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Neck cramps

Posts: 15
Joined: Jun 2010

Hi, I am new to this discussion group but have posted on the skin cancer board a few times. I had a left neck dissection, alnd, and part of my scapula removed along with levels 1 to 5 lymph nodes removed in April 09. Radiation and chemo completed July 09. For the past 8 or 9 months I get frequent painful neck and upper back spasms (cramps). Has anyone else experienced this? O by the way my recent scans did not find any more cancer, praise God!!!

Skiffin16's picture
Posts: 8286
Joined: Sep 2009

I just wanted to welcome you to our part of the forum...I didn't go through what you did. I had tonsil cancer and a lymph node (primary and secondary), STG III, SCC HPV+ (Tonsillectomy, chemo and radiation).

While I didn't have the surgery that you went through. I did have a collar bone dislocated several years ago, and surgically repaired. I know for several years that I needed to try and exercise it, maintain a full range of motion, etc.. If I didn't, I'd get the same or similar symptoms as you are having. Not sure if that's the case with you or not. But have you been to or seen a rehabilitation professional, or did they set you up any kind or physical therapist?

It would talk to your medical professionals and get there take on your situation, especially the surgeon.

I'm sure someone on here as had a similar experience or can offer you firsthand knowledge.

Again, welcome to the forum....


Posts: 15
Joined: Jun 2010

Thanks John. I did 6 months of PT and continue to do daily exercises for my neck and shoulder. My surgeon did recommend PT again.

ratface's picture
Posts: 1319
Joined: Aug 2009

I had a right neck disection last November with 9 nodes removed and yes I still get some pain in the area. I don't get spasms but minor intermittent pain. I think the pain may be more from the radiation than anything else. Radiation causes fibrosis which is a hardening and tighting of the skin. Also a contributing factor in the spasms might be nerves that were cut during the operation. The spasm may be a good sign that some regenerating is occuring. Personally I think we will have constant reminders in this area for the rest of our lives. Some here advocate acupuncture for temporary relief. You might also find a lymphedema massage therapist in your area and go for a couple of seesions and learn some of the techniques to do on your own. You might also benefit from almost superficial massage in the area stimulating blood flow and warmth. Check out a Tai Chi massage for the head and neck area.

wboaz's picture
Posts: 48
Joined: May 2008

I still get cramps when I yawn, look hard down and to the left and sometimes when I stretch. It's just part of my "new normal", just like biting my cheek, tongue and lips (OUCH!).


Kent Cass
Posts: 1898
Joined: Nov 2009

L'hermittes Sign is still with me, too- 18-months, post-treatment, mostly on the side of my neck that got the most rads, and had the tumors.


delnative's picture
Posts: 450
Joined: Aug 2009

In addition to the chemo and rads, I had a modified radical neck dissection in January '09. I've noticed recently that sometimes, if I turn my head in just the right (wrong) way, I feel a cramp coming on in the right side of my neck.
It goes away if I quickly turn my head in another direction. It doesn't happen often, maybe once every week or two. Not a big deal, though.

--Jim in Delaware

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