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Fusion at c-5-6
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Fusion at c-5-6

I had a disc removed between c5-6 in Sept. 2001. I am still in alot of pain and having trouble moving my head from side to side looking up or down. My x-rays and MRI both show everything is healing, my Dr. is now sending me to a pain management center for some kind of shots in my neck. I am very concerned about this and worried. I thought once i had the surgery done I'd be on my way to getting my life back to normal. I don't get a full nights rest everytime i roll over i wake up. Will i ever be pain free what about my ROM? this has been a very upsetting time for me. Now to top it all off my job is at risk they have told me that if i can't come back 100% then i no longer have a job with them. My job requires me to look up for long periods of time I am a smoke and fire tech. removing smoke and odor from burned homes. It also requires alot of heavey lifting. I am in a panic. any words of wisdom?
Thanks,
P.J.
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It's normal to have some degree of pain post-op, but hopefully it should improve as time goes by. Usually we tell our patients that they shouldn't lift anything heavier than a gallon of milk for 4-6 weeks after surgery until their followup appointment. If everything looks like it's healing, then you should be able to slowly return to your baseline status. As every patient is different, it's hard to predict the outcome of each person. I understand how frustrated you must be about your slower-than-anticipated recovery. Physical therapy to help improve your ROM as well as pain management with ibuprofen, muscle relaxants or injections as needed can all help your recovery along. Good luck.
45 Comments
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About your job...have you checked into your company to see if you have long term disability. If you already had an operation in your neck, you should be able to get on it, if you can not do what your job requires. Also, after an operation like you stated, you may want to rethink if your present job is one you want to continue, as it sounds that it has the potential of causing your neck more harm.
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GET MORE OPINIONS FROM OTHER SURGEONS THAT ARE SPINE SPECIALISTS ONLY. THE DR. WHO DID YOUR SURGERY MIGHT HAVE SCREWED-UP, HE'S ONLY HUMAN. HE ALSO MIGHT HAVE MIS-DIAGNOSED YOU FROM THE BEGINNING. DON'T QUIT. KEEP SEARCHING FOR HELP.

GOOD LUCK
***@****
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PJ, I also had my C5-6 fused in June 01, and my neck was extremely stiff and sore for several months afterwards. I could barely move my head in any direction either. My doc explained that when they insert the bone graft (you didn't say if this was your case), they have to put a larger size in than they remove since during the process of healing you end up losing some height of the graft. In doing so, the ligaments on both sides of your neck become stretched and this is where the pain comes from. Probably some muscle spasms going on too. I was doubtful I would ever feel normal again, but am happy to say that I now have almost full ROM, and only a little soreness now. Accupuncture worked for me, along with daily gentle stretching. Maybe PT would be an option for you, once you are cleared medically that everything is healing as it should. Good luck with your recovery and in your job situation.
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I am scheduled for a 3 level anterior cervical fusion in several weeks (there is considerable weakness in my right arm and shoulder; the pain is slight in my right arm).  The neurosurgeon will be using titanium plates. Could any of you provide me with insight as to how much range of motion I might be losing in my neck, i.e. is the ability to tilt the head from side to side, turn to the left and right, look downward or upward significantly lessened?  I was told by my physician there would be some loss of motion but I was aware this could go on for months and months before things got better.  Thank you.
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I had an anterior cervical fusion at C5-6 on May 3,2002. I have had pain from day one after my surgery.  My doctor kept saying it is "muscles".  I returned to work 5 months later.  The doctor told me to come back in 2 months after returning to work if I was still hurting.  Two months later, no progress.  I had a MRI the Friday before Christmas and everything is fine according to the doctor.  Two weeks later, his office calls and says he believes I have damaged nerves in my neck.  After almost 10 months of pain which has progressed to down my right arm and now my right leg, I am at my wits end.  I have pain down between my shoulders and in the neck that will bring me to my knees.  My whole life as been changed because of this.  I am now on the search for a neurologist who I hope can help relieve this pain. For me, I wish I could just see one day without pain.  I hope everything goes better for you.
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It seems to me that an awful lot of you are suffering post-op problems from having an ACF. I do not understand this at all. A little back ground here. As a child and teen I was severely beaten by my step-father, thrown down stairs, you name it. In 1959 we were violently rear-ended, 8 months pregnant, severe whiplash. In may 1960 the tie rods broke and we went off a mountain side. I had multiple injuries of every kind. For years I suffered from severe headaches, vomiting for days on end, going to ER for demerol & etc. In 1988 I went to a neuro because of a fall where my head got banged. He discovered old neck fractures and decided it was the cause of all ( most) of my headaches because of degeneration. All those years doctors told me it was just migraines, all in my head, needed a Psych. eval. Been there, done that.Concllusion, the neuro performed a myelogram and informed me he could get rid of my headaches, I said if he didn't that I would. My way was permanent. Did ACF next am and when I woke up that evening I felt WONDERFUL! Very little pain. Needless to say I was thrilled. I have several friends who had cerv.fusions and had nothing but problems, one even has a permanent trach because of poor surgery. several had to go back in the hosp., more surg. but, they all had ortho surgeons. Could this have been the diff. My Dr. was very strict, none of this lifting a gal. of milk for 6 weeks. I could go for walks and that was it. Light housework, dusting, washing dishes, no laundry, vacuuming. I was not allowed near a car except to see him and go straight home. My surg. was 1/3/89, it was 3rd march before I was allowed to go 20 miles with a 15 min. break halfway. I still have no problems,some limitation with ROM head and neck, or If I carry heavy bags by the handles or hanging . I only use paper bags that I can carry in my arms. I had my last shot for pain less than 48 hours post-op, went to pills and went home 3rd day post-op. Was told to do nothing, also said I could engage in intercourse as long as I did not swing from chandeliers and to call him if I did.
Maybe some of you need a neuro surgeon instead of ortho and maybe the Dr. should be a little stricter, and maybe some of you need to be a little more disciplined and tolerant in your limitations, if something hurts me more than once I don't do that again. Simple!
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I had a three level fusion ACF   C4 thru C7  Feb 2001.
One year post op I have lost some neck movement....No way can I now touch my ear to my shoulder. I have lost a small amount of range turning my head side to side. Looking up has been effected as well. I have no pain and regained some of the strength I had lost before surgery. The secret is to wear the neck brace... you will feel like shooting it to the moon. Do not drive, Do not lift more than a gallon of milk. The worst part is the first week after the surgery... you can not get comportable in any position to sleep. I found the only way to relax was in a recliner. I walked around alot to get exercise. Whatever you do not fall!!!!! Walk very carefully.

