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Neck and Shoulder pain after C5-6 fusion.

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# Neck and Shoulder pain after C5-6 fusion.

A little over a year ago, I had C5-6 fused. With a plate and screws inserted. Since then I am having trouble with pain in the neck and shoulder area just below the fusion area. I wake in the morning with a headache then turns to pain in lower neck and shoulders.
I have talked to the neurosurgeon who did the surgery and he shrugged his shoulders and said I have no idea and sent me back to my neurologist. He gave me a series of injections in both shoulders and the pain stopped for a couple days but then came right back. Then we tried massage therapy, it helps but only for a short period.Then I have to go back to the massage therapist again and again, my insurance will not pay for that. And I have tried changing my pillows on my bed and sleeping in different positions and nothing seems to help for long term.
What can I do?
Thanks
Maureen
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roonie. i am having simular problems after a C5 to C7 fusion with a peek implant and plate. only mine swells up at and below the surgery with alot of pain. i am getting the same run around you are. its been 10 mo. since my surgery. I have had an mri and it says i am fused and ok. i am trying to check into adverse reactions to the plate and PEEK implant . i would like to stay in touch with you to see how u come out and would certainly tell you what if anything they ever find with me? thanks
Yes, please keep in touch. I would love to know what is going on and I will do the same. I am going back to neuro in 2 weeks and see what else he has to say......I am not sure can we post our email addresses here?
i go this week .  ill risk posting my email.. its ***@****
It really bothers me to see so many cases of severe post-fusion pain. Doctors must not be explaining all the possible complications with the surgeries.

All fusion surgeries carry a risk of permanent post-op pain, and it appears that the likelihood of such pain increases as you move up the spine. Perhaps this is due to the very high density of fine nerve fibers in the head and neck region.  Part of the problem lies in the fact that to obtain access to the regions to be fused, large quantities of otherwise unrelated nerve fibers are subject to trauma as they are pulled and pinned back to clear the working field for the surgeon. Too often, the trauma to these nerve fibers is not considered significant until post-op pain doesn't subside, and by then it is too late.

Although the pain may be severe, the nerve damage is rarely, if ever, bad enough to be seen by MRI or CT scans.  Neuralgia is usually diagnosed only by ruling out other conditions, and doctors hate to point out the probability that another doctor might have caused the problem. To me, this is a case of misguided "professional courtesy", and it only serves to cause the patient unnecessary suffering.

See a pain doctor or neurologist and ask if neuralgia might be your problem. If the answer is "no", don't leave the doctor's office unless they can give a very good explanation for why neuralgia would not be worth considering (and then prepare to watch the doctor try to fish for an answer).

The reality is that any spine surgery carries the risk of ne ve damage, so any chronic post-op pain is potentially due to nerve trauma during surgery.
i did know that there could be nerve damage from the surgery. the thing with me is that all of the pain i had before surgery is gone and now i have pain and swelling where they did the surgery. the pain might be expected i guess, the swelling is another matter. I dont know of any one that has swelling in the back of the neck where the surgery was done . being i am completly fused i also wonder why its so tender to lightly press on that area?
I am posting this because I was fortunate enough to have cervical surgery this year that has been a complete blessing.

I had injured my neck over three years ago and lived with severe pain everyday for three years. I was told by two different neurosurgeons that fusion was my only option. WRONG!

I had Laser surgery in May of this year and I can honestly say I now have NO PAIN and NO HARDWARE!! Plus I was back at my office less than one week after the surgery. The name of the facility is Laser Spine Institute : http://laserspineinstitute.com/home.aspx
They also work on fusions gone bad. (I have never heard of a good fusion personally) The so called "Gold Standard" they told me. Fusion should only be done for severe Spondylosis to stabilize the spine in my oppinion. It is now done WAY TOO OFTEN.

I had a bulging disc at C5-C6, stenosis at C3,C4,C5 and some degeneration. I was on major pain killers everyday for over two years. I am now pain and drug free!

I told myself that I would let as many people know as I can about this procedure. I will never hurt for you to check into it and feel free to email me and ask me anything. I only wish that I had known about Laser Spine Institute three years ago. It would have saved me from going through the pure hell that I did.

WOW, I did not know about the nerve damage that could be done because of the fusion itself. My Dr said nothing of this to me before the surgery. And if he had. I would never had it in the first place.
I really cannot afford any more treatments. But what can Lasar Treatment do for this now? By the end of my day my neck and shoulders hurt so bad I really want to sit down and cry. And the past few nights I cannot sleep on my left side. The pain radiates down my spine.
I put in a call today to my neurologist for an appointment and I plan on asking him about the neuralgia. I just want to see what he has to say to that. I am also going to do some research and see what can be done for neuralgia. Any one know?
Thanks Alot.....Your information has been helpful. I will be checking back to read more....
I dont know what kind of pain your having  but it sounds like the pain is in the same area mine is. because of the swelling i have they are finally taking me serious, and i am goin in soon for a bone scan with contrast. i do get nerve pain down my spine but the worst pain is not nerve type pain. i hope you u keep telling us  what happens as time goes on.
Hi, I called Dr today and cannot get in till the end of this Month. I have an appointment early in the day. So we shall see what he has to say. I have a list of thing as long as my arm. I also have to talk to him about my migraine meds. They are helping considerable. But my insurance co. has changed the levels of payment and now need to get them on the generic side. Hopefully they will work as well. I take Topamax to prevent the migranes (migraines). And it really helps.
Jane, when do you go back to the Dr? I am interested to hear what is going on. When do you have that test?

Maureen
i go on the 27th for a spec bone scan. ill let u know when i know more .  i had an injection in my neck for the pain and swelling . they hit a vein and i almost didnt make it so i dont know if they will help or not but ill be picking out a diff doctor. ill let you know and feel free to email me to keep in touch about how we both come out. thanks
I was diagnosted with a torn disc in my neck and was told I would need a discogram and fusion surgery...can you give me some more info on this laser surgery..
I believe I belong on your page. I too swell up in the surgery area and get in nasty burnig pain every day. I have nerves shoot through my body when I open my mouth fast, turn my body, step hard or sneeze.
I had 2 level fussion 5/5/06. They removed bone spurs all around C3-C4-C5, freed up nerves that where compromised and straighened a verdabrea that compressed my spine. Removed the disc, fused and secured with titanium plate. All symptoms from before are gone, all of them. But since I returned to work I started hurting. I also swell up and have a nasty burn on my shoulder blades. This seems to get worse every day. I spend most of my evening pressed against the back of the couch not moving.
Moving around seems to help, losen up the muscles. Pain killers are not effective. Muscle relaxers help a bit.
The doc says the upper level has not fused all the way. The verdabrea may be moving.
Does anyone know what causes this and what to do about it ?? I will now try calcium in high dose to aid bone graft growth.

Thanks ahead for you input
I had an anterior cervical disectomy and fusion and have a metal plate in the c5-7 disk 18 months ago.  I have had a lumpy feeling in my neck ever since.  All the test show nothing is there.  I went back to my surgeon and he says the plate is still in place.  He did not know what the feeling is and wanted me to go back to my primary doctor.  Nobody can tell me what is wrong.  I cannot sit for more than 30 minutes until me neck and shoulders hurt.  I also had lumbar surgery the same time, and still suffer constant pain and it is getting worse. I can only grocery shop about 30 minutes at the most. I now have no job or insurance.  The surgeon has told me I will have reoccuring pain that can last for days, months, or longer.  Any suggestions what could be wrong?
I also had a 2 level cervical fusion just 9weeks ago.  Before the surgery I had pain in my neck and down my right arm and into my hand.  Now both hands are numb esspecially the last two fingers on both hands. My arms and between my shoulder blades burn like fire. I hardly have any control of my hands.  I cant pick up small items or even turn the pages in a book.  My doctor did a post-op MRI and he said everything looks great.  He put me on Nuerotin about 3 weeks ago, but all it does is make me very dizzy.  I've had PH and it hasn't helped.  So I continue to take Percicet 7.5 and muscle relaxers every 4 to 6 hours.  I have 2 small children, ages 3 and 6, it's hard to even take care of my kids.  Has anyone else had this happen and what do I need to do to get some relief?  I never thought I would end up worse after the surgery.
Did you consult an attorney with your work injury?  My surgery was also the result of a work injury.  I have retained an attorney and he told me that the company that I work for would be responsible for all medical bills pertaining to my neck or any area that was effected from my injury for the rest of my life.  I know how bad the pain can be, I just hope it will eventually get better.  I'm so sorry for your lose and I wish you luck.
Glad that so many posted a reply or comment. Thanks.
My good news is the new and higher soft collar I got. I sleep in it every night and it DOES make a difference. The burnig in my shoulder is less, the swelling too. Seems like it gives the neck a good break of movement at night. I advice everyone to give it a try.
I have not had any good news from my surgon so far. He wants to do surgery and install a plate from the back onto my none-fused verdabrea. That will be my last resort.
So I took matters in my own hand and give myself 2 month to make the fussion grow together.
Yesterday I had a bone density test, blood calcium level test and will have those results next week. If anything is out of the norm, I go on calcium shoots or osteoporosis pills.
I also got back on my bone stimulator for 4 hours every day. I never did like the way it feels, but who knows if it will really make a differece. Last year I wore it every day for 4 1/2 month after surgery.
I will keep you posted on my status beginning of March.
And....best luck to all of you. Maybe you'll find a way to lower or kill your pain for good.

C-5 C-6 fusion with plate, and sooo many issues. From pain in the neck and shoulder, to numbness in the arms and right side. I also have headaches, and depression. No treatment and no help. OOO well. I have been to 2 neurosurgeons and in and out of the emergency room over and over. Pain is bad, and everyone looks at me as if I am crazy....
Chuck
Ever have problems swallowing food?
Wow, I just can't believe all the horror stories I am reading about here....I had a posterior cervical laminoplasty at levels C-3 through C-7 in May of 2006, due to severe cord compression and myelopathy. I went to 4 neurosurgeons for evaluation (including the Mayo Clinic) before deciding to go with the surgeon I did....and am I ever glad now, considering what many of you have gone through with anterior surgeries and fusions.  The neuro I chose told me that her procedure was the "safest" one for my circumstances - they make an opening on one side of the lamina and tack it back, like an open door...which preserves stability while allowing the spinal cord more room.  She indicated that what people don't understand about fusions is that it puts additional pressure on the levels above and below, which can cause at the very least, additional pain.  There are, of course, times when fusion is called for, but not in my case.....at least not as a first resort.  Thank heavens I listened to her and decided on the laminoplasty!  Don't get me wrong....life isn't a bowl of cherries, but I don't have severe, unending pain and much of my numbness and tingling has gotten better.  I also just had lumbar surgery and that has posed a greater problem, in that I have arachnoiditis (clumping of the nerves near the cauda equina, where they exit from the spine.)  I don't know how I got it, but presume it was from an epidural injection that somehow went into the wrong area - it's fairly rare, but once you have it, there's nothing anyone can do, since they can't "un-clump" the nerves.  So...I have that going for me in the lower back, but I am most grateful that my cervical spine is improved with the laminoplasty and that I didn't proceed with the fusion.  My thoughts are with you and I hope you experience improvement in your symptoms.  By the way....Chuck, was your surgery done through the front?  I was told by one of the surgeons I consulted that swallowing difficulty was a potential side effect, since they're working so close to the vocal chords, etc....hopefully, that will improve for you over time......Jo
YES I DO FROM TIME TO TIME AND HAVE BEEN TOLD THERE IS NO REASON FOR THIS TO HAPPEN. ALSO MY VOICE CHANGES BECOMES HOARSE AND IT HURTS TO TALK FOR LONG PERIODS OF TIME.
HAS ANYONE HAD PAIN WHEN BENDING OVER OR LYING FLAT? THE FRONT OF MY NECK NEAR THE INCISION AREA HURTS AND FEELS LIKE SOMETHING PRESSING ON THE INSIDE OF MY NECK. VERY PAINFUL.
I ALSO HAVE TERRIBLE HEADACHES,  AND PAIN IN BACK OF NECK THAT SEEMS TO CRAWL UP HEAD. I HAVE PAIN, NUMBNESS IN FACE AREAS WHEN I MOVE MY HEAD IN CERTAIN DIRECTIONS. I HAVE TROUBLE SLEEPING AND AM AFRAID TO DRIVE BECAUSE  OF LIMITED NECK MOVEMENT PAIN WHEN SITTING FOR LONG PERIODS WITHOUT SUPPORT FOR NECK.  SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME WHAT IS WRONG
K M N
Wow I am looking for help and see trouble.. I had c5/6 done four months ago with plate.  As soon as I awoke I had awful shoulder pain after recheck my neck doctor sent me to shoulder doctor. I was told my shoulder was torn and they did surgery.  Now I have awful shoulder pain in both arms and can't sleep due to pain.  post op shoulder post op neck.  I DONT THINK I had a torn shoulder this pain is so bad I would have known before neck surgery...... wow what are they doing.....the doctor who did neck surgery should never sent me to a doctor to do surgery on my shoulder because this has to be from the neck surgery....... how could I have suddenly torn both shoulders???? This is crazy and the pain is so bad I can't stay like this I am getting worse by the day!  I NEED HELP!
Wow,  i see the neuro surgeon tomorrow and I am more scared than ever.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
You better be very careful. I am stuck in hell excuse my wording but it is true!
I TO HAD A NECK FUSION DONE. HOWEVER MINE HAS HELPED.
I ALSO HAD MY THYROID TAKEN OUT 2 MONTHS AFTER I HAD
MY NECK FUSED. I HAVE PROBLEMS SWALLOWING AFTER BOTH
SURGERIES. I HAVE NECK PAIN FROM TIME TO TIME. MY LOCAL
CHIROPRACTOR IS TRAINED TO ADJUST FUSED NECKS THAT IS
A TRMENDOUS HELP. WHEN THE PAIN GETS REAL BAD FROM TIME TO TIME ICE ON THE BACK OF MY NECK AND A HEATING PAD ACCROSS MY SHOULDERS IS THE ONLY THING THAT HELPS
WITH THE PAIN THAT AND A MILD MUSCLE RELAXER. THE ICE AND HEAT HAVE TO BE APPLIED AT THE SAME TIME.

