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Spinal Cord Disorders Message Board

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Hi, er, neckpatient. ;)

I typed and re-typed about half a dozen responses and just couldn't seem to put anything together that sounded right. So, apologies in advance if this is all confusing and disjointed.

You probably already had some problems at the c6-7 level back in 12/04 when you had your first surgery. But it wasn't bad enough to produce pain or other symptoms so there was no reason to address it at that time. So really, the c6-7 you just had operated on had actually been damaged longer than the previous c4-6 levels.

Does that make any sense? Your recovery is taking longer this time because the area was more damaged.

Also, didn't you start back working at home soon after your surgery? I don't know about you, but typing/mouse is one of the top things to cause me pain. Have you really given yourself enough rest?

Are you going to PT? You mentioned upper back stiffness and neck pain. You might find that neck and back and shoulder stretches and strengthenig do a lot for muscle tension and fatigue.

I don't know if this applies to you at all, but for about two weeks I was finding that I was getting a LOT of very painful burning across my chest and ribs and down the inside of both arms when I typed. This was not (except the chest) an area I'd had so much trouble with before. My PT told me that it was a symptom of overusing my thoracic vertebrae, overcompensating for the new fusion. I got a lecture about my posture (horrible) and started trying to be more aware of sitting up straight at the computer and it has helped tremendously.

Eight weeks out from surgery is not so long. Neither, for that matter, is ten or twelve weeks. I don't know why you would set that timeframe as the deadline for when you should be "at your best".

My surgery was just about three months ago. I had been experiencing symptoms, sometimes just annoying and sometimes near to unbearable, for about 2-1/2 years. I posted a message a couple of weeks ago, depressed as heck because my arm/hand pain had returned to almost the pre-surgery level. In addition, I had a new, stabbing pain in my left shoulder and the burning down my chest & torso. I was devastated.

I eventually realized (thanks much to this board) that I had, once again, overdone things, attempted too much. I was feeling good and thinking I could get back to "normal". I was wrong.

Sometimes it takes days for the inflammation to ratchet up and the pain to kick in. I talked to my surgeon today and told him of the ups and downs of the last six weeks and he agreed 100%. Said that almost everyone does it - starts feeling better and thinking they're capable of "normal" activity, when actually they still need to be going at 1/2 capability or 3/4 capability for a while yet.

I am still taking pain meds, muscle relaxers and Lyrica. I've been slowly backing off the pain meds, but that means I'm now taking maybe 3 to 6 a day (depending) and feeling better instead of 12 and still feeling awful. At this point I'm probably taking them more often preemptively than I really need to. I'm also about to to start lowering frequency on the other two. And I'll be able to start taking anti-inflammatories again soon, and he says that will help.

I guess all this rambling is just meant to say "don't give up yet". I know you are struggling with work issues and decisions, but don't let your physical delays discourage you too much.

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