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BACK TO SQUARE ONE...ACTUALLY WORSE...AFTER CERVICAL ACDF
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BACK TO SQUARE ONE...ACTUALLY WORSE...AFTER CERVICAL ACDF

A short history...I was discovered to have a degenerative disk condition in my entire spine about 15 years ago. From time to time, I have had to see a doctor for neck stiffness and pain and would usually feel better after about a week off work and medication.

Starting in October or November of 2006, I started having additional and more severe symptoms that included severe limitation in range of motion, extreme pain when attempting to move my neck. It was worse when attempting to touch ear to shoulder, where there is almost zero range. There was a bit more range when attempting the other neck movements, but not much more. There was also a cracking or crunching noise when I moved my neck the little that I could.

I also had pain and tingling in my neck shoulders, upper back and "traps", with the most severe pain on the right side. I also had painful cramps in my "traps" and fingers on my right hand. Ocassionally, I would have tingling on the right side of my face.

I ended up being treated with physical therapy with no relief and I also had several epidurals with no relief.

In the course of this time, I had x-rays done as well as an MRI. It was determined that I had very severely degenerated disks at C-5,6 and C-6,7.

After having a nerve block with no relief, I had a diskoscopy done but which came back inconclusive.

The surgeon indicated that although the test was inconclusive, the disks were more than likely the cause of my problem so after advice from him, I decided to have the ACDF With Instrumentation.
done.He did caution me that the results may stay the same, improve or get worse.

I had surgery on May 9th and wore a soft collar for 2 months. I had my second follow up on July 5th and at that time, I explained that I was still having the same symptoms as before surgery. The doctor seemed upset and stated that I should be ready to resume normal activities and return to work with restrictions.

I explained to him that I still could hardly move my neck and after having me attempt to move my neck and saw a lack of range, he stated that I should have more movement then what I had and prescribed a month of physical therapy.

I did the month of therapy with no relief other than regaining the small bit of motion that I had before surgery and which had been restricted by the surgery and collar. This was not much of a gain and was so stated in the therapist's final eval.

When I went to my latest follow up August 16th, I again explained that nothing had changed...that I had the exact same symptoms as prior to the surgery.

The doctor looked at the latest x-rays and said that everything is going fine but never addressed why I was having the same problem accept to say that it may take more time..

He told me that he was sending me back to work with limited lifting restrictions. I explained to him that was fine, but I was more concerned about the pain and lack of range in my neck because my job requires constant bending and twisting of my neck for 8 hours and that I could not do it, especially since that was the reason I sought medical care in the first place.

He basically ignored me and stated that he was just going to go with the limited lifting restrictions and said that I needed to get back to a normal routine.

He never examined my neck, back or shoulders to determine the amount of range, pain or anything else. He also ignored the findings of the therapist. The only thing that he did was give me that standard strength test.

I returned to work on August 27th and since then, my symptoms have gotten worse...due no doubt to the requirement of my job.

I have become very frustrated and untrusting of the doctor so I sought a second opinion. The second doctor looked at my medical records, did the same strength test and that was. He didn't actually check my neck either and made reference to the slight gain in range mentioned by the therapist...totally ignoring the fact that the slight gain was actually what I had gained after having the surgery and wearing the neck brace.

I kept asking him about the worsening of my symptoms and the only thing that he offered was the I had serious surgery and that I couldn't expect it to be better after only 3 months, that it could take up to a year. I asked him if that were the case, then when could I expect some improvement and he stated that I should see some improvement after 6 months and if I didn't, it probably wouldn't get any better.

He seemed very reluctant to offer any opinion contrary to my surgeons and I just felt that he was giving me the run around.

Either I am supposed to be better by now or I should not expect to see any improvement for some time, which is it? Those who I know who have had the same type of surgery talk about how much better they are after 3 months and hav lost almost no range...actually gained almost all of what they may have lost prior to the surgery.

I am very disappointed and frustrated at this point and have no intention of returning for my next follow up since it seems to be useless to do so.

Is there any suggestions on what I can do to get help from another doctor? Someone who is going to be more concerned and caring and who will listen to his patient and run more tests based on his patients complaints?
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41 Comments Post a Comment
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Avatar_f_tn
By any chance are these doctors from Workmen's Comp?
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Avatar_m_tn
im sure i sound like a broken record to many readers, but your problem may have nothing to do with your spine at all--especially since you had decompression and you are unchanged. Going to PT and DOING PT are totally different. there are postural exercises and stretches for your problem (tight traps and shoulder pain) that patients need to do many times DAILY for months before their efficacy can be judged. Going to PT for an hour even 2 or 3 times a week for a month just does not cut it most of the time. If the problem is postural or related to muscle spasm and tightness-- well, muscles are a lot more stubborn thna that-- muscle memory is a huge component. IF this interests you at all then let me know and I will try to direct you more. I've been where you arw and I am pain free now--fixed it myself.

if your initial symptoms were stiffness and pain in the neck------that is muscular usually. nerve impingements usually cause numbness, weakness, symptoms into the hand and/or arm.
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Avatar_n_tn
I appreciate what you are saying but the fact is, I do know that what you say  is not related to the spine in fact is. I have done enough research to know that my symptoms are symptoms of a spinal condition.

Maybe you missed the part where I stated that I am having tingling in my neck, upper back and right hand as well, which is nerve related. Also the pain in my neck definitely is spinal related, with crunching and cracking and increased tingling on movement of my neck. Yes, there is some muscle issues involved, which would usually be the case.

I would also think that if it were something other than spinal related, the surgeon would indicate as much. He isn't telling me anything, especially whether or not he feels that it is unrelated to the spine.

Also, the physical therapist indicated that the only thing that would cause such tingling is a nerve related problem.

As for the muscles, that very well may be, but aren't the neck and shoulder muscles controlled by the nerves from the cervical spine?



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Avatar_n_tn
From the sound of it, you would think that it is a Workers Comp doctor but it isn't.

They have been quite unfriendly since my 2nd follow up visit when I mentioned that my symptoms had not changed at all.

As I have said, he has never examined my neck to see what might be going on. All he does is look at the x-rays and say that everything is looking good. He doesn't even respond to my complaints about my symptoms.

He just acts as if I never said anything.