PATTIE117755
I had a C-5 C-6 fusion with plates and some type of coil on June 25, 2007, this was from falling into a ditch on a Jobsite, after the initial first weeks, I really felt great, I was in a Miami J collar (full) until September 25, when they removed the body part and the bar that hold your head up, that's when the problems with pain started again, even with the collar still on, October 25 they removed the collar and I couldn't even hold my head up, I went for 2 months of therapy with no improvement and was released MMI (maxium medical improvement) on December 23, 2008. I started back to work light duty January 2, 2008 and lasted until February 4, I just could not take the pain anymore, I was sent for 2 more months of therapy (no help) I returned to work again April 25, but this time with no restrictions and although I extremely happy to be back to work, the pain sometimes has me in tears. When I go to my neurosurgeon he treats me like ****, says I am his worst patient (god syndrome) and it all in my head, although a MRI shows a bone spur right at the fusion which is causing the pain, he says he has to do a another milogram and then says but he wouldn't operate again anyway, because if it is a bone spur it will go away eventually.
I have my next appointment in early October, and I am going to have the milogam done, I can no longer sleep and the pain is terrible.
I have gone to other surgeons but no other surgeon really wants to get involved.
I have not taken any pain pills during this whole thing, but was just prescribed ultram about 2 weeks ago, they don't help much, either does ice/heat.
I get terrible headaches from the neck/shoulder pain and forget about it when the weather changes from warm to cool or if its going to rain I can tell a day before.
I had multilevel (C3,4,5,6) fusion 4 years ago.  Started choking on medicine the day I came home and have had difficulites with foods (mostly dry stuff) and medicines (off and on) since.  My voice has also become hoarse (everybody thinks I'm a guy or that I just woke up when they call) but my doctor told me that would happen.  My neck gets very tight during the day and I have severe burning and cramping of the muscles in my neck and shoulders when I do things like sewing, painting, etc.  If I tip my head too far down forward it feels like something is poking me in the throat and I cough.  Unfortunately, I have also had multilevel lumbar fusion as well (I'm not sure who to thank for my crappy bones) and because of all my spine problems I am reluctant to complain about my neck at this point as the medical community tends to look at you like a psycho if you complain about too many things.  So I've found the best way to maintain my sanity was to get my family doctor 'on my side' so that I have someone to cry to when it gets too bad.  My family doctor has made sure that I have pain medications when I need them because basically that's the only way I can remain functional.  Were it not for the relief afforded me by the pain medications I would be left to wonder why I am here and what was it that I did in my former life that I'm needing to pay for now??!!
I don't think anyone that hasn't been through it can sympathize with you - they all say they know how you feel (??) since they too have some ache and pain but there isn't anything that can be quite compared to the spinal fusion surgery and all that it encompasses.
I've enjoyed reading some of the posts-I truly was beginning to think I was crazy with all the problems I've had and the 'you're crazy lady' look you get at the specialist's office.  Although I will say, social security didn't think the situation was too 'crazy' as they put me on disability with no effort on my part at all.
Now they think I have multiple sclerosis - go figure.
Hi it may be worth your while typing anterior cervical decompression on google and look for the name laing. Within this consent form it denotes some possible complications with percentages. Hope this helps.
wow . . .i guess i am not the only one with these cervical spine issues.  i had c1 c2 rods, screws and wire put in three weeks ago.  little pain but i still have this creaking sound.  does anyone else ever get this creaking sound from the neck are? i feel like running to get an xray done to check bone alignment everytime i hear it.  any feedback????
well .  .the creaking is normal.  i ran for an xray.  all is good. i had this c1 c2 fusion twicw now and i do not want to do it again. lol.  i have about 8 more weeks of the brace even though i had screws, rods and wires put in to hold that bone graft in.  so . .  .doc says all is ok!!
I was T-Boned by a lady, four years ago. For the first two years my family physician kept telling me it was all muscular, go exersize. So, I did. 2006 I had a disco-gram which showed I had 3 discs that needed to be replaced. Last April the surgeon did an FDA NEO-disc replacement on C5-6. I have had more pain since the surgery. Went and had another disco-gram. I now have 4 disc that need to be replaced. He keeps saying "There aren't any good surgical options." My spine is smushing down a little more everyday. I am 100% afraid to have 4 levels fused. I am interested in the Laser thing. I have also had EVERY symptom all of you have described. We are all in the same boat, unfortunately. I am wanting to sue my family doctor for telling me it was all muscular when it obviously wasn't. He immediately referred me to the right kind of doctor when I told him I needed a letter that stated I was at my MMI.
Does anyone have any info for me. I only got 5000.00 in the accident settlement because my attorney didn't defend me like he was supposed to. I want to sue him too!!! What he did to me is unheard of. I spend most of every day in bed, trying to stay out of pain. My name is Angel. As a result of a minor fall, my C6/7 disc shattered and was crushing a nerve in my spine - After 8 weeks of agony, no sleep, no eating and being unable to walk, I had the disc replaced with a polimer cage. This was 15 months ago - I have had a year of physio therapy and am still unable to work as I can't sit at a desk for long enough to be able to concentrate. My fingers still tingle and my upper back and neck ache constantly, resulting in a thumping headache. My hips are agony and I get shooting pains down my left leg BUT according to the scans, all is well!!!!! Surgeons really should prepare you for the neurological pain that follows afterwards. I was under the impression that after a few weeks, all would be well. No such luck. I had fusion of c5c6 five weeks ago. All was going well til two days ago when I started having sharp pain in neck on right side and achins shoulder muscles. These are the same symptoms I had before surgery. I am not sure why I felt great and all of a sudden I am having pain again. I am 42 and have had 3 cervical fusions (c4/c5 '99-c5/c6 '02 & most recently, April '08, c6/c7 w/titanium plate). Since my last surgery a little over a year ago, my life has basically stopped. I have not been without pain, unbearable at times, for more than 4 days in row. The Dr. that had done all 3 of my surgeries, whom I believed in 100%, without any reservation - once the pain returned during the 4th week of PT - referred me to a pain management clinic and basically turned his back on me when i called him for help. After being at the pain clinic for a week i was hospitalized for 4 days from a severe drug reaction. I never returned. Since that time my medical Dr. has been trying to help me "manage" my pain - but there is no such thing - the pain meds just make it easier to breathe. I hurt so bad every single day!!! The "OH MY GOD - PLEASE MAKE IT STOP!!!!" burning in my shoulder blades and neck gets to the point most days that I want to throw up - it makes me feel useless, hopeless, and a complete burden to the people who love me the most. My faith in God is what keeps me from just giving up - cause I know if you've walked in my shoes even for a little while you know that has crossed your mind. But I have a life and I want it back!!!!! I have an appointment with a new neurosurgeon June 4th and I have to believe that this will be the answer - the solution. I have had a nerve conduction test, which showed damage to the 6th & 8th cervical nerves and my most recent MRI showed a ruptured disc t5/t6. I guess the main reason I wanted to post this comment is to thank each and every person who has shared their story on here - pain that never lets up, never stops, and that other people can't see - also tends to make you feel very "alone". Good luck and God bless each of you...... Hi to everyone. I had two discs fused March of 08. I've been fine up until April of 09. I jammed my head coming out of a submarine hatch. Now I'm back in the same pain prior to my surgery. I though with this steel plate in my neck that nothing should move. I have an appt. with my Neuro Dr. in Sept but in great pain. Same as everyone burning, can't lay flat or sit for any length of time. I hope that the disc above or below did not get damaged but I have a feeling I did some serious damage. Warning to all, take caution not to do anything to jam the discs after surgery. Even after a year has passed. The Dr. did the surgery told me that the fussion took, so I've been fine up until the hatch jumped out hand hit me in the head. If further surgery is req'd I am going to refuse and do my best to live with the pain. I hope this Dr. will give me a script for some good meds. I'll keep you posted. I am 5 days post op of a fusion for C4 to C6 and am doing great. I have noticed a significant decrease inthe numbness in my arms and hands and am left currently with post op incisinal pain and some pain in the left shoulder and upper arm area. I went to see an orthopedic MD for my surgery and he also did a L3 to S1 fusion last October with great results - the best advice is find out from other patietns the surgeons successrates - I have my life back - to be sure there are days when I have pain but you just push past those and I am offf almost all my pain meds that have kept me down for the last thirteen years - Good Luck and just keep pushing onward - Hi. I'm another individual with symptoms 'dead on' with the majority of you. I've been going to a pain clinic for the past 2-1/2 years and receive steroid injections every 4 months. They last for a brief duration but do seem to take the 'edge' off for about 1-2 months, which allows more mobility and range of motion. I also have an awesome neurologist who is renowned for treating headaches and he keeps me on my feet and working. Very, very positive and awesome doctor. We've been together for 20 years now. Anyway, on Wednesday I'm having a different treatment called a Radiofrequency by a specialist who was trained by the inventor of the procedure over 20 years ago. The possibility of becoming pain free or nearly so for up to a year (sometimes longer) is the goal as well as the norm following the procedure. I am hopeful and have a lot of faith in this man. So stay positive out there folks and I'll keep in touch to let you know if the procedure is successful! Just an aside: the neurosurgeon I had was amazing and works at Mayo Clinic. I learned after the recovery period that the pain we are all experiencing is a common side effect to the stenosis which is usually why folks have to have the surgery to begin with. Such a trade off, isn't it? Nonetheless, my surgeon will always be on my good side because I believe he fulfilled a very important and necessary procedure that would have otherwise created a slew of other problems I would prefer not to have. Hi, When surgery is done near the spine and spinal cord, complications may occur and can be very serious. Complications may involve subsequent pain and impairment and may sometimes need additional surgery. The complications may be due to spinal anesthesia. Whenever the spine is operated upon, there is some risk of injuring the spinal cord. This can lead to serious injuries to the nerves or the covering of the spinal cord - the dura. Occasionally metal screws, plates, and rods that are used as part of the procedure to hold the vertebrae in alignment while the surgery heals can either break - or move from the correct position. This may lead to pain and other complications. Some spinal operations are simply unsuccessful. One of the most common complications of spinal surgery is that it does not get rid of all of your pain. In some cases, it may be possible to actually increase your pain. Please go for an MRI of the spine and consult another neurosurgeon and neurologist if your present doctors are unable to give you a satisfactory answer. Hope this helps you. Take care and regards! Hiya I had a acdf c5/c6 fusion last July and a further 2 stage L5/S1 fusion with retrolithesis correction in October. It has taken more than 18 months for my neck symptoms to settle down. They actually got worse after the operation and at 12 weeks post op, when I thought I should be rehabbed I ended up having steroid facet joint injections to help ease the pain as it was so severe. My wonderful doctor put me on pregabalin which has helped with the nerve pain symptoms which I now no longer have from my neck, but unfortunately do still have nerve pain from the L5/S1 operation (although the pregabalin has eased it considerably). He feels that some people's nerves do just react in this way and that hopefully over time it will settle - and given how my neck has prgressed I hope this will be the case. Also - those ladies amongst who have had lumbar spine surgery might want to look at pelvic floor strengthening/correction as this too can be a further cause of continuing pain - which can be solved in caring hands. Well I feel for everyone who posted here, but at least I know I am not crazy. I have had neck and shoulder pain now for about 17 months now after my C5-6 fusion with plate screw and cadavar bone. THe surgery took care of my arm and finger pain, but left me with the feeling that now my head is too heavy for my neck to support it. The only relief I have is when I lay down and when I prop my head up with my hand. It feels like constant deep muscle pain, with some burning. THis stinks, it has changed almost everything I do, which these days is not much. I am only 35 with two children and I always feel like ****, since my surgery I was diagnosed with secondary fibromyalgia, and was told once my neck improves the rest of my muscle pains should also get better. Well I am still waiting for my neck to get better, but I feel the more time that goes by the less the chance of that happening. bdm 92 I had C5-6 fused and plated on 11/9/09 and returned to work 11/18/09 with great results so far. I hope I am not jumping the gun but so far, everything has been great. Just a little pain the first couple of days like I had a bad sore throat, but other than that, great recovery time. I do take it easy though but I am hoping for a full recovery. My dad also had two levels fused and has done great with his as well. Good luck to you all out there - sending blessings your way. I had ACDF C5-6,C6-7 on Oct 13 and my only problem is the posterior neck and shoulder pain that has improved. Surgeon said it is the C7, T1 disc adjusting to the new discs above it. The fusion does put pressure on the disc above and below the site and 20% of people may need surgery on those discs in 10-15 years since it can speed up degeneration. I had minor swallowing problems, but now gone. I go to PT of neck 3x a week and do strengthining exercise partly due to other spinal problems. Surgeon told me the way he does the surgery I will have no mobility problems and he was right. The success rate of the surgeon is crucial to recovery I believe. I am also getting vibrating numbness in fingers/hand during the day usually if my elbow is bent and I put pressure on it.This is a change since surgery and am not sure if that is nerve damage or not. It does not happen all the time-occasionally. It was amazing to read about all your experiences. I had my c-5 c-6 fusion some 6 years ago now. The pain was unbearable and without any known cause - I was 37 and had spinal compression / Spurs and a herniated disc. I was told initially that I needed 3-4 months off work post surgery. At 37 with dependant children - that could'nt happen. I was back at work within a week and a half without pain medication. Prior to the surgery - I would have taken anything to get out of that pain.. Now that its 6 years down the track - I have constaint - constaint pain. Without a break I have paid for massage therapy fortnightly to try and keep a handle on the pain. I am currently spending approx 4k pa on massage therapy. The nerve pain has gone to be replaced by muscle spasms. My voice has also changed and I constaintly have the feeling that I have somehting in my throat. I'm wondering if I will forever be in pain. JennyW I had C5-C6 fused... Then, had to go back about 18months later and get C5-C7 fused (by a different neuro) The first neuro put my plate in wrong and the C5-C6 fusion didn't fuse properly.. Pseudoarthrosis for those clinical folks out there... Anyway, all this talk of pain is all-too-familiar. It is now a part of my daily life. I can't take pain meds as they either give me nausea or make me feel like I have had about 100 espressos and then I can't sleep, which doesn't come easy anymore either.. I have now given up on the medical establishment for this treatment, they really either don't know or don't want to say what these surgeries will do to patients.. So, I am in constant pain, with other new and fun symptoms (which is worse than it was before the first surgery, and I now have multiple levels fused, and can't even take pain meds_... To quote the President who doesn't practice fidelity.. 'I feel your pain'... Thinking medical marijuana may be the next thing to try to deal with the constant pain. However, I rarely even drink a beer so it is a really big deal to me to even consider something like that... I hope and pray that all of us find some relief so we can have some semblance of a normal life, raise our families and we are somehow able to stay our of neurosurgeons offices.. That is my overall goal now. Take care and Merry Christmas to all ! Hello, thank you all for sharing your experiences, alot of valuable info here. I had c 5-7 discs fused 8 days ago. I guess my biggest complaint right now is that i have been sitting for 8 days, i cant lay down as the pain from any pressure on my neck is unbearable. I have moved to every chair, pull out couch bed and recliner i can find, but my tailbone seems to be bruised and now sitting hurts. Has anyone found any miracles for sleep? I was given a very generic collar, like when you get whiplash, every ounce of that thing hurts, it sets right on swollen areas and if i lean back, it puts pressure right on c 5-7, I cant imagine why they would even give me such a thing. I have less pain without it on. Other than that, my throat still hurts when i swallow, I am still very swollen around the incision area, about the size of a golf ball and very bruised all down my chest. I appreciate any suggestions anyone might have. Merry Christmas I almost completely fused in 3 weeks and smoked. Surgeon in NYC-no collar.Said smoking isn't a problem unless you smoke more than a pack a day. Pain was bearable, Swelling will go down. My swallowing problem (very Mild) was gone in 3 weeks. I am now 9 weeks post-op. The surgeon you use I think is critical also. I started PT on my neck after 3 weeks and am doing much better. Things should calm down for you. It is different for everyone.I asked my surgeon about problems with neck mobility and he said not the way I do it and he was absolutely right. I had same surgery. I could drive the day after I got home, but I did take it easy and did not lift anything > than 10 lbs. Don't know why your chest is bruised? 51 year old female.....complete hysterectomy in May 2009, knee surgery in sept 2009 and C5-6, 6-7 fusion in December. Fusion was done by same dr who did L5-S1 fusion 1999. Prior to surgery, pain was in neck and mainly right arm with numbness on outside of both hands including pinkies and neighboring fingers. Post surgery - increased pain in both upper arms, maily left arm with considerable numbness in left index finger and thumb. Numbess is felt from thumb to just past left elbow. What was constant pain in both arms, which I can only explain as someone grabbing my arms and digging their fingers into my muscles, has now become slightly less constant. Sleep is intermittent at best. As far as swallowing, I find myself choking on mostly liquids. Had x-rays done...fusing looks good according to doctor. Husband says body has probably not healed from previous surgeries and I need to be more patient, but I am not a patient patient. Any thoughts, suggestions, words of wisdom would be appreciated! ***@**** Hoi Mickey, had ik een discectomie c6c7 in may 2009. De pain I had was gone after surgery. But the effects of the surgery I still feel very much. Pain between my shoulderblades, not able too lift weight, tricepts pain in both arms, feel sicki all day, and often nauseous in the morning. So I think I know a little bit how you feel. I had a c5c6 protrusion (small herniation) that was overlooked and is probably giving me pain now. I tried to get so many opinions as doctors wanted \to give me. Some doctors said: no neurological defects, so we cannot do anything for you. Another (german) doctor told me to perform a nucleoplasty (reducing the c5c6 herniation with a laser) Another German doctor told me to replace the fusion with an artifical disc replacement. And that also for the herniation on c5c6. So 2 ADR in my neck. The last doctor told me to try a nerve root bloc on c6 just to be shore that that is causing the problems.Within a few days I will make a decision because the pain is awfull (I dont take meds) The surgery with the ADR is very expensive. gr. Martin I have the same heavy head feeling and the docs seem like they don't know what I'm talking about. Have you found anything out about it? Since my surgery 13 months ago, I have experienced ringing in my ears 24/7 that never stops which I didn't have prior to surgery and also a feeling of dizziness that makes me feel like I'm disoriented. Things don't feel solid in my head, if that makes sense. I have not had a single day of feeling normal since my surgery and it really *****. Some days are better then others with the whole ear ringing, dizzy, head-too-heavy feeling but for the most part, I get pretty depressed and regret ever having the surgery. Has anyone else had these feelings? I had imtermittant ringing in ears and dizziness/lightheadedness also PRIOR to surgery. This was one of the reasons I had the surgery. My spinal cord was compressed. The question for you to ask your surgeon- is this from the implants pressing on the spinal cord (incorrect placement) or is it nerve damage that will take time to heal? Your symptoms have been going on too long. I would be concerned that this is permanent. An XRAY/ MRI post surgery should show proper placement of the implants. Did your dizziness and ringing in the ears go away after the pressure on your spinal cord was relieved? I have not had dizziness since Jan 20 ( I keep a log) and ringing of ears was very infrequent and I initially did not connect it. Dr. says all my neuro symptoms may take 6-12 months to go away post surgery. I've had two surgerys last than a year. one in May 2008, the other in Feb.2009, at which time I had 3 bone inplants and 4 fusion. Was send back to work in Sep2009, Now have pain, swelling, nerves jumping. Go to the doctor he tells me I have a screw broke in my neck, but he knew this in Oct when he turn me loose. Now March I back and he that's what he tells. Or he said it could be something else My surgery was c3-c7 wow i came across thia forum looking for help and now im really scared out my mind! i had a 2 level (c5-6 and c6-7) in jan. of 09... and i now have very weak arms, shoulder pain and wish i would of thought about this surg a lil more before doin it...but was in so much pain i would of tried anything. well that pain is gone but now i have way more OTHER pains.Im only 40 and dont want to have more surgery. oh yeah and i just got layed off and have no ins!!! Find a new surgeon. He is a quack. I got my c5-c6 done with metal plate done may of 08 and for the most part it was a success. But I still have shoulder pain and after reading most of this I feel I AM NOT CRAZY...............I still have problems swallowing and have sore throats (but I am not sick) Now my neurologist thinks that my c7-8 may be giving out................not sure if I will have any surgery again because the recovery is just too long......but I am starting to feel the pain again in my right arm, elbow and fingers and after reading this I can relate to a lot of you. Thank you for posting and making me feel that my PAIN IS REAL and for those that are still suffering keep fighing because it took me 6 years for doctors to figure out that something was actually wrong. Thank you for listening and allowing to share.............Alicia I just had C-6 and C-7 Fused. I was told he had a 85% success rate. I will say my right arm seems better and I can write a paragraph without crying with my my Right arm and hand. However my left shoulder blade is killing me along with undescribable pain down my left arm. I have woke up anywhere from 10:15 at night to 1:00 in the morning suffering worse than I did with the surgery. The main reasons I agreed to surgery was because I have five kids and a spouse to support, I was told I should be 100% in about six months. In my line of work I have to lift as much as 268 lbs sometimes putting in compressors on commercial refrigeration units, which the physician was informed of. It has only been a week now. I am praying the pain and numbness go away in my left shoulder. If anyone has an input please do. I know they want give me disability because I am only 39. However if they would review all my injuries from 8 years old and up it should paint a definite picture of why I struggle everyday. I have often thought about ending the pain my self, however I am a christian and I belong in Heaven. Please comment or give advice. It is surely welcome. Sincerely, Concerned Patient P.S. Can't wait to get off pain killers to live. The quality of life ***** right now! I had a C5/C6 fusion with autograft in Jan 2009. Although the excruciating pain in my arm and hand is not as bad. I too have problems with my voice and with swallowing, incredible and unrelenting neck pain, my face and neck swells. I also suffer from parathesia and anaesthesia in my face, arm, neck and leg. My neck is so sensitive I have to wear a scarf all the time as it is awful if anyone so much as breathes on the back of my neck. I suffer from migraines which make me want to throw up and last for days and weeks at a time. I also have terrible dizziness all the time - especially in the dark! I have been told the disc was so badly prolapsed that it has caused permanent neurological damage to my Left arm and right leg. I also suffer greatly from the hip where the graft was taken. I also now know that I have multi-level degenerative disc disease in all areas of the spine as well - with degenerate discs both above and below the fusion as well as the one below it touching the cord. My life feels like it is over. I am 32 and struggle to be normal and look after my 3 year old. I cannot do the simple things that everyone else takes for granted. I am on constant medication and am now waiting for facet joint injections and am like a ticking timebomb waiting for something else to go! My GP is the only one to take me seriously. The neurosurgeon who did the op did not want to see me. I have (as a student on my student loan) had to pay for 2 lots of MRI's and to see other neurosurgeons who have just advised me that this is as good as it gets. With the DDD, it can only get worse! :-( Glad it's not just me - you feel like noone understands!!! I'm reading these posts from you all and I'm just blown away. I thought it was me who is just having these extended problems. I also had c2,3,4,5 fusion 2,3 yrs ago and last Jan 4,5. I have nothing but pain and numbness. The pain goes from right shoulder/shoulder blades to the other side and sometimes down my arms. I get numb hands when talking on the phone. I've been on pain pills ( perks ) for a yr 1/2 off and on. Most of the time on. They doc says he doesnt see anything wrong from the mri accept now there is a little bulg above the surgey, but he said he doesnt think thats my problem. I asked him then what is ? He said he didnt know. He also put me mmi. Which almost cost me my job. I had to beg to go back to work reg duty. I'm still in pain, but have no choice and I'm running out of options as the pain manage is now taking me off of the perks. Lyrica didnt work and gave me bad side effects as did topamax. I read what the one person said about they look at you like your crazy or you just want pain killers. But the pain is terrable. I have never taken pain pills in my life until now. I also feel I'm getting depressed from it all and I wondering what I can do to get this under control. I have the injections 3 times now and that was turture for me. Lots of pain plus the steriods made me amped with sweats, couldnt sleep right. The doc never said to me before the surgey that there were so many cases like this. Life has changed and now I live in pain. Its terrable and I feel I cant get any help. They havent even given me any other tests to see where and why I'm getting this pain. they are going on 1 mri ? I'm reading all these posts and crying. I'm so glad to know I'm not alone and I'm not crazy. I had C5- C6 & C6-C7 fused in 2004. I have had pain ever since. It has really intensified in the last year to the point of being unbearable. I have seen 2 neurosurgeons, a pain management doctor, a medication management doctor, chiropractor, physical therapist and nothing has helped. I go in Wednesday for a milogram. The last neuro I went to said my fusion between 6 & 7 didn't fuse properly. Too bad none of the other doctors who looked at my MRI's noticed that. I have no good days, only bad and really bad days. I have been on every kind of drug out there and nothing seems to help. I still work, but I hurt so bad by the time I get home all I can do is take my meds and sit in my recliner. I went from running 5k's and teaching Pilates to a big fat blob who can't lift anything over 20 lbs. My husband and I are planning a vacation and it unfortunately is revolving around what I will be able to do. Which is nothing strenous or jarring, so that rules out riding a horse along the beach or parasailing or the banana tube thing or anything fun! I don't know what my future holds, but so far all the doctors want to do is put me on drugs and say there is nothing they can do for me. I pray this milogram will give my new doctor some insight and a direction to improve my life. Cause this life now *****. I'm only 49 and I sure don't want to live the rest of my life in this much pain. Has anyone out there had any success with the same problem? Maybe a surgery removing the bad cadiver bone and plate and replacing it with a artifical disc? Wow, I have read all the comments, and I am not alone. June of this year I ,like many of you, also had a c5 thru c7 with fusion. The ruptured discs were replaced with man-made discs( thank got at least i didn't have to have iliac crest bone from hip taken), and fused with Titanium plate. I had to wear a hard collar for 8 weeks post as I was a previous smoker. My Doc made me quit smoking before he would perform the procedure on me. That was a good thing for me, however it made me gain 40 pounds which was not. I consulted with him from the start. He tells me that the weight gain has nothing to do with his surgery. This Thursday, I am heading to see him for my 3 month check-up. For 2 months after the surgery, I started feeling better than before. This last month though, it is a much different story. The radiating and burning pain I had before the procedure is coming back, The numbness and tingling also has returned if I use my arms at 90 degree angles for more than 30 minutes. Swallowing and gagging is still an issue. As far as sleep, I get maybe 3 to 4 hours a night. I constantly get woken up during the night with pain. Headaches have returned but now start in the upper back and work its way up to my skull. Sneezing is a MAJOR problem. My neck has cold sweats 4 to 5 times a day. My voice gets harsh after about 30 minutes of conversation. I do feel that I have more pain and complications now than before the procedure happened. I was on percocet for the major pain and vistaril for nausea for the first week, then put on loritab for pain and kept on vistaril for nausea. I had allergic reaction to the loritab, so was put on darvocet for the pain. I chew 2 to 4 darvocet a day and 4 to 6 ibuprofen for the headache and 2 to 4 vistaril for the nausea. I like many do not want to be treated like I am a 'psycho' or a 'worst patient ever', but am afraid thats whats going to happen (the doctor seems to be very pro business, and not pro patient). So from all the posts I have read, I can clearly see that I have a tough road ahead of me. I will be asking the doctor on Thursday, if Neuralgia is a considerable issue, and am very curious as to what he will have to say. I had ACDF operation in Feb this year on C4/5 and C5/6 recovered quite quickly and nearly all the symptoms, tingling, numbness, limp went away. The surgeon used Solis cages without metal supports. I'm now waiting for the results of an MRI, EMG tests show a neurogenic problem probably emanating from the site of the surgery. All this after finding I cannot raise my left arm. I have pain in my neck, which is getting stronger, numbness in my left hand as opposed to my right one before the Op. I've found that the worst part of all this is not the disability or the pain but the frustration of not being able to do things. The frustration combined with pain and stress is badly affecting my moods. I've always been a fairly patient person but nowdays I'm more likely to lose it than forget it. Of course this affects my family especially my 5 yr old who doesn't understand why I'm always on her case. I went and saw my Neurosurgeon today and as Im not surprised, all of my post op complaints ARE NOT from the surgery. I asked him why I had pain in shoulder blades going up into skull. He said Not surgical related... I asked him why the constant headaches after surgery, He said Not surgical related, I asked him why shortness of breath after surgery, he said Not surgical related... I asked him if it was any possibility that maybe any nerve fron the incision site to the spinal area could have even possibly been damaged by the movement of the muscles, he said Not surgical related. I asked him why I still have swallow and gagging issues, he said Not surgical related. I asked him why the feeling of being choked with range of motion, he said "you know in our initial consultation, I said I couldn't fix you 100%". I asked him why if not surgical related, am I having to take so many pain pills every day, He said he gives the pain pills to me only because I say that I am in pain. I asked him why it hurt so bad to lay down to go to sleep, he