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C5-C6 Pain Four Months after Fusion and Plating

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:27 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical

I had C5-C6 playing and fusion done in September of 2008. About two weeks ago I woke-up with my a great deal of neck pain. My initial reaction was "I slept wrong." But as the days past the pain increased, the burning came back in my neck and right shoulder and I am back to the point that simple tasks like holding a phone receiver to talk on the phone is extremely painful. The pain is sharp and seems to radiate to my scapulas now.

Has anyone had anything like this after a fusion and plating?



  • Hi StoogeFan.

    I'm three months post-op and I've had muscle spasms and a burning pain in my neck since pre-op. My doc says this is normal so I still take muscle relaxants and pain meds.

    Have you or are you doing PT? Does your pain feel like muscle spasms (assuming you've had them before and know what they feel like)?

    I know that certain activites (working at a computer, reading with your head down, etc) can trigger these spasms. Stress can trigger them also.

    Do you think any of your activities could've caused this problem? Are you still in the care of your surgeon?

    (Geez, I seem to have an awful lot of questions...sorry...)

  • Hi Cath,

    I had very little PT after surgery. It was along the lines of "you need to do these movements 'n' number of times a day."

    It doesn't feel like spasms. The spasms I had after surgery were intense at times but not a jabbing or stinging sensation like now. The pain I am experiencing now is actually worse then before the surgery.

    The only thing I remember is waking up with a very painful neck and thinking I might have slept wrong. But the pain has never let up and is getting upbareable now. I have difficulty focusing, like before the surgery and I am constantly fatigued.

    I am no longer under the care of the surgeon, I go to a pain management doctor now. My surgeon released me to work about 4 weeks after surgery and that was the last time I saw him.

    Thanks for your questions.


  • It amazes me how different surgeons are. Some use hard braces then soft braces, some just use soft braces and some don't use braces at all. Some surgeons won't let you work for three months, some release you in four weeks.

    Anyhoo, this is probably something you'd better see your PCP about. I assume you've mentioned this problem to your PM doc? In any case, it doesn't sound normal to me.

    Take care of yourself and hope they find out what the problem is. Keep us updated.

  • I have the same symptoms you are having. I have had this stinging, burning pain with numb hands since before my c5-c6 fusion with plating. I had this done on 11/03/08. In other words, the surgery hasn't helped with my pain. What brought you to my attention is the phone thing...I have the same issue! My left arm is sooo weak and in sooo much pain that holding the phone to my ear is painful. Doing dishes hurts causes both my arms to go numb/tingle, and washing my hair hurts as well.My ns has me going to pt twice a week, and tomorrow I have an EMG to see how much nerve damage there is. (I had nerve damage prior to the surgery).I am still not working, but I have lumbar issues as well and also have a physically demanding job.I suggest you cantact your doctor and let them know the symptoms you are having and how suddenly they came on. It may possibly be nerves like in my situation, and many others I have read on here recovering. I am not in the medical profession, so please take my comments as just friendly advice. Good luck!
  • MetalneckMetalneck Island of Misfit toysPosts: 1,364
    I am 8 months post my second ACDF .... I never use a regular phone anymore .... might I suggest you get a headset .... pain has become a way of life but is much better than before either surgery ....

    Will add you to my long prayer list ...

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  • Thanks everyone for you posts. I met with my pain management doctor and he is trying to schedule me for new MRI. He believes the problem is now with C6-C7. The pain is getting worse everyday, wow it never hurt like this before surgery. My health insurance, United Healthcare, is throwing a fit about me having a new MRI. Rather frustrating to me that they can some how dictate what treatments you qualify for.

    I will post an update as soon as I know more.

    Blessings to all.
  • Hi all,

    I had a fusion done on C5-C6 back in June 1999 when I was 15yrs old following an accident. I was discharged after 12months and only 2 check ups in that time.

    I complained of problems constantly after my operation and forget how many times I simply got put on Ibuprofen and sent on my way. I've seen numerous physios who fail to understand the pain and cause. They simply tell me I've got to live with it! I've been convinced for years something didn't go right with the surgery but no one took me seriously and so I plodded on through life and I HATE moaning about it all the time.

