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Can anterior discectomy and fusion of C5-C5 lead to severe back and rib cage pain?

Nov 2013
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Practicing since : 1994
Answered : 5574 Questions
I had an anterior discectomy and fusion of my C5-C5 discs a week ago. My neck and shoulder pain is much reduced, although I still have some problems with numbness and tingling in in left arm when using my computer. What is REALLY bad is that I have severe pain in my mid back, mostly on my right side at the bottom of my rib cage. I have been sleeping in a neck collar on a wedge pillow to get the 45 degree angle my surgeon recommended, and when I wake up in the morning the pain is excruciating. I'm taking Percocet and diazepam, according to my doctor's order. The pain does wear off and isn't as bad, but I still have it all day to a certain degree. I never had this before surgery. Can the surgery have caused this? I have an appointment with my doctor in four days, but I am not in the same town as he is and it's a long drive. If this is possibly caused by the surgery, I can wait until I see him, but if it's something else I want to get it taken care of. It really hurts. Thank you for any advice you can give me.
Posted Wed, 29 Jan 2014 in Brain and Spine
Answered by Dr. Sudhir Kumar 1 hour later
Brief Answer: My reply is below. Detailed Answer: Hi, Thank you for posting your query. Your symptoms are possibly related to the C5-6 disc disease, which has got aggravated by surgery. After surgery, there would be swelling at the site of operation, resulting in compression of the cervical nerve, which travels to the arm. This results in pain, tingling, and numbness of arm, which may extend to the fingers. For relief of symptoms, you may take pregabalin capsules. You can wait for four days until you see your doctor. We expect improvement in your symptoms over time. I hope my answer helps. Please get back if you have any follow up queries or if you require any additional information. Wishing you good health, Dr Sudhir Kumar MD (Internal Medicine), DM (Neurology) XXXXXXX Consultant Neurologist Apollo Hospitals, Hyderabad, India Click on this link to ask me a DIRECT QUERY: My BLOG:
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Follow-up: Can anterior discectomy and fusion of C5-C5 lead to severe back and rib cage pain? 25 minutes later
This doesn't answer my question. I know there can be pain, swelling, numbness in my arm, and I am not concerned about that. What I asked about was the SEVERE PAIN IN MY MID BACK AREA, mostly on the right side. I want to know if the surgery could have caused this. If not, should I see a doctor now or is it okay to wait until this Friday?
Answered by Dr. Sudhir Kumar 10 minutes later
Brief Answer: Thank you for getting back. Detailed Answer: I am sorry if I did not make myself clear in more detail in the first answer. Yes, one could get pain in the mid back area, due to the surgery in the cervical spine area. This could occur with swelling in the spinal canal, leading to pressure over the nerve roots and spinal cord. The pain would reduce over time, as the swelling subsides. You can wait until Friday. However, if you notice an increase in your pain or if you notice weakness of arms, then, you should see the doctor earlier. Best wishes, Dr Sudhir Kumar MD DM (Neurology)
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