T Nation

Muscle/Strength Loss After Neck Surgery


I am new to this forum and the T-Nation. Please excuse my long email, but I want to give some background to my situation. I have been recently interested in building up my body following a motorcycle accident which left me with a very sore neck and right arm and shoulder problems.
Following the accident I began to notice a loss of strength in my arm it was just a little, and over the next year I had increasing discomfort and pain in my arm and shoulder.

I went to see several doctors and entered into physio-therapy. Although the therapy helped some, it did not relieve the pain and sometimes numbness in my arm. I slowly started to loose strength in my right arm, it got to the point where I could not even lift 5 kilos.

I finally went to a neuro-clinic and had an MRI, they found a severely pinched nerve in my spine (CV6) and two completely compressed disks. I was told that I needed surgery, and that if I did not act quickly I may loose the ability to use my right arm altogether! I had surgery a little over a year ago and have been slowly gaining back strength in my arm.

I decided to join a gym and get a trainer last month and am going to the gym 3 to 4 days a week. My right arm is still weak, and there is considerable muscle loss in my right lat, so much so that when compared to my left lat it looks like two different people. My trainer has me working on gaining back strength, and although I am feeling stronger, I am not seeing much muscle tone returning to the injured area.

I have read that sometimes the muscle will not fully return. I am wondering if anyone in here has had a similar situation with an injury and muscle loss, and what has been your progress with strength training and muscle gain in the injured area?

I am 5’11; 190lbs, and 50yrs old.


Will post some pics when I get to the next level!

i had a nerve injury in my right trap/shoulder, still working on filling out the lats, they are a bit uneven like yours. ITs been a lil over a year since it happened and the arms are pretty much the same, they measure the same but i still think they look a lil different.

You could add extra volume for the weak arm, but that can be risky for a nerve injury, you dont want to over do it. I would focus on single limb work for a while, making sure both arms are the same strength and so u can focus on muscle activation equally for each arm. That last part was super key in returning to even strength levels. Also at 50yrs old, you probably wont be getting huge, so i would worry more about equal strength and activiation rather than just by size.

You didnt use that arm much for im guessing quite some time so its no surprise that its much smaller than your active arm. It will take just a smuch time to build it back up if not more.

It is not uncommon for it to take a couple of years to balance out after you begin exercising.