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Fusion at c-5-6

I had a disc removed between c5-6 in Sept. 2001. I am still in alot of pain and having trouble moving my head from side to side looking up or down. My x-rays and MRI both show everything is healing, my Dr. is now sending me to a pain management center for some kind of shots in my neck. I am very concerned about this and worried. I thought once i had the surgery done I'd be on my way to getting my life back to normal. I don't get a full nights rest everytime i roll over i wake up. Will i ever be pain free what about my ROM? this has been a very upsetting time for me. Now to top it all off my job is at risk they have told me that if i can't come back 100% then i no longer have a job with them. My job requires me to look up for long periods of time I am a smoke and fire tech. removing smoke and odor from burned homes. It also requires alot of heavey lifting. I am in a panic. any words of wisdom?
45 Responses
Avatar universal
It's normal to have some degree of pain post-op, but hopefully it should improve as time goes by. Usually we tell our patients that they shouldn't lift anything heavier than a gallon of milk for 4-6 weeks after surgery until their followup appointment. If everything looks like it's healing, then you should be able to slowly return to your baseline status. As every patient is different, it's hard to predict the outcome of each person. I understand how frustrated you must be about your slower-than-anticipated recovery. Physical therapy to help improve your ROM as well as pain management with ibuprofen, muscle relaxants or injections as needed can all help your recovery along. Good luck.
Avatar universal
About your job...have you checked into your company to see if you have long term disability. If you already had an operation in your neck, you should be able to get on it, if you can not do what your job requires. Also, after an operation like you stated, you may want to rethink if your present job is one you want to continue, as it sounds that it has the potential of causing your neck more harm.
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Avatar universal
PJ, I also had my C5-6 fused in June 01, and my neck was extremely stiff and sore for several months afterwards. I could barely move my head in any direction either. My doc explained that when they insert the bone graft (you didn't say if this was your case), they have to put a larger size in than they remove since during the process of healing you end up losing some height of the graft. In doing so, the ligaments on both sides of your neck become stretched and this is where the pain comes from. Probably some muscle spasms going on too. I was doubtful I would ever feel normal again, but am happy to say that I now have almost full ROM, and only a little soreness now. Accupuncture worked for me, along with daily gentle stretching. Maybe PT would be an option for you, once you are cleared medically that everything is healing as it should. Good luck with your recovery and in your job situation.
Avatar universal
I am scheduled for a 3 level anterior cervical fusion in several weeks (there is considerable weakness in my right arm and shoulder; the pain is slight in my right arm).  The neurosurgeon will be using titanium plates. Could any of you provide me with insight as to how much range of motion I might be losing in my neck, i.e. is the ability to tilt the head from side to side, turn to the left and right, look downward or upward significantly lessened?  I was told by my physician there would be some loss of motion but I was aware this could go on for months and months before things got better.  Thank you.
Avatar universal
I had an anterior cervical fusion at C5-6 on May 3,2002. I have had pain from day one after my surgery.  My doctor kept saying it is "muscles".  I returned to work 5 months later.  The doctor told me to come back in 2 months after returning to work if I was still hurting.  Two months later, no progress.  I had a MRI the Friday before Christmas and everything is fine according to the doctor.  Two weeks later, his office calls and says he believes I have damaged nerves in my neck.  After almost 10 months of pain which has progressed to down my right arm and now my right leg, I am at my wits end.  I have pain down between my shoulders and in the neck that will bring me to my knees.  My whole life as been changed because of this.  I am now on the search for a neurologist who I hope can help relieve this pain. For me, I wish I could just see one day without pain.  I hope everything goes better for you.
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