Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

Notice
All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

posterior cervical fusion pain

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 51,461
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:27 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I am 14 weeks after post cervical fusion/laminectomy with instrumentation after a mtn biking accident with imcomplete C4 spinal cord injury. Doing well walking and getting arms back. biggest problem is can't get comfortable lying down in any position and tried many pillows. I have to used sleep and anti anxiety meds and sometimes percocet to get to sleep at night. Sitting is not comfortable. It seems most everybody has had anterior approach (which I would have preferred but it was emergency situation and I was not given a choice). Is there anyone out there doing well after a posterior procedure?? By the way, I am a PT and my experience is that the anterior patients do better than the posterior patients but in 25 years I did not work much with this population. So now I am "one of them" and would really appreciate some insight. Thanks
advertisement
1

Comments

  • I forgot to add that I had C3-6 fused.
  • I had the posterior approach after a failed fusion done anterior so I know how it feels from both sides and the posterior is a lot more painful. As you probably know they have to cut through a lot of muscle and nerves so it takes a long time to heal. Mine was not due to an accident so I can imagine that you had no time to prepare. I am fused C4-C7 and had a corpectomy done. It will be 2 years next month and I still have pain which is mostly nerve pain. I wish you the best and hang in there because it will get better.

    Sharon
  • Welcome to Spine Health. I am not fused, but have had two posterior surgeries at C1 and C2. I have also had 7 posterior on my lumbar spine and I can say without a doubt that the posterior cervical approach is a "bear" when it comes to recovery discomfort.

    As a result of my cervical surgery, I have had two muscles atrophy away completely on one side of my neck and developed cervical dystonia on the other side as my body compensated. I have worked closely with a very good PT and one of the ways I was able to strengthen my neck a bit was through isometrics. My shoulders are messed up as a result of this too, and I do a lot of light weight work at the gym and at home. Much of it developed around problems with winging scapulas and also a scapula that rotates up and over.

    Moist heat and light stretching also provide me some relief. Of course since I take Zanaflex every 6 hours, that helps a bunch too.

    I think what did the most for me, was gentle stretching, lots of moist heat and the isometrics (the majority for the anterior muscles). My PT has found that many pts. with posterior cervical issues, wind up having very weak anterior neck muscles as a result.

    Hang in there, it does get better.

    "C"
  • I've had anterior and posterior cervical surgery, and the posterior is much more painful. But the incision pain does get better with time.
  • I had both surgiers, Anterior was 4 years ago, I healed quite fast and was back to work in 3 months. This surgery was a walk in the park next to the one I had in August. On August 26th I Had a posterior Lamenectomy with Bi Lateral screw fixation. I stayed in the hospital for 8 days and am still wearing my hard collar most of the time. I wore it 24/7 for the first 18 weeks, and I still am wearing it most of the day and for sleeping, I take it off for PT and when I am not doing much but relaxing. I have an enormous amount of muscle spasms and nerve pain. I would have to say this has been the most trying times of my life. My NS deemed me permentaly disabled. I must also tell you I have c3-7 fused from the front and back. 13 screws and plates and rods. My NS came in to tell me the next day after surgery that it was going to be a long recovery. I was open as your know with the muscles and nerves pulled away for 6 hours while he did the surgery. Every case is different though, and I am 50 years old with alot of long years in the food service industry that has caused alot of my damage. Please dont get discouraged though you will come through this fine, I will to it is just going to take me time to get there and patience. Once I can drive again even just to town I will be happy to be able to start walking. I have learned that I have to not push it though because it just sets me back more. Getting comfortable in bed is horrific, expecially with the brace. I to have to medicate to get myself to sleep. Good luck to you.
  • Hi, my husband had a posterior cervical laminectomy two weeks ago today. He is in some serious pain. The pain was so bad that he's gone through all his meds and now has nothing to take but ibuprophen. However; all that aside, I wanted to direct this to your comment about not being able to get comfortable to sleep. We realized after his first night home that my husband was not going to be able to sleep in our bed, on our sofa, in the computer chair or on virtually any other surface in the house--because he tried them all. So I called the place where I get my asthma medicine and machine from and they do hospital beds too. So I called the doctor and he faxed a prescription in for the bed and they delivered it the next day. It has really been a godsend. He has the little controller and can just push the buttons to raise and lower his head and feet and can keep tweaking it until he hits as he calls it, "the sweet spot" where he is most comfortable. I would really recommend getting one because rest is super inportant in your recovery. Good luck.
  • Thanks to all who replied. Somehow I did not know there were reply's till just now. I have gone through two mattresses and now have a feathertop/down topper which is somewhat better. I still can't get comfortable or to sleep without medication.