If you go to PT do not let them force your neck around Those guys are bone crushers.... Slow movements side to side work slower but have no pain.... I finally felt safe enough to drive after 6 or 7 weeks. Good luck, I will pray for you.
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I was in a accident over two years ago to my right arm area.  My shoulder was not very mobile without pain.  Then several months after dealing with the forearm and shoulder I discovered I have several levels of injury to my neck.  It seems C 3-4, 4-5, 5-6 and 7 are all involved, C 5-6 being the worst and warrant surgery due to the amount of pain I have.  I found out Feb 4, 2002 by a Utilization Board that I'm not a "good candidate" for neck surgery.  Now, I suppose, I must live with it.  Has anyone had this experience with this Board?  I never had the chance to discuss with my doctor (a neuro) the type of repair he may of done since my surgery was denied.  With hopes for the future, do you have any input on is fusion better or grafting?

Thank you, Mollymay
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I was rear-ended by an 18-wheeler in March of 2001.  I, too, have had ACF of C5-6. However, I have 2 other ruptured discs in my neck. My surgery was done back in October 2001. The neurosurgeon who had done the work told me that I would be able to return to my "old" activities in about 3 months.  Well, that is not the case.  When I went back to see him, he told me that it could be as long as a year to feel better.  I suffer daily from pain in the entire neck area, shoulders and back, and 8 more months of pain in simply unacceptable.  My arms are usually number and tingle -- even to the point that I drop things.  At this point, I am so tired of the pain that I sometimes think about ending it.  And yes, I am on anti-depressants.  To make matters worse, it seems that I am always needing to "convince" everyone that I am in a lot of pain -- even my doctor.  My last conversation with them I was told that they prefer to see patients that come in, get fixed and then go away after the 6 month post-op exam.  I chose this physician because his statistics were the best I could find.  But now, I find that he conducts his business as "cookie-cutter surgery".  I am afraid that I will be looking for a new physician again.  I have been to 5 different doctors so far.  I truly emphasize with anyone who is in this situation.  The only thing I can say is . . . DON'T GIVE UP.  I use to dance and was very athletic, but now I can only walk slowly and for short distances.  I WILL beat this in time.  Can anyone give me any tips on researching a "good" doctor?  Also, can anyone tell me if they also deal the having to "convince" the medical people of their pain?  If so, how are you handling it?  Thanks for listening.  I will pray for all of you.
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Hello everyone, and thank you for all your comments. I am now on my way to having a cervical facet nerve block, the thing that has me so worried is they say it may not help and it could make things worse, but I want to be pain free so bad that i am willing to take this risk...I can't look up at all thats hurts me really bad..tilting my head to the left orright hurts as well....looking down hurts but feels good at the same time if that makes any sense at all... I too feel like knowone believes I'm still in pain, I was hurt on the job and they have informed me that i no longer have a job with them as my job requires me to look up using an extention pole to clean smoke off cielings and walls so they will not hold this job for me...cuz they know that I have lost some of my ROM...very depressing....To top it all off I am a newly wed. my husband has been an angel, I thank God everyday for him....I did use the bone bank and I had a neuro dr. do the surgery he has been very good to me, he has had meetings with my case manager from workers comp. they tried to get him to let me go back to work, but he stood up to them and said NO not til I know she's not going to hurt herself by doing this very painful even when your healthy job. So feel he is doing everything he can for me...I told him how i felt that knowone believed me he just smiled and said he did believe me and would do what he could...but comp let this go on for a while b4 they approved the surgery so I may have perm. damage to the nerves...I sure hope this block helpd has anyone had this done I'm a lil spooked about it all.....Thank you all for your thoughts and comments it helps to know i'm not alone...:)
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I have tried to post a question here for a while now and have been unable so I am breaking the rules here...SORRY..I had a Fusion done 3 years ago, C5-C6 by an injury that was caused at work. The experience can only be understood by others with the similiar symptoms and surgery. Muscle Spasms in the right upper back that drive one crazy. Almost constant neck stiffness and finally right arm pain that is nearly excruciating.  After surgery, my recovery was faster than what I thought it would be but never really got rid of the pain in my back or the neck stiffness. Although it was lessened by the surgery but never really gone. About 6 months ago, I again started having right arm pain and numbness and the pain in the back area was getting worse. After another MRI, another ruptured disc was found ! C3-C4 UGHHHH ! According to the MRI, the disc is calcified meaning that it has been ruptured for some time. For the first time in my life, I am at a standstill and what I am curious about is LONG TERM DISABILITY. This is going to be our problem it seems for the rest of our lives and finally, I am willing to accept that. My question....Can we get LONG TERM DISABILITY and does anyone know where to start with this.  I would appreciate any help I can get.
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i've read alot of different stories hear... Question how bad was the pain before your fusions?  I've had 2 rounds of physical therapy with no good results, pain pychology only gives me what I already know from Yoga classes years ago.. been in almost constant pain with ANY and ALL attempts of activity.  Herniated c3-4,c4-5, bulges at c5-6,c6-7, severe degenerative changes to both disks and vertebraes at c4,c5,c6, spinal cord canal narrowing.  Just went to see a neuro this a.m.  says due to pain and severe degenerative diease to the neck, I could not would benefit by having him fuse c4,5,and 6.. 70% sucess rate....questions...what was the sucess rate of fusions to all that has had this done given at....with neurosurgeon not ortho....could use stories in excess in order for a sound decision to be made, just the thought of decreased pain is almost enough to gamble with... living on muscle relaxers isn't as cracked up as it would seem to be..!!!!!!!!!!!!
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i've read alot of different stories hear... Question how bad was the pain before your fusions?  I've had 2 rounds of physical therapy with no good results, pain pychology only gives me what I already know from Yoga classes years ago.. been in almost constant pain with ANY and ALL attempts of activity.  Herniated c3-4,c4-5, bulges at c5-6,c6-7, severe degenerative changes to both disks and vertebraes at c4,c5,c6, spinal cord canal narrowing.  Just went to see a neuro this a.m.  says due to pain and severe degenerative diease to the neck, I could not would benefit by having him fuse c4,5,and 6.. 70% sucess rate....questions...what was the sucess rate of fusions to all that has had this done given at....with neurosurgeon not ortho....could use stories in excess in order for a sound decision to be made, just the thought of decreased pain is almost enough to gamble with... living on muscle relaxers isn't as cracked up as it would seem to be..!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Hi Everyone! I had 4 cervical fusions and a titanium plate in Jan. 2000. I went back to work only 3 months after surgery. I worked for one full year until I collapsed. I started getting blurred vision, severe constant headaches, and left shoulder and arm numbness and pain. The doctors discovered that my body was rejecting the titanium plate and screws that held it in. The infection was so bad that it was going into my brain and down the left side of my neck, into my heart. It almost killed me. They tried to stop the infection, but now it is 5 months later, and the neurosurgeons say that they can not operate on me again. Because it could kill me when they open up my neck, it would make the infection spread. So, all they can do for me is send me to pain and headache management. Of course, I have to wait over a month to get an appointment, because they are so booked up. I could literally die waiting just to see the Pain and Headache Management doctors. So, I have to go out on permanent Disability Retirement at the age of 45, and sit at home waiting for this infection to kill me. The pain is almost unbearable each day! I have a low quality of life, because I am constantly on pain medication. I try not to take it, and just live with the pain, until it becomes unbearable.
Now I just put it into GOD's Hands! I know that I was not in an accident to cause this injury. It was caused by my job at the University of Delaware, where I answered over 300 phone calls a day for 5 years, holding the phone with my neck. Never hold the phone with your neck! I could be the poster child for this problem. I only hope and Pray that GOD will heal me from this!

