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Neck and Shoulder pain after C5-6 fusion.
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204 Comments Post a Comment
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi Jo, are you still able to work?  just wondering
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Avatar_f_tn
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.
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Avatar_f_tn
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.  
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Avatar_f_tn
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
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5778058_tn?1374085163
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.
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Avatar_f_tn
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.
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Avatar_f_tn
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!
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Avatar_f_tn
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?  
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Avatar_f_tn
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 cost $180,000!  Yep, thank goodness we had insurance but it only paid 80%!
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Avatar_f_tn
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  
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Avatar_f_tn
I understand what you are saying lyd915.  Before I had the surgery, I was referred to this surgeon from my spine and pain management specialist.  I looked him up online and every story was positive and made him out to be such an awesome surgeon.  I thought I was in great hands.  Little did I know that this was probably his own site that he posted all the positive things people had to say about their surgeries.  He forgot about all the ones like mine that didn't turn out so wonderful.  To any and all who have never had this type of surgery done, don't forget to ask about the side effects and possible negative outcomes of the surgery before you have it done.  The surgeon will not cover that in your conversation unless you ask, OBVIOUSLY.  And just remember, you will never be as good as you were or better after this type of surgery in the cervical area (disk replacement with plate).  I was frightened into believing that if I didn't have it done, I might become paralyzed.  In reality, we could all become paralyzed from a fall or car accident.  Don't let them  touch your cervical spine to replace a bad disk for any reason unless you are already paralyzed.  You will regret it!  Bulging disks are a different story.  The bulged disk can be shaven and relieve pain from nerves being pinched but replacing a disk causes a lot of stretching and pulling of the muscles, ligaments, and nerves that cause excruciating pain that even after four months for me has never gone away.  The only thing you can do afterward is deal with it, take medication to help relieve it (although it still doesn't go away, just dulls the pain) and walk and do exercises and keep busy to help keep your mind off of it.  But I have never had a good night's rest or normal life since the surgery was done four months ago.  I will keep you all posted and let you know if it gets better as months pass.  Good luck to all who have cervical stenosis and herniated disks
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Avatar_f_tn
I have degenerative disc in my neck from C-4 through C-7, arthritis all through my spine and hips and fibromyalgia, along with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.  At the end of March 2013 I sneezed at work and ruptured 2 disc in my neck between C-6/C-7 & T-1.  It took 3 weeks for me to get a diagnosis that one disc was ruptured and after 3 weeks of steroids and no improvement the Dr took another look at the MRI and saw the 2nd rupture further down.  I was told my only option was surgery because of the bone spurs and the numbness and weakness in my right hand that I could have permanent nerve damage.  I had surgery the 3rd week of May and the numbness is better but the pain in the back of my neck where the fusion is, the pain in my collar bone under the incision, and the pain in my right shoulder is unbearable. I wore the Miami hard cervical collar for 4 weeks.  I was not allowed to lift my arms for four weeks and I don't know with my arthritis and fibromyalgia if that is causing the pain in my shoulder.  It's the joint and sometimes the pain radiates down my arm.  The surgery took longer than expected because the tear on my T1 disc was much larger than they anticipated.  I've been out of work since the end of March when it happened.  When I went to the Dr in August I was told that I'm 40% behind where I should be and they could not tell me when I would be able to return to work.  I did ask if my other heath issues could make my recovery more difficult and they told me absolutely.  I had to resign from my job.  I totally understand about needing to support your neck, the only chair that I can sit in is the recliner because it supports my neck.  When I lay down it pulls on my incision very uncomfortably and there are foods and pills that are hard to swallow.  When I do my therapy it hurts my left collar bone, under the incision and right shoulder.  My husband had this surgery several years ago and his incision is higher than mine because his area was C5/C6.  The least little movements aggravate my right shoulder socket and take my breath.  I wake myself up whimpering when I try to turn over in the bed.  I feel frustrated and just want to be back to my pre surgery movements.  I was told that you automatically lose 5 to 8 percent for each level you have fused, this was after surgery though.  I have very limited mobility and am unable to drive because of that and I also have been suffering from vertigo episodes since the 2nd week of July.  I've never had vertigo before in my life until after surgery when I fell into the wall.  I was on Lortabs from the end of March until the middle of July and now I'm taking Ultram.  It takes the edge off so that I can sleep for a little bit.  I go back to the Dr in September but after reading many of the posts I will not be getting my shoulder injected.  I'm not one for a temporary fix and that's all that it sounds like.  I'm praying that the pain gets better.  I can't cook where I have to stir or tilt my head down.  No vacuuming. lifting, I can't even take my dog for a walk.  I'm just tired of the pain but keep praying for improvements.  By the way I would not wish this surgery on my worst enemy so if it would be a LAST RESORT if faced with it again.  