    I am three days without pain meds (my choice) but still in terrible pain all day and whenever I wake up. My strength and function continue to improve but I also continue to overdo everything. Still not back to work. Right side of body still not normal and terrible nerve pain in hands/arms and numbness and paraesthesia legs/feet and arms/hands. This has been very frustrating.

    I got a 2nd ortho opinion cause I thought I had hypermobility of the segment below the fusion but he said no. I do have bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome in addition. I am at my wits end. I see the physiatrist next week.

    I think because I had such serious injuries including spinal cord the docs just act like I'm supposed to be grateful that I have what I have. I'm just thinking I may as well accept that pain is now a part of my everyday life. But I do thank you for your replies and hope you are all doing better yourselves.
  • Hi I have had both anterior and posterior operations. in 2006 i had the anterior fusion 2 levels. 6 weeks ago I had the posterior foraminotomy and laminectomy. The anterior was easier in my opinion. I am still in pain. 2 weeks after I was crying I hurt so bad. I am starting ultra sound heat therapy soon because of my shoulder pain and back of neck pain where incision is. I have no energy and I sleep all the time. I got a travel pillow from cracker barrel and a pillow from contur pillows. I sleep semi elevated with pillows around my neck line. I don't want to fall off a pillow and wake up with a stiff neck. I am still taking all my pain medicines too. Only relief I have is the arm pain and shoulder pain that went numb is gone now. Good luck to everyone. :)
    2005-ACDF with Corpectomy at C3-C-5.
    2006-L4-L5 diskectomy.
    2009-Cervical laminectomy at C3.
    Steroid injections series x 4.
  • Ricochetred, I had acf-(4-7) & pcf (3-7) in Nov 06 which failed in sept 08 and had to be all tore out and replaced in Dec 08 and I am now fused from 3-7 anterior, and 2 thru t1 posterior. I feel for you, and I understand your pain. I have ongoing numbness in my left hand and muscle spasms in the back of my neck that are unrelenting! Ultrsound and Botox injections in the upper neck area help a little, but are quite expensive, and only last a little while. I'm glad I'm not in a wheelchair, but would love to be pain free. One can always wish! I will continue to do my stretching exercises from PT, and take my pain meds, and hope all goes well for you.
  • I am just about 4 mos post op from the surgery. The post op pain was sooooooooooooo BAD,,,, so PAINFUL,,,, I never asked about the recovery part, because the surgeon made it sound so very simple. And they aren't there for you while you are recovering. So you'll have to go back to primary doc for any help. It was all muscle pain in upper shoulder. Heck, my shoulders were up to my ear lobes for several weeks, from the way they positioned me for the surgery. I am still using the heating pad at work & at home & getting deep tissue massages now. Seems like the muscles are finally reconecting from the trauma. Was scared. Surgery was a great success & I am so excited the original pain is gone, but this post op must be the worst in HISTORY of operations.
  • I'm so sorry to hear about your situation. I hope you're able to get back to work at some point. Accidents can take it all away in a heart beat. My surgery was due to an accident too. I guess there's no good way to get here but my prayers go with you!
  • Zack said:
    I am just about 4 mos post op from the surgery. The post op pain was sooooooooooooo BAD,,,, so PAINFUL,,,, I never asked about the recovery part, because the surgeon made it sound so very simple. And they aren't there for you while you are recovering. So you'll have to go back to primary doc for any help. It was all muscle pain in upper shoulder. Heck, my shoulders were up to my ear lobes for several weeks, from the way they positioned me for the surgery. I am still using the heating pad at work & at home & getting deep tissue massages now. Seems like the muscles are finally reconecting from the trauma. Was scared. Surgery was a great success & I am so excited the original pain is gone, but this post op must be the worst in HISTORY of operations.
    I agree with you Julie, I had the same procedure and a laminectomy too. I still hurt and the spasms are awful. The first few weeks was the worse pain ever in my opinion. Mine was at C4. I may have to have another one at C7 and I am not happy about it.
    2005-ACDF with Corpectomy at C3-C-5.
    2006-L4-L5 diskectomy.
    2009-Cervical laminectomy at C3.
    Steroid injections series x 4.
  • I went to a therapist Friday 8/21 & they tried to relax the shoulder muscles. I am going again today for another trmnt - I hope this will resolve all the muscle pain going on- 17 wks since surgery. I hope & pray that I won't have any permanent damage. I will keep ev1 updated. You mentioned you might need another surgery? Why can't they do it "anteriorly" from the front... a lot less painfull of a recovery - I still don't know why they didnt do mine anterior. Do you know any answers? I can't get any answers from that surgeon. He asks me "are you going to perform your own surgery" when I ask him anything. Azzwhole. Jerks!
  • He asks me "are you going to perform your own surgery" when I ask him anything. Azzwhole. Jerks!