said Not surgical related. I asked him why the cold sweats on the back of my neck 8 to 10 times a day and dizziness, he said Not surgical related. Then I asked him, what was the next step?? His response baffled me. He said,"I dont know, why dont you tell me"???? WTF.... Sorry to say, but thanks to my neuro, I have a very sour attitude towards Doctors once again. Like the old saying goes, "ONE BAD APPLE RUINS THE BUNCH"....... Oh yea I almost forgot, I asked him about the weight gain and assured him I knew it was from him making me stop smoking. He said as long as I am not loosing weight, then I must be eating well and gaining weight. And he also said since I was as he felt "eating well" then I must not be truthful about the gagging and swallowing issue. My diet consists of lunch, Yakasoba noodles, yogurt, and cottage cheese with fruit, and dinner is 1/2 serving of what is put on the table. Usually a meat, small potato, and vegetable.So eating isn't the reason for the weight gain. I am 45 years old. I was diagnoised with significant spinal stenosis , herniated disc at c5. and also was born without the curvature in my neck and has a congenitle fusion at c2 to c3. I notice significant shoulder pain in december , with numbness and tingling to both extremities. He wanted to do the surgery the very next day. He stated that any type of whiplash would paralyze me from neck down. This April I had posterior c3 to c7 ,disectomy ,fusion, 2 rods, plates and screws with cadaver bone. After the surgery , Dr said I had so much compression ,he had to remove part of my vertabrae to protect the nerves during the surgey.Upon wakening, i noticed that I could not feel , or use my left arm. I have spent 3 months so far in therapy. I still have no feeling to parts of my left thumb and index finger and have started with muscle atrophy to my left arm. I also have no feeling to the back of my neck. I have constant swelling to my neck and have pain to my left clavicle neck and sharp shooting pain to my left arm,at times I get burning pain to my left and right hands. I have made the Dr aware , He says I have had a" very tough surgery" But would get better. I feel constant pain to my neck and both shoulders,tightness to thoracic area and its very difficult to sleep. Any suggestions would be helpful i as well had c-5c6 discectomy in august of 2010 with instrumented fusion sighns and symptions were left neck pain radiating to shoulder as well as numbness in thumb index finger radiating op forearm pretty intense at times interupting work and sleep electing for surgery.after surgery post surgical pain was intense but tolerable with meds as well as diffulty swallowing forfirst four days and the collar was just downright in the way of everything.after two weeks i was just about off the meds except at night. had collar removed thank goodness!after four weeks myneck has to get use to not sleeping without it ouch! meds at night again somenights other than that i do have some burning sometimes between shoulder blades five weeks post no numbness tingling or pain at this time hope surgery will hold and i return to work in a few weeks the horror stories i have read are scary at best . i wish every one pastsurgical or present candicates the best in your qeest for relief from pain I had fusion done on C-5,C-6 4 mounths ago and I'm still having problems. I had another MRI done and it shows that there is still something there,almost looks like a part of the disk was not removed, but the sergen said everythng looks grate. I'm still feeling pritty bad. I'm having alot of vertigo also. Is anyone else having this problem? I herniated the disc at C5-C6 in April 2009. Had to wait until November 2009 for an MRI whioch confirmed it, also showing spinal cord compression. Then had to wait until October 2010 to see a neurosurgeon (this is Britain, after all!). Clinically, I have improved. The pain is nothing like it was in April last year, but I still have coldness and tingling in my right hand, also a slight tremor and hyperreflexia in neurological examination. Surgeon want to do another MRI to check cord damage, and told me that the portion of bulging disc will eventually be re-absorbed by the body. I am totally against surgery, as I have come across only negative experiences. Even my GP and a friend who is a GP have advised against surgery as the success rate is so low. I feel that if I can tolerate occasional pain and tingling and modify my physical activity, that would be better than risking surgery. Any thoughts? Susie i had a fusion of my c4 c5 and c6 7 years ago i felt ok a few years after the surgery, but for the longest time now i have been having the worst pain of my life. it feels like pressure above and below the the fused spot and tightness inbetween my shoulders. they have me on pain killers but i could only take em at night. could someone tell me whats going or what i could do please i am in desprate need of help I am one year post-op and occasionally do get that new disc pain. The new discs put pressure on the older discs. Physcial therapy can help but I found better success with an Osteopathic physician. I biked 14 miles over the summer and aggravated my neck-3 visits knocked it right out. Shoulder pain is common too. Any surgeon that states they don't know what the pain is from is either stupid or lying to you. Get treatment,that includes specific exercising of the neck to put the pressure off the discs. Now that the weather is getting colder I think I am going through an adjustment period because of the plates. One visit with the Osteopathic physician helped alot. I look forward to more visits. I had 2 discs replaced at C4-C5and C5-C6 then had a plate placed to fuse C4-C6.. I was in typical post surgical pain for a few weeks, I wore my collar and have been using the bone stimulator given to me at my first post op appointment. I was virtually pain free for about 2 weeks at one point..then I started getting a burning feeling along the right side of my spine right where my neck and shoulders meet so somewhere below my fusion. It is about 12 weeks post op now, and this burning pain is now turning into spasms through my right neck and shoulder. I can no longer drive my car longer than a few miles because the effort of keeping my neck from falling backward from the movement of the car is exhausting and worsens my spasms and searing pain. If I do go anywhere I have to literally rest my head on the head rest in order to stand the pain , and this is with pain medication, muscle relaxer and ice. I cant use the computer for long, of sit in the same place, or stand for a long time. I can no longer write, make jewelry or do any other tasks that require me to look down at a desk or table or work space. I have to prop pillows under my neck at night to keep my neck as straight as possible and be sure NOT to lay on my shoulder. I always wake up with numb arms from the neck down to the point of not being able to move them or use my hand until i am upright and moving around, then my sensation comes back. I am a nurse and a Massage Therapist and have not been able to work since this has happened. All of the pre surgical symptoms are gone, however I have all these new symptoms to contend with. I have another appointment with my surgeon next week. We will see what he thinks, I am sure I will be put into the pigeon hole of "chronic back painer" , "Pill seeker"... etc... Funny thing is these meds just make my life barley tolerable. I'm 14 days post op (fusion C5-6). I still have major swelling on front of me neck and now severe burning pain in the back of my neck where fusion took place when I stand. I am not on any pain medications due to the job I take I cant take any and work. I go back tot eh Doctor on Thursday I hav already asked for different medication one i can take at work and still function. Any suggestions I was told Ice not Heat.. Ill try anything to releive this and be able to work and take care of my family. Mindy i had neck surgery 7-2010 still in lots of pain more then b4 i had surgery.i can't even talk about it i would have about 5 pages. try Lortab that's what i take 4 my pain. Has anybody used an E-cell for these challenges. I got one for my knees which I was supposed to have replaced and have been using it on my neck where I have some fairly severe degeneration and on my lower back as well. I use the vascular and the bone cards. Does not seem to make a lot of difference each time you use it but over time a huge difference when I look back. My knees have improved by about 4-5 years worth and I usually only have pain and numbness etc when I have used a shovel. I have even used a sledge hammer to remove a tiled floor with little suffering. All things I could not have done once. Look up www.medictechnology.com or e-cell.com.au. an Australian device made from a device for the astronauts returning to earth with weightless problems. I am greatful for all your comments before I go back to the Dr. My 2 level fusion was 5 years ago and resulted in pain that is getting worse. I've tried every treatment and med offered, but only one (pill, ultram takes the tip of the pain, makes tired and dizzy) gives me some relieve. I can no longer work, filed for disability and now struggle with every aspect of life. I need lots rest for my pain, limit stress and physical impact, movement and weight on my neck and arms. My head seems to crush my neck all day long. I have problems swallowing when in high pain and swell up around my neck. I hurt and burn along my fusion and over the shoulders, have stabbing pain in the wrist's and numbness in my arm and fingers. During the night I can't lay on my spine, go painfully numb on my hands if I tilt my head and wake often. I stayed 2 years with the operating Orthopedic doctors and found no relieve. The new Orthopedic doc said "your fusion could have been done much better", but wouldn't define and didn't find a way to make my pain better. Recently my pain management had me test a Boston Scientific SCS unit for a week. I instantly preferred the heavy signals over the all day and increasing pain. But the Neuro Surgeon to do the surgery saw alarming things on my MRI and ordered Xrays. Because of the findings he advised against the the implant, so I can have ongoing MRI's to monitor my neck. With a SCS unit you can never have another MRI and the leads that heal to your spinal canal would have to be removed. If I need another fusion in the future this is to much of a risk (his words). After 4 1/2 years searching for help, this Neuro surgeon finally found the reason for my problems. MY VERTEBRA C5-C6-C7 GOT FUSED STRAIGHT AND DON'T FOLLOW THE BEND OF THE HARDWARE AND NATURAL CURVE OF THE SPINE!!! WHEN I STAND STRAIGHT MY NECK IS TILTED FORWARD. THIS CAUSES EXTREME STRESS TO THE NECK AND SHOULDERS, SO THE LEVEL ABOVE AND BELOW MY FUSION IS ALREADY WORN OUT BAD. NEURO SURGEONS ADVICE TO GET ADDITIONAL FUSION TO AVOID NEW NERVE DAMAGE AND GET THE CURVE OF MY NECK RE-CREATED (WITH ANGLED BONE GRAFT). Otherwise I will continue to deteriorate at fast rate because the foundation (curve) of my neck is out of line. For me it means considering the risk surgery like more nerve damage and pain, more limited ROM. Then I need to trust that this will be a successful correction to slow down the DDD ?? That's what I was told before, right ???? ASK YOUR SURGEON HOW HE DID OR PLANS TO DO THE FUSION IN CONSIDERATION OF YOUR NATURAL CURVE. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT FOR A GOOD OUTCOME. I wish I had asked that question before !!! I had a 3 level c4-5-6 cervical fusion and its been almost 7 weeks. I went home with a hard collar and had to wear it for 4 weeks 24/7 except to shower. I had alot of trouble swallowing and lived on ensure, yogurt, soft foods for 2 weeks. It is much better, but it is definitely not normal. I have to swallow towards the left side or any food/pills get stuck on the right side and i end up spitting it back out. I drink a lot of water with my meals. My original pain is gone, but now have pain in the back of my neck where the hardware is (2 plates, 6 screws). The discs were degenerated and very soft so the dr really had to jack my neck to get the plates in. Since the surgery I started getting pain in my elbows and I wake up every day in excruciating pain. I have no idea what the elbow pain is from. Has anyone ever developed elbow pain? I was very active before and walked 3 miles a day. I am still taking percocets, but need to back off of them in the next 4 weeks. I was taking 60 mg per day and down to 20-25. I also have another problem though, I have a torn rotator cuff that causes alot of pain. I had to stop yoga b4 the surgery because my shoulders hurt. In the back of my mind, I wonder if my neck pain was due to the degenerated discs/osteoarthritis or is it because of the torn cuff. I have to put the surgery on hold for cufff until I heal from the fusion. I am so tired of being in pain and I am having alot of trouble trying to cut back on the pain meds because the lower dosage doesn't help. Also I am wearing the bone growth stim. and was told I have to wear it for 6 months. I hate that thing, it hurts the back of my neck tremendously. I am really happy with my doctor, he is an excellent doctor, but right now I am really tired of being like this. Also, it probably doesn't help that its been snowing 2-3 times a week for the past 5 weeks. I've always been prone to the winter blues, but this year is dreadful.... I am also a skier but can't this year. I also had a Neck Fusion. I have a C5-C7 fusion and plate that I got on 05/2010. Before that I had a C6-C7 fusion on 05/2007. The pain was reduced the first time then returned within eight months. They did the same thing saying there was no problems then another doctor said I needed to have the C6-C7 removed and replaced with a C5-C7 fusion. When I finaly confronted the new surgen as to why, he said the previous fusion did not fuse. They protect each other very well. I don't care about that, not much I can do about it. My problem is if I am to survive I need some relief. I have burning pain in my neck and shoulder and still have issues with my right arm and hand. My addition doctor has me on 2400mg of Gabapentin a day for the nerve pain. (I have an addition doctor because of Alcohol, the other pain drug, one year clean). My question is, how do I get treatment for pain without pain medicine. I tried all of them and they just don't work. I don't want to be addictive, but it just hurts. I do have a pain mangement doctor, but now he just thinks I want drugs, and he never has giving me norcotics, never asked either. What do I do? Hi there. I understand your predicament well. You have been having these neck symptoms since 2007-I guess, undergone surgery, fusion, pain physician treatment, painkillers and no relief. My suggestion is try to check what relief can intensive sessions with physiotherapists help you with. Pain physician should also be requested for cervical epidural injections. If these do not offer satisfactory relief, consult your neurosurgeon and discuss the pros and cons of undergoing a cervical fusion and the expected degree of analgesia and if it is worth and better than the conservative measures that you are already taking. Then only it is worthwhile to undergo surgery. Take care In response. I am not on any pain meds. I have already had two cervical fusions, I do not understand why you would recommend another cervical fusion or are you confused. All I am asking is there any non-narcotic drugs that actualy work on this pain (Nerve Pain). NSAIDs do not. Skelaxan does not. Lodocan does not. I have had many Spinal shots. They only work when you have a disc problem like a herniated disc or a bulging disc. Had the TENs unit, irratating. tried heat, phyiscal therapy. Basically all the normal treatment you get with doctors, a quick fix to the problem. Just trying to follow what they recommend, and honestly it's just forever the same. Tired. I too had a double cervical fusion with two Zimmer cages and titanium spacers inserted between C4 and C6 five months ago. Initially the surgery afforded me great relief and gave me back the use of my left arm, which had become numb and uncontrollably spastic due to severely compressed nerve roots. I endured the difficulty swallowing and initial discomfort (especially wearing a full neck brace for 6 weeks in blistering African summer heat!) and felt a gradual improvement in all my symptoms month by month. I returned to work (as a secretary) for 5 hours a day just two weeks after surgery and a month later was back on a 9 hour day with a 120 km round trip drive each day. However, 11 days ago I foolishly participated in a team building exercise which involved tossing and chasing and picking up balls and I have been in pain ever since! The burning in my neck muscles and between my shoulder blades is debilitating and is not even relieved by wearing my brace and if I tilt my head to the left, I get a very definite feeling that a nerve is being pinched. I am wondering if I have damaged or dislodged the hardware in some way. I shall be seeing my neurosurgeon on Thursday and hope for some answers. Thanks your feedback - it is comforting to know that I am not alone, even if the prognosis for permanent relief is not great!! Blessings and wishes for a pain free existence to you all. I had C5/C6 and C6/C7 fusion about 10 days ago. The severe nerve pain I was experiencing was immediately gone post-op. I surmise that any complications which may arise from the surgery will most likely be minor compared to the miserable nerve pain I was suffering prior to the surgery. In other words, the surgery was a success and IF I have some symptoms caused by the surgery I will not be wishing I did not do the surgery. Surgery was necessary and I am glad I had it done. I expect to need another surgery on my lumbar in years to come and maybe T1/C7 fused. Prior to surgery I went to a great physical therapist for 20+ visits and had 2 spinal epidurals. This course of treatment did not relieve the severe nerve pain, so my surgery was not without first attempting alternative treatments. I am 34 years old and have a degenerative spine that appears to be like that of a 50 year old athlete. I have almost every vertebra/disc along my spine with some sort of issue. If alternative treatments do not relieve nerve pain (and opiates do not help at all), then find a top surgeon and get it done. I am relieved to be 95% pain free and was off the pain killers one week post-op. Had c5,6 & 7 fusion 12-20-10. Had herniated disc causing pain in left shoulder & elbow with tingling and numbness in the whole arm..Instant relieve on left side after surgery. But the right side was hurtng but I had really no problem with it before surgery. They told me that was normal. So I didn't say any more about it. Went back a week later still hurting but by then it felt like someone was sticking a knive through my neck..Said that was normal it had only been a wk..Thought ok a will keep taking pain meds.(which I hate).. Well here it is 3mo;s since surgery still having stabbing pain on right side but it also going down to the elbow now. Had another mri and x-rays said everything looks good,,,Had another nerve test yesterday..go back to doc on the 3-30...we'll see what he has to say then. How's anyone else had this problem???? Hi-I could really use some feedback. i was injured 11/21/08 in a major retail store, approximatley 50lbs worth of merchandise fell off the third shelf up of a three shelf display case, directly on my neck and back while I was bent over looking at items on the bottom shelf. MRI Cervical spine impression reads: Small posterity ridge with a central and left-sided herniation at C%-6 impressing on the anterior thecal sac, narrowing the neural foramina and impinging on the left-sided nerve root at this level. Moderate impingement on the cervical cord at C5-6 is also noted. Small posterior ridge with a central subliamentou disc herniation at C6-7 moderately impressing on the anterior thecal sac and narrowing the neural foramina at this level. Mild hypertrophic changes with disc space narrowing are present at both the C5-6 ad C6-7 levels with endplate changes at C5-6. Moderate disc bulging at C4-5 level. First of all, I dont even understand exactly what that all means. Unfortunatley, as much as I have asked the different doctors, noone has really explained to me other than, there are herniations and cord compression. I have done the injections from the pain managemnt to no avail, my ortho surgeon wanted to do the Anterior fusion at C5,6,7 but due to changes in my insurance he is no longer in the plan. I dont even know if I want the surgery, especially after reading all the problems so many other people have experienced. I have 3 young children and have missed out on alot the past 2 years but Im fearful of complications from a surgery. i almost feel like the headaches, numbness/tingling in the hands and feet, constant neck pain and lack of sleep-just to name a few- are better than the possible alternative. To make matters worse, I am involved in a law suit as a result of this accident-which is not work related-the company doesnt plan to pay for any further medical care and the treatment I have received when I had the insurance has to be paid back at the conclusion of the lawsuit. So I dont even know if I want to FIGHT to have this fusion done and paid for or just live with good enough. Some days are better than others--Im just fearful about the "cord compression" and that one day instead of tingling in my hands and balls of my feet I wont feel them at all. Any help would be greatly appreciated!!!! I had c4 through c6 fused with a plate and 6 screws put in place Dec. 27, 20009. The numbnes I felt in my left hand , the shoulder pain and the pain in the shoulder blade seem to have gone away. I have trouble swollowing food, I snore like crazy now. I snore so much that I sleep in a room by myself so I don't keep waking up my wife. Now the pressure form those three being fused has caused the disc between c6 and c7 to rupture. I have severe neck pain, headaches, numbness and tingling on my right side down my arm, 1/2 of my thumb index and middle finger are totally numb. I have an appointment with the original surgeon later this month. So I truly understand all of you and what you are going through and dealing with. I wish you all the luck in the world in getting better. Nothing seemd to help though. Ultram is all that they will give me. I can get better drugs off of the street. Why do people with a hang nail get pericet or oxycontin and people who have known issues get treated like we are the ones who are abusing pain medication? I'm sick of them saying that you'll feel better in time. It's going on 3 years and now I have to go through all of this crap again. UNBELIEVABLE.... Well I thought I was the only one with the burning and numbness and unable to lift anything as well as choking...... If this many people are having this many problems something is terribly wrong with the titanium plate surgery. I had surgery in 2005 and still burn so bad I can not type more than about 10 mins before it is unbearable. I too had to quit my desk job because the pain is so bad in my neck and shoulders. I kept going back to my doctor he kept telling nothing was wrong and the plate was where it should be. I then made two appts with neurosurgeons to get a second opinion in Raleigh and they would not see me because it was a conflict of interest. hehehehe.... imagine that. I finally ended up at Duke Hospital with a Surgeon there and after test and talking she said she knew it was nerve damage from the surgery and he probably knew it when he did it. She said classic symptoms of nerve damage after surgery is waking up in horrible burning pain, which is what happened to me. I was in so much pain when I woke up in the hospital I was terrified. I went home that morning and by that night I was so desperate I went to another town to the emergency room because I was too scared for my doctor to see me. Of course they would not touch me and told to immediately contact the doc that did the surgery. I waited a couple of days and could not stand it anymore and called and then I went through all the test and xrays, spinal test and all I got from him every time was that the plate was secure and where it should be. There should be something a person can do about this because they don't tell you, that this is possible. Had I known this I would never have had it done. I am told the pain is for the rest of my life and there is nothing that can be done. just like to say that i had a c5-c6-c7 neck injury in 2008 and had a plate put in th back of my neck and after surgery i was paralysed so they decided to do a fusion and a plate put in the front of my neck. have suffered severe pain in neck and lower back ever since pain in right arm and both legs get pins and needles in both feet upto knees and sometimes up to the thigh. bone graft from the right hip and numbness since cannot sit in one position for more than 15 minutes finding it very hard to stand up to relieve the pain in lower back. neck cracks and feel it cracking as i move left to right and vise versa like water over ice. i take 1800 gabapentin a day and feel the pain but is bareable just. now been told need another op as the fusion has not taken (worked) and that the front plate is in a unsatisfactory position with top pin going inbetween two discs instead of into a disc and the bottom front pin just catching the back of a disc. now just waiting for the surgery to have the previous op corrected and hope my pan will go. I was in a rear end collision 1 year ago and have been going to physical therapy for 11 months. My whole spine still hurts, with pain shooting down my leg, hips, and tingling in all extremities. I have had steroid injections in lumbar area and taken Celebrex without improvement. One neurosurgeon says have an EMG and C5-6 anterior cervical discectomy and fusion with cadaver allograph. The other neurosurgeon says have a neurogram and injection in the cervical spine. Both are at highly regarded teaching hospitals. I was leaning toward the surgery because the one who advised surgery said injections wouldn't work, and the physiatrist who did the injection to the lumbar region agreed that it wouldn't work in the cervical region. After reading all of your posts, I am scared to death of having the surgery. Only 3 people got better! Any advice from those more knowlegable and experienced is welcome. To Everyone, I had a neck fusion at C5-C6 with a bone graft from my right pelvic bone and a titanium plate put in. This was done in October 2008 after suffering with pain, grinding neck, jaw locking, severe headaches at the base of my head and burning with numbness to both arms and hands. I, too, did not want surgery but when you can no longer make it through even half a day without crying and being crippled by it and you are dropping things, it is time to try something. Almost 3 years later I can say my headaches improved somewhat post-op for about a year but the burning and numbness have never gone away. I have burning and pain every day in my arms and hands, my neck and shoulders burn and radiates between my shoulder blades. I have tried everything from every pain med, muscle relaxants, meds for fibramyalgia, physche drugs and nothing really works. I, too, was very active physically before the injury. (which was a herniated disc at C5-C6 with impingement and narrowing). I had a very hard time talking for any length of time post-op. I have had a hard time swallowing and have food getting stuck in my throat now. I am waiting for an ENT appoinment. I get tingling and numbness in my feet and legs on and off. I get headaches almost daily. This injury has impacted my whole life dramatically. I am only 45 years old now. Things to try: pace out everything you can manage to do daily ( such as blow drying or curling your hair), work seems impossible at this point, buy yourself a water pillow for sleeping (medical supply place), use heat such a heating pad (I sleep on one every night, it has auto shut off) and massage but not deep tissue just easy, light touch (too deep or too long just causes more swelling which i get all the time). I use sleeping pills every night because a little sleep to deal with the pain is better than no sleep at all. I use pain medication when i have no other choice. Also remember that every activity even the simpliest one can cause the pain to increase later in the day so get to know what you can and can not do. Be willing to let others help. I, too, suffer from eye problems that keep getting worse. Most doctors don't listen or really don't understand the pain. Be firm and keep looking for a doctor that will listen. It is extremely frustrating especially when it takes everything just to get through a day without everyone including your love ones knowing how much you are suffering. Because it affects our families too especially the kids who remember you as the fun, active mom! Good luck to all of you. I just think that no one has an answer to fix these conditions, the doctors need to come up with a new care plan! hii, am new on this, 50+....injured at work lifting a box (6kg ) from top shelf in outstretched r/arm squeezed between shelf and a cage loaded with boxes totally unmovable due to weight...no option but to let the box drop and hang onto it so the stuff doesn't fall out....r/shoulder injured....almost 5years of absolute agony and worse of all the mistreatment by unprofessionals such as PT who pulled my neck area without consulting the notes...have C567 congenital fusion and C 4/5 being weakened already ... caused a prolapse at C 4/5 and damaged the use of my left limb, now both are stuffed and cannot sleep much have hardly stopped working, light duties but just as demanding especially now being a PC jockey....data entry all day....driving to and fro work for 3+hrs per day in the worst of the traffic....have really bad days...esp. when I am told a jab into my shoulders will fix it....proposed shoulder and cervical surgeries....am damned if I'd let these touch me...have so little faith and I have managed to rest it and it seems better and then it hits me in the middle of traffic chaos...surgery is a " damn if you do damn if you don't zone".... I had c/2/c3 fusion one year ago. Like many in this group, I was debilitated prior to surgery. The size of my disc herniation provided an odd excitement for all that were envolved in my care. Two very odd things happened post surgery. As soon as I was freed from the soft collar, after walking for 5 mintutes, my left upper mollar lit up like a christmas tree. Everyone shrugs there shoulders at that one. I had a root canal and all is fine there. The second thing is that I had pain in my neck in the muscles/joints behind my ears. It was a stabbing pain every time i turned my head. 6 months of pt got me thru that but I have not been able to get back to whole. After about five hours of normal activity, my neck joints behind my ears stop functioninog properly. They pop and crack and swell and the cycle seams to continue until headaches ensue. I'll rest for an hour. Then about five hours later, the cycle returns. I'm curious if anyone else has any of these symptoms. I go for my one year visit very soon and hope to get more than a shoulder shrug this time. My thoughts and prayers go out to those of you who are suffering and are obvously worse off than I. Please don't give up. Look up Dr. Fraser Henderson in Bethesda Maryland. He does wonders for spine patients. I hope to see him soon myself. ALSO- do any of you have excessive range of motion in your joints?This is a condition called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. It is possible your joints/spine move too much and are causing pressure on your nerves. Remember, all nerves come from inside the spinal column, so excessive movement may press on them. ALSO- I was told by several drs, and by my FB EDS friends that after spine surgery/fusions, more problems may come up, below the site of fusion. It's like this. After they fuse/stabilize a vertebra/e, the bodies continued movements transfer to the other vertebra, which in turn may then have problems. We are in for a long haul. Unfortunately, as most of you are realizing- we are probably going to face a life time of health issues/pain. Dr's are not gods, and MRI's, CT's do NOT show absolutely everything. The practice of health care is constantly evolving, and hopefully improving. Even though we are facing so many health issues now, it is important that we try to focus on the quality of life that we DO have, and that we try to make the best of it. I want my children to remember good things about our time together, and I want to have a positive impact on everyone. Is my life easy? NO. But- I'm going to do what I can to get through it, and hopefully the drs who have worked on me/listened to me/dismissed me will somehow be better drs for it, and will help the next patient. And yes, some days I feel like I'm in a living hell with no escape, but I believe that GOD has a plan for all of us, and that we can still contribute something to our world. Hang in there friends, and keep going! Don't give up. I just had this surgery on April 11, 2011. I was in so much pain before the surgery I hoped surgery would make it bearable... Honestly the surgeons are not very hands on, they didn't give me any recovery information, my incision came open and I had to go to urgent care to get it fixed. Now 3 months later I still have a lot of pain. I sit at a desk all day on a computer and I have to get up about every hour just to walk out the pain. I told the surgeon about the pain and he said that it is because my neck is now 2" longer and the muscles in my shoulders are being stretched and that makes them hurt. I have fibroymalgia also... My pain makes me feel like I am going to explode from the pain. I have to take muscle relaxers and pain pills, but they just mask the pain. I am looking for exercises and things I can do to strengthen the muscles in my shoulders hoping that helps the pain. I have to work at least another 9 years at my current job in order to get full benefits. I have to have medical... As far as feeling crazy and alone I can relate... I feel like people think I am making it up so I don't have to go to work. I have yet to work a full week... This has been my best week. I am in a lot of pain today and I wanted to stay home, but I need to work. I hope that I can continue to check back and see how everyone is doing. I do pray that things do get better!! I am tired of Hurting! I had c4-c7 anterior cervical fusion surgery in Dec 2010. I've been very diligent with physical therapy even after it has been completed. I do home treatment and certain equipment at the gym. My PT's were critical in my GRADIAL return to work, however, I can only return to approx 33 hrs per week in dental hygiene. This is the same amount of hours as I had to reduce to prior to surgery due to the degenerative disc disease (which I am told is due to my profession). I am still frustrated by some minor tingling but mostly muscle spasms and spinal discomfort in the cervical region even below the c7 area if I am not careful or have a heavy/difficult patient load). C2-3 have severe foraminal stenosis still, so that is something that annoys me now and then. Recovery has been very long but I cannot impress enough that each of us has to take the most active roll in our stretching and PT involving keeping the upper back strong. The more consistent I am with that, the better I feel. Along with proper sleep and managing stress, of course. I have massage at least once per month and see a chiropractor approx once per month that works in Body Work (similar to deep myofascial release). After surgery, not only has the anatomy changed, scar tissue will develop that needs deep massage and assistance in healing. She has been a miracle worker for me and I attribute my return to work to her as well as a whole team of specialists that I have worked diligently to maintain. There is no easy answer, every day is work! My brother had the same surgery at c5 and c6. He did well at first, but then the complications started to surface. He started developing excessive scar tissue around his asaphogus and vocal cords. I don't mean to scar you, but he then eventually lost his voice, started having trouble with swallowing, then that progressed so much he couldn't even swallow his own saliva. He then started to aspirate small amounts of what he tried to swallow but would start to choke into his right lung, leading into a fungal infection in that lung, causing it to be removed. Then more complications followed, eventually he passed. He was only 56. Now, I myself need the same surgery and I am sooooo scared. I'm reading all these postings, and starting to think I might just decide on no surgery. Why make it worst. I will just continue with the pain meds etc. If I take it easy, sometimes I can go days with very minimal pain and discomfort.. I will just need to pray very hard for guidance. Good luck! My brother had the same surgery at c5 and c6. He did well at first, but then the complications started to surface. He started developing excessive scar tissue around his asaphogus and vocal cords. I don't mean to scar you, but he then eventually lost his voice, started having trouble with swallowing, then that progressed so much he couldn't even swallow his own saliva. He then started to aspirate small amounts of what he tried to swallow but would start to choke into his right lung, leading into a fungal infection in that lung, causing it to be removed. Then more complications followed, eventually he passed. He was only 56. Now, I myself need the same surgery and I am sooooo scared. I'm reading all these postings, and starting to think I might just decide on no surgery. Why make it worst. I will just continue with the pain meds etc. If I take it easy, sometimes I can go days with very minimal pain and discomfort.. I will just need to pray very hard for guidance. Good luck! Hi again. Yes, the swallowing is a big issue, however, it has gotten much better since surgery. I also have an allergic esophageal condition which is now better. That is a complication I have never heard of, the one your brother experienced. My chiropractor says that my scar tissue seems to be to the most minimal point right now. If you are facing this surgery I would urge you to do everything you can do to prevent having to do it. I've had neck problems for over 30 years, so, I feel it was inevitable, especially with my profession. Find the best, most caring physical therapist that applies a program specific to you and your everyday activity/needs. Keep your upper back as strong as possible! Eat well, rest, pray for reduced pain, and take care of yourself! Try not to rely on pain meds. I am 11 months post op, C-5 to C-7 Cervical diskectomy and fusion with two cages and a titanium plate. If you can go for days relatively pain free, then my advise to you is to not even think about having this surgery. I, like some of the others had problems swallowing for around 2-3 months and it did change my voice for a short period. I was in the hard "Miami" collar for a period of 4 1/2 months. I was told I had to stay in it until x-rays showed bone growth in the 2 cages that were placed in my spine. Needless to say I then wore the neckbrace for another 2 months while sleeping and while doing certain daily activities. I was in PT for over 4 months. I have gained a lot of my range of motion but I am still very limited. Driving is very hard for me now at 11 months post-op. Since surgery, the only thing that became better was the pain in my neck. The other pain that I had before surgery, for ex., shoulder pain, headaches, numbness and tingling in my right arm, extreme pain in my shoulders and shoulder blades, has increased exponentially. I refuse to have another injection, because my pain increased with the first one I had before surgery, and it never eased off. I'm not having root blocks or anything else. I thank god for my family Dr. I've seen her long enough that we have a good Dr./patient relationship and she trusts that when I say, "I am in extreme pain," she believes me. She prescribes me pain meds, neurotonin for nerve pain, flexeril for muscle spasms, and naproxn for inflammation. I could not live without these on a daily basis and this isn't how I want to live. I always hated to take medicine, now I take a handful on a daily basis. I had a steroid injection in my hip today to see if it will help the inflammation in my back. