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Chronic Vertigo Following Neck Surgery
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Chronic Vertigo Following Neck Surgery

I've had chronic vertigo ever since I had neck surgery 15 months ago.  The C3-4 and C 5-6 levels were fused.  Three days after surgery, I felt like I was on a rocky cruise ship.  The problem continued for about 2 months, subsided for a few months, then started up again without stopping now  for about 9 months.  I'm okay in the morning, but the vertigo starts late afternoon and becomes so bad, that it's hard to walk. I've been to ENT's, neurologists, a neuroophthalmologist, and have had  vestibular rehabilitation with 2 different physical therapists.  I had a VNG and several types of hearing tests which were all normal.  My brain MRI is fine and neck MRI looks okay except for worsening arthritis above and below the fusion.  The C 2-3 disc is herniated, but my doctor doesn't think it's a big problem.  EMG's were normal.  No one at this point thinks it's benign positional vertigo which is what it was first thought to be.  Klonopin helps some, but the rebound vertigo is so bad going off it, that it's not worth taking at all.  One of the ENT's prescribed Wellbutrin, but I've tried many antidepressants before (including Wellbutrin) and I just get miserable side-effects. Any suggestions would be appreciated as this was never a problem prior to surgery! Actually, it's all I got out of the surgery as I still have neck and arm pain!  So frustrating. Thanks.
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1093617_tn?1279305602
Hi, Thank you for your question. Your chronic vertigo symptoms could be suggestive of either some nerve injury or a pressure on the nerve after the neck surgery. Another possibility in your case could be damaged the soft-tissues such as muscles or underlying skin. However, it is essential to clarify that nerve injury does not necessarily mean complete injury to the nerve and it may be either edema or some type of compression of nerve by a blood clot or scar formation. I would recommend you to see a neurologist who can evaluate the details of your case and could better determine the insight of your situation. Hope this helps.
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Over-the-counter motion sickness pills will sometimes help vertigo for a while.  But people can indeed get vertigo in conjunction with a neck problem.  So, since you have arthritis in there, not to mention a bulging disc, I think those things are probably related to your vertigo.  It could be some physical therapy might be in order, to get those neck joints more flexible, the muscles in there stronger, and it might help "pop" your spine into better alignment.  I think some sort of antiinflammatory medicine might help you, to reduce the swelling and irritation in your neck that's bound to be in there, so next time you go to the doc, ask him about a medicine for that.  Also, in the late day when your vertigo cranks up, put a very cool rag on the back of your neck, lay flat on the floor or bed with your knees bent, and close your eyes and do some deep breathing.  It might relax your neck just enough, and bring down the inflammation enough, to where you can make it a couple more hours before it gets to bothering you again.  Then reapply a real cool rag... they make these cold packs that you put in the refrigerator freezer, and you wrap them in a tea towel and put them on the back of your neck, if this method of treatment seems to help you a little.  Those would be my suggestions.
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Thanks ggreg!  Finally someone who agrees, hey, maybe it is related to the neck!  I can't tell you how many doctors(including the neck surgeon) have said there's no relationship.  I have been doing PT and it is not yet helping the vertigo, but maybe it will come with time.  Meanwhile, I'll definitely use the cold packs in the evenings and when the vertigo cranks up.  Maybe I'll even bring one in to work.  Sitting at a computer all day obviously isn't helping either. I have trouble with antiinflammatories, but maybe I could suck it up for a few weeks and see what happens.  Thanks again.
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1093617_tn?1279305602
Hi, Thank you for your question. Your chronic vertigo symptoms could be suggestive of either some nerve injury or a pressure on the nerve after the neck surgery. Another possibility in your case could be damaged the soft-tissues such as muscles or underlying skin. However, it is essential to clarify that nerve injury does not necessarily mean complete injury to the nerve and it may be either edema or some type of compression of nerve by a blood clot or scar formation. I would recommend you to see a neurologist who can evaluate the details of your case and could better determine the insight of your situation. Hope this helps.
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