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looking for advice

kimmeamkkimmeam Posts: 149
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:33 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I don't know what to do. I am almost 1 year post acdf c5/6. I have never gotten relief. The surgeon told me he did not know why I was still having problems as he "fixed" my neck. He sent me to what I thought was a pain management dr. Then he left the state. I have seen a neurosurgeon who told me that I had "failed surgery" & was not a candidate for more surgery unless my symptoms worsen.
The Pain dr who I have been seeing now wants me to see a pain specialist. He wants me to try biofeedback. He will not prescribe anymore opoids because he says I am becoming dependent on them. Yes I have, without them I can not leave my recliner & heating pad. I asked him what I am supposed to do? I can not function without medicine, he said that the biofeedback & cymbalta & flexiril is all that I need.
I disagree. He said the pain in my neck & shoulders is muscle pain. Then the flexiril should help? But it doesn't.
All of the pain Dr.s I have called do not prescribe opoids, only shots which I have tried.
I have an appointment with my PCP this afternoon. I just don't know what to do.
I am realy tired of the way my life has become. If I am not at work I am glued to my recliner. I would much rather have a productive life. I used to be quite active & now can not hardly do anything. With the medicine is hard enough but without I can't at all.
Sorry for the long whiney post I am not feeling good this morning & am very upset.


  • so sorry for your predicament. you must feel so trapped by the pain. and here you can get relief from stronger meds but they dont give them to you. the neck problems can be so painful....i know from experience how bad neck symptoms are. why is it some people get meds and some dont. did something happen that made dr think you were addicted. the old story...addicted or dependent. yah your dependent but who in pain isnt.
    dont give up, plead your case. maybe someone will listen. if dr thinks its muscular then try to improve muscles and see what happens
    keep us posted....pete
  • If you can't find an integrative pain clinic near you, you may have to look further out of your area or see if your family doctor will take over your pain mgt needs. Take care
  • Hi kimmearm,
    I noticed you posted the surgeon said you have a failed surgery? Is he stating that the fusion didn't take? I'm not sure what he/she is meaning by failed? Another thing is the cymbalta being used as a nerve med or a anti-depressant. I use cymbalata but rather for the nerve pain, to many issues with the others. If it is used for nerve pain, how is he/she telling you it is all muscle related? I think you may want to consult in a new surgeon and see what they think. Do your research and make sure the surgeon is not affiliated with either of the doctors involved. I am not saying you need more surgery, but am very concerned why they say it is failed, and until you have more pain, it is not treatable. Have you since surgery had another emg study? If it is muscular in nature what about some trigger points, while they don't last long on myself somedays they are the only thing that keeps me going. Also what about nerve blocks, those can be used as a diagnostic test. Should they block out the nerve and hit the right spot you should get some relief, albeit short lived it may lead to the pain generator. I think until the identify the source of the pain, your going to be in limbo land. Of course this is just my opinion and I do feel for you be in this situation and can certainly relate. Hope all goes well and you got some meds. Let us know.
  • Sometimes surgeons used the term "failed surgery" to describe surgeries that don't resolve the pain. I was diagnosed with failed surgery after my first ACDF when actually the doc just didn't do a good job and caused my pain and condition to become worse. Unless you aren't fusing don't allow that diagnosis to be used on your charts- it's not the proper use of the term.

    Most surgeons warn that fusions will only take away the symptoms from nerve compression and stabalize the spine. A responsible surgeon should NEVER promse complete relief from pain. There are no guarantees that the ACDF will do anything for the mechanical pain in the neck! I wish I could punch every doc who tells their patients that it WILL take away the pain. (Obviously touchy subject for me)

    I agree with the others- try to find a PM clinic that will offer you all that you need- medications, therapies etc.. Don't feel that your surgery is a failure because you have pain. Ask your surgeon why you have it, if you are fused and, if you are, why he gave you that diagnosis. After all, only you can be your biggest advocate.

    Good luck to you in finding the help that you need. I'll be pulling for you.

  • Hey Kimmeam, sorry to hear about your pain levels. I can offer you some suggestions to help you feel better because I have had 2 neck surgeries and I am always in pain. The pain is better on the meds then without them at least so here goes. 1st start taking anti inflammatories, they take a week to build up but will reduce the pain somewhat. I know they work because I had to stop taking them before my last operation and my pain level tripled. I think its safe to take 2000mg a day. I am prescribed 2200mg a day. With food or milk and never take right before bed to protect tummy. I've taken flexeril in the past and agree its junk. I am on soma now. Thats better then the flexeril in my opinion. Pain causes depression so I would stay on the cymbalta. That will also help with nerve pain if any inflammation is touching a nerve. If you can get a new prescription for pain meds cut them in half and take a half with a anti inflammatory to make them last longer and to keep yourself less dependent on them. I also spend a lot of time in my pool just walking around and getting water up to my neck and moving the muscles. I also have a travel pillow shaped like a U, I use to sleep with so I'll get less stiff necks and wont fall off the pillow. A hot bath every night soaking dose wonders too. Or find a friend with a hot tube. If all your pain is muscle related then a hot tub will help. Hope this helps ya :)
    2005-ACDF with Corpectomy at C3-C-5.
    2006-L4-L5 diskectomy.
    2009-Cervical laminectomy at C3.
    Steroid injections series x 4.
  • Please ask your doctor about mixing antiinflammitories and Cymbalta. They *may* cause excessive bleeding when used together. Also, please use extreme caution when cutting medications of any kind. Some pain meds can be dangerous if cut and sometimes fatal.

    The message here is that only you and your doctor can decide what to do about your pain. My best advise is to go to your doc, be open and honest about your pain and symptoms and hope that together you can find the right combination to help you live a more comfortable life.

  • Yeah please talk to your doctor they are the ones who went to medical school. My advice is only life experience and what has worked for me. My doctor has prescribed that combo for me but doesn't mean it will work for somebody else, fyi. I forget to add that when asked for help, the doctors have more insite on which drugs can be mixed. I have been taking them for more then 3 years and I don't mix them.
    2005-ACDF with Corpectomy at C3-C-5.
    2006-L4-L5 diskectomy.
    2009-Cervical laminectomy at C3.
    Steroid injections series x 4.
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