    I would try to find another doctor. What we don't all need is a doctor with that kind of an attitude!
    He is there to answer all of your questions, not to give you grief.

    Joyce
  • Surgeon has been reported, along with his staff.
    P-I-T-I-F-U-L of them!
    Thx for reply
    hope you are feeling good today
  • I've had 7 posterior cervical the past year with a 8 inch incision and frankly at times espcailly laying down like you say it feels like I was split in 2 like a wishbone. It's the deep ache that keeps me up. Is that what you feel? I can't say what to do to sleep as I have the same problem except maybe switch from a recliner chair to bed...that's what I do. Sometimes the hard floor feels really good. I also ice myself to sleep with those gel pack so maybe you can try that. They get warm by the time you fall asleep so no danger of over icing imo. I hope this helps, hang in there and gl.
  • Yep... deep muscle aches... PT told me that my muscles were MAD - having been cut on, so they fight back trying to get to where they initially were - thus disturbing the nerves in doing so.
    What an ordeal this was. I actually have been able to get a decent nights sleep this week, in almost 5 months. I owe it all to the tens unit, ultra sound, & massages from my Physical Therapists. I wish I would've gone there sooner, but didn't know to. Learned from in here! THANK YOU SPINE HEALTH!
    :*
  • Had 2 level ACDF which is failing and posterior laminectomy. Now they're telling me 4 level posterior fusion from C4-T1. He admitted it would be bad, but needed. The surgeon is highly rec and is the one my primary sent his son too, so...
  • I hope you heal faster than you expeted to, however, pace is the real issue here. Pace yourself well& do not over do it. I hope you will find the may wonders of bike ridding again before you expected to, just do not crash again okay? Best wishe 2 you. :-) Get Well soon. btdt/Becka :-)
  • Zack said:
    I went to a therapist Friday 8/21 & they tried to relax the shoulder muscles. I am going again today for another trmnt - I hope this will resolve all the muscle pain going on- 17 wks since surgery. I hope & pray that I won't have any permanent damage. I will keep ev1 updated. You mentioned you might need another surgery? Why can't they do it "anteriorly" from the front... a lot less painfull of a recovery - I still don't know why they didnt do mine anterior. Do you know any answers? I can't get any answers from that surgeon. He asks me "are you going to perform your own surgery" when I ask him anything. Azzwhole. Jerks!
    hi ms julie, in my case it was where the scar tissue form and the bone spur. The location of where the problem is located is how they determine where to cut you. It would also be harder to get to from the front. When you go to therapy look at the diagram of the spine. The vertabrea's are in the back of the neck. I started deep tissue massage last week and go 3 times a week starting this week. That really hurt! she found over a dozen tiny knots twisted up in my upper back. How is therapy going for you ??
    2005-ACDF with Corpectomy at C3-C-5.
    2006-L4-L5 diskectomy.
    2009-Cervical laminectomy at C3.
    Steroid injections series x 4.
  • :H Answer to your question about therapy! I went for 3 weeks. I went 2 days ago & that will be my last time. It hurts me too much to go anymore. I'm thinking they accomplished what I wanted. That was getting the "boulders & rocks" out of my shoulders. Oh, the muscles were so TENSED!!! ~X( Feeling sooooo much better now!
    How about you? Are you getting any relief? I sure hope so! Im hanging in there, like you are. You are correct about the spine chart & why they entered through the back area. Easier to get to where my problem was located. Thx. I enjoy talking to you & want to hear how you're doing! Write back soon!!!
    a big >:D<
  • I had cervical posterior foraminotomy 5 months ago (same time as Zack only mine was one level and her's was two). Had immediate relief from radiculopathy but many weeks of burning muscle pain on the other side and now I have muscle atrophy over the spot where the instrument was inserted through the muscle and then dialed open to give access to the vertebra. Still have occasional achey muscle on the opposite side if I hang my head for more than a couple of minutes. Guess I would do it again if called for but would hope to not end up with more muscle atrophy. The atrophy is something I don't see mentioned on this board so must be fairly unusual, or maybe just inconsequential when compared to lingering pain, etc.

