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Post-op Neck Pain - 7 yrs later

Started by jandj on 09/15/2010 12:17am

I had a double fusion in 2003 of my C4 - C5, C5 - C6. I have a plate and screws in my neck. The doctor used the bone from my hip to fuse me. It took me about 7 weeks to fully recover and I felt great for about 2 years. Started going to a wonderful chiropractor and that helped me for a few years now. I have begun to have pretty severe pain in my neck and numbness, tingling and pain in both my right and left arm and hands. I had x-rays done and I have degenerative disc disease and bone spurs in my neck again. I'm pretty miserable and it affects me daily as I am taking pain meds and muscle relaxers to cope with my pain. I'm a 49 year old active woman and this is totally affecting my mood...getting depressed. I'm scheduled to see my neurologist and then possibly a different surgeon to see about getting the bone spurs removed. Also, has anyone had previous fusion surgery and had their plate removed?

I'm getting to the desperate point in my life where I may consider surgery again because I'm in constant pain.

If anyone has had bone spurs removed, I'd like to know how long of a recovery it is for this.

Julie

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I have had some back/shoulder pain and I'm in the process of trying to look at some of the treatments out there as I have just ruptured the C5 and C6 vertebrae in my neck over the last month.
Here is something I came across on this site and it looks promising as they use minimally invasive surgery
http://www.spinecenter.com/index.asp
If you know anything about this Dr. (good/bad) let me know as I'm a REAL newbie

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Julie,
I had a fusion in my lumbar back. What I understand in the lumbar area you end up destroying the disc above and below where you were fused. Once I decided on a fusion I decided to change my way of living. I always will have to baby my back. I never want to go through a fusion again. I think you need an MRI to see what's going on(. if they still do at MRI on your neck) I Bet you have something going on in another Level. Good Luck Sam

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I reread after I sent my comment in. Bone spurs are really painful. A good friend of mine had bone spurs removed it was a pretty easy surgery for him. He went with a wheelchair and I he walked out of the surgery center on his own. Sorry about the first comment. Sam

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Julie,
I know how you feel, and I am sorry you are in so much pain, I also have had neck surgery with a plate and screws but I had a spacer put in instead of of fucion my own bone. The bone spurs were removed and I also felt great for about two years it has been about five years now and the pain has come back.

I was told that I will always have problems because with my degenerative dic disease, the bone spurs will still split off into the nerves. Sorry you are going thru this at your age, I have had this problem like you for many years I was 58 before I had the surgery. I also am like you as to were to go from here. I do not want to live in pain every day of my life. I know this did not answer your question, but if you have the bone spurs remove, I am sure you will have more later at some time in your life. God bless
Susy

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http://chronicpainsite.com/mb/Articles/view.asp?ID=106

Here is a brief article about a treatment called Graston Therapy. It is becoming very popular among Chiropractors, Physical Therapists, and Medical Doctors. It is a soft tissue therapy which is very beneficial if you have already had surgery, or if you are looking to avoid surgery. Anyone with degenerative disc disease (DDD) or degenerative joint disease (DJD) and the associated "arthritis" (bone spurs etc....) should benefit greatly from therapy geared towards the soft tissue structures as well as the joints themselves. You can find more information about this treatment on my website:www.DrBaroneChiropractic.com as well as the Graston website:www.grastontechnique.com

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Hey Julie, I also have a cervical fusion, in 2003 and again in 2004. A 4 level C3 thru C7. they also cleaned up bone spurs ( which do grow back) If you have the spurs removed please post how it goes, I'd love to hear! God Bless and Good Luck! I have degenerative disk disease and spinal stenosis along complete spine. My pain has NEVER been totally relieved and I feel like I am forever chasing answers! I am 51 years old, on muscle relaxers, neurontin, fentanyl patch and Norco and still suffer daily. I think I've been on every narcotic, but.......... they help make it bearable. I can no longer work or maintain my home and it's as difficult mentally as it is physically! I'm currently being treated with nerve blocks, I've had epidurals in the past that didn't help, I'm going for my 2nd injection tomorrow & have high hopes! ANY other suggestions out there? God Bless Julie! Keep us posted!