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I've just reread everyone's comments.  The similarities of symptoms and consequences are amazing.  In response to the question of Long Term Disability.  I am currently collecting long term disability benefits through the company I work(ed) for. You might want to check with them. Also, you can check with Social Security / Disability.  However, I was told that I had to wait a year after my doctor determines that I have a significant disability.  I thank God that I was able to get this benefit though my job. I have these benefits for up to a year.  I am also continuing my health care benefits through COBRA.  I am only 39 years old and I feel like my life has been put into cold storage.  My ACF surgery was in October of 2000 but I am still having a lot of pain.  My doctor however does not seem to be very interested.  In fact, his nurse told me that they prefer patients who get healed the first time and don't come back.  I thought that was a pretty lousy thing to say.  So, I am sending him a letter outlining my concerns and, in a way, begging for help.  On top of everything else I just got a letter from my job saying that they only want me back if I am 100 percent cured.  I need to find the rainbow.  I wish the best to all of you.
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I read your posting, I to am 39 yrs-old and on long-term disability.......depending on your policy with your work,,,it should cover you up to 18months, not one year...cobra serve???I would check to see if your work has a retirement plan....My did and my long term lasts 18 months and if the doctor says I cant work after that period doing any job within my restricstions, the policy for long term disability has to carry me until ssd picks up........also I can not be cobra served until the end of the year when my long term expires...so they have listed my health insurance plan under a retirement group and pay a fraction of the cost it would be if I was cobra served!!!!
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Have read these comments with great interest. I had a discectomy of C4-5 and C5-6. A neurosurgeon did the surgery. After many yeears of neck pain, countless sessions of physical therapy, meds and injections, I am happy that I had this done. I had to fight for it to be done. I had to keep pushing for referrals until I found someone willing to do it. The surgeon did a fusion with donor bone and also used titanium plates. As I stated, I do not regret having this done.

