and arm and hands was about 80% less than prior to surgery. I was allowed to not wear my collar during the day at that time.

    For the following 7-10 days, I was off all pain medications and started to do some “yes and nos” and “around the worlds” to improve mobility and allow driving. I walked every day.

    Gradually now my pain is returning almost to the point of prior to surgery. I have pain again in my neck and pain down my arm into my fingers. I again have the muscle spasms in my neck and back. This is most disappointing to me because I had a short period of very little pain.

    I had a checkup yesterday and was told that I should not be doing the exercises at this point and the pain was from “over doing” things. I just read on your website and understood it was okay to do these exercises. My x-rays show some healing at this point and physical therapy was prescribed.

    I was very careful and took it easy today. It has not relieved the pain and I am miserable!

    What is the recommendation from here?

    Donald Corenman, MD, DC
    Moderator
    Post count: 8459

    I understand how you feel about being relatively pain free after surgery and then having symptoms return. Small motions of the neck normally should not cause an increase in symptoms as long as the surgery is stable which I assume it is. If you did “overdo” your exercises, this can increase inflammation and increase symptoms.

    Did you reduce your pain medication after surgery as the symptoms increased? There are rare times that the pain medications used after surgery can cover over the original symptoms and when these medications are reduced, some of the pain returns.

    Give the symptoms some time to reduce in intensity. If indicated, maybe your surgeon can give you an oral steroid to help with the inflammation. Physical therapy will help to reduce muscle spasm and increase range of motion.

    At this point, patience is your best friend.

    Dr. Corenman

    Sunshine9
    Member
    Post count: 3

    I have now gone to physical therapy and symptoms are not getting better. Muscle spasms through the shoulder and lower back area are becoming more and more severe. Even with muscle relaxers and pain medicine I wake up at night with back spasms. Is this something to seek relief with a pain management doctor or a neurosurgeon?

    Donald Corenman, MD, DC
    Moderator
    Post count: 8459

    Did you have post-operative X-rays? Did they demonstrate good alignment, proper graft placement and good plate positioning? How do these X-rays compare with the pre-operative X-rays? What did your physical examination after the surgery demonstrate? This would include deep tendon reflexes (DTRs), motor strength, sensation and range of motion. How does this compare to the physical examination prior to the surgery? Did you have an MRI post-operatively due to your increased pain?

    If you are not getting answers, you might seek a second pair of eyes to look at the situation. If you are in the USA, then unfortunately there is a 90 day global period where another consultation by the same speciality may not get reimbursed.

    Dr. Corenman

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