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4 months out ACDF 5-7 New Pain-Headaches-Any hope?

Started by Shel on 01/04/2018 4:00pm

Hello All,
My pain started in 2011 . Pain and numbness both arms. Had two opinions at the time. Neurosurgeon wanted to operate as cord was slightly indented. Ortho said to wait and I would know when I needed surgery. I waited and had a couple years managing along ok. I FInally gave in and had ACDF in the beginning of September, four months ago. I knew it was time and couldn't go on in the pain I was in everyday. I am 48 years old.

I have not felt back to my normal self except for maybe 3 or so days since. I know this is a big surgery and expected a long recovery. However I have been on a steady decline since the very beginning of November. The last 3 weeks I have had terrible neck pain, a headache that came on up the back of my neck and spread to my head. It was like nothing I have felt before. It lasted for 3 days. I still have a knot at the base of my skull from that headache with sensations up my head everyday. And now burning shoulders. It feels like an elephant on each shoulder. Alot of crunching but it seems like quite a few people here have that as well. Also have had arm numbness upon waking again.

Why is all of this pain coming on now four months later? Does anyone with any insight have any possible idea?

I thought I made the right choice choosing a teaching hospital in South FLorida with a well respected surgeon. I cry everyday and try to go on but am losing hope of getting out of this pain. I went into surgery with a positive attitude envisioning a positive outcome. Now I just try to pray for painfree days ahead and act as normal as I can for my family.

I do have an appointment Monday with the surgeon. I pushed for a new MRI which was done 3 weeks ago. The cord is ok at 5-7 BUT THERE IS SEVERE FORAMINAL STENOSIS at those same levels left and right. I am at a loss as I thought they clean up that area during this surgery. I called the nurse yesterday and she talked about scar tissue, and once a spine patient always a spine patient. Sigh. Somehow the didn't say that going in.

Thank you for listening. It is sincerely appreciated. If anyone can offer any insight, hope or suggestions I would be eternally grateful.

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1 Response


Hello, Shel--thank you for sharing your story with us. We are so sorry about the pain and disappointment you've experienced since your surgery.

You've probably heard this a million times: Spine surgery recovery is hard, and pain after the procedure is to be expected. However, the pain you described seems outside what you should expect. If your pain worsens after surgery or new symptoms develop, your surgeon needs to know about it. We are glad to hear you have an appointment coming up.

Our best advice is to share your everything you've written in your post to your surgeon and ask for what he/she recommends for next steps. Do you need another surgery? Are there non-surgical ways to ease your pain? Is everything you're going through within the bounds of a "normal" recovery?

If you walk away from that appointment feeling like your questions weren't answered or your pain wasn't appreciated, you always have the option to get a second opinion. If you need a list of qualified spine specialists near you, our doctor finder tool can help: https://www.spineuniverse.com/locate/spe... .

We hope this information helps, Shel. Again, we are sorry to hear what you're going through, but know that things can get better. Please keep us posted on what you learn at your upcoming appointment.