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that over the last 5-6 weeks, my pain has became much worse. i return in a week if I get no relief, to try to decide where to go from here. I'm now, also, having severe constipation problems which has led to something else that may require surgery in the future. I'm at my wits end. No clue what to do at this point. I'm hoping my problem still lies in the cervical area. If it does, I'm going to contact the Spine Surgery Institute. I've heard wonderful things about them and now I'm hoping that they will be able to return me to some semblance of a normal life. I had a c5 and c6 anterior discectomy and fusion I'm 5 days post op my neck hurts more now than what it did prior.when I swallow it feels like I have a lump in my throat.when if ever does the constant tightness go away and how long does it take for the throat to heal? I had a 1000 lb gate fall on me in October 2000 and have sufferred for YEARS in pain (neck, terrible headaches, arms and shoulders) and finally had an anterior cervical diskectomy & fusion at C 5-6 on 8/16/11. I KNOW that lump in the throat feeling that your talking about!!! I too feel like there is something caught in my through (right behind my scar) and spoke to the doctor about it. He says that it should go away within the first 3 months, BUT could take up to a year!!! EEEK!!! I sure hope not!!! As far as some of the other posts previous to yours...I too still have pain in my shoulder and down my arm...but MOST of the neck pain has been relieved. :) I found out after the surgery that the disk had been broken off and was embedded into two of the nerves!!! No wonder I was in pain for SO LONG!!! I had a GREAT surgeon and don't regret having the surgery. I am 7 weeks post op today (and never wore a hard or soft collar at all). I do still take the pain medication daily (as the doctor says this is normal at this stage) but don't want to have to continue on it. I am hoping that my pain will go away (as he thinks I should be pain free in about a month)...god do I pray he is right!!! Good luck to all out there who have sufferred and hope that you have a good outcome!!! Any doctors out there reading this..;please feel free to add comments about how my recovery seems to be going...or if you feel that the long time that I had this damage is going to be too long to heal those nerves. Any advice/comments are appreciated. God bless!!! I have read these storys and as I am so sorry for their pain and suffering I have to say that I had a Fusion/discectomy of C4/ C5 and have had great results. it is week 9 for me and I almost feel back to normal I have a little discomfort when tring to sleep but other then that I feel stronger every day. My surgeon told me after time I will feel 100% I started therapy yesterday and was told I am right on track but not to try and rush things as I could set my self back. I also don,t want to cause any more injurys to my neck. Do your research see how many cases your sergeon has done what his or her sucess rate is. I have to say that if you have the surgury listen to your body as you heal if you feel you might be doing to much you are best of luck to you I'm about 10 days out from C-5 to C-7 fusion. Pain was searing and agonizing almost constantly for almost 2 months before surgery. I'd say I have about a 30 percent improvement in the pain level. The pain level has seemed to stop improving and maybe getting a little worse. Last night my right arm woke me up with radiating pain for the first time in about a week. I hope it's not a sign of things to come. No more surgeries for me unless it's life or death. I had a fusion at level C5-6 on 11/21/11 it hasn't been a full 2 weeks yet but so far no it has helped the pain in my neck. What concerns me now is that I woke up this morning with severe lower back pain, throughout the day it has eased up a little but now 13 hrs laterthe pain is unbearable. Is this a common side affect? I had a C5-C& fusion with a plate and six screws in 1997.I had no issues and my pain went away. In fact, immediately post-op, my greatest source of pain was the two places on my hips where they harvested the bone grafts. !3 years later I had to have surgery on my hand. After that surgery I had numbness and burning pain in my hand that never went away. The surgeon recommended a nerve block for my hand. A family friend is a neurologist at Mayo and he told me I should not have the nerve block, because he has seen mixed results. 3 weeks ago I was in Manhattan and the second day there I began to have pain in my shoulder and upper arm and the numbness in my middle finger is now so bad I cannot feel anything more than pressure. Now I have found that I can make the pain and numbness worse by tilting my head back or to the right (the side I am having pain on). Once it got to this point I recognize the symptoms, as they are the same as I had before the surgery 14 years ago. This is obviously never damage, but I am unsure what exactly they can do at this point. As said I have had very good results up until this year. BTW, the fusion surgeries (there were 2 fusion surgeries), were much easier as far as post-op pain than I had with a laminectomy that was performed 6 months before the fusions. The laminectomy was VERY painful post-op and did absolutely nothing to alleviate my symptoms. At this point I would like to know if anyone has had any post-fusion success with non-surgical treatments after the symptoms return? I am at a loss a to what to do. I haven't slept more than 3 hours a night in the last 2-3 weeks. Had ACDF C5. C6, C7 feb 2010, 2 months after surgery still had pain, numbness & tingling in right hand, but now head tremors and right hand tremors when I write, lift or even eat. ,It's been almost 2 years now, I've been seen by 3 Neuosurgeons, 2 Orthopedics, 5 Neurologists and other doctors trying to find out why I now have tremors. They all are part of the same health group insurance and, one doctor said he believes something happened during the surgery. I have had 8 MRI's checking for anything including MS. They are now saying..I have an essential tremor or Parkinsonism. They tried many different medications and most make you so tired that you can't function. I had one doctor tell me, you may just have to take the meds and loose a couple days sleeping a week to help with the pain and tremors. I got off all except cymbolta and that really is not helping, it helps the depression, but just makes me groggy. I can't pick anything up that weighs over 8 lbs without my head tremors and I can only hold items for short periods of time. I still drop things, some days I have problems buttoning, writing my name, & even eating. Husband has to cut food for me, if I try I get tremors. I have learned to control some of the tremors in my head but the hand/arm weakness and hand tremors. If I walk on uneven surfaces, I will start the head tremors.Is there anyone else out here that has tremors now? I had a diving accident when I was fourteen which broke c5 c6 c7. They of course fused it together. At first I had minimal pain, now 15 yrs later its horrid. there are days when I just cant get out of bed. My hands are swelling, my fingers ache and im eating pain killers like skittles and have no releif. I go to pain management, but still no relief. Does anyone have any advice on how to relief it. Just enougj to be able to function... I had a disc decompression and fusion of C5-6 about 5 days ago. I am having bad pain in my arm and shoulder, is this something that others have experienced? Also I am having a difficult time sleeping at night, no matter which way i try to lay down, any suggestions? I had C5-C7 discectomy and fusion 3 months ago. The surgery was successful. Before the surgery the only way to get out of the severe pain in my neck and arm was to lay down. Now I can do most activities. I occasionally get hand cramps, lower back pain, neck stiffness, and left side neck pain. These symptoms not terrible and seems to get better every week. I find I can only turn my head 45% where most people can turn it close to 90%. Hopefully this will improve. I had an excellent neurosurgeon at Mt. Sinai in Manhattan. Compared to where I was, I am much happier. Sorry to hear about all the issues most of you are having. If you have not had surgery yet, my advice to you is to meet several surgeons and go to the best, even if you have to fly across the country. Had c5-6 fusion in 2007.It took forever for neck to stop hurting and being able to swallow cause flap in throat was so swollen.then 2 weeks ago I lost my balence for the millionth time and landed on my back.I have a concussion, but er drs won't xray my neck, head, or upper back.I am in horrendous pain.I can't even get out of bed most days without help.Calling reg dr tomorrow since surgeon lives in IL and I am in IN.useing lots of heat.Anybody got any suggestions???? i was attacked by my client june 9 2010 he snaped my neck 3x alot neck/shoulder/left arm pain. cant sleep /walk/sit or function with life. battling with work comp since all happen been to 9 different doc and all sighned off on pro replactment disc for c4 c5 c6 in neck work comp finnaly approved after lawyer got involved havent been able to work for a year single mom of 3 boys im scared on what gunna happen and ive been told i cant even sue for pain/suffering for going on 2yrs why can this happen you gp by the book they still get iver on you see my surgin feb 3rd any advice Hello I read your post and I think I have some really bad nerve damage I had my second neck surgery jan,11th 2012 and I am in more pain now then I ever was before. They took out the cage and was gonna put the codaver bone in but he said MY bones kept crumble in his hand so I have NO Hardware at all and I am in the worst pain ever it will be two months in a week I have had trouble talking with any volume to my voice so I found out two days ago they paralyzed my right vocal cord then I went and had a dexa scan done got the results today it says my bones are all normal so I really dont understand at all what has happened but I do know I am in so much pain it isn't funny he tells me my bones are in bad shape but the scan says they are normal I really need some advice as to what to do about the shoulder pain it is awful Hi there, in 2002 I had c5-6 removed and replaced and fused. At the time I had severe left arm pain. It did help, but there is not a day that goes by that my neck doesnt hurt. Like a stiff neck. In the past 10 years, I went through loss of use in my left arm.....thank goodness it came back. But my neck and part of left arm is always sore and achy. I still have numbness in my left hand pinky and second finger from pinky. I have done Chiro, massage, acupuncture, drugs, etc etc...but same every day. I do still continue to play hockey, golf, and quite active...Every once in a while....probably 4 times a year....my neck goes completely out. Even just from grabbing my toothbrush...and I cant move very good for the nest few days.....then after a week its back to "normal" and life goes on....but its just the way life goes and I dont want to sit around and do nothing....but man its a "pain in the neck" .....daily. I to had the posterior procedure done to decompress due to spinal cord compression and almost total loss of function of my left arm. Post surgery I continued to have pain but gained use of my left arm with time and pt but the pain continued. Through the corse of another year I received 3 nerve blocks that helped for short iPods of time. My neurosurgeon even sent me to an orthopedic dr. Specializing in shoulders thinking that the continued guarding had weakens my shoulder and caused tentonitis. Then the orthopedic dr. Did a tendon injection which elevated to pain totally for about 3 weeks. I thought everything was better until the pain in my shoulder neck and left arm returned. My neurosurgeon the got a second (post sx MRI) and discovered that my compression had worsened from previous surgery making it evident that I would have to endure a second surgery for fusion. I had my fusion in June 2011 and have been to pt and have returned to work as an rn full duty at the end of September. I continue to have pain in my left neck/ shoulder pain with some numbness and tingling in my fingers. The pain is no where near as bad as before my sx, but the spasms are unbearable at times. As a nurse who has to take call, I am restricted in the ability to take the muscle relaxers and pain meds I need for relief except when I am not on call and I can only take them at night. I tried to take alive instead and it does nothing. I'm glad I had the surgery because I regained the use of my arm, now if I can just deal with this pain You might have cubital tunnel syndrome if your little finger and ring finger are numb. Ask to be tested specifically for that or you will be automatically tested for carpal tunnel. me too i see doctor april 10 will give outcome same thing happen to me, I went into surgery with perfect shoulders and when I woke up I couldnt move my arms>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>. after being in pain for 2 months my pain management doctor sent me to a orthpedic surgeon who specializes in shoulder, It looks like I have a torn tendon and will need surgery............this had to have happen during surgery Thanks for the comment...but why get tested for it? what will they do if I have cubital tunnel syndrome. I just live with the numbness as it really doesnt affect my life. Its the neck and shoulder pain that is aggrevating Ten years ago, I was rear-ended by a semi, causing a herniated disc so I, too, had a fusion at C5-6 with the metal plate and screws (as childish as it may be, I joke saying, "When I say I have a few screws loose, you can take it literally!") Anyway,,,thanks to the economy, I had to find a second job. I did,,,a cashier at Winn Dixie. Anyway, I figured I was in pain because of all the lifting. I became concerned that even when I wasn't working, my pain was becoming excruciating to the point I was in tears. I went to the doctor's office four times in a month and a half! I'm not permitted to go back to work at Winn Dixie until I receive full clearance! I had an MRI last Wednesday and went in yesterday to get the results. In the past, I was told I had arthritis and to alternate between ice and heat. My results caused my jaw to drop. The nurse read the results, told me nothing had changed since my last MRI, which was over a year ago, and showed them to me. I asked what the one word meant (unfortunately, I can't remember the word). I have a cyst near the surgery site. It's been there for at least a year. I'm debating on whether or not to have it removed. I have this same problem and my dr said that in surgery, the nerve going to my lyrynx could have been overstretched and that this could be permanent...thats nice...i thought maybe the plate was pressing against my esophagus because if i laugh and tilt my head back at all...it hurts and then feels swollen on the inside and causes me to gag and triggers me to swallow alot...kinda like something is stuck in my throat. Sorry to hear about you going throught he same thing I had c5 / c6 disk replacement in March 2012 - don't know what brand, plus I had the titanium plate screwed into my cervical spine as well, and have had 2 MRI's and three xrays, and the pain is just TERRIBLE! I can't get comfortable, it feels like my head is too heavy to hold up. There is pain down my right arm into my hand, and my shoulders and neck are ALWAYS tense, tight, and in pain. I'm in tears all the time. I was referred by my neurosurgeon to a pain management doctor, and I've had 2 nerve blocks since the surgery, not helping much at all. I don't know what else to do. The pain doctor now wants me to get a doppler screening to see about possible Thorasic Outlet Syndrome...that appontment is next week - does anyone have any advice? I also find that I get very dizzy for no reason at all - not sure if this has anything to do with the pain I'm always in or not? I'm very uncomfortable, very hurt, and pretty miserable all the time - it's affecting my way of life drastically. I'm normally a very happy person, but pain is making me miserable. I also don't react well to most medications (they make me feel sick to my stomache). Please reply there are any suggestions that might help. Thanks very much! I had my surgery on December 31st 2010. I think mines was C4 and 5 fusion. Now I was told it was going to take at least a year for me to heal so for 1yr. I chilled for that yr or more. My family waited on me hand and feet through my full healing stages. Now I hurt every day and dealing with the headaches. My problem is I can't even pay the copay to go see the Doc. I plan to go soon. In the mean time keep me informed please, THANKS I had a c5 - c6 disk replacement with an artificial disk inserted, along with a titanium plate screwed in on March 27th of 2012...I have yet to be out of pain. I've had 2 MRI's done, and xrays, but the neurologist who did the surgery cannot see why I'm in such pain post-surgery! I was sent to a pain specialist, who gave me two nerve blocks which pretty much did nothing but hurt me. Since I'm feeling pain down my right arm into my hand, he ordered a doppler screening for possible thorasic outlet syndrome, but I think that test came back as non-definitive. It was a guess. He tells me since the nerve blocks don't seem to help much, this was just a shot in the dark. I was going to call the neurologist who did the surgery back, to see what he'd recommend, but decided the best course of action might be to see another neurologist, with a fresh set of eyes to try to help me. I have noticed that I have more and more dizzy spells for no apparent reason at all! I've had to pull over on the side of the road on 2 occassions, and it happens while just sitting down working at the computer as well. I lose my balance and my equilibrium appears to be messed up. Guessing that this is due to the severe pain that I'm in constantly due to the surgery? I hear a crackling sound when I move my head, I cannot get comfortable at all - have to use sleeping pills at night to get SOME relief, and I can only lay flat on my back, cannot sleep on my side at all. I have a burning sensation in my shoulders and neck and a constant, nagging pain. I have tears just rolling down my face all the time...I just want to get back to normal. Surely there has to be some way to get over this type of surgery and get back to living. I feel like a bump on a log, and I've gained weight due to inactivity. I find it hard to bend over to shave my legs, get clothes from the dryer, oven, dishwasher, etc...hate asking people to help me all the time, too. It's been since last October that I've been in pain, and thought that the surgery would fix the problem in March - to no avail. Any suggestions? I go for a "second opinion" with a new neurologist in another state next month (first available appt was over a month away, unfortunately!). I wish I knew the answers to your questions, because my questions are the same. I had a 3 vertebrae 1 sided fusion Feb 2012 and then in June 2012 a different surgeon tried to get me my hands back and end the pain by doing an unheard of 9 vertebrae 2 sided fusion. The pain has only increased, the pins and needles increased, and now lost use of left arm thanx so very much doctor, untill i joined this group i felt i was alone,every day is more painful, i am on codeine 60 mg 4 times daily ,naproxen 3 times daily and tramadol prn ..i work full time and sometimes it hurt so much i cry ..my eyes are getting really more painful and my optician says its not my sight its the nerves in my eyes that hurt ...i also get very painful and swollen breasts i went to ave a mamogram (mammogram) a and was told its the nerve in my breast ..can it get any worse? i am 45 and i feel 95 ..i ave no social life and spend every min i am not working in bed in severe pain ..is it worth even going back to the dcoctor wats the point ? what can he do.. my neurosurgeon wrote to my gp saying try to manage my pain think that mean he is done with me ..i went to the pain clinic and was given a injection in my neck ..the pain was gone for 2 weeks and it was the best 2 weeks i ever spent i really thought brilliant i am better then i went to jamaica and bang it came back ..i am giving up now and decide i have 2 live wit my pain I feel for you - I'm going through something very similar, and have an appt with another doctor 9 hours away from my home to give me another opinion after having surgery in March 2012 for c5-c6 fusion with artificial disk and titanium plate screwed into my spine...sever pain and discomfort. The doctor neurolgist who did my surgery referred me to a pain specialist 2 hours away from my home, and I had 3 rounds of injections, to no avail. My right arm and hand go numb, and cause so much constant pain...plus I can't even bend over to support my own head, and it's been months. After the surgery, due to so much pain, the operating doctor ordered another MRI (which costs a fortune!!!) then the injections then there were all the medications (neurontin, which seemed to do absolutely nothing!!! and the percocet, which makes me want to throw up, although it does ease the pain a bit)....I work full-time on the phone and on the computer, and I am having a rough time trying to do that and deal with the constant pain I'm in. It's awful. My hope is that the new doctor I'm going to see on the 31st of July will be able to see what the problem is and fix it. My fingers are crossed. If you (or anyone else out there who's reading this blog) has any helpful information, my direct email address is: ***@**** Good luck - and I hope we are all Pain-Free soon! I am in need of a fusion or disc replacements of c3-4 down to l-1. After reading about everyone's pain after the fact, I just wonder if I should endure what pain I have now until it is impossible. Any suggestions? My right arm and hand are numbish - but with pain as well - my thumb, forefinger and middle finger are swolen like sausages and so is 3/4 of my right hand. The pain keeps me up at night. I've already had carpal tunnel surgery 3 years ago - I had c5 and c6 fusion done in March 2012 and the pain in my neck and both shoulders is terrible! There's a burning sensation, and I am pretty much immobile. I take walks but that is the extent of my exercise. I've put on lots of weight due to inactivity, but cannot move comfortably to do much of anything. It hurts to bend over to get clothes from the dryer or dishwasher, or even to shave my legs! This is certainly no way to live. I've changed pillows, done the heat wraps, icy hot rubs, patches, ice packs, moist heat, you name it - I've done it. The neurologist who did my fusion surgery took a look at an MRI post-surgery (since I was in so much pain) and he said everything looked fine, but recommended I see a pain mgmt doctor, which I did, and had 2 injections three weeks apart - with no significant improvement whatsoever! I then decided to investigate other neurologists for another opinion, and I now realize that there are doctors who do "fusion repair" and look at it as a challenge to help people get out of pain. I don't like to take drugs, and don't want to have to rely upon medicine for the rest of my life - I'm only 46 years old - my hopes are in this new doctor's hands - my appointment is on July 31st (had to wait 2 months to see him!!!) I hope it is worth it, and he can pinpoint the root of the pain, and of course, FIX IT. If I have good luck with this repair, I will be sure to share with the world so you can all feel better, too! OMG !! I have all the same symptoms ! So pissed.... this is my second surgery in my neck ,and now I cant swallow and have migraines every day ! living on IMETRAX.! WHAT DO I DO :(( I'm seeing another neurosurgeon, had to have yet another MRI, CT scan and more x-rays! It MAY be a bone fragment irritating my nerves, making me so horrendously uncomfortable all time (post-fusion surgery in March 2012)....still not certain - driving 8 hours away to another specialist to maybe find this out. CRAZY!!!!!!! Hurt all the time, numb down right arm into hand and shoulders are always sore, middle top portion of back feels like a burning sensation, into the base of my skull. Affecting every area of my life - hurts to even get laundry out of dryer. Gained weight (from inactivity) feel like a slug. Hurts to sit and lie - thank goodness for ambien, so I have a few hours of pain relief!!!!!!! No way to live. Hoping for a correct diagnosis to be "fixed" .....always in pain 24 yr old male. Broke my C-5 in two spots had to get C-4, C-5, C-6 fused together with two rods and 6 screws. Been wearing a hard brace for the 7 weeks since. Hopefuly get the brace off this friday. Only took percocet for the first week of post-op and only tylenol since. If I look down too long I get a lot of muscle tightness right in my lats I'm hoping it's just from weak muscles. Percocet made me lose my appetite way to much. Trying to get my medical marijuana card for recreational and pain uses. i had c5-c6 neck fusion in 2008.ever since then ive had pain in my neck ,shoulders,upper back,across my chest,numbness in my arms and fingers ,dizzyness,and my neuro tells me sometimes this happens lol-- cant sit for more then 1/2 hour before the pain increases.BUT AFTER READING ALL YOUR STORIES --I GUESS WHAT MY DR, MEANT IS THAT YOULL HAVE PAIN THE REST OF YOUR LIFE ---NOT SOMETIMES LIKE I WAS TOLD BEFORE I HAD THE SURGERY ------the only time the pain subsides is when i lay down ------ I'm 46, and had partial hysterectomy 3 years a go, carpal tunnel on right hand 2 years ago, and c5/c6 fusion this year (March 2012) - I've had nerve conduction tests, several MRI's, CT's with dye, checked for Thorasic Outlet Syndrome, Myelogram and blood patch - and I'm still dizzy, have numb feeling down both arms and pain in right hand/arm, feels like my head is too heavy for me to hold up on my own, pain when I sit down (always feels better to stand upright), horrible trouble sleeping (can't get comfortable) and I even take a 10mg ambien every night - but continue to wake up in pain/discomfort several times a night. There is a burning sensation in between my shoulder blades, too. Specialist after specialist cannot seem to figure out what the problem is - making me feel like I'm nuts! They say the neck fusion is healing nicely and that there are no impinged nerves. I'm completely at a loss. The pain in my neck began to severly hurt me in Oct 2011 - so it's almost a year that I've been in this type of discomfort. The c5/c6 fusion helped slightly, but has certainly not addressed the lingering issue. I work at a desk on a computer/phone all day for work, and have tried to make my area as ergonomic as possible - still working on this to try to get some comort/relief...anyone out there have any suggestions for office stuff? chair in particular...I'm self-employed, and due to all the doctor bills, I will be in debt for many, many years (test are very expensive, and I've had lots of them) so my income is imperative. Thoughts? Suggestions? Please share. Thanks....Michelle all i know is i have had 2 surgery and i am in so much pain dont know what to do Since it appears as though "nothing" seems to show up on CT, MRI, nerve conduction tests, or event he invasive Myelogram (which led to painful blood patch!!!!) I have resorted to a more holistic approach to my health...I've been juicing for the last 32 days, with a focus on inflamation (inflammation) reduction, and I have to say that I am indeed feeling better. I'm no longer eating any processed foods. I no longer have to take heartburn medicine (I was chewing at least 3 - 4 tums a day) and I'm no longer taking mega doses of tylenol, advil, aleve, etc...I do still have a little nagging pain in the neck and shoulder area, so I'm asking the doctor to give me a recommendation for physical therapy (since I've been so sedate for the last year, due to such severe pain) I'm hoping the stretching, and increased mobility and strength will help aleviate the pain. I'm putting mind over matter, since no doctor seems to have a fix for the ongoing issue. The more I read about juicing, the more I'm glad I've taken my health into my own hands. The only pain pill that seems to really help if I'm in pain is OPANA (I split the pill in half). I really don't want to be dependent on any pills at all! Improved health is the key, I'm starting to be a believer! Will be sure to post as my health improves by taking processed foods and pills out of my life, with a more holistic approach....Michelle Platt I had a c 5-6 fusion in 2001. I thought it was the best thing I had done for myself. Last year after having my left hand (dominant) go completely numb I was back on the operating table. This time I had c4-5 fusion; my doctor took out the previous c5-6 fusion. Since my latest surgery I haven't had alot of painless days. Finally, in July I went back to see my neurosurgeon. MRI showed a severe bulge at c6-7. I chose to try to wait it out, BUT the pain became so intense I couldn't tolerate it and keep a fulltime job. So in Sept. I returned and was told that after x-rays & MRI that my previous c4-5 was not healing and I have a sublaxation (?SP). The plan is to on one day have my c6-7 fused via anterior method. The next day they are going to put rods in from C4-7 to stablilize my spine, but they are using a posterior approach. I have been told I have a congenitally severe narrowing the spinal canal. I am so thrown by this, I don't know what to do. Karen, you must be so frustrated! Since you're not able to work your regular full time job, were you able to get disability? I hear it takes quite a long time to get approved. I work at a computer/phone all day (self-employed at my home office - full time as well)...I've purchased a very large screen computer (27") and have just bought a cordless smaller keypad with a touchpad instead of a mouse...trying to make everything as ergonomic as possible - but still suffer every day with