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Burning pain in shoulder after ACDF of C5-6 & C6-7 disks
cj12210 posted:
I had ACDF surgery the end of April & have been having severe burning in my left shoulder (I had the burning before, but has become worse since surgery). I have seen my surgeon & the assistant surgeon since surgery, but when I have brought up the burning, they tell me that it's the healing & have now put me into Physical Therapy. I have spoken to others that have had the same surgery & they said that they had the burning pains prior to surgery, but have not had them since surgery. Even typing on the computer is painful, doing a load of dishes or laundry is enough to put me on the couch in extreme pain. Does anyone have any suggestions?
nycgirlie4 responded:
I had the same surgery in January. My arm and shoulder are perfect now. I have two steel plates and screws as well. I still have horrifiying pain by the shoulder blades and T4. Neck is still sore a little. Pain meds are my only salvation. Just turning my head or moving my arms are dibilitating. I am seeing doc tomorrow to discuss a new finding which may be causing this. Mri showed a lesion on T4. Does the therapy help you?
David Maine, MD responded:
I am sorry to hear you are struggling. I would once again follow-up with your doctor. Things can take time to improve after surgery but a worsening of pain is atypical when 3 months from surgery. I would ask your doctor to investigate causes at this point. This could potentially be arising from the cervical spine, shoulder, or purely from muscle spasm/deconditioning. Best of luck
cj12210 replied to nycgirlie4's response:
I just had my first Full therapy appointment yesterday. She is starting with my core & getting that strengthened first. I felt pretty good, a little sore, but last night I turned my head to the right just a little & felt the neck area "lock" up. This morning, I am still having a hard time turning my head to either side. The burning is still there, 7 becoming worse as the day goes on. I called my Dr about it, but he is out of town until July 8th & the assistant surgeon is also out of town until July 7th. I have a whole list of questions at this point for my dr & have decided that I am not leaving until I have answers. At this point, I am due to go back to work the beginning of August, but can not lift my arm above my head. Even doing a small load of dishes brings on extreme pain & burning.
I will talk to dr about doing more tests. Thank you for your input. I greatly appreciate it.
cj12210 replied to David Maine, MD's response:
Thank you, I appreciate it. Even small things that I normally did before surgery are extremely painful. I am due to go back to work the beginning of August & am still unable to lift my arm above my head, even doing a small load of dishes, keeping my arms close to me, is extremely painful & brings on the burning sensations. I have also noticed that there is an area on my shoulder that is extremely tender to the touch, I jump when it is touched, or even brushed across.
francine0974 replied to David Maine, MD's response:
I had an ACDF done 7/19/2011. I had three discs removed (c4-7) and a metal plate inserted. They used artificial material to replace the removed discs. I had no numbness prior to surgery and my no pain in the wrist area. Since my surgery I have numbness in my upper left shoulder and my arms hurt a lot worse than before, my wrists hurt whenever used, and my arms are extremely painful and weak..I have a MRI on Thursday to check the c5-6 because the SPA wants to check for nerve damage..There has been no relief for me as of yet and I still have to have four discs removed in my lower spine..Not sure if I will if the upper has this much trouble afterward..I would rather be in a wheelchair than deal with more pain after surgery..Yes, I wear my collar faithfully, I am not doing anything I am not suppose to do, and I faithfully wear the bone stimulator also. I did a lot of research before the surgery but this shows that no two people are alike. Just wish I could go back to work because being home sucks. UGH.
cj12210 replied to francine0974's response:
francine0974, I had the surgery on 4/25/11 & have had pain & burning in my left shoulder & neck area since surgery. I am due to have my MRI & CT Milogram done today to find out what is wrong because my spine doctor believes that there is a pinched nerve in my C5-6 region. I also have a EMG scheduled next month. I too wore my collar religiously & am still using my bone stim. The numbness I have is in both hands, left more than right, but enough that I have had to re-learn how to do certain things, I am always looking at my hands to make sure that I am actually holding whatever it is I have because my thumb, index & middle fingers have no feeling. I too feel your pain, I know exactly what you are going through. I have been off work since January, all of this was caused by a near miss accident last September. I too am so ready to go back to work, but in my line of work, I need to be able to use both arms & have them at full capacity. I wish you the best of luck in your healing. I will post the findings once I know, hopefully I can help someone else.
cj12210 replied to cj12210's response:
We finally have answers. I had an MRI of my left shoulder, a CT Milogram & EMG done. The MRI of my left shoulder shows a tear in the rotator, the EMG shows carpal tunnel in the right hand (most likely from sleeping on my right side since the accident), as well as an issue at the C8 level (I believe it is the T1 level?). Now I have to wait for the approval of an Orthopedic to find out what the outcome will be for the left shoulder. I really hope this helps someone else. If you have had the surgery & are still experiencing pain, have your doctor request an MRI of your shoulders & a CT (I don't suggest the CT Milogram, as you are in pain for about a week after). Good Luck & after I know more of what is going on with my left shoulder, I will post for others.

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