    From what I've read of other people's experiences, you are still very early in your recovery, especially considering the magnitude of your procedure. Give yourself more healing time. :)
    Linda

    2009 Foraminotomy C6-72010 PLIF L4-S1Multi RFA's, cervical inj, lumbar injLaminectomy L3-4 and fusion w/internal fixation T10-L4 July 17Fusion C2-C5 yet to be scheduled
  • Zack said:
    :H Answer to your question about therapy! I went for 3 weeks. I went 2 days ago & that will be my last time. It hurts me too much to go anymore. I'm thinking they accomplished what I wanted. That was getting the "boulders & rocks" out of my shoulders. Oh, the muscles were so TENSED!!! ~X( Feeling sooooo much better now!
    How about you? Are you getting any relief? I sure hope so! Im hanging in there, like you are. You are correct about the spine chart & why they entered through the back area. Easier to get to where my problem was located. Thx. I enjoy talking to you & want to hear how you're doing! Write back soon!!!
    a big >:D<
    Hi again, Some days are worse then others and I am not sure why really. I go for post op appointment on Tuesday. I am sure he will release me to my family doctor. The reason for the surgery was to stop the arm pain and numbness and that part is good. My back has been flaring up way to much on top my neck pain and stiffness. I had therapy today and i am pretty loose for now. I have been waking up miserable the day after the deep tissue massage. so i feel good for a day then I am miserable. Doesn't seem fair to me. Hope your feeling good :)
    2005-ACDF with Corpectomy at C3-C-5.
    2006-L4-L5 diskectomy.
    2009-Cervical laminectomy at C3.
    Steroid injections series x 4.
  • marlintuna said:
    I've had 7 posterior cervical the past year with a 8 inch incision and frankly at times espcailly laying down like you say it feels like I was split in 2 like a wishbone. It's the deep ache that keeps me up. Is that what you feel? I can't say what to do to sleep as I have the same problem except maybe switch from a recliner chair to bed...that's what I do. Sometimes the hard floor feels really good. I also ice myself to sleep with those gel pack so maybe you can try that. They get warm by the time you fall asleep so no danger of over icing imo. I hope this helps, hang in there and gl.
    Hi hun I hope your getting better. I have a deep tissue ache in the back of my neck too. I use a frozen bag of peas to lay with it, that way it stays in place and its not so awkward. I sleep semi elevated in bed with a pillow between my legs on my side and I manage to sleep several hours. My doctor prescribe pain patches I wear to bed too. There called Lidoderm and they help.
    2005-ACDF with Corpectomy at C3-C-5.
    2006-L4-L5 diskectomy.
    2009-Cervical laminectomy at C3.
    Steroid injections series x 4.
  • I have had two posterior surgeries and lost the posterior muscle from atrophy. When the doctors first told me what had happened, I said well lets fix it. But I have since learned there are 2 muscles in your body once they atrophy there isn't much that can be done. One is the posterior neck muscle and the other being the heart muscle. So if your beginning to see atrophy they need to do something, it is imperative that action be taken quickly with some therapy, to stop it. The break down of that muscle is a unfortunate risk, to using a posterior approach.