Just last week, I asked his secretary if I could get a letter to send to VA so that I could show that I had surgery for a condition that I had while in the military and the dates that I was off recuperating and she basically said that the doctor will not do it.

The bottom line is that there is absolutely no interaction between the doctor and myself. It is as if he is trying to hide something.

He is not telling me why I don't feel any relief or anything and as I mentioned to the other poster, if it were something other than spine related, I am sure that he would say so just to get it off the issue of the surgery.

Also, before I had surgery I asked him if there could be other causes for my problem and he insisted that it was spine related.

I would hate to have to deal with a Worker Comp doctor is he is any worse than my own doctor.
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Avatar_m_tn
firstly, certain nerves from the brachial plexus run through and around the scalene muscles in the neck. these finger sized muscles take major punishment and go into spasm and get rock hard when there is chronic forward head posture as in computer users or people with desk jobs. these muscles can compress nerves. I only posted becaue you had the surgery and did not get better--- logic may tell you that the compression may be taking place outside the spine. tight neck musculature can easily cause the crackling sounds--- the muscles are so tight they pull the vertebrae together and cause them to rub on each other. My neck MRI reads horribly--herniations, stenosis, cord flattening etc etc. i had the crackling sounds all the time. After a few months of correcting my posture and working out the tightness in my scalenes, upper traps, SCMs , I can turn my head noiselessly like an owl. After a few hours on the computer-- i sound like rice krispies again and I have to go work on the muscles in my neck.

surgeons do surgery-- they are not really well read on things like crossed syndrome and muscle imbalance. Mention Upper Crossed syndrome to a surgeon and he will look at you crosseyed !!!!

Just food for thought for you, that's all. I agree your symptom are nerve related... the question is where is the compression???  the difficult part is that MRI findings do not always translate into the source of pain. Mot MRI finding are harmless and cause no symptoms, as bad a they may sound.
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178107_tn?1315951230
I had a two level ACDF(C5-C7) in Nov of 2006 due to herniated disk after a fall at work. It has been over 10 months now and I still have not returned to work.  My pain is worse than before surgery. The only thing it helped was the arm pain. My neck and right shoulder aches and burns all time time.  I have a terrible headache everyday.  I still don't drive because my range of motion is so bad. I am taking muscle relaxers and Demeral every 4 hours for the pain.

My doctor has done every test to be thought of and he says everything looks great.  He finally decided that I may have injuried the ulner nerve in my elbow when I fell and that my be causing my shoulder pain.  Even though the EMG was good he wanted to do surgery on my elbow.  During surgery he found a lot of scare tissue on the nerve and he thought that the surgery would really help me.

It has been 4 weeks since my surgery and my shoulder pain has not improved.  Now my ring finger, pinky and all the way up to my elbow is totally numb and I have a nine inch incision on my arm.   I know some of the feeling will come back as it heals, but I'm beginning to think that I'm stuck with the pain in my neck and shoulder for the rest of my life.  

I am 45 and husband and I waited late in life to have children, they are ages 7 and 4.  I feel like I have cheated them because it is very hard for me to care for them.  I know how frustrating it is to feel helpless.  My doctor has really tried to find out what is causing my pain, but I don't know what his next step will be.

It sounds like you my even want to get another opinion.  Sometimes doctors egos keep them from admitting they didn't do everything that they could.  Good luck.
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Avatar_n_tn
Ok, I see what you are saying. It makes much more sense now that you explain it this way.

Maybe that is why the doctor is so silent when I ask him what could be causing my problem...and that is all that I ask...at least tell me something, even if it is I have no idea.

I will definitely keep your advice in mind. BTW...you sound like a doctor...one who knows what he is talking about...:-).

Thanks
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks, bev62...

All of this is so crazy. Not only am I not better but I feel so abandoned by the doctor. As I said, there is absolutely no interaction between us. I voice my concerns and problems and the only response that I get is that everything looks good...LOL.

mike1105 has some good information but the only problem is getting a doctor to listen. You would think that if you were to discribe the symptoms, he would be able to figure out that it could be related to what mike1105 mentioned.

Meanwhile, I am in agony everyday while at work. The pain is almost unbearable. It isn't as bad when I am at home but the work that I do evidently aggravates it.

If I wouldn't be so embarrassed as a grown man, I would probably cry from the pain...:-(.

I did try the second opinion route and that doctor basically blew me off. He seemed to not want to step on the doctor's toes and say something contrary.



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Avatar_n_tn
I'm new to this and no one understands how I feel.  I read these conversations and I see me.  Yes, I'm on the computer in so much pain.  Let me give you a little history on myself.  I'm 40 female I've been injured since March 6, 2006 or I should say when I went out, but I think it is longer.  I have c5-6 disc extrusion wich central spinal stenosis, c6-7 4mm disc protrusion and borderline central stenosis caliber.  Bone spur in c3-4 w/o stenosis, and a disc bulge in at c4-5.  I've had a EMG test done in March they found something in my right elbow, and carpal tunnel in my right hand in 3 places.  I haven't had surgery yet due to worker com claim had to do the steps.  That has really drained me.  My company has terminated my employment as November 06 when I was out on disability I feel my life is over.  I don't what to do from one day to the next.  I'm emotionally drained from all of this.  I finally found a outlet where people who have suffered the same injury understand me.  I don't know what to expect from this surgery I just know I'm scared to death.
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Avatar_n_tn
I underdand you to I just haven't had the length of time as you.  10 years they found tension my neck from EMG and that I had tennis elbow.  I didn't think nothing of it.  When I hear say the cracking & crunching in my neck hear it in my sleep when I'm sitting down.  It sounds horrible I hate it.  I hope someone can help you with this because you sound like and I haven't had any surgery.  I'm just scared I want my life back at least 75% actually I'll take what I can get right about now.
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Avatar_m_tn
mds are clueless about this stuff... iwent to the mayo clinic 2x-- best facility in the world perhaps.. no help
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178107_tn?1315951230
What kind of surgery are they planning?  I know what you mean with workers comp, it's a joke what they make you go through.  I was injured on May 25 2005 and it was Nov 2006 before they did my cervical fusion.  The doctor said that could be part of the reason I'm still having so much pain.  He said that the longer you wait on that kind of surgery the worse it gets.  By the time they did it my disks had totally colapsed.

