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New neck pain.*Fusion Scheduled*

Shell74SShell74 Posts: 299
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:37 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I have had arm/tingling pain since about 3 months after my PLIF (8/09), it was dismissed by the doctors for months and not treated. I finally got my PCP to do an MRI which showed 3 herniations plus stenosis, OK thats why the arms and neck are painful dahhhhh! Sometimes you just want to kick the doctors.

So two days ago I put my head back to pull over a shirt and I felt a scrunch and heard a pop and crackle noise. My arm pain is now constant pain, heavyness and jabs, as well as it going down the middle of the back, around my jaw and up behind my ear. By mid day I can barely hold my head up. The PCP says it must be musclular, but of course I fear differentely. Since I am out of the orthos care for the PLIF, I need to get a new referal to go back, or go to the ER and suck up the $250 charge as a non emergency and get a referal from there. The Fentora 200mcg from the PM doctor isnt touching the pain. It doesnt help that I cant take it easy, I am at a new job and cant take time off, although I can tailor my day to suit my needs most of the time. Today was a lazy day, sitting around most of the time.

Just wondering how you know when the herniations with mild stenosis become something more serious, anything to watch for? I allready have nerve damage and RSD from the PLIF so I have some B&B issues, numbness, tingling and instability from that. Any input or similiar experiences would be appreciated.

hugs to all,


  • Shell

    We all wish we could kick the doctors sometimes. If anything is certain about spine injuries it is that no one is the same and we all react differently to pain, injuries and treatment.

    I had a surgeon look at my damage from a car accident and tell me that since my pain wasn't right he couldn't be bothered with me. I am not kidding! Everyday I say a little prayer of thanksgiving for sending me to the neurosurgeon who is treating me now. He can't find the cause yet but he won't give up until he can make the pain stop for good.

    My problems are in my neck and everyday when I move my neck I hear crackles and pops. Some will hurt for a while but they usually disappear in a few hours.

    You might want to wait through the weekend to see what happens with you. A weekend of bedrest might help. On Monday you should get that referal from your PCP and get to the ortho.

    Good Luck and I hope you have a peaceful weekend.

  • Typically you will know when the pain is just non-stop and the pain meds do nothing to help it. About the only thing that helps is heat/ice and sleeping with your hands over your head. I like to define nerve pain as ignorant pain, has no rhythm no reason, isn't logically at all. Where as skeletal pain is a bit different. The pain is more predictable, comes on with activity and more so when you do the activity. Nerve pain more than likely comes on some time after the activity and you think what did I do? For example I could do something at 3 and set the nerve pain off whoever I won't feel it till maybe 6 when I am just sitting and think your kidding me right, I am not doing anything? But the skeletal pain I can think this is hurting?

    Best advice if you think something is wrong seek medical attention? When they did the MRI did they do a emg on your arms, as well? Good luck and keep us posted.
  • It is unfortunate that doctors can be so ignorant when it comes to our pain. My initial problem with my Lumbar spine happend when I leaned off a chair to pick up a pice of felt, and my back went into a spasm. Anyway, the ER doctor wouldn't give me an x ray, since "I didn't pick up anything heavy, and I was just in a spasm." Long story short when I finally had x rays and an MRI, it showed that I had herniated 2 discs.

    As for knowing when things change in our spines, I think we can only go by new symptoms and new pain. It is so hard to know without seeking medical advice and having tests done. For me I tited my head down while eating and felt my rt leg and foot tingle. Within a few days my arms were tingling, and the pain was horrible. Muscle weakness follwed and the MRI confirmed things had gotten worse and surgery was now being recomended. I knew that I had DDD, spinal stenosis, and herniated discs since 2001, surgery was Aug 2009.

    I hope you start to feel better soon.
  • My MRI was months ago, I have just been going with the flow since then. The MRI was done months ago. My PCP is very much into waiting, especially when something doesnt present typically. If I dont move for hours the pain goes away a bit, but once I move it is back again. All areas feel different, a little of this a little of that,lol. After yesterday, when I tried to drive, I am convinced I need to call the surgeon back. I am going to talk to the PA and have her call for the referal.

    We will see.

    Thanks everyone,
  • I did talk to the PA this morning and by noon she had the insurance referal and I am seeing the surgeon tomorrow first thing. I hate it when the PCP cant take your word for it, whatever you need to do I guess. We will see what he has to say.

    Thanks All,
  • This is really very serious problem you should do take a very good care of your self............
    Carrol Spncr

    edited by authority member neck of steel (Cindy). No hyperlink spamming permitted.
  • Good luck with your appointment tomorrow. I'm impressed at how quickly you are able to get in. I hope it turns out to be not too serious.
    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
  • I had my appointment this morning and he said he will be scheduling me for 2 or 3 level cervical fusion in about 6 weeks (of course pending I dont get worse, and have constant numbness, and need it done sooner, dont you love that). I was honest, the numbness and tingling does go away if I lay totally still for hours,lol. My insurance requires that I go through with the 4 weeks of PT before surgery. What a joke that will be.