pain. I don't want to rely upon medications for the rest of my life. Keep appraised of your recovery process - I'll post anything I find helpful as well. Good Luck!!! Karen, I just had my second fusion done in July of this year. My first fusion did not heal properly. First surgery was through the front of my neck. This one was done first through the front for a revised fusion at levels C-4 through C-7. Then I was flipped over and they cut the back of my neck and inserted rods. It's been 6 months and what a extremely tough recovery. I have lost so much ROM, and still continue to be in pain every day. My whole life has changed. I can't sit or do anything without support behind my head. The whole back of my neck feels almost "locked". I know how frustrating it is, I've been dealing with this for 10 years now, my first surgery was in 2002. You are not alone, best of luck!! I don't agree with your fusion impression. I have severe degenerative disk disease. I have had 3 lumbar fusions and 3 cervical fusions. Never on the same spot. Before each cervical fusion I had severe migraine headaches and before the lumbar fusions I had severe numbness and loss of ability for my legs to function. I had a fantasic Neurosurgeon from Saginaw and each time I was back to work in less than three weeks with complete recovery to normal function with no pain. Until this last fusion. My surgeon thought I was rejecting the donor bone but he had a heart attack and is off work right now. So I saw his PA for my non-healing cervical fusion. She ordered a bone stimulator, before using it I was starting to have a little facial numbness. Since the stimulator I now have pain, difficulty swallowing and very sore throat. I would love to know if anyone else has had this problem. I am also healing from rotator cuff surgery and think this bone stimulator is messing up my recovery I am glad you had good results from your procedure at the Laser Spine Institute. I did not. I also have splondlyosis, bone spurs and disc degeneration of neck disks from about C 4 through C7. I was sold on the idea of "minimally invasive" surgery at Laser Spine because they promised the recovery time was so short and I would feel relief almost immediately. I was SOLD on this surgery after reading comments from people like you on the surgery center's web site. All the patients on the web site insisted this was such a MIRACLE surgery and NO ONE mentioned anything about the possibility that would still be experiencing debilitating pain 3 months later. As a matter of fact, I did informal interviews with other patients at the surgery center and they also insisted it was AMAZING. Well, my experience has been very different. I am STILL on mega doses of Lyrica and Soma just to be able to tolerate the pain. I was recently admitted to the hospital and by the 3rd day they did an MRI of my neck. Well, guess what? The MRI showed I still had arthritis and bone spurs in my neck. So, it doesn't appear that Laser Spine surgery was successful. On top of that, now my muscles are spasming out of control. The MRI shows that my neck is now so tensed that instead of curving like a normal upper spine it is angled straight down... like a sliding board. My only relief is when I am lying down with my neck and upper back completely supported and at rest... which is an indication to me that spasming muscles are adding my current condition. My goal in having the surgery was to GET OFF all the meds. Now, I am right back to where I started... very little hope of achieving a pain-killer free life. The one thing I will not do is start back down the road of opiates. Been there... done that. I never want to have to recover from opiate addiction again. It was VERY difficult and unpleasant. Anyway, I am going to go back to physical therapy this week in the hope that they can, at least, get my muscles strengthened so they are not in spasm and adding to my discomfort. I want everyone to know my story as well, I had severe Stenosis, spondolylisis and decompressed spinal cord from C2 to T2 I send several doctors and struggled for 6 months being told that my symptoms of pain in shoulders and severe cramps throughout my body were self induced, the last 3 months I was barley able to walk, my boss which is a cardiologist finally ordered an MRI and referred me to a Neurosurgeon, by the time I seen him my BP had been running 200/115 due to the pain I had been to the ER but they thought I wanted pain medicine and I had never even taking anything for pain, I was told I had permsnent nerve damage to my right side and was going to be paralysed at any min. Without surg and big chance with the surg, I explained to him that I didn't care if I crawled out of the hospital as long as I knee what the cause of all my problems were, I say this w a big smile,, " I walked out of the hospital the next day with little weakness, I was just seen for my Six week checkup and I'm almost 100% I use the word AMP everyday I'm in pain that my doctor asked me to that means Antiinflammatory, then 4 hrs later muscle relaxer 4 hrs after that a Pain pill, by the time u know it you will be pain free. I'm an Office manager for 4 physicians and went back to work full time after 4 weeks,, Don't give up! I am 52 years old and in the last 3 years have had 4 cervical surgeries. Aug. 2009 I fell and had severe acute pain right in the middle of my back. MRI couldn't find any reason for this pain..every minute of every day I was in agony. I too didn't know if I could live like this. I tried pain management including injejctions in my spine and pain meds and muscle relaxants and Neurontin. Nothing helped. Found a wonderful neurosurgeon in Sept. 2010 and he said right off, where's the MRI of your neck? I told him no one had done one because the pain was in the middle of my back. Sure enough MRI showed ruptured c5/6 disc. Nov. 2010 has my 1st fusion at c5/6. Felt pretty good right after, but then while doing PT, the pain was getting worse and worse. Xray showed crooked screw. 2nd surgery March 2010 to remove crooked screw. Felt pretty good after that one. Returned to work, had some pain, but I could live with it. One year later, I was having severe nerve pain down my left and sometimes right arm. Surgeon said he needed to go in thru the back of the neck and fix the pinched nerve. Felt good after that. 6 months after that, starting having severe muscular spasms up the back of the neck from shoulder to skull, around the neck and also around the collarbone area, front and back. So much pain, I actually had to go to the emergency room. MRI and CT scan showed the discs at 4/5 and 6/7 had collapsed and I needed to have them removed and fused. Had a 2nd opinion, and he also agreed that was the only way to fix the pain. So, Dec. 2012 I had the double fusion. Immediately after I was EXCELLENT! Felt sooo good, not to have that pain. Yeah, I couldn't swallow but that gets better with time. Okay, so a month later, the spasms start again. Not quite as severe as before, but bad enough that I still don't have any quality of life. Starting PT and Neurontin, and the both together have given me some relief. I don't know if it will ever be pain free, but there are at least days now, that the pain level on a 1-10 scale, is only a 3 or 4, rather than a 10-15. One day it was actually like a ONE!! Don't give up, I also have tried acupuncture and it has given me some relief. If I have to to PT and/or acupuncture for the rest or my life in order to have some quality of life, than I will. It's been a very long and painful road, but I can almost see the point where I can starting living again. Don't give up. I still feel WAY better than before the 1st surgery. I wish you well. I had anterior spinal fusion in 2010, it failed to fuse, so I had posterior fusion C5 and C6 Oct 2011. I have had some good days, but not many, the pain is life changing, It is a never ending cycle of trying to live a full life and NOT hurt. Enjoy life and NOT hurt. I had to quit my profession as a Dental Hygienist due to the pressure on my neck bent over the back of a dental chair all day. It is very depressing, I have with drawn from alot of my previous activities. Today I go in for the 2nd epidural shot and I am going to talk to my Neurologist about the constant chronic pain, and migraine headaches. I refuse to give in, I walked in the Mountians on Saturday on a very easy footpath and even that irritated my neck and left shoulder, but we have to keep on living while pushing our Doctors to figure this out. im seeing a nurgeolist for my condition on april 17 my email is ***@**** plz i would love some responce if u ever had a fusion on l4/l5 area on lower back Hi michelle at last i've found someone who relates to my situation. I had a fusion C5 to C6 in sept 2012 and although I had a really bad reaction to the medication from the op being violently sick for 3 days. I was told the fusion was a success and was referred for physio. After several months I thought I was going mad as the pain was getting worse my head feels too heavy for my neck I have pain in head neck shoulders down my arms and numbness and tingling in both hands but worse in the left one. I've had electro magnetic pulse treatment acupunture and been using a tens machine with or relief for my condition. Referred back to neurosurgeon and had nerve conduction test which cannot explain my condition. Another mri scan and xray was done last week I'm in full time employment and have been on long term sick as job is sitting at computer,. I'm no further on resolving my condition and are taking far too many strong pain killers. My financial situation is now been affected and I have the added stress of that as well as my medical condition. I tried to stay positive but its difficult when you've got very little support from work and no end to the pain I'm suffering Misty, since I'm self employed, I had to keep working - at a computer!! I get up often and move around, and I've made my situation as ergonomic as possible (huge computer screen helps me a lot!!). I feel your pain. I will say, however, that after physical therapy, I started taking Cymbalta for pain, since I now have arthritis in my spine, and it has really, really helped! I know this medication has been prescribed for depression (which I do NOT have) but it has also been proven to help people who are suffering with pain, which I DO have. It's been minimalized substantially! Give it a shot. I strongly recommend this treatment. It's also a daily struggle to make sure my posture is correct, my shoulders are back, and not to lean my head forward. I use a footstool to make sure my feet are at the 45 degree angle. Be sure to look at proper ergonomics when and if you get to return back to work to get your financial situation back in line, Misty. I really think you will get back to a better life with Cymbalta...and I usually dislike taking daily medications of any sort, but this one seems to really work for me, thankfully. Good luck! Give it a try. I think this pain will be an ongoing thing, but managed, I am now living a much more normal life. Now if only I could sleep through the night and lose the weight I've gained during the last year and a half, I'd be GREAT! There's always something, right? I'm starting to be more active, so I'm hoping to drop the 50 extra pounds I've put on being so inactive while I was in such pain. I wish you lots of success - and know that you are not alone in your struggle!!! Let me know if cymbalta helps you, Misty : ) I also have the problem swallowing after c5 c6 replacement not to mention the chronic pain in my neck,shoulders,arms and legs. I now walk with a cane. Before my surgery i had a life and now i can hardly do any thing. I had the same surgery Ronnie and I have been in pain since day one.... The pain has never went away.... my doctor is giving me the run around too..... I am going for a second opinion.... I had a friend go through this surgery and he is 100% better... never had anymore problems. I am going to go to his doctor I could not sleep because my pain medicine is not working and I came across your post. It is made me cry to see someone else is experiencing the same pain that I am. Last year I had a Cervical Spine Fusion and my pain did not cease. I currently am not able to do to much for more than a hour or so. I have really bad headaches and spend most of my time in bed asleep. I am becoming depressed. I often feel like no one believes me because my injury is work related. So many friends and family, but no one understands what this is unless they have gone through or is going through it themselves. Would like to talk to others like me...melchorna is my email at gmail. Hi: I wish I saw your post two years ago. I went to a surgeon who said the Laser Spine Institute was bogus and I had a spinal fusion to C5 and C6. I have more pain now, two years later then I did before the surgery. Before the surgery my pain was intermitent it is now constant. The surgeon that did my surgery has now moved to Florida. God only knows how many more people he will lie to. My husband just had this surgery and the day of and day after he felt great. well 24 hours later not so good! His providers are giving him one heck of a run around and no answers at all. one of the PA's admitted that at times that can and do mess things up with the tendons and/or ligaments and that may be the cause of his pains. after seeing these post I am more worried now than before as my husdand is already in a recovery program for his past addictions as a result of previous surgeries. I will tell him to follow up with the nueralgia and go from there. I am three months post op from my C5-C6 fusion with plate. Going into this surgery, my surgeon told me I would be back to work in 2 to 6 weeks and things would be so much better. He said I needed to have this surgery because if I had a fall or bumper car accident, I would be paralyzed. I was worried but trusted that things would be better for me. I have done everything the doctor tells me to do but I feel angry and disheartened. My best day now is not better than my worst day before the surgery. I am worried about going back to work. Afraid I can't do and be the person I was before because I don't feel like the same person. My upper body is weak, I have pain in the back of my neck and down the middle of my back. My right thumb won't work correctly and I drop things without warning and even thought I broke my foot once from dropping something on it. I teach 20 four-year-olds at an Elementary School. I am 54 years old and not able to retire because I only have eleven years in, but again, I fear not being able to be the person I was before. I hurt and feel irritable because I don't feel good. I am a person who has always done for others and now I am lucky to be able to take care of my own hygiene and self care, let alone working with these young children who need me to be on my toes at all times. Help! What can I do? I am scared. I need my job and my insurance and don't want to lose my life. I have always worked. I have formerly been in the army reserve and have the "Be All You Can Be," attitude. When I talk to my doctor, he says everything looks good on the x-rays. So I ask him, why do still feel so bad and ache. He lifts his arms and shrugs his shoulders, "I don't know." Well I DON'T KNOW doesn't help me get better!!!!!!! I am three months post op from my C5-C6 fusion with plate. Going into this surgery, my surgeon told me I would be back to work in 2 to 6 weeks and things would be so much better. He said I needed to have this surgery because if I had a fall or bumper car accident, I would be paralyzed. I was worried but trusted that things would be better for me. I have done everything the doctor tells me to do but I feel angry and disheartened. My best day now is not better than my worst day before the surgery. I am worried about going back to work. Afraid I can't do and be the person I was before because I don't feel like the same person. My upper body is weak, I have pain in the back of my neck and down the middle of my back. My right thumb won't work correctly and I drop things without warning and even thought I broke my foot once from dropping something on it. I teach 20 four-year-olds at an Elementary School. I am 54 years old and not able to retire because I only have eleven years in, but again, I fear not being able to be the person I was before. I hurt and feel irritable because I don't feel good. I am a person who has always done for others and now I am lucky to be able to take care of my own hygiene and self care, let alone working with these young children who need me to be on my toes at all times. Help! What can I do? I am scared. I need my job and my insurance and don't want to lose my life. I have always worked. I have formerly been in the army reserve and have the "Be All You Can Be," attitude. When I talk to my doctor, he says everything looks good on the x-rays. So I ask him, why do still feel so bad and ache. He lifts his arms and shrugs his shoulders, "I don't know." Well I DON'T KNOW doesn't help me get better!!!!!!! I had ACDF with Peek cages March 20th 2013. I still have the same pain in neck and shoulders and left arm I had prior to surgery. My left thumb and fore finger are still numb. It still feels like a toothache in the bone in my upper arm. Recently I had a cervical myelogram. The nerosurgeon says no compressed nerves in neck and nothing more he can do for me. Referred me back to pain management. I have type 2 diabetes. Wazs 10 months from accident until the surgery and I am 61 years old. Not sure I heal like a 20 year old. But pain level has never been below a 5 out of 10 since surgery in my neck and left arm. I understand, Chuck. People who look at you and can't see anything, think nothing is wrong with you. And then when you try to talk to your surgeon and he shrugs his shoulders and says "I don't know," when you ask why you are still in so much pain, it is depressing. It is as though he doesn't want to admit that he knows but won't say it because then it will justify to you and those around you that love you, that you do have pain. When those you love, also don't seem to understand, or act like you could do something about it, it makes you feel hopeless. I want to be okay, I want to feel better, I want to be the person I was, but I am not. I feel angry and alone, because even the people who are closest to me, look at me like, "snap out of it!" My husband doesn't get it. I try not to say anything to him because he wants me to say I am okay, fine, and things are better, even though they are not. I will go on, I will do what I have to do to be as okay as I can be. But I have to do it. Nobody can do it for me. I am walking every day, and getting ready to start Physical Therapy. It has been over three months since my surgery. I had cervical C5-C6 surgery with titanium plate. The surgeon said the two hour surgery turned into a three hour surgery because of all the bone spurs. He also says that my herniated disk was compressing my spinal cord and that was why I had to have this surgery. It was an anterior incision. Before the surgery, the surgeon told me it would be a 2 to 6 week recovery. Imagine me thinking I could be back to work in two weeks and then I can barely get out of a chair after two weeks. It was two months before going back to work and I've been off as a school teacher for the summer after going back for just one week. I'm going back to work next month, in August and I know that I am still not the person I used to be and it scares me. I have to learn to live with what I am and what I've got. I will do everything I can to be all I can be and I realize that's all I can do. I do wish I had some outside support. Please keep in touch with me Chuck through this and maybe we can help one another. Are you a doctor, jc? You seem to understand what we are saying. This is enough to make me feel better knowing someone understand! It seems to me that a bulging disk doesn't seem as severe of an outcome after surgery as a herniated disk that has been replaced. I don't know, but from what I hear and read about and know two people with bulging disks, their outcome from surgery seems to be much more successful then having a replaced disk. Does anybody out there know if this is true? go to a different doctor. I don't trust what they say about bad outcomes when it is the same surgeon and he keeps telling you everything is okay when you don't feel okay. I think surgeons don't want to admit when something didn't go so well, to the patient, because he/she does not want to admit that you are not the same person or you are still in pain. They want to make you think they are God and they don't want to admit that you are not and will never be the same person, when the outcome is not what you thought it would be. Just sayin Hi Jo, are you still able to work? just wondering I am becoming more aware that it is all about the money in a lot of instances with these surgeons. They do your surgery, and then you are on your own. They don't want to hear from you or be bothered by you about the pain and numbness afterward. At least that's the way I feel about my surgeon. Hi, I had my surgery March 18, 2013, and it was C5-C6 fusion. The surgery took an extra hour longer than they said it would, and the surgeon told my sister after surgery that it was due to the excessive amount of bone spurs and that it was worse than they originally expected after they got in there. I have been in so much pain since the surgery. My surgeon said on my six week x-ray visit that it looked better than he expected as far as the fusion, but when I asked why I was still in so much pain, he had no answer. Just shrugged his shoulders and said, I don't know. I tried to go on as if everything was okay but the nagging pain day after day has worn me down. I called him back and after three and a half months later, he has given me a prescription for Physical Therapy which I am doing two days a week for eight weeks. I am into my second week and the pain is even worse. I anticipated it and the Therapist told me that it would get worse before it gets better. I need stronger pain killers but the surgeon says he doesn't believe in it. He has told me to take tylenol and NSAIDS which does very little for my pain. I just want to feel better, feel normal, and get back to where I need to be but if anything, the surgery has caused me to be in more pain than I was before the surgery. It makes me feel frustrated and angry which causes me to feel alone and hopeless. Please keep in touch with me and let me know how you are doing since we are both seemingly in the same boat and have had the same type of surgery and problems. I am 54 years old. Talk to me, I am feeling the same way. I have many posts on here, so check them out. I believe you and I understand. I don't like feeling as though nobody thinks I am in pain, because on the outside I look fine! Please know I understand Good Morning! I had to have anterior fusion surgerines twice - the first time was for C 5-6, followed 18 months later by C3-4, 4-5, 5-6, and 6-7. (5-6 was redone) The first was done about 7 years ago, with the second around 5 years ago. I am a 61 year old female now, in good health (although I could certainly lose more than a few pounds!) I decided to do a little research into possible outcomes/side effects of the surgeries because I have a nagging pain in my right shoulder, and every once in a while get a pretty bright shot of pain that seems to originate at the base of my skull and radiates straight down my back on the left. After reading many comments at this thread, I have to say I feel blessed that I have had such a successful experience and outcome overall. I used a neurosurgeon group in Seattle WA associated with Swedish Medical Center, and my care was top notch. In both surgery cases, I was out of the hospital in about 24 hours and felt great. I had very little need for pain meds, as the pain had been totally relieved by the surgeries - maybe a little post op pain at the surgical site. I think as time has gone by, I have accumulated a few little side effects here and there as I mentioned above, but overall my experience was so positive, it was amazing. My neurosurgeon walks on water in my opinion! Now, if I could just find as good of prognosis for treatment of my lumbar spine, which is basically trashed - degenerative disc disease, too many years of misusing my low back, etc. That would be great! I refuse to get the shots - I think that is a band aid at best, and most certainly is non-curative. My neurosurgeon said that I was not a surgical candidate and I believe her. Maybe as science and technology continue to develop an answer will be found for those of us with lumbar spine troubles. Best wishes to all...hope things can improve for each of you. My neck was fused, plate and six screws. My surgeon said my pain should go away in about a year ! Not happening! it was 2005 when I had my surgery. And I'm in constant pain. I get horrible wasp type stinging pains in my shoulders. I've bought several pillows trying to rid my self of pain to have a good nights sleep....nothing helps. I've had tons of shots, 3 times to therapy and like Maureen, they only work for a short few days. When I went to my surgeon explaining my pain he took more x rays and shrugged and said, well maybe it's the bulge above that's causing the pain and suggested I have another surgery which would leave my neck unmovable and ridged. What I'm dealing with now, is loss of balance, double vision, dizziness, numb hands and arms to my elbows, horrible weakness, NO strength, and hot burning feet, and fiber Myalgia and restless leg .......Not to mention the worst leg spasms a person could know. Not just in one leg but normally both at the same time, to where you can't even stand up or walk them off. Yesterday I had another MRI done. We already know I have very bad Carpal Tunnel in both wrist, but he wants to see how much of this numbness is caused by my neck.. other thoughts could be MS. I hope not. But something is defiantly not right with me. I am so sorry to hear that penelopj1. How do you decide that you just have to stop doing what you were educated to do career-wise. I am feeling the same way. Afraid, angry, upset. Like I am in somebody else's body and can't get out. My husband counts on me to bring in the bacon and cover us insurance wise. He works for himself now and has no insurance. I told him 15 years ago, when he decided he didn't want to work underground mining construction anymore, that I would go back to school, we would move back to where he grew up, and raise our son here. I did it all. At age 40, I got my degree in teaching and have worked until now taking care of everyone else.I am now 54. Four months ago, I had C5-C6 disectomy with fusion. Cadaver bone with titanium plate. The pain has been excruciating. Caused from degenerative disk disease. Since the surgery was March 20, I took two months off for medical leave and have had the rest of the summer to recooperate. I am now in Physical Therapy because I talked to the surgeon and he says my fusion is looking good, although I keep telling him the pain won't go away. He shrugs his shoulders and says, lets try PT. So here I am. Two weeks into the PT feeling worse again, then when I started it. I woke up yesterday looking like a bull frog on one side (the side they cut me opened anteriorly) so I told the therapist today. The swelling had gone down but still swelled a little. He didn't seem concerned. Said it was probably the way I slept. My problem: I know it has only been four months since my surgery, but by best day now is still not better than my worst day before the surgery. I teach 20 4-year olds in Pre-K for a public school. I am licensed to teach PreK through 4th grade and really feel as though this is the time to teach an older grade but they tell me nothing is open and won't switch me with anyone. I am feeling so alone, so afraid, an so angry. I don't like not being able to do and be the person I was and I can't do a thing about it. If I don't work as I always have, I am afraid that we will lose everything we have worked all our lives to accomplish. I asked my husband to try to go back to work doing underground mining construction so that his pay would take care of us along with him having insurance but he says he doesn't think he can do the work at his age. He's 57. I understand how he is feeling, but he doesn't seem to understand what I am going through. He is more concerned about losing his sugar momma then being concerned about my health. I don't know what to do. My sister said, come live with her, but I do not wish to walk out on everything I have worked for all my life and I do love my husband. But the fact is, I am in a lot of pain everytime I try to do a lot physically. I am only 5 feet tall and weigh 105 lb. I am not overweight and I have always been healthy and active. I don't know what to do and I push myself daily to try to strengthen myself but I am just plain weak from my waist up and have now stamina. I work a couple of hours and can't do anymore until I rest. I feel tingling in my right hand and have no power at all in my right thumb to pick or lift anything with that thumb. It's like I have no strength in my thumb at all. Help! What can I do! Hi beachdreamer51 I am glad to hear you were lucky to have a successful cervical fusion surgery. Are you and have you been able to work since this was done? Hi lyd915, Unfortunately,surgeons don't tell you everything you need to know going into the surgery. I was under the impression that this surgery would fix me right up and I would be back to work possibly even two weeks after surgery! I had a cervical C5-C6 surgery fusion, and had a lot of bone spurs that they didn't see before the surgery on the MRI, so it took longer than they anticipated. Since the surgery, I have tried to talk to my surgeon about the pain. My husband sits beside me and they talk as if I am not in the room. He tells him I need to exercise, which I do. I do everything he tells me to do, or at least everything he tells my husband I need to do. I am the patient. I am 54 years old. I am a professional and I know my pain level. When I ask the surgeon why I am still in so much pain he just shrugs his shoulders and says he doesn't know. He did x-rays and said the fusion is coming along and that time will tell. He says it could take up to a year before we will know where I stand as far as how I am feeling, so it is a waiting game. One thing I do know is that it has been four months and my best day now is not better than my worst day before the surgery. I wish I had not had it done. They told me that it would have been too dangerous to wait because if I had a fall or been in a car accident, the spinal cord could have been severed and I was taking a chance of not being able to have movement in my limbs, but if I had it to do all over again, I would have taken my chances because at least then, I could manage the pain. Exercise helps my frame of mind but not the actual pain and pain meds that worked and took away the pain completely then, only dulls it now and it never goes away. I will keep you all posted and let you know month by month how things are going and if it does get better. As for now, still no stamina, no upper body strength, pain in my shoulders and sharp stinging pains in my neck. But most of the nagging pain is under the front chest just under my collar bone. It is excruciating at times and painful all the time. My pincer grasp is gone in my right hand and my fingers tingle from my thumb to my middle finger. Keep me posted on you all's experiences. It's nice to know we can talk and not go it alone. Too bad spine specialists don't understand what they do to their own patients, or at least won't acknowledge that the pain unbearable. I just received my latest bill from the hospital, altogether thus far, this three hour and one overnight hospital stay has cost180,000!  Yep, thank goodness we had insurance but it only paid 80%!
After reading your post and getting the phone call from my neurologist yesterday on his day off , I'm really depressed after hearing the results of my recent MRI.  5 yrs ago I underwent just about the same surgery as you.  Plate, 6 screws, donor bone to C3 through C6 as I remember.
I've had so many shots, trigger points shots you name it...face it the pain will never go away.  In this recent MRI, it shows I have the upper disc C5-C6 is pressing into my spinal cord and have severe swelling which on his advise he had me drive over to the pharmacy and buy steroids, surprisingly it took almost all my pain away by morning.   I also have two more budging discs above the disc pushing on my cord.   After all years o dealing with the first go around I am totally scared to death to have another surgery.
I'm so active and do many different art things, I fear never to be able to bend my neck again to enjoy them.  I really started getting bad about three months ago after having to sell and move a whole ranch with just myself and a friend to help me.....My arm and, fingers grew increasingly worse with numbness.  My walk is very off and I feel like I've had to many drinks.....Feet feel as though I'm walking on hot Coles and this heat doesn't go away during sleep ( what sleep  right )  more like rolling around all night like a chicken on a spit !   10 pillows later, I still can't find one that lets me sleep through the night.  So let me ask you this, is there ANY other way to beat not having to have more surgery ?  What about this new Laser surgery I've heard about recently ?   I won't get in to see this new Neurosurgeon until it gets approved by Tri-west Insurance to find out anything until then, so I'm trying to do as much home work as possible. Hope you can give me some advise.  Susan
Wow. I am currently considering replacement of my cervical disc due to a protusion that is causing me burning pain in my shoulder, shoulder blade and aching under arm, down my arm and numbness in my thumb. However having read all the post here I am starting to think that a) the pain is nowhere near as bad as what some put up with before having surgery and b) surgery in a lot of cases seems to improve the current pre op pain by cause more pain down the track. I have been like this for 12 months after having a massage from an over zealous massage therapist. I'm in New Zealand so we have government funded medical care of injuries (i.e. you don't have to sue people to get your medical costs covered).
I am getting a second opinion shortly the first surgeon said I could have it replaced but as there is no degeneration or any other spine issues if I can learn to live with it it may not get any worse but it might not get any better (i.e. its not necessarily going to degenerate to the extent that by not having surgery now I am delaying the inevitable).
I've tried lots of different things and can highly recommend 3 courses of action to people.
1. Learn the active isolated stretching techniques (google it) and do it EVERY day. This has been a god send for keeping my neck, back and shoulder area flexible and managing the muscle tension
2. Try accupuncture. Not just great for the problem but also good for frame of mind which I know we all struggle with when we have these ongoing issues.
3. Try Bowen. Again this has been fantastic at helping manage the pain.