Have you retained an attorney?  That's awlful  that a company would fire you while your out of work because of them.  As soon as I saw how serious my situation was I retained an attorney, and I'm so thankful I did.  He has taken care of several problems during this ordeal.

I'm sorry your having so much trouble, hopefully after you have surgery things will be much better.  Good luck.
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Avatar_f_tn
I also was injured at work. L4-5 and several cervical disc problems. I retained a lawyer almost immediatelt through my union when I did not agree on the treatment I was receiving. I have been dealing with W.C. since. I have been declared MMI a few times. I was never given any lenght of time off to rest and recuperate. After the last time I was declared MMI I went to see a dr. on my own. He put me out for 4 weeks. I had my contract renewed then I was fired. So like I know what it feels like to be thrown away. I was so crushed that they could do that to me. I went to work so many times where I could not move my neck or could barely walk for pain. I have been unemployed now for about 3 months and I trying to figure out what I am going to do with my life now. I am a 46 year female. I have had doctor evaluations for my case and they said I could not go back to my line of work. I was an Instructuional Aide with special ed children. It is a very physically demanding job that I can longer do. I have limitations so it will be hard to find another line of work. I also encourage you to get an attorney if you have not done so already. You are probably looking at a life long problem.
Take care.
Chadry
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Avatar_n_tn
Yes I was smart enought to seek an attorney.  Intially I tried to go to my own doctors and they had me doing all kinds of things and I got real frustrated.  When I went out on March 6th 2006 about 2 weeks later I asked my absence administrator to get to a Work Comp and she didn't.  Then 2 weeks after that I asked her again and no progress was made, meanwhile I'm out on FMLA and disability.  My primary care physcian intially told me I was out indefinitely.  I've had physical therapy, pain management, 3 MRI's several X-rays, & EMG.  The EMG found Carpal Tunnel in my right elbow, forearm, wrist, & fingers (Thumb & Index-Ring & pinky) also on the pad of my thumb inside my hand.  So after they finally do this Cervical Fusion intially in August 06 was just going to be my C-5, as of July of 07 it has gotten worse I believe it'll be a Multi Level due to the size of both and the disc bulge and the bone spur which I didn't have before.  So Bev62 I understand about the time it isn't on my side right now and that scares me to death.  As far as my lawyer is concerned she filed a wrongful termination suit as well as work comp claim.  It's funny when I did my depo in Nov. 06 I was just terminated and she told the company insurance that they need to be prepared to relay that info to my company.  This has been a most devistating excluding the death of my sister that has every happened to me.  I've worked all my life and to be without money every 2 weeks because I've exhausted my disability, I can't get unemployment due to my injury because you have to be able to work, and SSI doesn't want to give me any money I've exhausted all my savings there is nothing left.  That is very depressing this injury is depressing.  I can't be me I can't do what I use to do and I hate that this has happened to me.  The only good thing is I found a wonderful man who has stood be my side with all the pain,tears, & financially.  That was my blessing through all this.  I know one day I hope to get better.
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178107_tn?1315951230
I know exactly how you feel.  If it hadn't been for my husbands help and support I don't know what I would do.  I don't know if I will ever be able to work again, but right now I'm just worried about being able to care for my children.  My attorney tells me that due to the company being at fault for my injury I am looking at a very large settlement, so hopefully if I'm not able to go back to work I'll be OK financially after all this is over.  I wish you the best.
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Avatar_n_tn
I read some of your comments and hoped that you could point me to a few good resources to understand some of the causes of pain in the neck and upper traps.  For the last 5 years, I've had problems with it burning/tingling as well as chronic neck and shoulder muscle spasms.  I have disc herniation at C5-C6; C6-C7 and left arm pain as well.  My neurosurgeon wants me to undergo cervical fusion, but I don't want to do it if it will not fix the problem.  (Ie. besharpone's ordeal.)  He said it would help with the arm pain, but wasn't sure about the shoulder/neck pain.  I guess it is because the herniation is directed to the left side and the shoulder pain is on the right.  

I have spend countless days looking up cervical disc problems, shoulder pain, etc. and just run in circles.  Do  you have any suggestions of where I could research common causes more?  What type of excercises did the PT have you do?  I'd rather fix it that way than undergo surgery, or at least try.  I have done a dozen other methods cervical traction, etc.

Thanks for your thoughts.
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Avatar_m_tn
hey glenn-- hope i can help. I am a dentist, not an MD, but i have done ALOT of reding on neck back shoulder pain syndromes after the traditional medical/surgical community failed me-- and i fixed this nastiness on my own. so- i may be able to help. tell me about your pain--what kind, where, when is it the worst, anything that makes it better.. and what you do, your habits, work etc-- on the computer alot?? also are you overweight, in shape, athletic etc....

if your herniationion is to one side and you have pain on the other side.......logic would tell you.that pain aint from a disc !!
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Avatar_n_tn
I have the same issue as Glenna,  my QME Dr. is recommending Anterior Cervical Fusion.  I have C5-C6 6mm to the right and C6-C7 4mm to the left.  I also have bone spur C3-C4 & Disc Bulge C4-C5.  I've been off work for a year and nothing helped.  I've done it all PT, Epidural, C-Collar,  so what is next.  I live a life of pain and I want it to go away.  What will be my future after surgery I can't live like I'm so limited right now.  I hate this!!!!!
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Avatar_n_tn
Same problems here, it has been a year of pain after my first corpectomy with fusion (plate, cadavar bone) at C6-7, now herniation at C4-5, disc bulge, bone spur at C-4 as well.  Mike1105 how do you have cord flattening and fixed yourself?  I'm interested in your therapies to fix the rice krispies (loved that one!).  I'm on so many meds my head is spinning most of the time and I too feel like I am not the mom I want to be due to all this "stuff."  Two neurosurgeons have now suggested another fusion and said I would be a great candidate for the new artificial disc BUT due to the fact it is made of stainless steel they would suggest against it.  So I guess that leads me back to another fusion, only this time they want to take the bone from my hip, oh goody.  I was power walking 5-10 miles a day prior to Sept 06 and been down hill ever since.  Now if I walk to the mailbox it is a good day.  I have burning in both shoulders, traps (between traps is really bad), down both arms and now can hardly move my right arm/elbow.  I have just been told I have tennis elbow.  Really?  Or is this from the nerve impingement?  I, like all of you, am ready to scream.  Pain managment says don't do more surgery, however, epidurals, trigger point injections, electrical contraption, postural pump, tens unit have all failed.  All the surgeons say another fusion with plate.  I have no idea what to do either, but would be greatful to hear your ideas on the crossed syndrome (had never heard of that before) or anything else you can tell me about getting this pain under control!