    He looked at my MRI from June, so who knows what changes have happened since then.

    Then here comes the bad part, actually horrible (if surgery isnt bad enough). He ask what meds I am taking, of course I am honest and said that the PM has put me back on the Duragesic and Fentora. He flipped! He said I was a "drug seeking addict looking to get high from the narcotics" (his exact words, not mine)and the only way he would continue to treat me is if I went to an addiction councilor to get off the meds. I hadnt needed the duragesic after the lumbar surgery because I was taking other things every 6 hours and not doing anything (except walking on the treadmill), once I went back to work the scar tissue really took hold and has made a mess out of the lumbar surgery site. I have more pain after surgery than before. I am taking the least ammount of meds to make it that I can tolorate the day and be somewhat productive. I use minimal break-thru meds and can honestly say that I can count on 2 hands the ammount of times I have absolutely needed to take them during work hours in the last 3 months. I have never called for meds early, and usually the month prescription lasts me for well over a month. I am big into sucking it up and working with high pain levels, I dont have much of a choice,lol.

    So then he goes on to saying that I should just stop all meds, get over it and accept that I will always have intractable pain, NO EXAGERATIONS! Fibro, RSD, arachnoiditis, DDD and DJD, take your pick where the pain is coming from! Of course the person he wants me to go to is not covered and will cost me $300. I left there in tears and called my husband to tell him what happened. He was ready to come out and tell the doctor off. I know sometimes it takes an outsider to make you realize that you may have a problem so I was willing to consider that he may have a point. But after calling and venting to several family members they assured me that they see me as being very, very far from being a drug seeking addict. I really wanted to go to the addiction councilor so that he could report the truth, but I just cant afford the extra money right now.

    I went straight to the PM docs office still in tears to speak to him but they were not in for the day. I think I will fax them tonight so a message is waiting for him. The ortho said he would be handeling the situation direcetly with the PM doc tomorrow. I want to make sure he gets my side too.

    Guess I will be looking for a new ortho, I really dont feel comfortable dealing with someone who wont listen or has that little trust in what I am saying, but unfortunetley I am sure he has written a book about me as of now so my chart will probably not be a good reference. I just wish he would document all I have been thru, but it seems that part of it is very selective.

    If you have made it this far I am surprised, but I really thank you. I am just so angry, its good to let off some steam. Hopefully, a good nights sleep will help me to cool off.

    Anyway, thank you all for your well wishes!

  • That was just uncalled for! How dare he say that to you. . . I wonder how well this doctor would fare with all of the same symptoms that you suffer from. This is the type of doctor who should not be dealing with "people"! Don't worry about what he thinks, there are plenty of patients just like you who are standing behind your injuries and we all want to give you our support. I have also considered the fact that some people I know may think I am some sort of drug addict. It's really difficult not being able to have others understand your "very real" pain. Hang in there!

    I am waiting to see my pain doctor about my MRI I had last Thursday. I will find out Friday what his interpretation of the report is. Then, I will have my neuro-rehab doc look at the report and perhaps even another doctor before I make a decision on my next step. I had a 2 level cervical fusion in 2004. I was recently in a near miss where I was pulled by my seatbelt in a very quick stop and have had increased pain down my right arm for the last 3 weeks. Prior to that, my pain level was already at an average of 6. I have been asked, by the pain doc, to consider the SCS; but I'm very wary of it.

    Good Luck!
  • I sat and wrote a letter to the PM doctor last night, and I am not sure if I want to send it or not. It just states what happened, what the ortho said and asking him what he would like me to do. I thought giving it the night would make me calm down about the visit but it really hasnt,lol.

    Yes, if I dont use my duragesic for an entire day (on occasion I have forgotten to reapply after a shower)my pain levels increase and I require addition PRN. I do understand that that is considered physical dependance. I said to him that there is a big difference between someone who is physically dependant to have a decreased pain and a drug seeking addict, with a "Big Problem", abusing pain meds to get high. OK, I am getting defensive,lol. I know this is something that most people with chronic pain get hit with at some point, I just always thought I was so responsible in my PM.

    Pain in the Neck- I sure hope your MRI results are OK. Hopefully its just a muscle pull from the seatbelt. I always hate the waiting part of things. I am guilty of picking up the disks early and taking a peak. Even if there is no report I know basically what I am looking for being an OT. Good Luck.