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Avatar_m_tn
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.
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Avatar_m_tn
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 : ***@****
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Avatar_m_tn
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.
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Avatar_m_tn
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.
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6639481_tn?1383270182
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!
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Avatar_m_tn
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.  
        
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Avatar_m_tn
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.
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Avatar_m_tn
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
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Avatar_m_tn
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
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Avatar_m_tn
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.
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Avatar_f_tn
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!
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Avatar_n_tn
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?
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Avatar_f_tn
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
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Avatar_f_tn
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.
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Avatar_n_tn
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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Avatar_f_tn
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.  :(  
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Avatar_f_tn
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?  
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Avatar_f_tn
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.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi  I too have experienced so much pain and weakness since my surgery.  10 months out and i feel weaker on my left side and unfortunately it is my dominant hand and side.  now the surgeon is suggesting Medial Branch Blocks/Radiofrequency Rhizotomy.  I'm afraid to have any more procedures done.  I know it may block the pain but what about the weakness?  I have heard it is quite painful until after the first couple of weeks but I am so distrustful of any of it since I was assured I would be fixed after the ACDF with plate.  The surgeon assures me that he has fixed the herniated disk and it has healed but a whole new set of problems arose afterward.  I cry sometimes thinking, "Why did I do this to begin with."  My quality of life is shot.  I had pain before the surgery but it seemed trivial in hindsight compared to how I feel now.  I don't enjoy life anymore.  I live day to day.  I do nothing when I don't work except stay at home and ice, relax and rest.  I think it is time to start looking into disability social security because I cannot compromise what little life I have left.  I come home daily after working and the pain by bedtime is so debilitating I just want to cry.  After a weekend of being on the couch and/or holidays, I get rejuvenated just to go back out and start all over again.  I'm ready to be put out to pasture.  I don't regret what I had, but have to accept what I have left in life.  It's strange because although it has been basically cervical pain and down the left shoulder, the middle of my pack has a trigger pain spot to the right of my spine that massage or anything else does not seem to help.  I know I have what they call Degenerative Disk Disease.  I didn't know that it meant changes would happen so rapidly after they started.  I am not even sure that is what is causing all of this.  I can't blame the surgeon.  He did what he set out to do and completed his mission, but I truly believe that once you open up and work on the spinal area, it messes with other nerves and brings on other problems.  He's done MRI and says now the Medial Branch Blocks/Radiofrequency Rhizotomy could be my next step to living without some of the pain but I am opting out this time.  I don't want to be touched in the spinal column area anymore.  I am 55 and have only 4 1/2 years before I can get retirement benefits from my job, and I know that sounds like very little time but it seems like a lifetime to me. Again, has anyone had Medial Branch Blocks/Radiofrequency Rhizotomy and found it to be enough of a benefit to conquer the procedure?  If you did it, can you give me your story, your age, and how you came about to needing it?  Or if you are a physician, do you find that DDD only gets worse and constant bending, twisting, lifting and movement can cause the spine to degenerate quicker than if you just do walking exercises and what your body tells you.  Is it time to file for disability before what little quality of life I have left or should I wait.  I really don't know how it works, but I do know my dad told me when I was a kid, that I am the only one who truly knows how I feel (when I needed to go to the doctor).  I feel I should go on and do it because I don't want to make others miserable along with me at work and have to pick up the slack for me because I can't do all the things I did before the surgery.  
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Avatar_f_tn
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.  
sad and disappointed
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Avatar_m_tn
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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Avatar_f_tn
See if Dr will prescribe Topamax.
