Coughing should not cause any damage to a healed fusion. The dysphagia (difficulty swallowing) that you have experienced can occur with the surgery. The esophagus is retracted during surgery and can dysfunction for as long as six months.
Donald Corenman, MD, DC is a highly-regarded spine surgeon, considered an expert in the area of neck and back pain. Trained as both a Medical Doctor and Doctor of Chiropractic, Dr. Corenman earned academic appointments as Clinical Assistant Professor and Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, and his research on spine surgery and rehabilitation has resulted in the publication of multiple peer-reviewed articles and two books.