    Thanks all! I need to get moving to work.
  • SHell

    I assume the PM is the one prescribing the meds. It was always my understanding that the doc who puts you on meds is the ONLY ONE who takes you off!! How dare the surgeon speak to you that way! If that is truly his feeling then he should have said he will work with you and the PM to find out why you need so much and see if there is an alternative.

    By accusing you he is accusing your PM of malpractice. Unless this resolves I would send a letter to the state medical boards reporting the surgeon for interfering with the treatment of another doctor.

    Hopefully everyone will cool off today. Maybe your PM can call the surgeon to see what his problem is. Or maybe you can have a consult with the PM and surgeon with your husband present.

    Another thought. You mentioned work. Does your job offer an EAP program? This would let you see a councelor for free. Or ask your HR department. THere are so many benefits we don't know we have.

    GOod Luck and keep us posted.
  • Kris-NY, yes the PM is the only one I get meds from. When I had my PLIF I was transferred to the temporary care of the surgeon, then he wrote for things. I have been back to the PM since March when the surgeon said that this was as good as the fusion site was going to get.

    My PM doctor called me this afternoon but I didnt catch the phone. He left a message stating that he will contact the surgeon and take care of things and he will talk to me at my visit next week.

    The surgeon has a PM doctor at his practice, but I have been with the same person for years so I never switched over to his when I was referred for surgery. Who knows if that is the problem. He said that he knew of my doctor and didnt approve of him injecting so many times in others. I havent had injections in years so he wasnt speaking of me directly. Seems like they may have a history I dont know about.

    I am a little calmer now, just very irritated. I am hoping I get some sort of appology, but I wont hold my breath. After my PM doc speaks with him I will decide what I need to do about things.

    It never seems to end does it?
    Thanks all for listening,

  • I've never seen a spot on that bill sheet for apology so I wouldn't hold my breath!

    I know some docs are very human and will apologize but I don't think it is common. To do what they do they have to have so much self-confidence that I think it interfears with things like apologizing. Also we have to remember that docs have lives too and if their wife just called to say the mother-in-law is coming for a month long visit that might explain the way they are acting - lol.

    I'm glad you have calmed down. ALways best to wait a few days to react to something like that and to ask for clarification from everyone involved.
  • I find it incredulous that a medical professional would say that to you! It sounds like he has a personal agenda with your PM doctor and you have been unfairly put in the middle. It is either that or your surgeon has no clue about the treatment of chronic pain patients. IMHO, I would look for another surgeon to handle your cervical problems. You truly need to have confidence in and a good relationship with your surgeon.

    Best wishes to you,

  • Hi Shell,

    This is the first time I've read this thread and I'm appalled at the way you were treated! First off, keep in mind that these doctors are working for you. You are not paying them to abuse you verbally. I wouldn't put up with it and I certainly wouldn't let that surgeon operate on me. You must have a trust relationship with your doctors or you deserve to look elsewhere. I'm just so sorry you're in such misery and then have this abuse on top of it. I hope you can get past this and find someone who will give you kind, compassionate and timely care. Will be watching this thread with interest. Hang in there!

    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
  • Had one like that too "called me a nut case" because I asked for something for pain after surgery! That whole team has been reported! I couldn't believe that out of ALL the good surgeons out there, that I'd be one that ended up with one like this. However, I discovered it after the surgery. DO NOT go with that JERK!!! Report him to the hospitals human resourses! They have to keep it in his file and maybe if he gets enough complaints, he'll be without a place to practice.
    P-I-T-I-F-U-L! So inhumane!
    He needs to has his azz kikked! I am so mad to hear this!!! Bless your heart!!!
  • Thanks all! I had him do my PLIF and was alittle put off by his bedside manner at first but then the next couple appointments were fine. Once he found out that I was not 100% after surgery and had the scar tissue issue he seemed to turn into a different person. I accepted it as is and said I know it wasnt anything he did.

    I know everyone has bad days so I like to give people the benefit of the doubt but like I said I will more than likely look for someone else. But I really hate for him to scare me away when he is the one that is wrong. Thats really just telling him he is right and I gave up. OK I will never here him say that what he said was wrong, but I do want to know what he has to say with the PM and what his response is. I guess I will wait till my appointment next week to see if I should pursue things.

    Had my first day of PT yesterday. Just an eval, heat and light traction. OMG that freakin hurts, afterwards, not right away! Actually made my lower back hurts more too, maybe that just a coincidence, I dont know.

    Well anyway, I will see the PM doc on Thursday so I really cant wait to see what he has to say.

    Thanks again,
  • This is actually the first time I have had PT for the cervical area specifically. After my lumbar surgery I had a few months of water PT which helped my entire body tremndously. Of course I tons of Pt the last 10 years before but nothing like this.

