I had cervical spine surgery and have had continued severe neck pain. I had fusion between C2-3 - C4-5. Had MRI study shortly after fusion and it shows between C2 -C5-6 I have moderate to severe narrowing of the neural foramen bilaterally. Could this be the cause of my continued severe pain? During fusion do doctors correct this condition while doing the surgery? Please help.
Yes, narrowing of neural foramen opening can cause pain if it is so narrow that it compresses the nerve passing within. Mild narrowing may irritate the nerve and cause pain in certain directions. Yes, surgical correction is possible through posterior cervical foraminotomy. Usually cervical fusion surgery is done through an anterior approach and the two surgeries are not combined. If a posterior approach was adopted for decompression/laminectomy/fusion, then yes, it would be possible to do foraminotomy along with the other surgery. Also, if nerve compression is the only cause of your pain, then only foraminotomy will also help. Also, nerve compression (diagnosed by EMG and nerve conduction study) also responds to physiotherapy, neck exercises etc. Please consult your doctor regarding this. Take care!
The medical advice given should not be considered a substitute for medical care provided by a doctor who can examine you. The advice may not be completely correct for you as the doctor cannot examine you and does not know your complete medical history. Hence this reply to your post should only be considered as a guiding line and you must consult your doctor at the earliest for your medical problem.
Surgery was done 11/2012. MRI was ordered by my primary care doctor after repeated calls to the doctor who performed the surgery complaining of increased pain. The returned calls form the doctors assistant were defensive which really made me upset. I was told by his assistant, "your on pain meds, your still healing". I asked the surgeons office to see me, they referred me to pain management doctor. The pain level increased, I did not want to be on the high dose of narcotics they were prescribing. My doctor ordered MRI after I explained to her the level of pain I was having. We tried many non-narcotic medicines, non helped.
Hi Doctor Mathur,
My surgery was anterior cervical fusion which answers the question on why the moderate to sever narrowing is showing up on the MRI after fusion surgery. I did not ask prior to surgery if the doctor was going to take care of this, is this my fault? I tried PT, the results are increased pain to levels unbearable, then advised by another rehab doctor who looked at my study that I should not. The pain levels increase by any physical activity or just being vertical. I've tried tens, acupuncture, laser light treatments, had 2 cervical epidurals and 1 facet injection. Nothing is helping, the pressure and pain overwhelming.
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