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Eagle Syndrome - Online Support Group

8 Weeks Post-op set back or healing?

Hi All, my post-op update - I’m 8 weeks post-op today and was feeling great after my left tonsillectomy / styloidectomy. The last 5 days or so I feel I have slipped back somewhat; I can still see a tiny white scab in my throat and it still feels like something is stuck in there, like a piece of popcorn that you can’t dislodge.

My throat seemed to be healing nicely now it feels a little raw and sore, I have developed an ache in my jaw/ear and my ear is intensely itchy at times. I seem to lose my voice for no reason at times, is this all part of the healing process? I was doing so well, and trust me none of this is nearly as bad as the pain and other symptoms before my surgery, just wondering if I should be concerned and contact my surgeon or just let things be. Anyone else been down this road post-op? :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

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So sorry that you’re getting some pain again; as I’m sure you’ve read on here setbacks are common- it’s easy when things are going well to overdo it & ‘pull’ things inside! Itchiness is definitely a nerve healing thing, so that’s one to not worry about! The aching is probably nerves healing & maybe doing too much? I had external surgery, so not sure about recovery from that & the scab- did BFresh say that he’d still got scabs for quite a while too?
Try to not worry, see how things go, hugs to you :pray: :hugs: :hugs:

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Hi Weezie,

Just want to second what Jules said. Symptoms usually come & go for some months after surgery. Those silly nerves, they have to complain about everything - irritation & healing. You’d think happier nerves would just quietly & contentedly get better, but NoOoO… :unamused:

That said, if your pain intensifies furthre or doesn’t improve in a week or two, a call to your surgeon would be worthwhile.

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Hey @Weezie65 Sorry to hear you’ve had a set back, unfortunately that definitely seems to be the healing pattern from my experience! I did have scabs until around the 8 week mark so that sounds totally reasonable. I have had itchiness but then it’s allergy season too so I’ve just assumed it’s that. I still have a feeling that something is stuck in my throat, scar tissue or whatever not sure but it can be a bit annoying. I haven’t had any issues with losing my voice but definitely the throat pain that you describe has been an ongoing issue.

I’d have to say the last week or so has been much better, the past two days I barely noticed any pain at all. However, it is important to note that I’m on Tegretol and still upping my dosage to the “therapeutic level”. So I went up to 500mg yesterday and then I will go to 600mg this weekend. I’ve got blood work scheduled for next week because this medication can mess with your liver, blood counts, etc. So hopefully all that checks out for me, fingers crossed.

I’m not sure whether or not Dr. O’Connell would really get into prescribing nerve medications, I got mine from a neurologist I’ve been seeing for about a year or so. It’s never a bad thing to keep him informed though if it continues. Feel free to message me privately if you want to get into more specifics about medication, etc.

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BFresh- glad that you’ve worked out a medication regime that seems to be helping, & maybe with time & more healing it will be able to be reduced…

Thanks Jules, I think you are right, maybe doing too much and need to step back some. I have been resting more the last few days and am feeling much less pain. :relieved:

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Thanks @Isaiah_40_31, I’ve been feeling quite a bit better the last few days, stepped back some, resting more and less stress helps. :relieved:

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Hi @BFresh, sounds like we are on the same healing path, it’s comforting to know that this seems to be the way it goes and not back to all the pain before surgery.

Glad to hear you have a medication regimen that is working for you, sorry that is the path you are on, could it be your other side causing you grief?
I have been down the path of pain meds lyrica, tegretol, lamotrigine to name a few, I really don’t want to go back down that path. I think I just need to take things a little easier and let things heal. I do know that my other side is causing me some grief, I hope to have more relief once that side is gone too. Keeping my fingers crossed, and hoping to get back to my pre 2015 self eventually. :crossed_fingers:

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It’s been a long time of pain, healing will take time too…glad rest is improving things. God Bless you

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Hi Weez,
Im about 12 weeks out. I had the jaw/ear pain from the start and have struggled with it more after surgery. I dont have the itching though but that usually is a sign of healing. I would ask doc about losing voice at times. You had internal and tonsils so Id imagine alot of healing in throat.
Ive determined through my neurologist, pain doc and dentist it is a tight masseter and inflammation of the trigeminal nerve bundle close to ear. Ultra tight temporalis muscle which attaches to the same area also a problem. I have been having massage and started about 1 month out some massage of the surgery area to help break up scar tissue formation. Even this past week she said the area in the neck around surgery site still pretty tight. The jaw and ear pain were enough for me to have some steroid and botox in the jaw and temples to get this to relax a few weeks ago. It appears it has helped some with the ear pain although slowly over 2 weeks. Im not sure if that would apply to your ear/jaw pain given it was internal?
I tried something new last week per pain doc recommendation. Ive had some acupuncture in my jaw and masseter muscle. She attached a TENS unit (electrical stimulation) which I didnt expect but glad as it takes the acupuncture to a different level. It was strange feeling in jaw/ear but after 15 minutes, it shifted to the area in my neck that has been numb since surgery. It was small electrical stimulation to nerves that I think might help turn on these nerves again. Its too soon to tell as Ive only has one treatment but will keep you updated on progress for this. I will have 2 x week for a month. I am overall feeling better though. I hope you do as well on this healing journey. I was planning on scheduling my other side but not quite ready to go there yet due to the lingering pain issues.