Thanks.
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Avatar_n_tn
Sorry one more question (newbie to this site), how do you find out where you post?  I've been leaving it up so I don't get lost on the site, but I'm sure there is an easier way to find my posts??

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Avatar_m_tn
Mike1105 how do you have cord flattening and fixed yourself?   cord flattenning does not need to be fixed usually. symptoms involving pinvhing of the cord itself are usually loss of function/weakness--not pain. i really cant advise you on what to do as I am not a nuerologist or neorosurgeon. you've had surgery already and it is possible that your symptoms may be FROM your surgery. i'm good at helping people if their symptoms seem muscular in nature. weakness after surgery is out of my realm.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi.  I read everyone's comments with much interest!  I had an anterior fusion of C4/C5 done 3 weeks ago.  The pain in my left arm has decreased somewhat but is still present, no more tingling in the hands thank goodness, but bad muscle spasms between the shoulder blades and in the neck.  Would like to contact you re the exercises you mentioned in your comments on 09/10/07 (my work is computer related)  Thanks :)
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Avatar_m_tn
i think there is a way to contact me through Med help directly----- try clicking on my name
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi! I've read your comments.I too, have had a C-5-6 discectomy back in 2007 using my own bone from my left hip.I continued to have burning and tingling on my left side. I went thru vocational rehab and returned to work. I had many x-rays and MRIs' my doctor said, Looking Good! I was only back to work for 2 days and I was in 'Wicked" pain. After many x-rays which the reports stated all looked well[and many months] later a myelogram was performed and it showed that the bone did not fuse/grow,therefore my neck was collapsing. In March of 2009 a repeat surgery was performed using a 'Ball" as well as screws etc. Only 50-50 chance of improvement given.I'm wearing a bone stimulator 1005 of the time except when I have to use the TENS machine.I continue to have pain and tingling but, I'm still recovering. I also have an unsightly scar on the front of my neck . I'm extremely worried that I will not be able to return to my career as an L.P.N. and  I am researching new careers. Good Luck To You! tracy21454
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667923_tn?1266738793
First of all hello to all and hope ur still here. I have talked w/Bev62 and have her in my circle of good friends. I am so tired of this too. I have dealt w/ith 4 so long. MY muscles/traps/scaps...and whatever else u can think of now. I have been taking Lyrica...in which I advise u not 2 even start. Yes, it will give u temporary relief,but also add 80 lbs. on u..it sneaks up on u. I now think I have CHF...yeah..CONGESTIVE HEART FAILURE. It is, I think all due to the Lyrica. I just want relief to like u guys,but relief don't come. I have been back to the doc(NS) that done my surgery and told him flat out that I had a screw that was placed right on top of a nerve and here's my doc's letter to prove it. He just brushed it aside and said that I needed to go to see a NL..yeah just ship me somewhere else so u don't have to deal w/me. I am so frustrated w/docs. My PCP is giving me the slip now. He is saying...and this has happened all too many times that he has an emergency. I have actually caught him telling a big one as I thought I would sneak down the hall to check this tremendous weight..and there he was sipping on his styro cup...HMMM. It disturbs me that people don't see the pain we have on the inside and just look on the outside and oh..I love this one...profile us...have u had it done? I don't even have to ask..i know. It is sad when the day comes that we have to suffer for the people who abuse the system. I suffer so much. I don't know what to do, but go to another doc. I have another appt. in MARCH...and that is the 29th...yeah, I have to suffer just a little longer.. I am going to see an Internist Fri..wonder how that will turn out? I just hope he can rule out the CHF. I am burning all over in certain spots..then it will hit somewhere else. My muscles have atrophy(losing them...they are just making rings in my legs and they burn and hurt),muscle spasms...those are really fun..:(...I have to hook up my TENS unit just to get some relief.
     I usually spend my days in bed...so much fun. My son,my youngest,is w/me a lot, but I know he gets tired of just watching movies w/mom. He wants me to do things. He used to always give me this complement when I'd get dressed up to go somewhere and was slimmer/trimmer..124 to be close and he would say that I looked like Carrie Underwood...I would smile and feel so good @ myself. I think he is a GOD SEND to me. He has been there for me time after time. I thank GOD for him.
     I have a question for u guys. My ankles were really badly swollen. Doc put me on Lasix or Foresemide(generic..in which, I take) and my ankles went down some, but my legs still feel tight and I am having this pain now and it feels like it's in my kidneys or bladder. I get which does what confused. Anyway, I still have this stomach..like expecting. This burning is all over my legs. I can't sit up 4 long. I have to lean back in bed and it makes me sleep sometimes. I hate it. I want to get up and live. I know The Lord has a reason 4 me being here and I want to get to it. Maybe, it's incouraging others...I don't think then I am doing a very good job since I am conplaining so much. I know He has kept me around. There are days that I have so much pain and I pray to Him and it will get better...it takes a lot of faith and trust and hope. You guys can do it too. He will fix us. It might be in Heaven, but I would rather go to that beautiful place where there is no more pain nor tears. I don't want to suffer more and that would be the outcome if we don't give it all to Him. He wants us to give it all to Him...to rely on Him. I know it is hard, but I do have to say that my pain hasn't been as bad since. I have good days, but there still might have to be a surgery in my future. I have been told by 3 docs that I have to get these things out and they are still there. I thought my doc that done the surgery would look into it more since he has seen me so many times. I have been through so many test..shots..ESI's...oh...so much. I just want to have that Diskogram..that I have been hearing @. The prob. is that I had my wreck in '95 and went to a Chiro and was adjusted and that was it until '03 when I got to where I couldn't sleep then the NS I went to see said that I'd wind up in a wheelchair if I didn't have the surgery and now if I don't get the darn things out I am going to wind up in a wheelchair...SO...let me see what are my options...HMMM?
     I do pray for all of u and just don't give up. Keep going to docs(NS and NL) until u get the one who will tell u what is wrong. Keep the Faith and Hope and always...GOD BLESS...Karen
Hey, I wrote something @ the docs doing us wrong on my website or blog..visit it and please comment..be persistant..it'll let u post. Let me know if u've visited and I even have link right to medhelp there.
http://skeetelmore65.blogspot.com    
    