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8176996_tn?1396885111
I had a bad experience with the PEEK cage implant. I was suffering from severe pain, swelling and severe headaches 11 mo. after a c5-c6 fusion I had done in 2012. I kept complaining to the surgeon who of course said nothing was wrong and I was exaggerating. But I was in a lot of pain. He finally ordered an MRI and CAT scan and both showed that my fusion was completely healed and bones where fused. I just didn't feel like it was. My injury was caused by a car accident so the insurance stepped in (seeing this as a way out of paying anymore). They ordered an IME (independent medical exam) and the Dr. they sent me to had his doubts about the fusion but couldn't prove it because all the tests said it was fused. He suggested that the only way to be certain was for him to open me back up and visually inspect it. He believed me as he saw an abnormality in an x ray.  I made a deal with the insurance company to allow him to inspect the fusion and if was indeed healed I would pay for the second surgery and drop my case, but if it had failed they would pay for the second surgery and all the rehab. This was the hardest decision of my life as the surgeon could have opened me up and sewn me shut and possibly find nothing structurally wrong. In my heart I would not have been able to live with myself without knowing for sure. I had the second surgery and the result was the fusion had completely FAILED! The surgeon was able to pull the PEEK cage out in one piece with no resistance. He told me he had never seen this in his 20+ years of neck specialist. In fact he kept the PEEK cage in a specimen jar to teach his students what can happen. He showed me that the bone graph grew somewhat in the middle of the PEEK implant which showed in the CAT scan as fused. The PEEK implant is a piece of plastic with a hole in the middle like a donut that they fill with bone graph and implant it in place of the disc. Mine did not fuse to the vertebrae above or below it at all. The Dr. had to revise my fusion but he did not use a PEEK cage or any cage just bone graph. Now I am 5mo post op (2nd surgery) and in Therapy. I am doing better than the first surgery but I still have severe headaches almost every day. I have weakness in my left hand. I also have moderate pain 24/7 in my neck. I can't look up very well and if I close my eyes and look around I get dizzy and wobbly. I hope this share will help others to understand they are not alone and the risks of this surgery are greater than the Dr.'s care to tell you. It was necessary for me because my spinal cord was being pinched by the herniated disk and I was in risk of paralysis but Please consider all the side effects and do some research before you get this done to you for neck pain or something that is less threating as I will never be able to go back to being a electrician again after this.
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Please reply if anyone else has been through anything similar to my experience above. My surgeon and I believe there is a problem with the PEEK cage although not many surgeons will admit it. If you have a PEEK implant and are having side effects please know you are not alone and there is hope. I shared my story above.
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Avatar_n_tn
I am in the same position.  I wish you well and if I had any advice I would share it.  It has only been close to three months and my surgery was C3 through C7,  I feel like I lost complete motion in my next from side to side and won't drive due to fear because I know I do not have complete motion. I felt I had no choice due to my legs shaking very badly and numbness - I still have numbness in my feet and my chin down to my chest... My neck never hurt before but now it hurts everyday.  I also have headaches everyday-where as I never had them before.  I chose not to take any pain medication from the start... this includes after surgery.  I am not convinced that was such a good idea- But I know if I had, I would still be needing them.  If I can add any information in the future to help, I certainly will.
Best of luck.
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I love how honest you are about the way they treat us,
The only people who get good care, are athletes, or people with premium insurance plans.
I had a (2) level anterior cervical fusion, thanks to a drunk driver. It fell apart, and that did not show on the MRI. so they left me like that for 2 years!
I was in the worst agony, so back to primary care doctor. He believed me and sent me to the BEST neurosurgeon ever. He is one of the top 5 in the USA, and he was not an arrogant jerk.
He told me, the levels above the first fusion "are going". When he cut into me, he saw, that the first fusion "fell apart, the plate was popped off and all the screws were wiggly." None of that shows up on an MRI? It also, never fused. The doctor just blew me off, and did not even have me come in!
They never believe us, and hard to find anyone that LISTENS to the person instead of thinking, all of us are faking it.
Now, I have (4) levels fused, and my left hand, cannot hold anything anymore. It shakes and just drops, anything, even a small plate. I feel pinching in my neck on the left side, and my insurance will not pay for an osteopath I found. He is amazing. I was able to ditch Kadian and oxycontin. I still take 20mg oxycodone, 2-3 x's a day, but that is way down from 30mgs. I can still feel the titanium digging in, and my neck is always a bit purple.
Radio frequency got rid of my headaches, but after the first procedure, the next one was so painful, and I was all swollen at the injection site for over a month.
I have a medical mj card, and it sure allows me to finally, sleep through the night. The osteopath, I cannot afford often, is a medical mj doctor too.