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I have a TENS unit I bought from Amazon a few years ago and it worked great for my knee pain. Wonder if I should try it too?? Anything for some relief at this point. I’m like you, Snapple…not quite ready to discuss surgery on the other side yet! Thank you for all your wonderful advice.

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luv4pj,

Using a TENS unit might be a great idea to stimulate nerves that seem distressed. It may initially make them more uncomfy (I find this to be true w/ acupuncture & dry needling) but after a few hrs or a day the symptoms being treated often go away. Just make sure you keep the electric stim at a low level.

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Sounds like a good idea to postpone 2nd surgery for a while & let all those nerves heal a bit more…thank you for sharing your story & all your experience, you’re bringing lots of info & expertise here, it’s a great encouragement. Keep healing & God bless :bouquet:

Thanks Jules! Sharing and learning from each other is how we all survive ES. Speaking of tens unit stim low…I have to agree w Isaiah. When I was having some yesterday, the side of my face was pulsing out and it was dialed down. I didnt have tens on my otherside yesterday, I did have acupunture. Although Ive had a few shooting nerve pains on the right side here and there. It kicked up yesterday and it was positional. In the middle of talking to my son, I had one and grabbed the side of my neck for the brief electrical shock up my neck to my ear. I know people talk about the other side kicking up after surgery but I wasnt expecting this 3 months out. If it continues, I may reconsider putting off 2nd surgery. Argh.
I have to wonder while working to get the other side calmed down and muscles released that the other side is adjusting to a new normal and doesnt like it. Now it decides to rear its ugly head. I think our bodies go into a protective mode with the extreme pain the ES can cause. We unconciously learn to hold out bodies to avoid the most pain? I know personally my shoulders tighten up and then the whole neck and sides of head follow suit. Its been a vicious cycle of pain and muscle tension. Maybe now that my pain is finally calming down on surgery side, may brain now feels the right side? I definately have not had the right side kick up like this in a couple years. All and all, even after 2 acupuncture / TENS unit treatments, I feel it is helping…on the left side. what a journey this has been.

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Hi @Snapple2020, thanks for sharing your experience, and yes, I think it is a bit of a different journey with external versus internal surgery. From my research, it seems that my voice and throat issues are more likely from the tonsillectomy than anything else; up to a year to heal is what I read.

The nerve pain I am experiencing is similar to pre-surgery but much less intense and I for the most part do not have all the other crazy symptoms I had, so I am extremely thankful for that. I have faith that all will heal in time. :pray:

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The whole chain of styloid process, stylohyoid ligament, hyoid bone will be affected if there’s much calcification…& as both sides are connected to the hyoid bone, I guess it’s not surprising that releasing one side will aggravate the other side as it’ll perhaps be put out of balance…I agree too the if you have the worst side removed first, then you can ‘notice’ the other side more…feel for you, you’ve had a long journey, both for you & your daughter. Glad you’re seeing improvements though :bouquet:

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Thanks Jules. The electrical jolts seem to have passed…for now. I can see the value in some ways to have both out at same time. Suffer with recovery only once. The jolts are there to remind me its still there and not to put off too long. I think we all just want to put this behind us and move on to a healthier life and hopefully pain and symptom free. I agree, I think ES overall puts us out of balance. Long process to get back to a new normal. We need to have patience with ourselves and as Weez said, Have faith we will heal in time.

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Yes to the long process to get back to a new normal. Count on about a year for full recovery from each surgery. I know that sounds intimidating and most of us are pretty functional between 2 weeks & 2 months post op, but the nerve healing & pain recovery continue to progress for at least the next 10 months & often beyond.

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Yes, the recovery is about a year for each. Therefore, if you space them out 3 to six months, it takes a year from the second surgery. Snapple2020 mentioned neck and shoulder tension. You will see better days after the second side. I think you are right to work on massage of the scar tissue about a month to 6 weeks after, but you will have best relief when you can massage the scar tissue on both sides and work on releasing the trapezioid muscles from the sternocleidomastoid ( SCM) muscles that run below the jaw and the other muscles under the jaw. Several important muscles are held hostage by Eagles and they affect shoulder, and neck.
After your surgeries, if you are tight or feel painful hard spots in the surgical site,
or have shoulder, brachial plexus pain and neck pain, find therapy to break up the scar tissue and mobilize your muscles. You may discover that you do not need shoulder or neck surgery. You just need to retrain muscles.
I wish you better days ahead, you will begin to function better , but do not go for any other type of surgery before you have time to clear out your scar tissue and retrain muscles. I think I had an unnecessary cervical fusion.

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I am just now starting to get massage to work on the sore/tight places that remain in my jaw & neck from my ES surgeries (almost 6 years ago). I think I could have avoided surgery for Meniere’s Disease if I would have done this sooner. Silly me. I’ve read on here forever that massage post op really helps, yet I didn’t think my “leftovers” from ES surgery would benefit from massage. Should have tried it. It’s painful as all get out but doing wonders after only 2 sessions.

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