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1249160_tn?1268866345
First off, let me give you a little background info. I am a 42 year old man and had fusion done on C2-3, 3-4 and 4-5 on July 3rd of 2007. Six weeks prior to the surgery my symptoms appeared as weakness and numbness in my left hand, pain in my left shoulder and the left side of my neck. At first I thought that it was a pinched nerve and went to see my GP (June 3rd of 07), he immediately referred me to a neurosurgeon and scheduled an MRI. I met with the neurosurgeon at the end of June (29th or 30th) and we both saw the MRI images for the first time. I had no idea what I was looking at but his reaction scared me to death, all he could say was "oh, God, that is bad..really, really bad. He stated that I should go to the hospital right now and he would get that set up for emergency surgery. I stated that I would need a couple of days as I would need to arrange work schedule and let my wife know. He said he advised against going anywhere as the compression on my spine at C2-3 was such that a moderate hit to the back of my neck may kill me.
I had surgery on July 3rd and only spent one night at the hospital, was released with no collar and told to make an appointment with his office 30 days later. I could not make it that long as my neck/throat had swollen to 2x its normal size (I still have trouble with swallowing and feeling "choked").
I was fine after the surgery in the fact that I could feel and grip things in my left hand. I returned to my computer job in October..some of you know the company Replacements, LTD... By March of '08 I started having what I called headaches but it was really like having the worst tension, migraine and sinus headache with a "crick" in my neck. I went back to my GP and he referred my to a neurologist. This Neurologist put me through the wringer with shots in my neck (10 total) that only made the pain worse....he even gave me a Demerol shot that did not help at all. All I could get out of him was "wait until next month and we will try...". I stayed there until March of '09 and decided that it was enough. I found a neurologist and started seeing her. It seemed as if I had "lucked" out as she seemed to listen and was trying to find any medication that would work. She finally had to give up and sent me to a pain management in her group. I am still in pain but now the pain has spread to my left side, down my back and into both hips.
I have gone through alot of drugs up to this point including, Celebrex, Lyrica (made my feet and hands swell), Oxycodone, Oxycodine, flexoril, Amatriptyline (sp?), Ultram er, and the list goes on. At one point I was up to ten different prescriptions and was still hurting.
I now am on Morphine sulfate, Ultram 300mg, flexoril, Amatrityline (it does help a little with sleep). I had Opana (it seemed to help) but since I could no longer afford Cobra and I had to pay for a FCE I had to ask for a "cheaper" drug.
Nothing has helped and to top this all off, the FCE came back saying I could work 8 hour days in a "light" activity....I can barely sit for 1 to 1 1/2 hours and can stand maybe 5 to 7 minutes at a time. Disability has cut me off since they say I can go back to work (I am appealing this) so I am unable to afford to refill ANY prescription.
I am ready to throw in the towel, I wish I could afford a lawyer but I have not one dollar in the bank and still have to pay bills and a mortgage (thank God for my wife)....
Whew! That was a load off. :)
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I feel for u man. I sure do. I can totally relate to some of ur probs., but I have to say u have really got the brundt of things...the shaft. Life can really be unfair it seems at times. U just have to get tough and I think I was already tough, but femine. It has taken me a long time to accept what I have been thru and it is still hard as I will tell u what has happened to me the last few days.
     I have switched medicine and I am glad to some extent and really it is a lot better in a lot of ways. THAT LYRICA WILL KILL U ...I mean it. IT is bad. I took it 4 almost 3 yrs. and I have gained 80+lbs. and that is ridiculus. I used to weigh 124, but now it's 199 and u might as well say 200. I am only 5'4 and 3/4...got to add that 3/4..lol for I am considered short or petite. Now, besides the weight gain, the Lyrica has caused me to have EDEMA in my ankles and legs and when I switched over to Neurontin(Gabentin-Generic) and Topamax-(Topiramate-Generic) I seem to take to it well, but the first 3 days I had things coming at me and my nerves were bad. I almost called it quits on it, but I felt so much better. I wear a Fentanyl Transdermal Patch and change it every 72 hrs. and usually w/the Lyrica on the thrid day I would cry and wreath around in the bed w/a heating pad for 3-5 hrs. until my patch took affect, but w/the new meds I don't do that, so I won't ever go back to Lyrica...It could never compete with Neurontin or the Topamax.

Okay, now ...I have these place in my legs after the swelling has gone down from the Lyrica. I have literal sunken in places of complete muscle loss in my legs. It started on my right leg and after a month of that then the swelling started again, then now the left leg has it, but it is worst ...It is so bad that it is in the inside of my shin muscle and in the middle. It sinks in deep, then it comes up to a knot that makes me think that it is a blood clot...and I am serious. I am going to the hospital tomorrow. I have got to get an ultrasound of my neck anyway....it's @ time..Going to see if I can see that screw that has been placed on a nerve in my neck that has caused all of this in the first place!!!!!  I mean it. I am getting a whole new round of blood work too. My sedimentation rate was elevated...meaning that I have inflamation (inflammation) in my body...mmmmmm...wonder where that came from?

U take care ...gotta go hubby wanting to order MJ on PPV...want to see it to and get off of my feet...GOD BLESS and I wll check back soon on u.

