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After neck surgery, the surgical collar pinched the long thorasic nerve and now my right scapula had been wingging. Please let me know about any exercises to do to strengthen the muscles which are now weakened.

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Hi there.. I just had ACDF at c5/6/7. This was Aug 8, 2012. Where i was ecstatic to finally be free from the left arm tingling, I awoke after the 4th day at home to terrible right shoulder pains. I took more Norco as I assumed my body was feeling the fusion pains. two days later after a shower, as I was raising my hands to dry my head I realized that my shoulder blade was sticking out grotesquely. I freaked out thinking I had popped my shoulder out of socket. I immediately went to the emergency room which was at 1am. They sent me home like I was some pill junky and told me to contact my surgeon instead. My surgeon told me the next morning that they couldn't help me out and go see my regular doctor for a shoulder problem. My local doctor gave an x-ray to see if infact my shoulder was popped out of socket. It was not. It was fine, yet she had never seen anything like what was happening to my shoulderblade as I raise my right arm to shoulder level. I was sent home with muscle relaxers and still no answer as to what was happening to my shoulder blade. At the 5 week post op Surgeons meeting, the surgeon assistant was puzzled as I explained the situation. The Surgeon soon came in and quickly told me it was the LONG THORACIC NERVE that was causing the winging of the scapula. He hinted that I had this problem before he performed ACDF. I didn't challenge him as I tried to remain optomistic. I did infact NOT have this problem with my winging scapula before surgery.  The surgeon did not give me any guidance either. Just to come back in 6 weeks for ACDF followup.  I am a little worried. That is putting it mildly. I went home, googled myself crazy and have decided to do some stretching and muscle strengthening excercises. I am going back to the gym Oct 1, 2012 to begin my typical gym routine workout. I plan to go slow asn that is clearly because I havent been to the gym since June 2012. My body muscle mass has atrophy'd quit a bit. I cannot do 5 pushups now. I honestly am scared that I will never recover from this winged scapula and I fight daily to remain optimistic. I will just work at it and hopefully it will go away. If ANYONE has had a similar experience please respond.  Today is Sept 26, 2012, 7 weeks post op. 

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Follow-up. It is November 27,2012. It is 3mo - 3weeks since my surgery. I had gone to see my surgeon a couple of time since my previous post. As most of us would, I googled myself into a panic until getting more information and my last visit with my surgeon. I had been given an EMG test on the Long Thoracic. It was to test the conductivity and response to the shocking that is done during the test. The Dr administering this test assured me that by his results, my long thoracic nerve was intact. He quit candidly told me that being damaged ( not destroyed ) would take some time to heal, but that I should see the shoulder blade and wingiing of my scapula disappear as time went on. This gave me reassurement and it was what I had also read during my Google searching. I read that it could take 12 to 18 months to heal, if it does heal completely. I am at 3 months, so I have a long way yo go. When I had the follow-up visit with my surgeon, he confirmed the timeline for the healing. I was also shocked and relieved at the same time to have him exhibit a bit of humanity towards me. He said that he has performed surgeries for 20 years and that he has never had this winging scapula / thoracic nerve come as a result of that. Now, I don't feel flattered to be part of the club of "there was this one surgery and this thing happened" classification, but atleast he was human enough to continue that he was sorry this happened, but that risks come with any surgery and that you shold be ok after the healing happens. If you are reading this; Thank you. You showed you cared enough no to just BS me. So, here I am now.. sore from my first day back to the gym. I only made it to the gym 2x before deciding to let myself heal more. The past week I have been doing stretching and preparing for the return to the gym day. My stregth has come back a little more than on Oct 1. My shoulderblad still sticks out, but not as much. I still have near constant pain in my upper right back and the range of motion is getting less difficult to do. I'm not on narcotic pain meds only the occasional tylenol. I do feel better and I know that I can beat this with time. Motivation is key. Muscle strength is ultimately paramount to anyone young or old. I can and will succeed and anyone can.

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hi, ( it is Brock ),I created an account and if anyone has a question contact me.
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Did you ever find someone to fix your LTN? I too have terrible winging......I need the nerve operated on. I am in terrible pain. Thank you.
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