His manipulations, prove, that he has a special gift in this area. You get instant relief, no matter how you come in the door.
Insurance only pays for drugs and needles.
No more needles for me ever. Steroids are not good for anyone.
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1446517_tn?1304550175
I saw that place advertised on tv. I wish there was one in Connecticut.
We have nothing helpful.
One osteopath, but he only takes cash. (great instant relief) DO.
Lucky you...I would go to them in a heartbeat, if they were closer.
I have a 4 level cervical anterior fusion in 2010. I am having pinching-like pain, and my left hand keeps dropping everything, even if its not heavy.
My hand shakes and is pins and needles, and I have pain across my throat, and also down the left side of my upper back, neck and shoulder, to the elbow and hand.
I guess I maybe need to just suck it up. Nobody cares, or insurance does not pay. Welcome to America~
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1446517_tn?1304550175
Any chance there is an osteopath (hands on) in your area?
Ask around or ask the neurosurgeon if he can refer you to a( D.O.)
doctor of osteopath.
There is only one, that I am aware of, in Connecticut.
He is like a magician, and he has straightened out my pelvis, which was twisted, thus chronic S-1 pain, hip pain, and groin pain.
My neck has a (4) level fusion with (8) screws and a plate. He does "cranio" work on it, and has actually put me to sleep, right at the appointment.

Good luck to you~
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Avatar_m_tn
Do you live in Maryland?  I had the same spiel from my doctor which literally frightened me into having surgery.  And I am worse now than before surgery.  It has crippled me.
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Avatar_n_tn
I had surgery to correct C-5 to 6 and 6 to 7 with PEEK back in December 2013 and still have pain in the side of my neck, which feels like a muscle spasm. A few months ago I developed a jerking movement in my thumb and forefinger on the same side as the muscle spasm. As with you, my doctor said the ex-rays look good. I had an MRI with another doctor and am awaiting the results. I am interested to see what he has to say. I also had great hopes that surgery would fix the problem. I am now back on pain meds and muscle relaxers.
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Avatar_f_tn
what is a myelogram
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Avatar_m_tn
The first thing I would do is give the hubby an ultimatum, step up to the plate or get out!! If he doesn't want to go back to what he was doing, find something else. If he can't do that, it's time for you to realize, he doesn't care about you. He is lazy irresponsible and selfish. (sorry I call em like I see em.)
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi
I'm seven weeks post op C5-6 discectomy with fusion.
I'm wondering if anyone who has had a similar procedure has suffered with symptoms of vertigo, before or after their operation.
Thanks
Josie2122
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Avatar_f_tn
I thought it important to share my story so that other don't only see the results. I had my cervical fusion at 4 levels, all of which were pinching the nerves from c-4 to t-1 on June 25, 2014. The discs were replaced and a plate was put in place. I never had to wear a neck brace.  Immediately following the surgery I had relief from the debilitating nerve pain that caused constant pain in my left shoulder and pain and numbness that effected my left arm. I was able to return to work within 4 weeks and only took Percocet and muscle relaxers for 4 days. I now have been going through physical therapy due to muscle spasms and weakness, however these issues are no where near as bad as the previous nerve pain. Everyday I get better and closer to being pain free. It was explained to me that prior to and following the surgery my muscles stopped functioning properly and would go into protection mode, hence the muscle spasms. With good physical therapy it is possible to return to normal activity, although care will need to be taken to not damage the discs above and below the fusion.
For anyone considering having the surgery you should extensively research the surgeon and go with the best who specializes in this type of surgery. No second rate surgeons or hospitals will do.

There are those of us who have had success and who would do it again if necessary!
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Avatar_m_tn
I'm 35 and I had surgery on my c7 t1 on November 2009. Just last month I was having some of the old issues. Went to the doctor and got a scan. Found out my screw has fractured. since then my symptoms have been getting worse for example, my neck is constantly swelling up in the plate area. My neck is getting so sore some day's, that I get bad headaches from it. Not to mention my spasms and weakness in my right arm and hand again. My life is on hold again. Can't even get in to see the surgeon untill oct 27th and that's just to see him for the 1st time since this has started again. I hope he finally makes the discussion to take it out. After the sergery (surgery) I told him I felt something in my throat all the time. He said to me that is because you do have something there and that I just have to deal with it.
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