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Like you I gained a ton of weight in a short time....100 lbs in 10 months and I was already 6' and 240 lbs so I didn't need the help. Luckily, the swelling in my feet and hands went away a month or so after I stopped taking Lyrica. All of my doctors were surprised at the weight gain and swelling saying they did not know that could happen with Lyrica. You can imagine my shock and dismay because it very plainly states this on their commercials. Oh well.
I have taken Gabapentin but could not handle the narcotic hangover the next day and try to work. It was worse considering what I did for work and having control of placing orders and entering CC #'s. Driving.....that was a whole other nightmare.
I too have the Fentanyl patch but had to stop it 'cause I ended up getting home in the afternoon and not remembering how I got there and the acid reflux would prevent me from sleeping. It may not have been just the patch because at the time I was on at least four other narcotic pain meds (I kept asking my doc if I should take them all together and he said it would be ok)
The in bed in agony I can understand plus the having one or two good days out of a week. Just today I ended up in bed and medicated for all but 5 or 6 hours.....No way to live...or as my Mom says, "you aren't living, just existing".....Amen to that!
Love the 3/4 reference. :)  
Like a model stated a long time ago when asked how tall she was, her response was that she was 5 feet 14 inches.
Well I have to get back to my hunt for legal help......I've been run in circles so much I am dizzy. I don't trust lawyers but the walls I keep running into are costing me money time and patience.
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Hi again,
     I am so glad to hear from u. I was concerned @ how u were. I feel 4 u and all that u have been thru. It sounds like ur getting somethings under a little bit..maybe? under control. I hope so. I have still have issues and am in bed and out. I can't stand to just lay there. I have to get up and do something and always have been that way.
     I noticed after reading ur post again that u stated ur having trouble swallowing and I will give u a tip that I read and it helped me and I hope it will help u. When u take a driink or bite of food lean forward. This one woman remembers that by a symbol of a toy that goes way back. I guess u could call it a toy. Remember the bird that would dip over into the glass and get a drink of water? That is the way she remembers to keep from getting choked. Wow, I didn't know it was 1:55am...I took a brief nap later today than expected and that has messed my time up. I just wished I could get 6-7 hrs. of sleep a night...in a row. I can't stand this 4  here and 2 there..it is very hard on u.
     I have got a question 4 u. Do u have rings or place like where ur muscles in ur legs have just disappeared? I have these rings forming like deep sunken places that are wrapping around my shin areas. It is weird and I have found a couple of little places(tiny blemishes and when I touch them they are sensitive)...what in the world is going on in my body? I heard that if u have Vit.D deficiency that it can cause inflammation so I am thinking it has something to do w/that. ?????? Had my blood checked and they said my Sedimentation level was elevated...inflammation..another words and noticed also that my BP is kind of spiking every now and then and having heart pains( feels sometimes like something lying in that spot right over my heart..not real heavy,just something I want to pick up and remove)...ohhhhh

     I also see u got shots too...fun hey..I got mine in my right shoulder(15 total) and down my should blade. U talking @ locked up. I went to my friends house that night to visit and couldn't even relax. I thought it was going to give me a break...yeah?..Well, we all have our crosses to bear and I have realized a lot in my lifetime and it seems now more than ever do I really know the important things in life. It is not what u have or what name u make for yourself...it is how ur on the inside...are u right w/ THE MAN upstairs...yeah..that is the most important thing in the whole world. He comes first then everything else will fall into place. That is what He says and I believe Him, so I just wanted to spread a little love. I hope ur close to GOD...He will turn everything in ur life around. It is just so important....I have a son, actually I have two, but one I don't see. He is just like his father. I can't get into that ugly story, but maybe I will tell u sometime. Anyway, the one that is w/me is a good Christian boy, that leads songs in Church and says prayers. I am so proud of him. I just wished my other son could have had the life that he had. He was stripped of his. Sorry..kind of vented a little...:(

     I will get on w/ wishing u good luck w/ what ur working on w/the att: and @ Replacements...lol..it is funny..really I have a bunch of info on china from them. I have some Noritake and Mikassa. I really would like to get it out of my way at the moment,  but I know u have other things to think @. I didn't know what u actually did there. It would be funny if it worked out that u actually knew of someone that would want my sets. Just let me know.
     Anyway, you take care and I hope that I didn't offend. I am close to The Big Man and me and Him will always be connected...so if u ever need anyone to talk to, I am always back to check things ...usually in a day or two to make sure I keep up w/everything that is going on.@ the height..I have to add all that I can...:) It is tough when ur used to being so small, but mine is mostly inflammation,that is what I was told and that scares me, but I just pray and He is with me and carries me through another day...:)

     Hey, GOD BLESS
Sorry I can kind of get confusing sometimes...especially when I get on the subject of my older son...but I am okay @ that now, just want to get well and want u to as well and I will talk atcha' later man... Karen
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Let me know the pattern names and/or numbers and I'll check to see if they are buying...I can generally tell by the amount of stock they have on hand.
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Oh, BTW, don't worry about rambling....I am guilty of same....Mostly because it is nice and calming to talk to someone who is as "miserable" as you are.
I have had several weeks of bad days.........not surprising to anyone reading but it must be said anyway....
Since it is spring, I think those of us who have a wife, husband or significant other, should take this time to say a very, very, heartfelt thank you...we all know that they can (and in certain cases have) left us because they cannot, or will not, handle the pressure that comes with.......God bless everyone of you who stays and fights along with us in our daily struggles...They are the true saints/angels in our lives.
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1249160_tn?1268866345
Oh, BTW, don't worry about rambling....I am guilty of same....Mostly because it is nice and calming to talk to someone who is as "miserable" as you are.
I have had several weeks of bad days.........not surprising to anyone reading but it must be said anyway....
Since it is spring, I think those of us who have a wife, husband or significant other, should take this time to say a very, very, heartfelt thank you...we all know that they can (and in certain cases have) left us because they cannot, or will not, handle the pressure that comes with.......God bless everyone of you who stays and fights along with us in our daily struggles...They are the true saints/angels in our lives.
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I wish for…
Comfort on difficult days,
Smiles when sadness intrudes,
Rainbows to follow the clouds,
Laughter to kiss your lips,
Gentle hugs when spirits sag,
Friendships to brighten your being,
Beauty for your eyes to see,
Confidence for when you doubt,
Faith so that you can believe,
Courage to know yourself,
Patience to accept the truth,
And love to complete your life.

“The Anchor,”  St. Clement’s, Tampa, Florida
The Anglican Digest.

