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3 weeks postop 2nd ACDF surgery,now bad pain again

candle99ccandle99 Posts: 279
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:36 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I wanted to ask if there were others that have experienced the Adjacent Disc Disease problem quickly after their fusion surgery. I had an ACDF C5/6 in June this year, then an ACDF C4-6 just 3 weeks ago. Just this week, my pain has cropped back up to an 8 in the right shoulder, scapula, and down the arm. With the first surgery, my right arm tingled down to the fingers and I had scapula/shoulder blade burning pain. Then, after that surgery at 6 weeks, my left arm started hurting like a huge toothache, never stopped. Had another MRI, CT/Myelogram to show that C4/5 was herniated which led to the ACDF covering C4 thru C6. The tests also showed my C6/7 was severely degenerated and severe loss of disc height. It looked like it was bone on bone. The surgeon said he didn't want to touch the C6/7 and it would self fuse soon and cause no problems.

Now, my right side of neck and shoulder and blade is killing me. I can't turn to the right. I haven't done anything other than ride in the car 3 or 4 times, once was on a bumpy road. I've walked around and done cooking and laundry. So, what could be going on now? I'm just at the end of my rope and to not help a thing, I'd decided to go off of pain meds last week and have been taking tramadol only with muscle relaxers and my GP upped my gabapentin from 600mg to 1800mg, so I've been foggy too, just wish it was helping the pain. This morning it's even worse and I'm scared that another disc has blown or something else is pressing on my right nerve roots. I have another week and a half before I go back to the surgeon. I guess I'll make a quicker appt. if this keeps up. ARGH!

Has anyone else had so quick of a failure with their ACDFs???? I have DDD, osteoarthritis/DDJD. I'm beginning to think my whole spine is made of playdoh and straw.


  • but they didn't have anything closer than this coming Monday. The nurse said it did sound like something different going on even though I was only 3 weeks out from surgery. At 3am this morning, the pain woke me up and seems to feel more like it's coming from the exact middle of my upper back. When I run my fingers down from my neck, I hurt the most right at the joint between my shoulders. It really feels like another herniated disc or two. Especially since the pain just keeps getting worse day by day. I just can't seem to get out of this pattern and it's very frustrating and depressing. I'm taking 60mg Cymbalta, 1800mg gabapentin, 200mg Celebrex, 400mg tramadol, 8mg Zanaflex in a days time. I was on Lortab 7.5/500 but choose to get off them two weeks ago, now I sure wish I hadn't done that. The nurse said I could call back for Lortab if I got to where I couldn't stand the pain before my appt.

    Has anyone else had the domino effect so quickly in their spine?
  • Sorry to hear that you have had so much trouble. You have done a very thorough job describing your past surgeries, pain meds and condition. Good for you.
    A few comments that may help. You may benefit from a few qualified second opinions. I would certainly want to get the opinion of at least one fellowship trained orthopedic spine surgeon.
    Unfortunately your situation is not uncommon. Adjacent level pain post surgery can be the result of the additional loading following a fusion of the adjacent levels. It is difficult to determine just how many levels to fuse and some default to too few believing that less is better. That is true, but not, in your case, if it results in disabling post-op pain less than 2-3 years later. It would appear from your lumbar history that this was the case there also.
    Be very careful before going under the knife this next time. Seek at least two other consults and if it was me I would not go back to the same surgeon that you have been using. Two strikes your out in my book and you have a bad history there.
    Good luck
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