I did Physiotherapy, Chiro and Osteo which all made it worse.

I'm am however only in bad pain maybe 4 - 5 days per month. The rest of the time is is anywhere from moderate pain to no pain just some stiffness in the shoulder.

It is so hard to decide what to do as the worst thing I can imagine is that I come out of surgery worse off and then it is irreiversible.
Hi there my wife had the procedure done 8 months ago, we followed all the post op rules and have been very very careful, the last x-ray said that the operation was a success but the pain is worse now ,my wife is suicidal as she can not live with then pain anymore, I am so worried as our marriage of 23 years is in the balance and I cannot get answers, I live in South Africa and will really like to know more as I will sell my house and everything I own to get this done for my wife .. anything for my wife .. she really deserves a good life and at the moment it looks as if its going to end I am desperate !! .. thanks Gary : ***@****
I had neck fusion in April and I guess it was OK..but my right shoulder is always in pain.  I also found I lose my voice, have a hard time sleeping on my back now because I can't breathe through my nose??? It's weird.
But the moment I wake up I put a heating pad on my neck and shoulders, and I do it at least 5 times a day, the kind you pop in the microwave, when I'm in a lot of pain I ice it, I actually purchased a ice collar that helps with the pain.  Pain pills don't seem to help but Valium does help with the nerve pain I feel in my shoulder.  I'm going to a good PT and exercise as much as I can.
I wish we could all be pain free, I wish you only the best.
I just want to get back to normal!  The pain is more unbearable than before the surgery C5-C6.  The arm numbness is gone a and the zing electric shock, but now the burning sensation in my back shoulder blade are is insane and the headache that comes about 3:00 is debilitating.  I have to go back to work in less than a week and am living on aspirin and trying to figure out how this is going to get better.  Let's not even talk about how my thermostat is broken!  I'm freezing and sweating and the same time!  Soaking everything, no sleep for weeks...I thought this was supposed to be recovery and beneficial...wish inning I would have waited longer.
omg, yes! It's horrible after having "2" ACDF's (c7/t1 & c5/c6)...my meds get stuck, food gets stuck, and sometimes I choke and cant catch my breath....as I did at a local festival and everyone was staring at me! it's the stupidest thing ever that I have to sleep with my pillow tucked under my throat to support "something" and I haven't figured out what that "something" is! swallowing is a process in itself, like something is in the way!
Hello,
I had c5-c6 wired in 1985. When observing the x- rays it can be seen that the surgeon had not bent the wire back to avoid piercing of the skin internally. As a result I have a large piece of scar tissue around the wire. Have had constant shoulder pain and neck pain. Initially when similar symptoms occurred to your wives I tried phsio,  chiro, and massage, which were very limited in benefit and most times aggravated the condition. However 28 years later I have found the chiropractors who do not twist the spine are much improved,  I believe  that if the rest of your spine is aligned the pressure will be reduced in the neck. Essential though is a electrical pulse device to stimulate the painful areas to increase blood flow, There are a few for sale online. I have found a good chiro + electric pulse the most effective remedy + whatever exercise you can do. Avoid painkillers they invariably weaken the body which will increase the pain later. I know it is bad now but the mind and body does adjust to where it is at.

