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Almost 2 weeks post-op for C4-C5, C5-C6 fusion. Had spinal cord compression at these levels due to severe disc herniations at these levels. Used my own bone (hip) for graft, and have plate and screws, etc. Stopped taking the Percaset for pain, replaced with Tylanol. (Along with muscle relaxants).

I originaly went in to see doctor and get and MRI as I had weakness and bad pain in the upper left arm, numbness in left hand, and loss of motor skills in left hand. (I am a professional bass player, and can no longer play!) The surgery was done as a more preventive measure than corrective measure, as the herniated discs were beginning to cause more symptome. Right leg was becoming toipicaly numb, right foot numb, etc.

Surgery went well. Couldn't swallow anything for 5 or 6 days. Am wearing a Miami brace 24/7 (hate it!), can't sleep for any length of time, (more like a series of 1 and 2 hour naps). Hip pain is all but gone. But now, out of nowhere, comes this upper back pain, between the shoulders. When I cough or sneeze, feel electric shock through both arms and both legs, with the center of it being right between the shoulders. Pain in left arm is gone, but still have numbness and no motor skills in left hand. Started getting numbness in right hand a few days ago.

Spoke with doctor about all this. Told it's "all normal stuff" after a surgery of this type. I was told that my spinal cord is "adjusting" itself to a more free space than before, and that some or all of these symptoms should subside over time.

Day time TV is boring, not much to do. Still can't play a note on my guitar. From my readings and reasearch, the upper back/shoulder pain is VERY common post op. Each day is an adventure in measuring current pains, identifying new pains or symptoms (keeping a daily log), and trying to find low eb things to do.

Best of Luck to all suffering through this.....


Dear Bass player, i've had a similar procedure for C6-C7 for C7 radiculopathy, for two to three days post op all the pain was gone but all my symptoms returned three days later,i assume its due to swelling of the nerves after surgery,
have your symptoms improved?


i need to go for this surgery.i have the same symptoms ,they want to remove 2 disks and the bone between them do you recomend this operation


I had surgery on c4-c5 on Sept. 21st and now have sort of a numbness/tingling on top of my head and pain in upper back and arms, I am also being told this is "normal" anyone else experiencing these symptoms after this type of surgery?


I guess there are an assortment of pains that folks have after cervical spine surgery. I still have some pain between the shoulders, but nowhere near as bad as it was 2 weeks ago. Legs are back to normal. Still having numbness in both hands, but I think they're getting better every day. Weakness in the left arm is also improving, but slowly. But I generally feel good, and feeling stronger every day. Starting to get back to doing things -light duty only.

4 weeks today was my 2 level surgery. Still wearing the Miami J brace, but am about to rip it off and burn it!!! It's on 23/7, with an hour off for showering, etc. Next week is another x-ray, back to see the sergeon.

No telling anyone whether or not to have the operation. Depends of how bad the spinal cord impingment is. In my case, there was NO choice. I had it done in the nick of time. Remember, nerve damage from spinal cord impingment can be forever! Any nerves that "regenerate" do so at a rate of about an inch per month, so I've been told.

Good luck to all of us going through this. Remember, better days are coming!


javascript:emoticon(':'(') I want to rip my collar off. It has been 6 1/2 weeks since my fusion and I am surfing the web trying to find out if I can sleep without my brace. I have a doctor's appointment in a couple of days but don't feel like I can even wait. How long did you all wear your braces before being able to sleep brace free?


Would like some advise... About 6 weeks ago I had cervical spine surgery to correct Stenosis at C4/5 & C5/6 plus degenerative disc's from C3-C6 ands reversal of normal lordosis. Prior to surgery, I had several epidural's and facet blocks. The epidural's never took the pain away, however, the facet block always worked well. The major pain going up towards the top of my head felt much better with the facet block, it's a shame that the epidural's didn't work this well, ot at all. Anyway, the numbness, tingling and dullness going down my right arm, hand and fingers feel much better. Thank god the surgery worked for that. The issue that I am facing is that the pain that was usually going from my neck down my right shoulder blader (BURNS) down my right arm has not gotten much better and actually, I am now having major chronic pain on the left side of my neck and shoulder. The doctor informed me that he eels this is muscle spasms and ordered me valiumn ans celebrex but it is not taking the pain away. My major concern is that I did this surgery and sure, I will prevent any further nerve damage, but the pain is just going to get worse.

Does anyone have experience with this? Is there any hope that my pain level will decrease overtime? I am very pleased that my feel in my right arm, hand and fingers improved but it is hard to continue to live with chronic pain which most peole don't fully understand. Anyway, has anyone who had this surgery felt improvement in their pain level weeks/months after their cervical spine fusion? If so, please provide me with some details so I can have something to look forward to. It's realy not easy to tell people that the surgery didn't meet all of my expectations so I don't say much and let people believe that the surgery was a complete success. If the pain level does not egin to decrease/improve then I will just have to let people know that the surgery was half way successful, which I guess is better then not being successful at all.

