I just want to say I am glad that I am NOT alone in experiencing the chronic pain after having anterior cervical spinal fusion! I had my surgery in Nov 2005 and the pain is now worse than ever, the tingling and numbness have returned to my right arm and hand, my hands also do not work at all! I am currently waiting to get social security disability as I too cannot sit for very long without it causing great pain. As to the swallowing issue, yes I have trouble swallowing and also have choked more easily since the surgery has been done. One time, I nearly thought I was choking to death! I have had to learn to use a straw or drink more slowly to prevent this from happening! And no, my Surgeon did not tell me any of this until AFTER the surgery and they got paid from the insurance company! I am fortunate to have a very good Family Physician who understands the pain I am in, and has bent over backwards to keep me as comfortable as possible! I have had as many steroidal epidurals in my spine as they dare do without causing more damage. I am now basically just living with this condition the best anyone can. If it weren't for the pain meds, I would not be able to function on any level. As far as the depression associated with chronic pain, I have the love and help of family and friends to get me through the rough times.
I have also been told that I will need another surgery eventually to put rods in place of the plate put in during the 1st surgery. I will put that off as long as possible though, because had I known about the complications the 1st time. I would not have had that done when it was done. It seemed to me, that they were more interested in my insurance coverage as they checked that before even making an appointment with the surgeon!
But, thank you all for your posts! It makes me realize that I am not alone. That I am not imagining my symptoms, that they are real! I feel validated for the 1st time since my surgery in 2005!
Firstly thank you everyone for your comments. I too am in more pain after a cervical spine fusion than before. I had an unstable c1 & c2 so the first surgery was mandatory or I would basically be walking around with a broken neck, the surgeon told my mother and husband after the surgery that I was like a bobble head with no neck support. The second fusion was the c4-c7. That fusion was needed to prevent severe loss of movement and strength in my left arm. I have had chronic neck pain since my mid twenty's, that pain could be alleviated by not sitting in car for hours, or to not sit at computer or same position for too long. The pain since the surgery's is not pain that I can alleviate no matter what position or anything I do. I do on occasion take pain medication, but honestly I cannot tolerate many of the opiates. I feel nauseous from medication so very rarely take anything. Does anyone else have unexplained stomach issues post surgery? I am unsure if it has anything to do with cervical spine issues.
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