I don't do this as much as I know I should....
Peace be with you...
Rev. D. Erik Walton
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I, despite my ordination, am not a person who will daily talk about God and his blessings. I believe what I do, and I support what you believe with all my heart and soul. I am here to listen and be a sounding board for all who come.....never think of me as a "bible thumper" as that I can never be.
as it is said .....Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you
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667923_tn?1266738793
Dear Erik,
     I thought that was beautifully said. I also walk w/GOD daily and there's nothing wrong with that... only right. If u focus on Him and put urself into His Hands everything else will fall into place. I truly believe that and it has made me a better person,not to say that I was evil, but we all make mistakes for we are only human. I do know that I am His and He walks w/me daily. So, I will never leave His side and am proud to admit to it. I think ur a good person and that is good, but what does God think @ u. That is the most important thing.
     I write a lot of songs,poetry, draw, and I love it. So, it is nice to read good positive feelings and I have done it a time or two, but I am a songwriter and try to keep things that aren't copywritten to myself. I still have hopes of singing for people. I love the emotions it brings. It moves ur heart and it can fill ur soul w/hope,faith and love.

     Now, how ru doing? I seem to be doing better since I've lost 12 lbs...yeah for me. I am so glad bc I was feeling so depressed and down, but now it seems that I have hope. I think like this...we all make mistakes like I said and we all have to pay in some way to bear our crosses. I feel I have bore mine and now He knows that I will never leave His side, that my life will finally get started. I wrote a song for the first time in a long time this week. It only took me a minute or two to get it down. Those are usually the best ones. I am excited to get back into music again. Although I know I will have to have surgery again..I can just fill it and that is fine. My T3-T4 is a compressed fracture and I believe that is what is causing most of my pain that it is pressing on a nerve and maybe my surgery was a failed fusion as well. So, I think I have a two-fold prob. but have high hopes. What @ U? Are u getting anywhere in getting better. IT sounds like it from above. Do u also play an instrument or sing? It would be so kewl if we met here to do great things in the music business...:) lol
     I am going to an Ortho Tues. and am going to tell him differently than any other doc I have talked to. I am going to start from the beginning and get to where I am now and let him do the math. Usually I would just go in and tell the doc that I am in pain...here or there and what is it? I have learned u have to start from the beginning of the pain and where it started to finish. I think then I will get to or he will get to the bottom of what is causing my misery. I am better bc of med. change I will give u that. Since I have quit taking Lyrica my life has turned for the better. Neurontin is much better 4 me. It seems to work better for what is going on in my body. I am so greatful 4 that.
Hey, check out my webpage that I just started @ where I worked in Nashville and I worked w/some big names...of course they don't know me now..that's okay. I don't have my nose up in the air...lol They are going to love the pics I post when I get them all up. Some of them will probably write to me then...lol...I don't mean to be mean,it just erks me when u have worked w/someone for 3 yrs and see them at their concert and they wave, but at the end of the show don't know u anymore. Really that is sad. I am glad I never made it to be famous. I like who I am...a wife and mother. I am happier now than I have ever been in my life...even in the shape I am in. I thought @ my songs and maybe letting someone else record them, but I don't know. I am going to want to record them myself. I always wanted to hear myself singing my song on the radio. maybe some day soon.
     Hey, I am sawy that I wrote so much. I was just venting as u said..:) We all have to at some time. I do it a lot. Can u tell I love to talk...lol
     U take care of urself and talk atcha' soon and always GOD BLESS.. Karen
Wow...I didn't know u were a reverend...I just saw that...how kewl is that. So, God is w/u and that is awsome...me too.
     I almost posted my page...forgot can't do that. Don't want to get into trouble for it. I will try to post it in my profile and then u can check out some of my photos. I have two wonderful boys...I only have one posted at the time. The other son lives w/his dad...long ugly story. Sad really. Pray for my oldest son. He seems to be lost at this time and he won't talk to me. As I said it is a long ugly story...but so true. I just pray that God is w/him and sends one of good angels to protect both of my boys and family....sawy...keep on talking....:)  
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Avatar_f_tn
I am a 25 year old female who has had an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion on the disc between c-5 and c-6 on March 20th, 2010 and have occasional pain in my right arm. Now that I have stated that, I would like to give some history. I had been seen previously at the age of 19 with my back and neck locked up in spasms, which was in 2004. In 2004 my x-rays showed disc degeneration on the disc between c-5 and c-6. This orthopeadic surgeon had sent me to PT for around two months, which worked the spams out. I had returned to the same orthopeadic group this past March (2010) due to mild pains in the muscles that surround my neck that persisted over the years, which I believed were mainly the cause of my recent systemic symptoms, which were TMJ, headaches, and eye floaters. These symptoms, which I believed were a systemic result from my neck, motivated me to return back to the same orthopeadic group. This time the x-rays looked the same from 2004, but now the doctors were willing to do an MRI. The results of the MRI were shocking! The disc between c-5 and c-6 was fully extruted completely caudal halfway into the spinal cord, which due to what must have been a slow progression, had caused the spinal cord to reshape into a "C" formation. Oh, and amazing enough I had no neurological symptoms down the arms, since the extrusion was completely caudal. I am very thankful that the disc did not paralyze me. After the MRI , I was told to have an ACDF within the next couple of days. Now, I am post op six weeks and 4 days. My concern is I have aches, coldness, and weakness down my right arm, which is the side the surgeon entered on my neck. I am currently doing PT and my PT has mentioned my scalene muscles were very tight and this is causing me to think that I possibly have neurgenic thoracic outlet syndrome due to these muscles. Once mentioning my concerns to my orthopeadic surgeon, he obviously did not seem to know what I was even talking about and even got offended and stated he did not want to send me for a MRI. Then stated erroneous information, which just made me not want to work with the man. Monday, I am going to talk to my PT about my concerns being simply neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome and possibly talking to a neurosugeon. Overall, I know if this is the cause of my arm pain, then the PT's can help to work the muscle spams out and it is pretty much nothing to worry about. I just wanted to know your thoughts on the situation.
Thanks!
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Avatar_f_tn
12 year post-surgery, cervical disc replacement c4-5 & c5-6 with fusion.  never fully recovered from neck pain and muscle pain, kept up with physical therapy and orthopedi surgeon visits for pain management; which included lidocaine injections when i would experience extreme pain, prescribed naproxen for the rest of my life to reduce swelling and inflamation (inflammation) of the muscles, 2 pills per day after meals, prescribed the FLEXOR PATCH, narcotic for temporary pain relieve while i sleep, also prescribed darvocet for temporary pain relief.  Prescribed Physical Therapy 3 X per week, home exercised to be performed daily and swimming pool exercises.  I have now been refered to TWO Neuro-Surgeons, not Neurologist, but surgeons.  One was refered by my Orthopedic Pain Management Surgeon and the other was refered by my Primary Care Physician.  I am in the process of elimination at this time.  Which surgeon am i going to choose to take on my cervical, thorasic and lumbar, including; being diagnosed with Scoliosis at age 10 and Disgenerative Disc Disease.  