I apologize for venting, but it is very frustrating to fake that everything is 100% perfect, especially after the surgery. It really gets old, fast.

Anyway, just looking for some feedback from people that had cervical spine fusion. Any feedback, suggestions regarding my letter would be greatly appreciated.


Last fall, I started having major shoulder pain, then right arm pain, then tingling and weakness in both arms, loss of balance, etc. Eventually an MRI showed a major herniation at C6-7 and a minor herniation at C5-6. C4-5 had already been fused back in January 2002.

I had surgery on 12/28/06 - 4 weeks ago today (fusion from C5-7, with a titanium plate). So now I am fused from C4-7. I am am surprised at how fatigued I am all the time. I am 31 years old and otherwise in good health. At the end of last week (3 weeks out) I tried to cut down to plain tylenol but I still need the percocet or loritab for the pain. (I still take the muscle relaxant soma 2/day- down from 3/day). I noticed that I was even more tired when I stopped the narcotics. When the pain kept me from my walks, I went back on them. Is it the pain that's making me so tired? How do you manage the fatigue, and any ups and downs? I felt better last week than this week. Primarily, I have pain in the shoulders (which makes sitting here at the computer uncomfortable to say the least). My upper left arm and the inside of my neck hurts too. Getting so tired is what bothers me more, though. When did your energy level come back? I hoped to go back to work after my post-op NS appt next week. Now I get so tired after every exertion that I don't know if I can. Believe me, all I want to do is get out of this house and back to work. I am walking every day - I'm up to 40 minutes. I went to a two hour meeting at my office last week just to put in an appearance. Counting the car ride and going through my mail, the entire outing was about 4 hours. It just about killed me. When did you folks go back to work?


Hello all you fellow Pains in the Neck ;-)
I too have have had cervical spinal fusion, on Dec 19, 2006, which makes me 6 1/2 weeks Post-Op. I can feel your pain and sympathize with those that are still having problems. I've searched so many sites trying to find answers to what are "normal" expectations and symptoms/problems after surgery but haven't found any good articles yet. This forum is by far the best thing I've found yet just to see if I'm normal! If yall have found a good site let me know.
I had a severely ruptured disc, C5-6 and a bone spur (osteophyte) on C4, my doc said I was in his top 10 worst cases he'd seen. I had pieces of disc all the way to my shoulder! I'm 45, female, and a smoker. I've read that smoking can prevent or slow the fusion, by the way. The one thing I've noticed in all the posts that is different with me, I did NOT have to wear a brace or collar! They gave me a soft collar and said I only had to wear it if it helped with the pain. I had the disc decompression with the Titanium plate. Was in hospital for 23 hours. Went home and have done really well. I went back to work in 4 weeks, my husband and I "Flip" (remodel) houses, so I have very physical work. I drove in 3 weeks. BUT now I think I've over-done it! IFor the past 3 days I have had constant burning pain on the top of my arm over my elbow area and "aching" pain across my shoulders and neck. From reading all of your experiences I guess this is normal? How long did your doc's say you have to wait for physical therapy? Mine says 12 weeks, but I'm already doing just about everything I did before, just not lifting anything over 10 pounds and trying not to do work over my head. Bassplayer, are you any better??? Good luck and keep posting... this is interesting and we can see how we all do in the next months.




OK I am not recommending that you folks try this at home. I am a 50 yr old male. I train daily with running/or elyptical for 20 minutes then lift weights for one hour. I am 6' 1" at 220 lbs. I had c4-c5 fused with bone and plate and two screws. I had surgery six days ago. The disc was basically exploded and lodged against the cord. The pain was absolutely excruciating. I am not one to rest. I am too much of a stress hound if I don't work out. I wore the brace for one day. I went to the gym after three days. I went today with my wife (sixth day). I lifted very heavy and used perfect form. Being sure not to involve any neck movement. I do have pain but am down to 2-3 number 5 percocet. I have been back to work as a prison counselor for 2 days. I read on the internet
about braces one level is 6 weeks, multi level about 12. Some surgeons are using them less or not at all. The braces are used mostly for pain control. Yes I hurt, but not like what I have read. I have recovered from multiple knee surgeries and now this. I always get right back to exercise as soon as I can tolerate it. My c4-c5 location in my neck, after much research is not really effected by chest and lower back, and leg exercise. Of course I don't squat, but use leg extensions and leg curls. I have done chest, back, triceps and biceps with legs daily now for three days. If I am careful of the weight and position of my head I have no problem. I would recommend as much exercise as you can tolerate. This has always helped me. I am not saying you should pursue stupidity if you are a non athlete, but really I have had many sport related injuries. Without any doubt I have only benefited from exercise. You can disagree or make any joke you want to. I am active and plan to stay that way. Stronger and flexible muscle will always prevent or at least make any cervical pain less. If you have corrected your injury, don't be afraid to walk with a couple of five or ten pound weights in your hand. You won't die, but you will get better faster