However, I have had wide variance in heart rate and blood pressure ever since, a few episodes o presyncope..and within the past week have been found to have neuralgia. This is very painful. I was wondering if any of you experianced this or know of anyone who experianced this post surgically.
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I had stiff neck for 3 weeks. Following the flu and a boute with Brochitis I woke up with severe pain in my neck and down the back of my left arm.  Went to dr.s he put me on Naproxen and Flexeril. After 3 days pain was much worse went to ER. Meds were changed to Vallum and Darvocet. Still no pain relief.  Finally had MRI which showed....: "Large left lateral disc herniation at C5/C6 causing mass effect on spinal cord and compromising the left neuroforamina.  Also Degenerative Disc disease is suspected at C4/C5 and T2/T3 levels."
After reading this the radiologist called me and said I needed to see a neuro surgeon right away. My PCP doctor called and said DO NOT go to Physical Therapy which she had ordered earlier that day before the MRI was done. I am still in severe pain. I now have pain below the elbow and sometimes into my forearm. Some tingling but just a little in my elbow and wrist. Pain sometimes into index finger and thumb.  getting very little sleep, not eating much, . I am still trying to work at my desk job as a secretary. I am taking Vicodin every 4-6 hours but it only eases the pain a little bit for about 1-2 hours. I take the flexeril with the vicodin at night. I do not use the other meds anymore as they do not help.  I use a heating pad constantly on low setting. My question is why would I no longer be a canidate for PT? Is this a serious type of disc herniation? Whay do you think my options are? I can't get into see the neurosurgen until next week. Any insight would be greatly appreciated. Thank you. Good luck to you all.
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I am having physical therapy now (4 months after the surgery on C5, C6).  They PT primarily focuses on the shoulder areas, because any pressure on the neck itself causes severe pain. I did find it useful for the "periphery" pain in the shoulders and back, but it does nothing for the neck pain. Some doctors are hesitant to recommend pt since, if done incorrectly can damage the area more.  I had one PT who wanted to put me into traction.  My advice - Just say NO.  That was extremely painful and had been totally incapacitated for 2 whole weeks. My next time to see the neurosurgeon is in 2 weeks.  Because he is not the most approachable person I've met, I decided to write a letter to prepare him for the next appointment. I listed all of my concerns.  I am hopeful that seeing it in writing will prompt more interest in getting me back to normal (whatever that is!).  I would really like to thank all of you for your comments. This may sound weird, but because of your comments, I don't feel so alone. I pray that all will find relief soon.  Thanks for talking.
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I recently had a MRI done on brain and cervical spine d/t muscle twitching and aching arms with cold hands and some spasticity of muscles. The tests on the brain came out normal ruling out MS but the cervical test show degenerative osteoarthritis of the C5,6,7 with cervical spondylosis myelopathy causing 50% spinal cord compression. my neurosurgeon wanted to do surgery in 3 weeks but i'm putting it off until I get a second opinion. I'm now having more coldness of my hands, same amount of muscle twitching, increased pain in my joints of the neck with a little lightheadedness at times. Also the bottom of my left foot contiually is sore.  Anyone else heard of all of this or had anything similar? I fell off my porch on ice 8 years ago (4feet high directly on my thoracic spine) and I believe this is how all this started but my doctor won't really confirm this. Is surgery the only way out of this?
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Hi there!

Last May, I had cervical disc fusion of levels C5-6 & C6-7 using a bone graft from my hip.  The surgeon also used a titanium plate and screws.  For 2 1/2 months after healing I was painfree and returned to work full time.  Then in September, I started having the same symptoms again with neck, arms and upper back pain.  This is still ongoing and I am considering surgery again but seeing another neurosurgeon this week for a second opinion first.  I have read your posts and see conflicting stories of what you were told to do or not to do while recovering.  As far as lifting, doing light housework and this was never discussed with me at all after the surgery.  Of course, with all the pain I didnt do much for at least 3-4 weeks but then did as I felt.  The pain mgmt doc is telling me that because I started doing some exercises which was approved by my doc that I messed up the fusion.  My latest MRI shows that level c6-7 didnt fuse and now C3-4 needs to be fused.  My question is why are there so many doctors telling their patients didnt information?  You would think it would be the same across the board.  I would like to say I find this forum very informative.