I mentioned i am 12 years post cervical surgery.  I would love for my Neuro-Surgeon who preformed my Cervical Disc Removal and Replacement with Fusion to assist me again, unfortunately he does not take the insuance i am currently under.  No other insurance will take me due to pre-existing condition (that is a whole other nightmare, i will try to refrain from my insurance ordeals).

Fortunately, i have a group of doctors that listen to my complaints of pain and agony.  it took time to find the right group of doctors, physical therapist and massage therapist, but it finally all came together.  I also prayed alot, God answered my prayers and guided me in the right direction with educating myself through research to contact the perfect group of doctors who are awsome at communicating with me.  They speak, I listen, I speak, they listen.  It really has been a blessing to be able to communicate with your doctors.  It has not been easy, but it has been productive.  Takes lots of patience and balancing.  Try not to depend on the meds if at all possible, they can become addictive.  not saying that you do not need them, but try to reduce you usage of them.  depend more on the physical therapy part, take control of your body and keep it busy with exercise.   i know it is painful, but it is manageable.  

My recent cervical MRI taken on Sept. 16, 2010 did not have promising results.  I have three more buldging disc and hardware damage, some pressing on the thecal sac of the spinal cord and ridging (bone spurs).  I was starting to get dizzy spells and feeling extreme pain in my mid back between shoulder and the sides of my neck, experienceing numbing of my left arm, left side of my face and left leg.  thought i was having a stroke, so  did the emergency room, for two visits.  they proceed with ruling out the possibilties of a stroke, so they prescibe BRAIN CAT SCAN's & MRI's to look for tumors, they also prescribe HEART EKG's to make sure you are not experiencing a heart-attack.  The whole time i am complaining of  PAIN IN MY NECK...but you have to let them do their stuff, eventually they prescribe the SPINE MRI's and X-Rays and they come to the conclusion that you do have some stuff going on in your cervical spine.  Unfortunately for me, they have now found herniated disc in my lumbar area.  So i will now have another battle to face.  Cervical first, can not take the pain anymore.  I am afraid to drive now, afraid i will experience the vertigo which comes and goes and i do not want to cause an accident.

I guess what i am trying to say is that i totally get your pain.  I have experience the doctors which try to make you sound like you are faking your symptoms, i have experienced the physical therapist who over work you and make you feel like you are pretending you are in pain.  i have even experienced family members commenting for me to stop complaining about my back pain, saying it gets OLD.   There have been times when i have felt so isolated with my back pain that i feel abandonded by everyone.  But you just have to keep researching for the answers that best fit you concerns.  Takes time and patience and lots of pain enduring moments, but you can do it.  you know yourself best and do not accept anyone tell you you are faking your symptoms.  Leave there office and never go back and pick the next doctor to interview until you find the one that is going to listen to you and have compassion for your symptoms.  Please feel free to e-mail me anytime to discuss our medical situation.  ***@****
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All i can say is go see the laser Spine institute! They specialize in failed spine surgery!!!
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Avatar_m_tn
I just had to write a comment to this post. I had my ACDF 6 weeks ago. At 2 weeks post surgery I was pretty much pain free. It was pretty remarkable. I am posting this for several reasons. The first is to let folks know that this surgery is often very successful. While I sympathize and am not minimizing the issues others have brought up, positive outcomes need to be reported as well.

From a physiological standpoint once the decompression has occurred, the tingling, muscle pain, et cetera (at least in the cervical spine) should go away. This is really a mechanical issue. There is one caveat, and I recommend that people with considerable pain months post surgery find a neurologist for electromyography. Neuropathy can be painful and if there is permanent nerve damage can account for the lack of improvement. Nerves do heal, but very slowly, and unforutantely sometimes, not at all.

Spine surgeons tend to take nerve damage seriously, and it is typically the reason ACDF etc is fast tracked.  If compression is left untreated, one could lose use of an arm for instance. It has to be taken very seriously.

Good luck.
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Avatar_f_tn
My compression was left untreated for over three years.  If I had been aware of the damage being done by not doing anything, only taking meds and getting injections, in order to keep going, I would have stopped and taken the time out to fix this situation.  Hindsight is 20/20 as they say, and now, since my surgery, I am suffering much more nerve pain and aches then before the surgery.  Unfortunately, I can't go back, I can only move forward, so I have to live with what I have, do the best I can, and carry on, pain and all.  The worst part is knowing I am not the same person, I can't do everything I did before, and I have a husband who is counting on me to keep up our insurance and income, since he is out of work half of the time as a building construction worker.  I wish I could just retire and do some part-time work, since I know I can't do my job up to my former potential, but I am five years from retirement at the age of 54 as a teacher.  Since I only have eleven years in, I must have four more years in order to receive my retirement, (I think that is how it works).  I have to weigh the consequences of quitting early and not getting my retirement or keep going pain and all and hope for the  best!   I seem to have no other choice but to keep on going.  I only hope I can be accountable for my workload and do the job I have always done for these young children.  My love and passion is still in tact, but the physical body doesn't seem to want to follow the reality of the aches and pains when my feet hit the floor in the morning.  
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Avatar_f_tn
You all won't believe this, but I just saw this on the news.  They said try to never get a CT or an MRI unless you absolutely must, because 90% of them will come back saying something is wrong.  They said that 70% of people walk around in their lives with herniated or bulging disks and don't even know it and live with it without pain.  Once your regular doctor sends you to a specialist, they never touch your body or look at you anymore, they look at the films from the tests.  Most people can live their lives with no pain due to disk problems or problems not severe enough to do anything about it...wow
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