Thursday, September 1, 2011
About a month and a half ago (mid-July), I started having some pain on the left rear portion of my neck, and extending into my left shoulder. I figured it was unrelated to my operation and that it would go away after a few days. It didn't.
I went to see the doctor last week. The doctor took some x-rays and decided that I possibly had a pinched nerve, and that physical therapy might help. I told him about my surgery. He seemed to think it was unrelated, though didn't rule it out. I then sent a note to Dr. Berke's office, and his new clinical assistant, Dr. Jamal (Dr. Long had by then moved on to another role in the hospital), about the neck pain. She felt that most likely it was not related to the operation.
Today, I started the physical therapy. I explained the operation to the therapist. She believes that there very likely is a connection between the operation and the pain. Since the muscles in the front of my neck were cut as part of the operation (there are some small muscles in the neck on that area as I understand it; they don't cut any major ones), the muscles in the back of my neck have been compensating.
The PT helped (I would describe it as kind of a neck message targeted at key muscles) and the pain is now less. She gave me some neck exercises to do at home, mainly intended to help the muscles in the front of the neck regain strength. The exercises are also intended to restore some of the mobility that I've lost in my neck since the operation (I can't turn my neck as far left or right as I used to be able to).
There's probably no knowing definitively whether the operation played a role or not. It might just be that I'm getting older, but my gut feeling is that the neck pain is a result of the operation. The pain isn't extreme, just annoying, a "pain in the neck" in every sense of the phrase.