    As far as the muscle knots(trigger points), some can find relief through trigger point injection therapy. If you are using this type of therapy, be sure to see a therapist within the recommended 24 hours to have the meds worked into and break down the trigger points. After awhile trigger points will begin to break down the muscle sheath. For myself, I have a ball that I place between me and the wall to help release them. You can use a tennis ball, as well. The ball I have I got from a physical therapist. I also use a neck roll that was measured for my neck. The theory on the neck roll is slight pressure through the night will help break them down. Also some light stretching is a must. If I don't do the stretching first thing in the mourning i will surely pay all day. I like to tell people to wait till you hit the one year mark and see what you have, as far as pain goes and this is more than likely what you will have. Although some surgeons will say the recovery last for as long as 2 years.
  • Read your post about having 2 post.approaches in cerv.area. I have 2 ruptured discs(centrally) caused my sp.cord to be flattened in front/both sides. Spinal cord is compressed to 8mm. Neuro says it should be 15mm.or> I have spondolysis,OA of total spine,foraminal-narrowing,facet hypertrophy, bony spurs with lg.posterior bony ridge c4,c5-c6,c7. I have fibromyalgia,(radiculopathy of cervical/lumbar areas) Multiple MRI's,EMG,and nerve-conduct. tests. My Neuro has me on Pain-Mngt.,steroid shots in neck and lumbar areas when pain gets >, and trigger-point inj. periodically. He says if sp.cord gets compressed to 5-6mm. could be paralyzed ffrom neck down(says I could wake-up para.)He has sugg. anterior approach fusion,but what would happen to posterior bony ridges, would I later have to have post. approach? (also have 3 bulging discs L4,5and S1.) I read with interest your info about tr-pt-inj. and being sureto see therapist 24hrs. after shots to have meds worked in. I have never been to therapist after. I have a very lg. knot just left of base of neck toward shoulder joint, he has shot me in areas of mid-back also,but told me about yr. ago that lg. knot(easily seen) was perm,I wonder now if muscle-sheath has been permanently damaged? I also have osteoporosis(lower spine)so wonder if fusion would take? So afraid if I start surgeries 1 leads to 2,3.... Currently on Hydrocodone 10-500x6 daily, generic Robaxin 750mg.x4, Gabapentin 300mg.x3 (P.M.) and Lexapro 20mg.x1. If you get a chance, read my intro letter (Hi to all Spineys) dated 8-2009 for my history,very lengthy,but used to be very active before chronic pain mainly since 2003. I have alot of faith in my Neuro, he has helped me so much, but would have to see another Dr. (NS or OS) and get 2-3 opinions before going under knife. SO AFRAID!!! Hope you are painless today and thanks for any info (I consider it ONLY your exp.) Bye for now, HUGS CHun
  • What did your doc say after Tues. appt?
    I have good & bad days too. Not sure what's causing the post op pain now. Nerves, muscles, wtf? My back was KILLING me too!!! Several months it was killing me. It's because I have not used those muscles for so long and then after sugery had to use them for everything, as to not hurt the neck area. Dangit! My back is getting better finally and I hope yours does. They say "takes time". (whatever lol) blah blah blah Doesn't seem fair to me either. This post op pain is for the birds, isn't it?
    Still take 1/2 pain pill almost every morning, to fight off the tension, so not to get stiff in the muscles. Then according to whatever, take a 1/2 if pain is too bad. Wished I could say I could get by on Aleve, but can't yet!
    ;)
  • Just saw your note about therapy to stop the muscle atrophy. I haven't seen my surgeon since I noticed it but did show it to my physical therapist and he didn't seem too concerned, saying maybe I lost a little muscle in that spot (it's about the size of a dime, right next to the vertebra). If I have to see my surgeon again I'll ask him about it. At least it hasn't changed or gotten any bigger in a number of weeks.

    Thanks for your thoughts on this. :)
    Linda

    2009 Foraminotomy C6-72010 PLIF L4-S1Multi RFA's, cervical inj, lumbar injLaminectomy L3-4 and fusion w/internal fixation T10-L4 July 17Fusion C2-C5 yet to be scheduled
  • :O
    I am almost scared to say anything in fear it might jinx me - but I have gone almost this whole day without the constant reminder that I had my neck cut open! You know the pain! hmmmmmmm weird... feel guilty... guess I should be quiet, it'll probably be killing me tomorrow. Aren't I the positive one? sheesh... I'll let ya'll know on Monday how long this lasts. Have a good one ALL of ya!
    :$
    4/28/09 Posterior Cervical Foraminotomy C5-6 & C6-7
  • I am scheduled for a c3-c7 Laminectomy posterior instrumentation. I am currently experiencing pain in my hands, arms and shoulders as well as my neck. I have been reading many of the posts in order to make myself knowledgeable about what will happen. I still have many questions that I guess I should ask my neuro but they seem so stupid I don't want to bother him. Like when I wait up from the operation will I be in a neck brace? My bed at home is soft so should I try to get a hospital bed? Will I have to go to rehab or go home when discharged? I live alone and I need time to get things together for aftercare so i am thinking about postponing my surgery but the way I feel today...well I just don't know what to do. Any ideas or answers.
advertisement
Sign In or Register to comment.