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I have pain in my left shoulder, upper back and numbness down my left arm. I had a C5-C6 fusion with donor bone back in March of 2008. I did extremely well after surgery and had immediate relief of my nerve pain. On subsequent visit to the surgeon I had x-rays that showed the proper placement of the plate and donor bone. I am a fitness instructor and I teach 6 to 8 1 hour classes a week. I was able to go back to teaching my class low impact/low intensity 1 week after surgery. I did well and had no complications other than the obvious surgical pain. I'm trying to determine if this pain is a complication of the fusion or possibly an overuse injury. My trapezius muscle is in knots, there is also muscle tightness and pain over my shoulder blade. My shoulder is also involved with pain in my anterior deltoid that radiates down my arm. I have numbness that travels from my shoulder all the way down my arm into my hand. I have no trouble with my range of motion and there are not any movements that hurt worse than others. I just hurts at varying levels all of the time. Today the numbness and pain has been a problem all day. I'm getting more concerned because now the numbness isn't just at night. I seems like the problem may be progressing.

I would like to try and figure this out and see if I can fix it before running to the doctor and paying more medical bills.
Sounds like a nerve entrapment. With all the invasive work you've had done, it leads me to believe that you could be suffering with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. A compression of the bundle of nerves in the shoulder & neck area referred to as the brachial plexus. There are many causes that can bring on TOS. Your complaints however would have me as a therapist, testing & treating for TOS. Neuromuscular therapy, physical therapy,& in extreme cases surgery can reduce our eliminate the pain. Contract your physician to refer you to a neuromuscular therapist, NMT & a physical therapist.. You may find this to be a way to eliminate your pain.
Hi SR9479,

I hope you got your issue worked out. I am responding to your post because I am currently experiencing the same sort of conditions following an ACDF. 18 months post (seemingly successful) ACDF c6-c7 and I have cervicle, sub-scapular, deltoid, tricept pain with loss of motion in my pinky and ring finger all on my left side. I have lost range of motion and strength in my fingers.

Sounds like a C8/T1 issue but after two MRIs they are saying that is not the cause. A third Brachial Plexus MRI turned up nothing but the doctors still think that I have Idiopathic Brachial Neuritis. I went through two weeks of Prednisone hell and the pain remains the same. Just had the EMG/NCS this morning and the doctor said I had nerve damage but it seemed to be recovering and that it did not appear to be getting worse. Hmmm I guess that is good news but I feel like the wekness in my hand has expanded to include not only my little finger but also ring and middle finger and the pain is still very bad at times (especially in my tricepts and rear deltoid).

My question for anyone in the know is: What questions should I be asking at this point and could this be related to my ACDF in any way.

It seems like every time I bring up the ACDF as a potential cause the doctors dismiss it quickly and move on to the IBN diagnosis. I know doctors never want to judge other doctors work but I want to know for my piece of mind that the issues are not related and that I can trust the results of the prior ACDF.

Thanks in advance for any/all feedback!





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