Pain remains a year after having ACDF in C5 and C6
I am not trying to scare anyone as I know of others that have had success with this, unfortunately I have not. I am wondering if anyone else out there is going through this, and I do hope you are not. But if you are, do you have any insight or anything that I may be able to try to help my condition. To give you a quick snapshot, I was hurt while parachuting in the military many years ago and the pain would come and go but then in 2009, it came and has never left. I had an MRI in 2009, where it showed a finding of the C5-6 degenerative disc disease with spinal stenosis and posterolateral disc osteophyte complex at the C5-6 creating bilateral neuroforaminal stenosis. There is also spinal cord edema at the C5-6 level showing in the MRI. I was sent by my family doctor to a surgeon who advised me for Nerve Blocks on both the left and right side of my spine as I was having pain down through both arms into my hands.
The neurologist completed the nerve block on my left side and right side of my neck. This had little effect and I was sent for another Nerve Block four months later. On this day while completing the Nerve Block, I passed out from the pain as it was so severe; he went in deeper this time, from what I was told. As I was recovering, I began to see a water circle in my left eye; they rushed me back in the recovery room to monitor me and later released me. The neurologist stated that he would not recommend anymore as my body did not react well to the last Block.
My surgeon than scheduled me for an ACDF (Anterior Cervical Discectomy with Fusion) by using a bone graft from my left hip, and placement of a metal plate and screws within the C5-6 region, in June 2010. Since having the surgery, I have had to deal with not only the pain from the operation and recovery but the disappointment of finding out from my Surgeon, that this is most likely chronic pain that I am dealing with and have been ever since. My last MRI after the surgery showed the following:
The patient has had an interval fusion of the C5-C6. There is some low attenuation signal artifact on T1 and T2-weighted imaging that presumably relates to the presence of a metallic plate and screws. There is a very slight anterior angular deformity. The cord is fairly normal in signal and contour. There is no spinal stenosis. The patient does have a fairly prominent spurring joints of Luschka on the left side. These were present previously and unchanged. There is a associated ligament elevation related to that. On the right side there may also be a little spurring of joints of Luschka similar to the prior study. There is no indication there is a recurrent disc protrusion.
I am not sure if anyone can speak to this, but wanted to share my story as I seem to be getting nowhere with doctors, surgeons or therapists. I am only 39 and want to someday be pain free or as close as I can be. But it is not looking or sounding very good. I look forward to your comments.