I am so glad to have found this site. I now know that I am not alone. I had posterior discetomy and fusion C3,C4,C5,C6,C7 in may 2012 for ruptured discs, cervical spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease and arthritis. Surgery was 300 minutes and everything went well. The surgeon said it would take up to one year to heal. My neck and shoulder pains are still unbearable. My headaches gives me blurred vision and nausea. I am still taking perks for pain. I have tried everything: pain shots, heat, ice, massage, physical therapy and daily exercises. Nothing relieves the pain. My most recent MRI showes plates and screws in the correct places and CSF flow has returned to normal. My pain is a 10 24/7. My surgeon does not give me any good suggestions except maybe another surgery. He thinks an anterior disectomy and fusion C7,T1,T2 MIGHT help. Would love to hear from you.
Major surgery L4-L5 & L5-S1 which only lasted 6 months.
Gearing up for second surgery.
I have been told the hardware was installed wrong and a screw on the S1 plate it too close to iliac vein.
When I walk my legs get numb.
I can't sit without lumbar support.
I do the heavy pain killers and still attempt to work by staying awake
I had cervical stenosis at the C-3,4,5,6 area. The doc went in through the front and opened them up. Installed 3 titanium plates with scews also implant for fusion, that was Four years ago. And I have been ok, no major issues, Now 4 years later suddenly in the last couple of months I have developed continuous aching and burning pain in both shoulders. Lifting my arms above shoulder level is very difficult from this pain, Not sure if it's from the surgery or not. Three months ago I was put on Losartan and Amplopidine for BP and I though maybe that is the cause but my family Dr says probably not. Quality of life right now *****. Can't sleep and in constant pain with no answers. HELP
Hello I am at a year Feburary for C5 C6 fusion and i have all the same issues do you or have you found any help? Im at my whits end tring to even nott be pain free i gave up on that but to feel decent a week without headaches that will not go away and the pain in my neck is unexplainable and the doctors think im crazy and some just seem to have just have givin up on me and i have no idea what to do. I am to the point that pain medication is not solving the problems and as other i have donr trigger point injections all through my shoulders arms and neck also have done cervical injection from the C3 thru the C7...Anyone have any help please im only 31 years old and i can not imagine living the rest of my life like this.
No.  Do not have surgery.  When they go in there to fix what is wrong, other nerves are affected and cause numerous pains in different areas that you are not experiencing now.  Please listen.  I know.  If you wish to lead a normal life with moderate pain that is manageable through pain relievers, PT and/or heat and ice.  My life is over.  I live day to day just to get through it.  I have no extra curricular activity that interests me other than rest.  This is your warning.  If you don't listen, you will be begging just to die and put yourself out of misery and the thing is NOBODY CARES.  Your surgeon will tell you, "I don't know," when you ask what is causing the pain and different strange things.  They treat you great before and then after the surgery.  Bye bye.  They've got your money.  THEY DON'T CARE!
I had surgery on December 10th for fusion of C-5 to C-6 and C-6 to C-7 for spinal stenosis, arthritis and bone spurs. I expected the pain I had post-op, but now, a month later I am experiencing stabbing pain on the right side of my neck either at the surgical site or right below it. I also have pain radiating into my shoulder near my collar bone. My neck still pops and cracks, which also contributes to the stabbing pain I am feeling. I am beginning to believe that my surgery has failed. My surgeon performed an anterior fusion with PEEK. Any thoughts on this?
Have another MRI to see if something else is going on.  I had one because I have had so much pain since the ACDF at c5-6.  The plate was put in to hold the cadaver bone.  All has healed and the bone has fused; I am 10 months out.  BUT, and that is a big BUT, the c2-3 and c6-7 is bulging and slight spinal cord impingement.  I went from one herniated disk full of bone spurs to bulging disks (in my opinion, from the plate).  Now they want to block the nerves by burning them, so I won't feel the pain, but my question is:  if I burn the nerves that cause the pain, is this really the right thing to do?  Pain is there to tell us that something is wrong.  If I stop the pain by burning away the nerves, I won't know if the spinal cord is being further compromised.  I know the surgeon is trying to help me but I am so distrustful of him.  He fixed the c5-6 but in the process, it is caused the other discs to bulge.  I don't know.  Just worried
Help!  I had another MRI because I have had so much pain since the ACDF at c5-6.  The plate was put in to hold the cadaver bone.  All has healed and the bone has fused; I am 10 months out.  BUT, and that is a big BUT, the c2-3 and c6-7 is bulging now and slight spinal cord impingement.  I went from one herniated disk full of bone spurs to bulging disks (in my opinion, from the plate).  Now they want to block the nerves by burning them, so I won't feel the pain, but my question is:  if I burn the nerves that cause the pain, is this really the right thing to do?  Pain is there to tell us that something is wrong.  If I stop the pain by burning away the nerves, I won't know if the spinal cord is being further compromised.  I know the surgeon is trying to help me but I am so distrustful of him.  He fixed the c5-6 but in the process, it is caused the other discs to bulge.  I don't know.  Just worried.
Please get second opinion I agree burning them is not fixing them!!!!  I HAD Cervical anterior discectomy on c5-c6 that was in Aug.  after surgery I had pain but it progressively got worse.  I went back to dr. and they did an xray - of course that did not show anything so I ask for an MRI well that showed that now the disc below in budging into the spine! so that is why I have that pain again.  and I can tell you that if I do a lot my neck feels like it is on fire and severe pain and it actually feels swollen!  my dr. told me to go to my pain mgt dr to maybe get a shot again.  I know that will be temporary and I am very depressed about this situation.  I thought that once I got the surgery I would be a new woman.. not the case at all... I go to work then home and lay down for a while until it feels ok then I get up and deal with my home life.   this is really horrible.