Thanks,
Judi
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Hello all.  I am afraid that my rollercoaster ride has dipped to its lowest point yet.  I am feeling very hopeless.  I saw the neurosurgeon on Monday.  Even after pleading, he has abandoned me.  His only comment is that he can't give me a new neck.  When I asked if this is the way I will always be, he stated he didn't know.  It could get better, or not.  He has placed permanent work restrictions on me that pretty much rules out just about any job. Basically, the only thing I can do without restrictions is breathe. I can't give up hope.  I am currently researching a spine clinic in California that takes patients who have been told there is nothing more to be done.  I know I am probably grasping at straws, but I don't know what else to do.  In the meantime, I am going to see a Pain Management Clinic.  I've seen this doctor before and seemed to be a compassionate doctor.  However, I am doubtful that relearning how to breathe and meditate will help.  It just seems horrible that so many of us have to learn to deal with the pain for the rest of our lives.  I know people in that situation and their lives are very limited. I do NOT want to be that way.  Please excuse the whining.  I am still trying to deal with the shock.  Best of luck to all of you.
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my simpathy goes out to you.  whining? no it sounds alot like fustration to me.   Everyday I try to dream up a way to go back to what I used to be, physical activities i should say.  I am about to try a round of acupuncture here soon, hopefully I can get some relief from the pain. do not want to have surgery at this time..but what other options are there???????Pain management, huh,,,, I've learned all of this from 2  years of yoga, solution???? I struggle everyday with this, expecially the days the pain is intense....I keep having to go deeper into myself to find new founded strength which is exhausting in its self to do. Find some less physically demanding hobbies and activities to do to pass the time is what I ve been told to do..  Goodluck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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it sounds more like fustration then whining to me!!! everyday I try and come up with a way that might aid me in going back to being physicallly active, I so much want what live offered me before all this neck trauma came about.  I am limited to next to nothing myself...am going to try a round of acupuncture here soon, in hopes it can bring some relief...am tring to avoid surgery at all costs right now...my loss can be overwheleming at times, and pain mangement...huh........learned all of that through 2 years of yoga years ago....it only applies to certain situations..and its not a fixall...been told to find some new hobbies that require little physical demands to pass the time with.not sure what this would be...hard to accept this all as a life time commitment..am 39 years old and feel trapped..I have to go deeper inside myself more and more to find new founded strengh to get through this all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!goodluck and keep some faith...
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Thank you for commenting back to me.  It sounds like we have very similar situations.  I pray that the accupuncture will work.  Please let me know how it goes.  I am willing to try anything at this point - even though I truly hate needles.  I've been trying to find activities that I can do to keep me occupied.  My husband has said that I should start a group of people who are recuperating like me and do an arts and crafts thing.  I have always done needle point and embroidery, but I can only sew and stitch for a limited time because of the numbness in my hands.  So my latest activities are plants and painting.  The down side is that I don't really have much talent in these fields.  I seem to have a high plant mortality rate, and my painting will certainly not be seen in any gallery.  But it does keep me busy.  I completely understand why you want to avoid surgery.  I agreed to the surgery because the were no other alternatives.  I am beginning to doubt my decision.  Regardless of that, I must look ahead and keep faith that I will find some way of stopping the pain.  I would be happy to share any information I receive from the Spine Care clinic in California.
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Any and all information you do have i would find grateful to obtain, as this is a life long battle we are up against.  I seem to be having a day like you did when i last posted to you.  was up at 4 am stressing about every aspect of my life, and how i am going to seriously be able to have "quality" time with the years to come....My e-mail address is ***@**** if you'd like to contact me by this address instead of posting feel free.. thank you for your offer of literature!!!!!!!!!!!!!Judy
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dallen,hi, when putting my e-mail address in the last posting I forgot to put the . between the stu and wcc just saw this,
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Hello to all of the brave people I have just learned about. I have just had an anterior cervical dec. fusion on c5,6 last week-10th march, 2002. I came home from hospital five days ago with no information about my recovery and no idea that I would still be in some pain. My surgery was unplanned and treated as urgent after going to three different G.Ps for one month of increasing and debilitating pain. I was finally taken to hospital and had an MRI late on Friday night and was told first thing the next day that I had to have an ACDF and fixation. The neurosurgeon told me that I was lucky I was walking. I am a working 37y.o Australian mum with two young children and am very lucky to have received hospital treatment so quickly. I am scared of the pain that I still have in my left arm - at night I get really alarmed by it and I have to admit that I feel pretty depressed about the situation I am in - hope is great to hear about and I wish everyone well and hope you all stay hopeful in getting well.
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i had an anterior cervical disectomy with fusion 3 levels, one week ago today. before the surgery, i had pain radiating down my right arm. i had had pt, nerve blocks. i was sent to this neurosurgeon by my neurologist. after a 5 minute exam, he said, i can fix this. do you want this fixed? well after dealing with recurring episodes that could last months, i said yes. he made it sound like no big deal.i still cannot swallow anything but liquids, even they are hard to swallow. my pain is now on both sides of my body, at least as bad as the pain before the surgery, if not worse, the doctor walked into the hospital room, asked where the pain was, turned to the colleague he had with him and said, "well, this ones not going to get any better, i'm really surprised too, i took out a good size chunk" i immediately started asking, what do you mean, i'm not going to get better, he just left.no one after that would say anything about the condition i was in. i developed pneumonia. they gave me tylenol and discharged me the next day. i am going to call him today to make the follow-up appointment but does anyone think this is just healing, or should i go to someone else or what? ican't even think straight after being in so much pain for so long. i would really appreciate any advice.
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I would seriously suggest you give your healing process some time, some of the symptons sound like post surgery healing.. I was under the understanding that it could take months to really know if pain after surgery will go away..I am faced with neck surgery also, am tring to delay this, but I was told that time is of essence with this kind of surgery.....hang tight and good luck.......
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i had l-4-5-6-s5 and bone graft I was doind pretty goog until sept 2001 3spacers came out,my first surgerywas 16th of aug 2001 the day after 2nd surgery a potty chare dumbed me in the floor so I had to have surgery again oct 23rd, I cannot get over this when I walk it is like hotwater hurting in my left leg and my back still hurts can't bend over reach up and riding in a car makes me so sore I can'thardly stand it  I am so sick of hurting please any help you can give me I am on pain killer which don't help when I try to walk. I am about to give up put I am only 51 years old I don't want to spend my life like this please help if you can or any information on what to do. thank you
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Wow, I suddenly feel alittle normal compared to all of you.  I am 35 year old female.  I was in a car accident almost three years ago from which I loss consciousness. I was seen in the ER, told to take some Advil then sent home.  Two days later I returned to the ER knowing that something was wrong. I was intially diagnosed as having a Basilar Skull Fracture and Concussion.  It took awhile to feel alittle better, but my problems never went away.  Finally, an MRI revealed a c6-c7 herniation for which I had surgery last April.   I did feel quite a bit better but still had alot of shoulder pain.  After a year of asking the doc, "Are you sure there isn't something wrong with my shoulder"?  He finally focused on that area.   Well, two weeks ago I had another surgery to repair a Labrum Tear and Bicep Tear, also known as a SLAP lesion.   As of right now, I am doubting that I will ever feel back to normal.   I have ALOT of shoulder pain still.   I am hoping that with PT I will be able to relieve the pain I have every day.  It is frustrating because you have approximately 15 minutes to plead your case to the doctor and if you are not educated on what your symtoms (symptoms) are they seem to shrug it off.  You have to be proactive in your treatment and do not give up on it.  It has been a learning experience for me.   I am still not convinced that they have fixed everything.  I am currently seeing Ortho doctors, I think it may be to my benefit to also find a good Neuro Doctor.
I would also like to post a question on this site but have been unable to do so.
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It's been five weeks since my anterior cervical decompression and fusion, fixation at c5-6. I have minimal pain now in my neck except for stiffness and no pain at all in my arm and shoulder. I am finding that the area that was grafted from my hip is still quite sore and have been back at work (nursing) for the past two weeks. I have been walking heaps but still find it hard on my hip and right leg when I am at work on my feet all day. My fusion has been progressing successfully and my neurosurgeon is happy with it and says that it will keep getting better. There is just a lot of nerve healing that needs to go on in my leg and my neck. I made a decision, along with my GP to commence antidepressants as a result of the trauma and pain I have been in. I am really glad I did as it has helped me to focus on my recovery and help me with the intense anxiety I was experiencing after the surgery. I am really pleased with my progress and know that it will take time, patience and perserverance with living a healthy life - lots of walking, stretching, eating well and changing priorities in my life. I wanted to share my experience as I am really grateful that I am having positive results from the surgery I have had.
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Hi my name is Linda

