SpineUniverse Community Advice
Get help and share your story with others who know what you're going through.
Please register or log in to join the discussions!

Screw touching root nerve at C6

Started by 829329235@facebook on 03/14/2016 2:29pm

I've had two ACDF surgeries at the C4 thru C6 levels and a Posterior multi-level fusion with laminectomy on C4-C7. I've been in a great amount of pain for the last four years, but after the laminectomy, my pain increased quite dramatically. My neck down to the midline in my back started burning at an ungodly level. The muscles in my lower neck and upper back started swelling and constricting creating very sharp stabbing pains. This was not the usual pain that I was accustomed to. My surgeon was out for the Holidays and was not reachable.......
The pain was so intolerable that my wife forced me to go to the emergency room. While I was there the ran a CT scan and discovered two screws that were penetrating the neural foramen and said that this needs to be addressed asap. They tried to transport me to my Surgeons hospital, but with him being out of town that would have been a waste of time. So I made the first available appointment the following Monday.
The Surgeon looked at my Ct scan and then came into my room and assured me that there was nothing wrong and proceeded by telling me that I have a simple case of FBBS and a minute case of mitosis and gave me a few shots in my back and prescribed some heavy narcotics. I asked him several questions and he completely evaded the conversation and started discussing different outcomes. While he was talking a new nurse knocked on the door and said the lady from risk management is here and needs you in her office for a moment. After coming back from his meeting he told the nurse that he needed to refer me to a specialist and that he could take over the rest of the appt. and excused the nurse from the room. He started acting awkward and not his usual self. I've been back two times since that appt. and I have had a new care team and my old care team avoids me like I have the plague. The only thing that is discussed is pain medicine. He has faxed my primary and requested that she find a pain management clinic for me and that he has intentions of releasing me. I'm seven months post op.
Today, I saw a Neurosurgeon and was told that I have a screw at the posterior right side C6 contacting the nerve root. and a complete collapse at the anterior C5-C6 but stable for now. He recommended surgery to remove the screw and thought I would be a great candidate for a spinal simulator. He also said the nerve damage was most likely permanent since it was ignored and the surgery could increase the pain. He agreed with the FBBS, but was concerned that this was turning into CRPS. He told me to go home and give it some thought and he would be more than happy to help.
I'm very apprehensive of any further procedures on my neck and would like to hear your opinions or stories. This has me mindblown!!

Do you find this discussion helpful?

3 Responses


Omgosh I am basically in the same boat as you! I was fused 8 years ago at the c5/6 level. A year and a half ago I herniated c4/5. They fused me and used a plate and screws in the front of my neck. About five months passed and my pain became terrible. Found out that all screws were loose and the plate was just hanging. Had my 2nd surgery a year ago from this past December. They took out the plate and screws and added new ones. They also went posterior and added two rods for stability. Everything seemed to be getting better until about 2months ago. AGAIN serious unrelenting pain. This pain is stabbing and burning in the base of my skull, neck, and now for just this past two weeks down the very middle of my upper back! I have been going to a pain clinic for like 8 months and they have tapered my pain medications. However this new pain is so overwhelming that I can barely breathe at times. I had a ct scan about seven weeks ago and they said the second screw down on the left rod is loose. That it may be rubbing on a nerve. I had an injection a few days ago (ordered by my surgeons PA) this was an injection basically through the right side of my neck that went into the area of this very new found loose screw!!! This injection was of lydocaine and a steroid. My Dr. Said that if this injection helps this severe pain this would mean it is the loose screw. Well it helped a lot. I had three wonderful hours of freedom from this pain!!! Now I just wait until I can get back in to see the PA in two weeks so he can tell me to make an appointment with the surgeon that will take two weeksand schedule surgery that is usually scheduled out for two plus months! Ugh! This is all bringing me to the point of complete despair! Suposedly all because of one loose screw causing me Relentless pain that does not stop.When I take my pain med it helps me to have some relief. However with my meds and how I am instructed to take them this gives me. Six hours out of 24 to breathe! So I have to choose if I will get out of bed and try be somewhat productive or use these few precious hours to sleep? My family would like me to go the the Emergency room. I have done that ONCE when my instrumentation fell out last year-because I am now considered a "chronic pain" patient my local ER and staff are unable to control my pain or fix it for that matter. It does me no good to even go there! I am so sorry for totally venting here! Lol So yeah... I hear you, my heart goes out to you. I wish you the very best. So sorry you're going through this crazy journey!


Hi. I had the surgery. Replaced the disc with cadaver bones and titanium plates with screws. I did everything the surgeon said to do after the surgery. Wore the neck brace for 5 weeks only took it off to shower. I am in more pain now than I was before. It has been over a year since the surgery. It starts with neck and shoulder pain then I get a severe headache in the back of the head which goes up to the top and is like a migraine. When I told my surgeon after the surgery that I was having terrible pain he said. That's weird. Your the first. All my surgery's are 97% recovery. Lucky me. It's not 24 hours. But I will have one good day and 3 or 4 bad days. In fact just ran to the bathroom to vomit. Seems like I am throwing up every other day because of the neck and head pain.


Hi Jason,
I am so sorry for this awful situation! Do you know what language in the CT report described your issue? I had a spinal fusion five months ago, and still am in an enormous amount of pain. My surgeon said CT is fine. I just got the radiologist report a couple days ago, and it says "a metallic clip lies in the right neural foramen". I think the clip is a marker for the PEEK cage. I am so concerned about this - as my lower right back and leg is where my pain is extremely severe! I called my surgeon and he brushed me off and said nothing was wrong.

What have you decided to do? I am trying to find a surgeon for a second opinion. My first surgeon was orthopedic and now I am wondering if I should see a neurosurgeon. I am so sorry for your situation - and am thinking I am likely in a similar boat! Take care. Thanks for any thoughts you have.