    I'm now at the stage where I can't work and can't even sit in a chair properly. My right arm and hand tingles constantly and I have muscle spasms regularly. I have to 'crack' my neck and back all the time during the day and it's simply unomfortable to do much. I've tried Neurontin and sleeping pills but stopped taking them due to the side effects. Also, I have put up with pain for 10yrs nearly and always try to avoid pain killers as I don't want to rely on them and one day I may really need them to work for me.

    In a nutshell I'm in the same boat as some of you and am now waiting on scans and investigations after finally being taken seriously. The surgeon I saw last week spent 2mins with me (NHS for you!) and sent me for an X-Ray which I still don't know the results of.

    I'll keep you posted on my progress as it seems we have a lot of the same symptoms. Please feel free to let us know how your scans go and how you progress also as it might help others like us!

    All the best for the future to you all.
  • My pain radiates down my neck and into my shoulders. My fingers go numb first and then my entire right hand begins to hurt. I've been to PT. I've taken all the meds and finally I decided one day that I didn't want to live on pills forever and started looking for a permanent fix to my issue so I went to see a doctor who specializes in shoulders. He believes that the pain is coming from my neck and suggested that I start on a new type of PT. I am now doing myofascial release. It's more than just deep tissue massage and best of all my insurance (Which happens to be the same as yours) pays for it. I am set to see a new doctor about my neck specifically Monday but I'm hoping beyond all hope that the myofascial release therapy really does work. The PT felt my neck and shoulders and couldn't believe how tight everything was. I understand that it takes up to 6 treatments to realize real relief but I'm going 3 times a week. I'm really sick of dealing with this pain that I've had since surgery. I'm tired of taking pills and I would love one pain free day. You might look into it and see if it's for you too.
  • I had c5-c6 fusion surgery in 2010 after 10 years of pain in my neck that would radiate down my left arm causing numbness in my fingers. The neurosurgeon put an artificial insert into my neck to replace the disk that he removed. My symptoms improved some after the surgery but then after 2years the old symptoms started returning again. My neurosurgeon gave me a second surgery to fuse the back of my neck and add 2 rods and 4 screws. Apparently the artificial insert that is currently the common practice in fusion surgery has a problem with bone not wanting to form around it. This causes the insert to move which is why I needed the second surgery. Now I am3 months out since my second surgery and I still don't have any relief from my symptoms. I go to PT 2 times a week and I also do exercises at home. I don't know if I will ever be able to go back to my job.
  • I am sorry to hear about all the problems everyone on this post are still having. Thank you for sharing. I really don't want to salt anyone's wounds but have you tried lidoderm patches? I've used them in the past and am going to ask for them again. Its not a cure but does seem to help with nerve pain.

  • After reading this, I'm know I'm in the right place. Today has been 1 year and yesterday, I had my third set of target point injections to releave the muscle spams that won't go away.

    I know I would've died without the surgery, but know that this pain is relentless. I too refuse to go back on pain pills. I do have really dark days because I don't know anyone who understands this.

    All of my family think I'm making this up, but I'm over them. I need the support of you strangers to get through this, cuz it's insane to just wish for a physical ailment to vanish like magic.
    My sympathy and understanding to all who suffer.
    46 F Avg Hgt/Weight non-smkr/drkr, ex-runner
    Chronic back/neck pain/urticaria (pic)
    ADCF C6-7, 11/13
    C3-4-5 , L3-4-5-S1 DDD bulge annular tear

  • ReadyforchangeRReadyforchange Posts: 90
    edited 12/05/2014 - 7:46 PM
    Support groups are great because we do understand each other. It is so nice to not be alone. I think perhaps people just don't relate or get it? It is hard to enter into someone else's suffering without having been there. But I agree lots of people think we are wimps or whiners. WhenI ruptered my lumbar during pregnancy and my husband was cracking the whip about grocery shopping and coupon clipping and wanting me to walk aaround Walmat browsing with him I felt like I was in the twilight zone. I was like this cant be real. He doesn'trreally insist this spasming pregnant lady hobble around with him.

    Two weeks later he got kidney stones and was peeing blood. Begging to sit and for mercy.

    I'm just saying. Life is funny like that sometimes;)
  • I too am having cervical radiculitis. No after 4 months of treatments which include meds injections and physical therapy the neurosurgeon wants to do surgery. I have not decided going to try accupuncture. Afraid of surgery I HEAR in a couple of years pain returns
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