I have been to 5 Neurosurgions
I have not had surgery yet
The surger would entail a 3-level anterior cervical discectomy

My doctor told me the risks....I could have failed fusion at the 3rd level.  I also need titanium plating.  He wants to use part donor bone and part hip bone.  The risks include, but are not limited to infection, bleeding, hoarseness, both permanent and transient, difficulty with swallowing, pain at the hip site, meralgia paraesthetica that can either be permanent or tempory, weakness, paralysis, and etc.  The 5 doctors told me I can become paralysed if I don't have surgery and I also can become paralysed after the surgery...with c4-5,c5-6 and c6-7 the only thing I was guarenteed was pressure off the spinal cord.  I was told I still could have pain forever and headaches. I was told it could get worst and effect the bowel and bladder and I could wake up one morning cripple. Again, I was told I could have failed fusion, failure of improvement, vocal cord problems, paralysis and more.  

I am in a lot of pain...it changes I can do very little and I am very scared to get this operation because of the risks.

If anyone knows of a SURGION with a great record of success with no paralysis afterwards please tell me.

I am still looking for a surgion who can say all of their patients came through surgery without paralysis.

No one on the board mentioned paralysis....how I found out I went to a Dr. Heary in NJ and he is the head of the Neurosergions in this State and he told me if a surgion does not tell you there is a chance you can wake up paralysed he is not being honest with you.

I need a GREAT Neurosergion...can anyone help with some Dr. names?  and the State please ...I will go anywhere for help.

I want the right doctor.

I used to work out 3 hours a day, 1 and a half was swimming at my health club...other was yoga, running, biking I was 35 lbs thinner but now I am not suposta move my neck much and I cannot lift much.  

I was very independent...I was a massage therapist and colonic therapist...

Owned my own business...I have my own house still don't know what I am going to do about that as I can't even water the lawn.

I am not even supost lift a gallon jug of water so I have a friend drop off a couple of cases of small bottled water.

LIfe stinks like this...I went into a surgical supply yesterday to look at a walker with wheels because my balance is off a lot of days and I almost fall.

Still I don't want to have the operation and maybe wind up cripple sooner then if I don't.

I want to be able to swallow and not chance I might have to be injecting liquids through my belly because I had an operation and it ruined my swallowing.

Well, I took up enough time....

I will never be the same and I am not sure what to  do
the only way I will get the surgery is if I get the BEST surgion.

