Why am I in more pain after cervical neck fusion??
I had cervical neck fusion c-3 thru c-7 (anterior) about 3 months ago and I am in agony. I am a 35 y/o male who kept in shape and I have lost all of my muscle mass. I go to physical therapy 3x a week but I feel like its just going thru "the motions" b/c I feel worse. I am on workmans comp and my doctor told my 3 days ago that I will have to return to work in 3 weeks. I cant see myself getting better by then unless a miracle happens. My doctor gave me a cortizone w novacane shot 3 days ago but it has worn off and I am in extreme pain. I take Percoset, Skeaxin (muscle relaxer), and Naproxen but it only helps a little. My sleep is non existant unless I take Xanax or Ambian. I anticipate having an EMG immediately but untill then I am suffering. Any suggestions? My pain is in my right trap/neck intersection and shoots down my right arm and shoulder. Please anyone I would appreciate anything. Thanks!
Welcome to the Pain Management Forum. I am glad that you found us but very sorry to hear about your worsening pain.
I am told that the cervical area of the spine presents the most difficult challenge for surgical repair. I have done lots of reading on cervical fusion and recovery time ranges from 10 days to 4 months. Much depends on the complexity of the initial injury or condition of the spine, the skill of the surgeon and the individual reaction of your body to the surgery.
In my opinion you should request a repeat MRI as well as nerve conduction tests and an EMG. Electromyography and Nerve Conduction Tests are used to learn more about the health of peripheral nerves. These tests can establish if a nerve is pinched, and give a numeric value to how severely it is pinched and often where it is pinched. The EMG portion of the test measures the electrical activity in muscles
In my opinion your surgeon should not be dismissing your new pain. If is will not perform additional testing to better evaluate your pain it is time to find a new neurosurgeon. I know it is difficult to change oars in the middle of the stream but these symptoms should not be ignored. Remember we hire medical providers to perform a service for us. They are not doing us a favor. We are paying for there survices. If they are not living up to our expectations it is time to find some one that will.
W/C's goal is to return you to work and reduce their liability asap. They may not cover a second opinion due to the additional costs involved. So I hope you have personal insurance. Please don't misunderstand me, W/C are not the bad guys. They simply are a business and function as one.
Following surgery some swelling and increased discomfort can be expected. However you are 3 months post-op and should be experiencing improvement and not developing more and new painful symptoms. I hope you will seek out the answers to your pain. Please let us know how you are doing. I will be interested in hearing about your progress.
Best of luck to you and take care, Tuck
I do not know why you are in so much pain. Sorry I'm not any help, but I can tell you that I'm going through the exact same thing you are. I had just a single level fusion 6 weeks ago and I'm in more pain now then before surgery. My surgeon has sent me back into pain management and I'm to have an ESI on three levels this coming Thursday.
Thanks for the posts guys! I have been undergoing Deep Friction massages from physical therapy and it is helping. I still wake up with pain and fight it throughout the day though. When I called my doctor I was told that physical therapy will help but its funny b/c now I am restricted from using any weights no matter how light they are. I just hope that my symptoms arent being quiet until I use my neck and back in physical therapy. The good news is that if I am "cut" off from WC on May 2nd NJ unemployment will help me until im ready. At any rate im only 35 and am plaiing on finishing my Masters ASAP. If you guys have any suggestions feel free to post. Again guys and gals thanks! :)
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