I'm a 57 year-old female who had a four level anterior cervical fusion with a plate and screws in September of 2002. Over the past year I've had a lot of popping and crunching especially on the left side of my neck and for about 3 months I've had a constant crick in the left side of my neck as well that gets significantly worse when I sleep. I've also had some pretty severe headaches which I usually wake up with..
I'm concerned that there might be something serious going on with my fusion---or maybe above or below it, but my surgery was done down in Atlanta and I now live in upstate New York so I no longer have access to the spinal clinic where I had my surgery done.
Doctors up here say helpful things like--I don't know. We don't do fusions that long.
One doctor ordered a CAT scan, but it was turned down by my insurance because "I have to go through physical therapy first."
Okay. 1) My insurance has a hefty copay for physical therapy.
2) I don't want to stress my neck further if there's already damage in there
3) If it's not a risk of something serious, I just can't afford to do it.
I did have 2 cervical epidurals which helped some for about a month and cost me $600.00 out of pocket. The pain management doctor said I can have them every few months, but the cost is exorbitant and I wonder about all those steroid injections into my spine.
On top of that, I'm now looking at bilateral knee replacements and an ankle fusion in the near future.
Gotta love arthritis!
Anybody else out there gone through anything like this? Is this something I just need to grin and bear---with the help of pain medication, or is this something I ought to be seriously pursuing despite the cost? I hate to be perceived as a whiner, but this is getting old.