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Bicep and Shoulder Paralysis

Started by Bverkerke on 05/22/2017 4:56pm


I am 29 years I am very healthy, I am a weight lifter, never had an injury or back/neck problems. 3 months ago I woke up with a kink in my neck, turning my head side to side was limited and there was a tight and sharp pain in my right trap. I decided to go to the gym to loosen it up followed by a massage. That night I began starting to loose movement in my shoulder and bicep and there was swelling in my right trap area.

The next day I completely lost contraction of my bicep and my shoulder. I lost contraction to which I could not curl my own arm or lift my arm up from my side, but I had grip strength and tricep strength. After seeing 5 different doctors and getting 5 different MRIs two spinal surgeons said that I have a pinched nerve at my c4-c6 and my only option was a spinal fusion. After seeing a few more specialists and chiropractors nothing was getting better and a month later I decided to get the c4-c6 fusion.

I'm now 1 month post op. My neck is completely healed. I'm doing all normal movements , and had a X-ray and my neck is already starting to fuse.

Bad news is I still have paralysis in my bicep and in my shoulder, from surgery it probably realistically approved by 3%. The worst part of this is as well is my right bicep and shoulder have gone through horrific muscle waisting. My right shoulder and bicep are now 50% smaller than my left side.

I've gone through a complete physical change and lifestyle change. Because of this and my paralysis caused me to not be able to lift weights or go to the gym. I have lost 50lbs and my body looks lop-sided because of the muscle waisting.

I'm young, again I'm 29, I'm healthy, I heal very fast. Because of all this my spine surgeon said physical therapy will not help you, and that this is a waiting game. Problem with that is how long do I go until I take another route, will it be too late where my nerves will die? Could it be another issue?

What can I expect here? Could it be something else causing my paralysis? Is there anything I can do to get my bicep and shoulder back? Are there any medical treatments I can look into?

I'm literally willing to do anything at this point as this is affecting my whole life and my relationships.

Thanks very much to whom ever can help!

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1 Response


Hello, and thank you for your post!

Recovering from a spinal fusion can be quite frustrating because it's often a long process--and it can be painful, in some cases. Reading your post, it sounds like you've had a very successful cervical fusion so far! But, you're early in your recovery, and we understand your eagerness to get back to your previous fitness routine.

We'd like to share this article with you ( Pseudoathrosis (Failed Fusion) ). We understand you're not suggesting your fusion has failed--as you note that your bones are already beginning to fuse--but this article does a good job explaining some expectations around normal, healthy fusion recovery.

It might be awhile until you're able to lift again, but you should be able to get back into your lifting routine eventually. It just may take a few months or longer (depending on the recommendations of your surgeon). With all that said, that should not prevent you from noting the symptoms and pain you're feeling during recovery to your surgeon. If something is just not sitting right with you, talk to your doctor. Tell your doctor about your expectations of getting back into your previous gym routine, and ask whether your expectations line up with reality from your doctor's perspective.

Fusion recovery can be just plain hard, but it does sound like your surgery went well. As frustrating as it is to wait out the recovery period, oftentimes that is the best and only option. We hope this information helps, and we wish you a smooth and speedy recovery from spine surgery!