Can anyone help?
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I had an on the job injury in August of 2001 that started all my problems.  The pain started in my lower back and then seemed to get better.  Later it spread to my hip and leg.  My Doctor ordered a MRI after steriods did not help.  After his review he refered me to a neurosurgeon.  I had my first operation December of 2001 fusing vertebra in my upper neck area.  In May of 2002 I had lower back surgery so they could remove bone to take pressure off of my nerves. I had another MRI this September due to continuing pain and tingling in my hands.  My new doctor, the previous doctor (Joseph Stern) left his practice here in Greensboro, is now Mark W. Roy.  He now tells me I need a third operation.  The fusion in December was not sucessful and the donor bone between one vertebra did not fuse and I now have a space and I have had additional narrowing.  He will remove the first plate and replace it with another larger one.  I was told if I did not have the operation I would be Christ Reeves roommate.
Does anyone know anything about Doctor Mark W. Roy or a website where I might be able to get information?  I am really depressed about this and do not want to have to take pain medicine the rest of my life.  I have cervical spondilosis.  Will it continue to get worse and I will need more fusions?  Has anyone had a similiar event??  I would be more than willing to discuss my experiences after each of my operations if that would help anyone. It took me 3 months to recover from my first fusion and I had to sleep in a recliner for 3 weeks.  
Thanks and best to all.
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Hi all! What a great forum! I was hit from behind at a light by a drunk going 60 miles per hour. He hit me 2 times(second time when he tried to leave the scene) causing me to hit the car in front of me 2 times also. After being inappropriately treated by a Chiro for 6 months I got wise and saw Ortho. I have herniations from c3-c7. C6-7 being the worsed (as well as L3-5). I have simply tried to be tough and put up with the pain. (all meds make me too sleepy and I am a nurse and obviously have to be able to concentrate). My Neuro symptoms started 10 weeks ago. I now have limited use of my right arm and can barely write some days. I am embarrased and feel like some of the people at work think I am trying to just whine and get attention so I guess I act like a Martyr and don't ask for help and just do my job even though I am "sedentary duty" (meaning I can't lift more than my pen practically). Like many of you my job is now at risk. I HAVE to miss time due to Dr and therapy appointments and have been told that I cannot call off at all. I sobbed at work today due to the pain and spasms. I have had 2 cervical epidurals that have sadly made my pain 50 times worse ( not that I think other people should not consider it simply because it did not work for me) It somehow disturbed my vision in my right eye after both injections ( CAT Scan was normal thank god). Now they want to do a Cervical Fusion. I am very nervous of course. I don't want this to be one of many surgeries that I am going to need. I am 33 but feel like 70. I have lost my sense of humor and have gained weight due to lack of exercise. I am in pain and just plain miserable. I have to make a decision soon about the surgery but am just so unsure! Help!
                                           Danni
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Hello everyone, I have read over all of you comments, and I also have had a disc fusion at C6-7 with bone from my right hip. I was left with minimal weekness in left arm. other than that, which my doctor did warn me could happen; I was completely out of pain as they wheeled me out the the recovery room I was praising the Lord, my family couldn't believe how quickly I had recovered. The Doctor also was very pleased with my progress.  I had very little pain in my hip, nothing to be remembered, not enough to stop me or even limp. I was very cautious with my lifting and movements, only because I KNEW what a serious operation it was, not because i was in any pain.  My Doctor's name is Dr. Samuel Neff in NJ, a wonderful Neurosurgeon, that is very conservative and will not do anything he doesn't have to do.
I pray the best for all of you. I think it does have to do with having a good Neurosurgeon and being very careful to keep your limitations where they belong until you are completely recovered. Hope I have helped. Mom of 5 that also went back to work soon after and returned to a normal life without much restriction in my rotation and movement of my neck and head.
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I was having pain and numbness in my right hand and fingers. Went to see an Orthopedic, wh at first said it was Carpal Tunnel. After the third visit, he decided that I need to go to a Pain Center because he didn't think it was Carpal Tunnel anymore. He wasn't sure what it was. After 3 visits and three steroid shots, MRI and nerve test, the Pain Center decided that I needed to go see a Neurosurgeon. WHo, right away said "oh, yes, you have a heniated disc and a degenerative disc (C5, C6, & T1). We need to do surgery. The sooner the better. Well, I was not having any pain in my neck. I had surgery done June 3, 2002. Came home the next day. I could not move my head at all and could not raise my right arm at all. I had to return to work on August1, 2002. I am still in severe pain and mobility is still limited. My right hand and fingers are still bothering me. I did go to see another doctor, who has now told me that I had a bad surgery and to fix it, I will have to have surgery again. I will have to have C5,6,& 7 removed and a fusion done in my neck. What am I suppose to do? I am gunshy of surgery right now. But I can no longer vacum, work in my flowers, mop my floors, nor turn to back up in my car.
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I have also had 2 fusions on c5/c6 the first one they used doner bone and my body asorbed it so the dr waited about a year this one was done in 1999 he wated tell 200 for the 2nd one and they took bone from my hip and plated it i have had nothing but problems with it from pains in my arm to bad headaches after they let me take my brace off from the second one the left side of my neck has this red bloch on it like a bad sun burn the surgen said it cant be from the plate they used it must be from medication and the sun this is through L&I so i have been waiting for 2 years now to get in to a dermatolagest to try to find out what is goning on and in the mean time it has sprad to the other side of my neck I have been trying to work part time sentendary work and it has been hard the headaches i have and neck pain make you want to end it all to be done with the pain i havent had a day without pain or a headache in almost 4 years now and it is getting old. let alone dealing with L&I and there **** i would do any thing to have a normal life agan but i think thats impossable i am only 42 years old and i take more pills to survive then any body i know if there is any one out there that has a ida please let me know  I feel for all you other people out there because i know what you are goning through thanks (rut)
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Hello. I don't really know how this works, but I wanted to talk to people who have had spinal fusions also. I am a 15 year old girl who has scoliosis. I was diagnosed with it a little over a year ago and it has changed my life dramatically. Within a matter of 4 months I was put through bracing(which is a horrible thing for a freshman in highschool to have to wear to school everyday)and was told that even though I was being tortured with wearing a brace, it wouldn't even help and I would have to have a spinal fusion. Before this, I didn't even know what scoliosis was(for those of you who may not know it is severe curverture of the spine)and now it was a big part of my life and there wasn't a day that went by that it didn't haunt me.Most peoples spines have a 0% curve and I had 57%. It was very noticable and I was very self consience. My surgery consisted of putting rods, screws, and hooks in my spine and keeping them in place with bone which would fuse over a year.This means no sports or activities with my friends which is very hard to deal with.It has been 3 months since my surgery and I am doing wonderful now. But it was not easy and I have never been through anything more difficult in my life. Though everyone I knew tried to be very understanding, no one truly understood and I would like to hear from someone who had been through this also. Please comment back and I would like to email anyone who is willing to talk with me about this. Thanx a bunch.