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Thank you all for your comments......I'm going to have an epidural injection on Oct. 7th. I'm hoping and praying that this will help with my pain. I have the option of having 3, if needed. I will try anything at this point. Still not sure about surgery. I'm continuing to see my chiropractor and taking my meds, just to get me through the day. I've also been going to the gym 3 to 4 times a week. I do the treadmill at least 30 minutes at a fast pace and some leg and ab work. This does make me feel better emotionally. To all of you out there that are dealing with pain, I feel for you and if you find a treatment that helps, please let me know,

Julie

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I am new to this problem, although I've had a problem for more than 20 years from an auto accident. (Didn't know I had sustained an injury until this past May.) Was recently told I would need to have C5-C6 and C6-C7 fused by a very reputable neurosurgeon. I have found laser spine institute and am checking into what they can help me with first: they do osteophyte removal. I have spoken to two neurosurgeons, and it appears that the only "surgical" option they propose is fusion. If I were you,I would talk to other specialties of doctors as well, and not just spinal surgeons. Additionally, I am working with an Atlas chiropractor. You can visit the Atlas website for further information.http://www.atlasorthogonality.com/ This type of chiropracty really helped a friend of mine and I just began this gentle, no twisting brand of chiropracty.
I pray God's blessings for you as you search for answers.

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I had my first epidural 3 weeks ago and it didn't work. I'm going back this Thursday for my 2nd injection. I'm hoping and praying that this will help. If not, I'll continue taking my medications to get by each day and going to the chiropractor for adjustments and exercising. That's all I can and want to do at this point. A positive attitude does help....so that's where I'm at and thing will only get better. Thanks again for the posts.

Julie

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I had my 2nd epidural yesterday and I'm not hurting as bad and the numbness on my right side is gone. I still have a little on the left side. You usually will be able to tell if the injection has worked right away. I think that it has. I take it a day at a time. I'll keep you posted.

Julie

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Sorry, I didn't mean to post it twice.

Julie

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So happy to find this site and read your comments. I now know that I'm not alone. I had C 5-6 and C 6-7 fusion 11 years ago. They used bone from my hip. The hip was sore for quite awhile but quite bearable. The fusion worked great for a number of years, maybe 5 or 6 but I've suffered a lot of pain since. To anyone who has not had fusion, try to avoid it. I know that some of you may have to have it but for me, if I could go back and change my decision, I would. Aside from the terrible H/A's, including the pounding one that woke me up this morning at 5:00 AM, I have pain in my left shoulder, down my left arm and into my left hand. I'm not able to hold a book or magazine to read for more that a few seconds and typing this is slow and painful. I have found that massage helps for a short time, a day or two, but I also have found that certain exercises seem to help. Going to P. T. helped some also but after 11 years and having become a couch potato because of my upper body pain. I decided that I was not going to become old without fighting. I'm in my early 60's, OK, I'm almost 64 and am 5' 6" and weigh 126 lbs. but I had lost body tone. I was never the body builder type but always kept in shape by walking and doing yoga. About 4 months ago, I joined a gym, got a trainer and started with modified core exercises, ones that don't put a strain on my neck. I also watch my back and am careful not to over do it, so I go slow. I am feeling better with more core strength and when my shoulders and arms start to cramp and become painful, I go and get my 8 lb. weights and do a couple of slow reps to counter the aching pain. I know it sounds strange but minimal and light movements like typing or holding a book are harder than holding an 8 lb. weight. I still get the neck pain and bad headaches, I take Excedrine w/o Aspirin and I use a long white sport sock filled with long grain rice, tied at the end and heated in the microwave for 3 min. I hang it around my neck and shoulders and it helps too. Did I mention that I also have a low level of scoliosis which also causes mid back pain where the spine starts to curve. I need to see a good Dr. and am looking for one now. That's another story, the Dr. that did my surgery is now retired. I know that someone with recent surgery or those that have disc issues may not be able to do what I do but those of you that are suffering from older prior fusions and are dealing with the after effects may be able to do some of what I am doing and I hope everyone that's suffering out there gets relief somehow. I know what it's like to deal with the pain and not everyone understands what we go through. I must admit, there have been times when I find it hard deal with my pain and am not sure that a long life with this pain is something I aspire to. Best of luck and God bless!

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