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Shoulder pain after cervical fusion C4-6 surgery

yesterday i had cervical fusion C4-6 surgery. Today I have an aching pain in my shoulders and a terrible soreness on the left side of my throat when I swallow. They said I would have some “discomfort” when I swallow but this is bad. Were they just downplaying it? And the aching shoulders. Not really PAIN......feels like I want to put a heating pad on it. Any suggestions what these are and what to do? I have the heavy pain meds but reluctant to take them. Thanks



  • Jersey girl, all of this is normal following a anterior fusion. The sore throat should subside after a few days. I know my shoulders ached as well and occasionally flare up on occasion even after 3 years. It’s important for proper pain control for a day or so following this surgery so take the pill on time and prior to the pain starting. It’s all normal and will subside. Any major concerns, call your MD! But get some rest and follow your MDs instructions to a T! Keep us posted!

  • David many thanks for the comments. It helps just to know what others have experienced. My expectations were too high. I think this will take longer than I was hoping. Will be happy when I can get past Christmas. But you have a wonderful holiday. And thanks again for taking the time.

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  • nutcase007nnutcase007 United StatesPosts: 274

    @jerseygirl0211 - I'm had two ACDFs and scheduled for a third. Normally the first week is the worst. For your sake, make sure over the holidays that you appropriate medical access if your swelling issues get too great. Five days after my second ACDF C3/C4, I had to be readmitted to the hospital. My case was unusual because of the spinal cord trauma.

  • Thanks Rob and Nutcase. I did today go back on the pain meds. What a difference. I can sleep. So I have concerns but for now I know I have to manage the pain to get the rest I need to heal.

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  • nutcase007nnutcase007 United StatesPosts: 274

    @jerseygirl0211 - I'm glad for your sake you went back on your pain meds. The soft tissue in your incision/ADCF are is very "angry" right now. It takes some time for soft tissue to calm down. Getting proper sleep post-op is very important. I hope it continues to improve for you.

  • Yes, my shoulders ached afterwards too. And my throat was so swollen. it hurt, couldn't talk. My husband called the doctor's office to get me more pain medications which helped me a lot. I think I have heard others say that the second day after surgery is the worse. Right now, what is bothering me is the band-aid that is across my throat and it's kinda pulling at my skin and hurting. In their mounds of information they give you upon discharge, they mentioned that the band-aid will fall off. Well it didn't, but I am scheduled for this Thursday to see the surgeon's PA, who will pull off this band-aid and I don't know what happens after that except that I am supposed to see the surgeon a month or six weeks after my surgery.

  • Hi carol....did you get the bandaid off today? How did it go? Well I am now 8 days from coming home from the hospital and finally off the pain meds. Today I woke with a terrible headache so did take a Tylenol for that. The shoulder pain is down to an ache. The throat is still annoying but I am able to eat more foods. I go o the doctor next Wednesday for the first checkup and hopefully he will take the stitches out. Wearing my neck brace per instructions. Not sleeping well at night but overall it seems to be moving along.

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