    I spend 10 minutes with a heat pack, I cant tolorate much more, it makes me dizzy. Then 10 minutes of traction at 13 pounds. They keep asking me if I get relief for any ammount of time. Honestly, it feels much worse for several hours, even to the point that I am feeling sick to my stomach. Today my arm, neck jaw and head where just screaming for the last few minutes till it was over. Now everything feels weak, I couldnt even read a story to my elderly group today, my jaw was just so tired.

    Just wondering what the immediate result has been for others when placed in light traction? She said we would give it a bit till we switched to something else, but I dont know how much of this I want to put up with.

    Thanks all,
  • Well, my PM appointment was a waste. I got put with the NP so she had no clue about the latest incidents and she said I would need to speak with the dr at the next visit. The ortho didnt send anything though. Maybe he reveiwed things and realized he was a bit out of line.

    I have had 5 sessions of PT. They stopped the traction because it aggrivated the heck out of me. We started with ultrasound, sub-oppcipital release, massage and some heat now. It makes a difference with the headache around the ears, but nothing for anything else. Just seems like we are just going though the motions for the insurance company. Guess I need to play the game,lol.

    Now the insurance company decided they wont pay for the fentora and they had the dr switch me to MSIR. Have tried many others before, this is the insurances suggestion. Now I am so dizzy and sick I am just laying around, plus very little relief at 15mg. No pain relief at work either because I could never handle my responsibilities. Nothing like getting rid of something that worked and I could function %100, just for the insurance company to save a buck. If I try this for a month and am not having good luck they will then pay for the fentora "they say". Pain the in the backside!!!!

    AARRGGHHH! Why does everything need to be so frustrating.
  • Its been a little bit so I thought an update would be in order.

    I finished PT with no improvement. Insurance will now pay for Fentora 100mcg which doesnt do to much, but it is something.

    I did not go back to the ortho that was a jerk. I have been going to my PM doctor who now wants to do a rhyzotomy on the lubar area and then consider a SCS. We havent really addressed the continueing concerns with the neck and of course I never went thru to schedule the fusion surgery.

    I have just consulted with a neurosurgeon at a teaching hospital and have an appointment for next week to talk about bothe the C and L areas. I had a new MRI, here are the highlights. No sense in repeating the old, osteoarthritis, minimal bulges and dessication comments at every level,lol.


    L5-S1-There is enhancing granulation
    tissue (epidural fibrosis) identified on the posterior aspect of the thecal sac in the surgical defect extending along the lateral side of the thecal sac on the left to surround the left S1 nerve root.

    As I said before, the C-MRI explains why I cant write anymore, have constant pain and drop things all of the time, dahhhhh. And the lumbar explains why when I am not laying flat I experience weakness/tingling and such from the waist down. Most recentely I have lost movement/feeling for several minutes at a time.

    Such a pain! I wish someone in the medical field would make some sort of attempt at helping me get thru this with my sanity intact! I am not asking for an immediate 100% cure, but something would be helpful.

    Anyway, when I make any sense of things I will be sure to let you know.

    big hugs,
  • Well, my call today to the triage nurse, got me an appointment tomorrow with the dr. My hand is cold, I cant write at all, its just sort of like a cramp from my neck to my finger tip. All things that when my family doctor sent the new referral last week she neglected to mention, DAAAHHHHHH! If people got paid my their job performance I bet there would be alot of unhappy workers.

    Wish me luck!
  • Good luck! I had the same issues with my hand getting cold, numb, and tingling. After my fusion it was all but a memory and now I have a new set of issues! Ugh!!!

    Best of luck to you and keep us posted!
  • I met a wonderful doctor at a teaching hospital. He started off by telling me that he is very conservative. I spent 4 hours there talking with the nurse, PA and then him. He is perfectly willing to work with me and the PM doctor due to my multiple dx's. He said he can help prevent more damage but is unable to help with the lumbar area due to extensive scar tissue, no ammount of surgery will help. Cervical fusion is scheduled for the end of March, pending I dont have worsening symptoms. He said next Tuesday but I need alittle time to wrap up things at work. He says he uses no neck brace and just a 2 inch scar. He will only be doing the one level with a plate. And I should be able to return full time within a month. We will see how it goes. Unfortunetely he doesnt feel I will get all of the mobility/strength back but the pain and headaches should be gone. Yeah!

    He also encouraged me to go right for the SCS if the PM will do that, and skip the Lysis and Ryhzotomy.

    Thanks everyone for your support.
  • Great news Shell.

    The count down begins.

  • JulieA said:
    Great news Shell.

    The count down begins.

    Surgery is going to be sooner! After a few days of constant burning from the top of my ear to finger tips I called and took him up on the offer for sooner. His nurse said she thought I would be calling. I am scheduled for next Wednesday. I have just been going crazy at work trying to get things ready. Got to keep from getting nervous now,lol.
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