Please get second opinion I agree burning them is not fixing them!!!!  I HAD Cervical anterior discectomy on c5-c6 that was in Aug.  after surgery I had pain but it progressively got worse.  I went back to dr. and they did an xray - of course that did not show anything so I ask for an MRI well that showed that now the disc below in budging into the spine! so that is why I have that pain again.  and I can tell you that if I do a lot my neck feels like it is on fire and severe pain and it actually feels swollen!  my dr. told me to go to my pain mgt dr to maybe get a shot again.  I know that will be temporary and I am very depressed about this situation.  I thought that once I got the surgery I would be a new woman.. not the case at all... I go to work then home and lay down for a while until it feels ok then I get up and deal with my home life.   this is really horrible.
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Hey Jaz, it is comforting to hear that I am not the only one feeling this way.  The thing is, if I don't do such strenuous work, it doesn't bother me as much.  I tried to take Ibuprofen but unfortunately, three days after taking 800 mg. a day, I did feel better but then I started bleeding at the rectum.  I thought  it might be the ibuprofen so I stopped taking it and no more bleeding.  I am not talking a little blood.  I mean bright red, passing gas and blood squirting out bleeding.  It scared me.  My surgeon told me that he could do no more for me surgically, so things were out of his hands but then he passed on the info about getting the nerve block that is different from the typical cortizone injections.  I'm so tired.  So tired of going through the motions and feeling more pain every time they try something different.  I'm frightened.  Thinking of filing for disability from work and of course everyone is like "oh, why would you not try something else that could help."  Well, after reading up on it, you must be fully awake while they probe for the nerve and when they find the nerve, they burn it and you are supposedly in worse pain then you currently are for about a week and then you get better.  But it might only last 6 mos. to a year.  :(
Looking for comments about people who have had Medial Branch Blocks/Radiofrequency Rhizotomy.  How did it go and tell me about the procedure, side effects and if it worked/how long did it work and any other info you can give me.  Would you do it again?
Please help--Anyone who has had this procedure--Medial Branch Blocks/Radiofrequency Rhizotomy--Looking for comments about people who have had Medial Branch Blocks/Radiofrequency Rhizotomy.  How did it go and tell me about the procedure, side effects and if it worked/how long did it work and any other info you can give me.  Would you do it again?   My surgeon suggested it after cervical ACDF with plate since I am still having pain ten months after surgery.
I totally understand and feel the same way.  I am opting to quit work and go on disability because I can't do the job I used to do without help from others and how fair is that to them to have to take care of me instead of me doing my own job.  They have enough to do without helping me and that is what is happening.  It's not getting any better.  It only gets worse everyday.
i have read all these i had c4 done .i have same problems and it hurts when i yawn .now c3 c6c7 look bad they were not bad before .tingly fingers shoulder pain and neck pain and head aches.i have strength and good movement ,i cant sleep for more than 2 hrs at a time cause of pain ,if i do to much i have more pain .i cant take it any more the doctors act like theres nothing wrong .its ben a year now.still on pain meds and therapy not helping .is there a class action suit for bad procedure or anything

i have read all these i had c4 done .i have same problems and it hurts when i yawn .now c3 c6c7 look bad they were not bad before .tingly fingers shoulder pain and neck pain and head aches.i have strength and good movement ,i cant sleep for more than 2 hrs at a time cause of pain ,if i do to much i have more pain .i cant take it any more the doctors act like theres nothing wrong .its ben a year now.still on pain meds and therapy not helping .is there a class action suit for bad procedure or anything

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