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Hi everybody - Just had cervical fusion 5-6 on 9 October 2002.  My surgery went fine  41/2 hours.  I am a 44 year old female with 4 children and a full time job.  My children ages are from
2 years to 25 years. For the past 9 years have been supervising a 911 Center (long hours) at least 12 a day.  I have now been home for 5 weeks recovering slowly in my opinion.  I no longer have arm pain but continue to have shoulder and neck pain.  Trying to take it easy but with little ones that is difficult.  My question is DOES ANYONE OUT THERE HAD DIZZYNESS after surgery? I find myself having to sit down or hold on when the room starts to spin.  I will be returning to work next week and worried it may be too soon, any suggestions.  I have disability pay for the next two months, should I just stay off.
Any suggestions would be helpful.
Thanks
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Hello to everyone:My name is Mike and Im a truck driver by trade.
I was rear ended by another semi. The company I worked for sent me to a doctor of their choise, And that is where my nightmare started. The doctor they sent me to told me that all i had was musscle strain. and sent me to physical theraphy. The therapist told me that i needed to ask the doctor to perform a MRI do to the injuries to my back,neck,left shoulder and left arm.
The doctor said i did'nt need a MRI and stated he knew all i had was musscle strain to the areas. well that was 2 months of theraphy and no results. I was still in pain. The therapist told me everything that could have been wrong with me. And it turns out he knew more than the doctor they sent me to. the next step was to wait a month and then he decided to give me three injections in my neck.that did not work and made things worse.
He had told me the first time i asked for a MRI. that is a last resort. WOW finally got their. I was hit on May 31 2001. Got the MRI after the wait,in October of 2001, waited for the results and the doctor told me that he read the report and said he did not feel i needed a operation but was sending me to his friend the nero-surgent. I had a single level fusion at the c5/c6 The nero-surgent said it was not a big deal. they would use a bone bank and use titanium plate to hold it in place, this took place on Nov 26 2001. They said it went fine and their was no problems with the surgery. I was released on the second day.I had some releaf but the pain was still there. tilting to either side and looking up.They told me that it was the pain of healing.and I would just have to deal with it and sent me back to work the end of April. Wow it lasted about a month and everything went to hell. I called the doctor and he said give it 2 months and call back if it dose not get better or worse. well it got worse and the workmans comp wouldnt let me back to see the doctor. so here i am. I have had nothing but severe pain,unable to tilt either way with out pain and looking up is just as bad.Im fighting with everything i have to get a doctor to see me. during the time of being released to go back to work the company went bankrupt and closed. I had no more medical.the 21/2 months i did work was for someone else. I have had musscle spasms be taken to the emergancy room. Don't give up. I'm not. I saw the xray from feb 2002, one pc of bone in the fused area. just had another xray end of oct 2002. saw the area had gotten smaller in height,and the bone was now 2 pcs. the insurance doctor says oh its healing fine. if so why am i unable to do small things like wash dishes or even put my sock and shoes on. these doctors from what I have read from everyone in here has left us out in the cold. with no light at the end of the tunnel. and our lives put on hold. Im sorry i was so long winded. But like some of the rest in here i thought i was alone. that there was no one else having the same trouble. after reading everyone elses stories and wiping the tears. I know im not alone. I have had to fire my old attorney and found one in the state i was injued in. no im filing in that state and hope everything works out. they say im looking at pernament disability. that i may be this way forever. My heart go's out to everyone here. its not fair how every doctor seems to have a diffrent approch for the healing. and if there is a problem they just egnore and brush it under the rug. once again,sorry for the long wind. GOD BLESS AND MY PRAYERS GO OUT TO EVERYONE.
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Hello, Boy oh boy do I feel not so alone. I had an anterior cervical
disectomy and fusion on c5-c6 on 9/11/02(what a day to remember). I felt ok after surgery but about the 3 week I started getting headaches and neck pain. My donor sight my right hip was ok after about 2 weeks. I told my Dr and he said that was normal P.O. pain. Well I complained for the next several weeks about the neck pain and headaches, I went to see him two weeks early because of the pain. I had my xrays done and looked at them with him,then we went into the room to talk.He opened my file and asked why I had gotten an attorney. I had always thought that my injury was work related, when I was denied wc I got an attorney and pursued wc. He changed everything. He said it wasn't wc(which I have seen a QME and he says it is wc). Needless to say he was not very nice to me, he told me I needed antidepressants and I needed to get back to work. I informed him that I had been fired from my job in August because I had been off work since 3/12/02 from the pain. He saw me in April and said there was nothing wrong with me I just needed steriod inj and to get over it. Well I went back in august and he decided to do surgery and when he got in to c5-c6 he found out that it had completely ruptured and pieces of it had gone into my spine. But he told me on 11/12/02 that he was releasing me to PT work for 2 wks and FT work after that and I can lift upto 30 lbs for a month after that unlimited weight.I really am having a problem with this whole thing. I am not a whiny butt I am a mother of 6 teenage kids. I was working full time at a Dr office that saw 40-60 patients a day,pt for my husband shop,taking care of my mother in law dying of pancreatic cancer(which she died 9/30/02),going to school at night, doing everything for the household and the children all of this I was doing before I got hurt. Now I wake take my kids to school with my headache hanging onto the front of my head always, come home rest think about what I could possible do with myself, make lunch for my husband, rest, neck pain, shoulder pain, stress, numbness in pinky and ring finger, rest, pick up my kids at school,rest, lay down and sleep. Well if that is not a different life I dont know what is. I went to see my family Dr. 11/13/02 she said I was either having migraine headaches or the neck pain is causing the headaches from the muscles being dirupted. She gave me Imitrex to try for the headaches. I tried it, it seemed to make the headaches worse. Now
what? I see her on tuesday 11/19/02. Right at this very moment I hate Dr. I dont understand why they never believe their Patients. I wish the Dr. had to have surgery before they became surgeons so they know what it feels like. Thanks for listening I appreciate it
if anyone wants to email me I would be happy to talk.
***@**** thanks
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A related discussion, Pain after Anterior Cervical Discectomy/Fusion was started.
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