I’m just entering 8 weeks post-op from my decompression surgery (craniectomy with duraplasty and laminectomy of the C1 arch as well as part of the C2 arch) which, according to my surgeon, went well.
During the first couple of weeks, I had really awful neck and shoulder tension that eventually led me to the ER looking for relief since my surgeon was unreachable. Turns out I had extreme inflammation that required prescription anti-inflammatories, which the ER doc obliged with. I’m still unable to move my head to the left or up and down too much, but the extreme pain isn’t there anymore thankfully.
Also, the hearing in my left ear gets very muffled at times, as if I have swimmer’s ear. This hearing symptom has been present since my neck and shoulder muscles were inflamed and persists today. I noticed that when I iced my muscles back in week 2, the hearing would clear, so I’m curious is there’s a correlation between the inflammation/tightness of my neck and my ear.
Now, for the reason I’m writing this. I’m going into week 3 of having balance issues. It’s not true spinning, thank God – just the sensation that I’m leaning to the left. My eyes won’t focus fully and I get nauseous easily.
I had pretty much no balance issues to speak of for the first 5 weeks post-op and then as soon as I set off for home (I’d had my surgery out of state), the balance problems ensued. I’ve tried convincing myself that they came on due to the long periods driving through different elevations and the general strain of traveling, but since they’ve persisted, I’m starting to wonder if something is really awry.
My surgeon has washed his hands of me, I’ve been to an ENT who had trouble checking my “crystals” since the range of motion in my neck is very limited at the moment (and subsequently referred me to a neurologist to have an ENG done), and my physical therapist thinks I may have a peripheral (vestibular) issue but isn’t totally convinced my problems aren’t actually central (brain) in origin.
My sincere hope is that the limited range of motion in my neck is what’s causing the balance issues as well as the persistent muffled hearing and that these symptoms will resolve as I continue doing PT.
Can anyone relate to these symptoms or my experience? I really fear these balance issues may be permanent and while I’m trying not to panic, I see little light at the end of the tunnel as these issues persist.
Thanks so much,