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Recovery after cervical spinal fusion surgery



I had cervial spinal surgery on June 28 of this year. My pain seems to be worse than before the surgery. The fusion was done on dics 4,5,6, and 7. He found collapsed discs and said my bones are very soft.

He sent me for a cat scan a couple of weeks ago and an x-ray. He said it looks like it is healing o.k. Why do I have more pain now and will physical therapy help? Also, is it possible that something is not healing o.k. but cannot be seen on the cat scan. What about an MRI?


An MRI may be helpful in envisioning soft tissue that is not always visible via CT scan. However, it is also more expensive and, thus, insurance companies will not always cover its costs unless absolutely necessary. This may be a reasonable next option to diagnose the source of the pain (which is important for proper treatment). The physician could also use EMG to ascertain if the pain might be specific to issues with your nerves.

There is no way we can tell you through this forum whether PT will reduce pain or be efficacious in other ways; however, it is usually advisable. And, some PT’s can offer modalities that can reduce pain.

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Response by:

Stephen J Page, PhD Stephen J Page, PhD
Director of Research, Associate Professor
Drake Center
University of Cincinnati