Had neck fusion surgery c5-c7 on Feb. 6, 07 and all pains down left arm went away immediately. Now having burning upper trap pain & swelling on right side. Doctor recommended muscle relaxers, and motrin, but neither help at all. Does anyone have any suggestions?


I have been looking for a site like this for months. I just happened on to it today. I have found all your replys interesting.

I had my surgery/fusion to C4-5, C5-6 back in Oct 2006. It was much like Bassplayers. I did fine, the Dr. came in after 12 hrs. I had no defining pain and my left arm moved great.

Three days later I was in great pain 8/10 and I could not lift my all! I made an appt with my surgen, he was not sure what was wrong. Long story short, I ended up with radiculitis, an inflammation of the nerve endings.

I was told this was rare, happens to about 3 to 4% of those with this type of surgery.

Nothing one can do but wait for it to heal. It takes between 6 months to a year. I have just reached my 6 months and still can not lift my arm. I still have pain from the rotator cuff and deltoid area.

I am doing Physical therapy 2x a week and have since about 8 weeks out. I never had to wear a brace, just a soft collar at nite.

I was replaced at my job, because I can no longer physically do it (need to beable to use my arms). I was given a temporary 'light duty' position which pays less than 1/2 of what I earned. I am not able to do a lot of things I was able to do before, e=ie, comb the back of my hair, kayak, swim, tennis.... It has been very frustrating but very eye opening as well.

I have done a lot of thinking these past months and have found that this surgery was a life changing experience. I am learning about myself and how one can adjust to such adversity. I was told the other day I may not get the movement back in my arm...that my recovery is moving very slowly...I came home and cried...and now I am ready to move on.

Would I do this surgery again, if I knew then the risks? I really don't know. I had severe spinal stenosis.. it probably would have needed to be done eventually. My neck feels great... I have learned a lot about myself and I feel that in the big scope of our world...that I am pretty lucky and happy.

I wishyou all fast healing.


Well I have been reading this thread, and getting more nervous by the minute...
I have been recenlty diagnosed with a severly pinched nerve in the area of c7, and my cervical spine is perfectly straight when it should be slightly curved. The area around C7 is in a shape of a V. The EMG has showed the pinched nerve, and i'm waiting to see what the MRI shows. I don't know what is going to happen next. I guess I'm putting the cart before the horse, but physical therapy doesn't help and the meds haven't either. The physical therapist sat me down and explained that they think the only thing that will probably help will be sugery and that I should probably start researching. Hence why I found this site. :-)

I'm alittle nervous because, this is affetcting my right hand, which is my only good hand, my left hand is paralyze from a stroke I had at age 7, I'm now almost 40. Any information on how everyone is doing after surgery would be appreciated. I hope you are all doing well, :-D , you all have my well wishes!!!


I really feel for all of you and my thoughts and prayers are with you. I have had two operations (12/04+5/06) for herniated discs (C5/6+ C6/7)w/pinched nerve(left side) in both cases. I also had no other choice. My first operation was awful, 5 days in the hospital and then got pneumonia. After that and PT I was "ok" for about 6 months. The pain returned. In 3/06 they found the 2nd disc had gone. I had to do it all over again. This time, right after the 2nd surgery I had horrible pain in my right shoulder. I couldn't sleep. I went to PT, they could do nothing to help it. The ortho + nuero surgeons were convinced it was muscular and it would dissipate over time, they were actually right. After the right shoulder thing left I started having pain in my neck(at the base of my skull, about where C1/2 or 2/3 would be, that shoots down to the middle of the back and down my left arm (like an electric shock). The neuro +ortho doctors did an MRI w/o contrast and recently an old fashioned Myleogram. Nothing wrong showed up on either test? I am DESPERATE for a answer. Something is wrong, very wrong. I can turn my head so slightly and I get hit with that electric bolt of pain. Oh yes, they have me on muscle relaxers, pain meds and now anti-depressants because of this 3 year ordeal. I can only sleep with the medication. I cannot work, I can bearly take care of myself or my husband or my three girls. This all has ruined my life and I have no where to turn. I hate taking medication and dread the thought of this going on for the rest of my life. If ANYONE has any suggestions please e-mail me asap. Thank-you