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Old 01-16-2010, 02:21 PM   #1
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re-current symptoms weeks after surgery at C5-6

Hi all!

I am new to the board and could use some help from people who have had cervical surgery in the past.

A little background:
About two years ago my wife noticed that after she stood up from a squated position her thighs would shake and tremor. It then progressed to severe arm and leg pain following exertion. Arm and leg pain became chronic about ten months ago and an abnormal gait while walking.
After seeing and being tested by countless neurologists, rheumatologists and hormone specialists, her diagnosis was fibromyalgia, without the tenderpoints.
During this time she had an MRI of the cervical spine. At the C5-6, it showed a disc bulge that was slightly flattening the spinal cord. Dr's said it was not significant enough to cause her symptoms.
About two months ago, I found a Dr./Scientist, who happened to live in our area, who has been researching cervical spinal cord compression and the familiarity with fibromyalgia patients. She had another MRI done and this time with her neck in the flexion and extension positions. Bingo! While in the extension position her spinal cord compression nearly doubled at C5-6. She was diagnosed with central canal stenosis and myelopathy.

Three and half weeks ago she had sugery (anterior diskectomy and decompression of the spinal canal).

The morning following the surgery all previous symptoms were gone! Just neck pain from the surgery itself. It got better and better for the first two weeks...Then, she over did it. I got home to find out all she had done around the house and immediately had to remind her everything the Dr. had told her with recovery and all. Needless to say I wasn't happy. Since then, her past symptoms have been slowly creeping back. Started with her leg pain coming back and now its also back in her arms. However, her myelopathy hasn't returned.

Has anyone else experienced re-current symptoms, post a succesful surgery?

Sorry about the long winded post, but I felt a little background might help.

 
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Old 01-20-2010, 11:28 PM   #2
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Re: re-current symptoms weeks after surgery at C5-6

I left this for a few days waiting for some of the recent surgery people to add to this question - but none , so here goes.

It would be very common to have a recurrence of symptoms when you start resuming normal activities. That is your body telling you it needs a little more time to heal. Activity should be added by gradually increasing not going full guns all at once. Those nerves and muscles need to adjust to the new positions and alignment that has been created after your surgery. Also they still smart from prior to the surgery and may act up now and again, getting better over time! Any new or severe symptoms should always be discussed with your treating physician.

Last edited by PNo; 01-20-2010 at 11:29 PM. Reason: added last sentence

 
Old 01-21-2010, 06:42 AM   #3
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Re: re-current symptoms weeks after surgery at C5-6

Neckpatient is absolutely correct.

I just had ADR at C5/C6 5 weeks ago and although I am basically pain free now, the slightest overexertion brings back most of my original symptoms in a hurry and I'll need a couple of days of no exertion for them to subside. I think the healing process is going to take several to many months using a very slow and gradual approach to adding activities and stress levels to get back to a near normal state. I anticipate many temporary, though frustrating, setbacks along the way before I get to the fully healed/as good as it's ever going to get end state.

Good luck!

 
Old 01-21-2010, 09:15 AM   #4
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Re: re-current symptoms weeks after surgery at C5-6

I agree with everyone else and I have had three cervical spine surgeries with my last one on 1/4/10. I always feel like I am so much better about the first 10 days following my surgery and then boom it hits me that I don't feel as well as I thought I did. My surgeon has always said that it takes up to 4-6 months for recovery and sometimes even longer depending on each person. It is very easy to try and overdo when you think you are feeling so much better but just tell your wife she needs to take it easy and not overdo because you can cause problems if you don't.

Linda

 
Old 01-21-2010, 09:39 AM   #5
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Re: re-current symptoms weeks after surgery at C5-6

Thanks for the posts, all makes sense.

Tuesday was her 4 week follow up. Neurosurgeon said she could take off the collar, as her x-ray looked good. She tried sleeping on her side for the first time since the surgery and woke up to extreme pain in the shoulder blades. Last night she went back to the collar. Her recurring symptoms have seemed to subside quite a bit which is good, she just can't seem to find a comfortable sleeping position.

Any suggestions on sleeping tricks?

 
Old 01-21-2010, 04:39 PM   #6
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Re: re-current symptoms weeks after surgery at C5-6

I wore the collar both surgeries and didn't get to take it off until 12 weeks, after wearing it 24/7 except while in the shower. I found advice from my surgeon worked very well. They told me over a week to gradually wean off the collar. Starting first watching tv when I wasn't moving around, Then added hours the next day while doing some activity, working a system to gradually wear it less and less, and finally no wear time at all. She should expect to have some muscle spasms and that is normal, those muscles need to strengthen back up! I found feather pillows that I can mold around my neck for support work best. Good luck.

Last edited by PNo; 01-21-2010 at 10:20 PM. Reason: sp

 
Old 01-21-2010, 04:53 PM   #7
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Re: re-current symptoms weeks after surgery at C5-6

Quote:
Originally Posted by neckpatient View Post
I wore the collar both surgeries and didn't get to take it off until 12 weeks, after wearing it 24/7 except while in the shower. I found advice from my surgeon worked very well. They told me over a week to gradually wean off the collar. Starting first watching tv when I wasn't moving around, Then added hours the next day while doing some activity, working a system to gradually wear it less and less, and finally go wear time at all. She should expect to have some muscle spasms and that is normal, those muscles need to strengthen back up! I found feather pillows that I can mold around my neck for support work best. Good luck.
Thanks Neckpatient,

That sounds like a great approach to try.

It just amazes me as to why the neck and back take so long to heal as compared to anywhere else...I guess because it's the lifeline to the rest of our body.

 
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