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Congenital Fusion C2-3 Herniation C3-C4

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:38 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Hello I am trying to find out if anyone has a similar condition as I or can help answer some questions for me.
I'm a 34 F no know trauma, other than minor whiplash 9 years ago. Born with congenital fusion of c2-c3 June 2009 trying to resolve frequent headaches had cervical mri and discovered the followings:Findings: The C3-C4 level shows a pominent left paracentral disk herniatio, producing significant encroachment upon the left anterlateral aspect of the cervical spinal cord at c3-c4 and also upon significant encroachment upon the exiting nerve root on the left at c3-c4. Immediatly referred to Neurosurgeon who disagreed with the radiology report and told me I am not a good candidate for surgery at that point. Ordered home traction and PT, PCP managed meds which consisted of pain meds, anti inflammatory and muscle relaxers for tapeise muscles shoulder pains, after 9 weeks of PT with traction, electrostem, Ultrasound as well as excercies and home traction no relief, meds were also in effective. Neurosurgeon still says no surgery so PCP says no need to him anymore referred me to a Pain Management dr. Have since had 3 epidural steriod injections first one offered relief in the arm numbness and some of the pain the 2nd he also did trigger point injections into the muscles on top of shoulders, some relief for about 6 days but shoulder muscles sore for 3 of those. pain increased to above that of my initial visit. Yesterday had my last injection (3) for now and really hoping for 3 to be the magic number. I am very active and fear the narcotic pain medications. I myself have never had any addiction issues but I have family memeber who suffer with alcholism and others who have drug related addiction, so I'm very leary. I'm taking Lortab 5/500, naproxen 500 2x day, zanaflex 3x day and notriptaline 2x25mg at night..Does not seem to be working at all but again I fear stronger narcotics.
I'm not sure if doctors post here but I was hoping someone could clarify this for me. I was told that the c2-c4 vertabrates control 50% of the motion in the neck. With this said I can then understand why the nuerosurgeon is really reluctant to fusion surgery as the c2-c3 is already fused and in my opion has naturally increased the load on c4 causing the disk herniation. Second question for anyone is as a very active person who works on the computer all day and has alot of responsibility and people depending on me, is there any pain medication and muscle relaxer combination that has worked for you that you've been also able to function on without feeling too loopy to drive or work? I'm 34 and where as that is no spring chicken I really feel frustrated that no one seems to be offering me any other options than pills...and I can't quite grasp why surgery is just so extremly last resort. Keep in mind I did search for and choose a conservative doctor but I feel like I'm not being told something about my condition perhaps I'm looking for something that isn't there. I think my dr's are looking at the typical cervical herniation condition but I believe with the level above the herniation being fused that the herniated area is unable to rest and this is the cause of my unresolved pain relief, but they all seem to just see inside the box or if its a horse dont look for a zebra type mentality.

Apologies to those who have read this far for such a long long post but I wanted to fully explain my situation.


  • hi kelly ive had a lot of severe neck pain and the only known medication i had that didnt send me loopy and made me feel normal and helped instantly (within 10 to 20 minutes) with the pain was an anti-inflammitory called voltarin rapid doctors prescription only there are milder forms of this medication that can be brought over the counter but they do not have the same affect
  • I have recently learned that I have C2-C3 fusion. I have been taking cyclobenzeprine for a labral tear in my shoulder. It was helping my neck and I didn't know why. I thought my neck pain was related to the shoulder injury, but apparently not. Anyway, the cyclobenzeprine has helped and I have no side effects from the medication. I am a computer engineer who sits at a computer most of the day.
  • Hi,
    I also have a congenital fusion in my neck that contributed to herniations above and below that level. I went to 3 Neurosurgeons and one Ortho to be told that I wasn't a surgical candidate. With all the medications, etc., my second RFA/rhizotomy/nerve burn and pool therapy seemed to help the most. I am still on pain medications, but I understand why you want to avoid the strong ones. Have you talked with the pain mgt. dr about a trial medial branch block? If that works, they would consider a nerve burn. My second one worked the best. I was sedated, and that was much better!! This second doctor also seemed to have done a better job, because I have better results. Also, have you ever asked your doctor about tramadol, Ultram for pain? I have been told that it has less of an addition issue. I am not a health prof., but I think it is worth looking into at least. I wish you the very best. If I can help you at all, feel free to PM me. Good Luck and God Bless.

  • I understand what you are going though. I too was born with a congetial fusion at C2-3 and have a herniation at C3-4 C5-6 and C6-7. As well as I have L3-S1 all herniated. I had C5-6 fused 12 years ago and had C6-7 fused 90 days ago. I also asked my doctor about fusing C3-4 while I was already having C6-7 fuse and was told that it was a bad idea but with no explanation to why. I do know that C3-4 herniation is rare and can effect arm and leg weakness to bladder and bowel incontinence.
    As far as the pain meds go I take some heavy duty stuff after living like this for 15 years but I have found that the Votaren gel works really well. Since it is a topical gel you don't get any kind of high off of it. Works really great when I have been on the computer all day or when it gets cold outside and most people tend to get sore and achy feeling.
    Good luck.
  • I too was supposedly born with my neck fused - c1 & c2 and C4 & c5. I am now 37 with severe arthritis all throughout my body. I have been seeing doctors and chiropractors since I was about 12 for various aches and pains in my neck, shoulder, back, wrists, and ankles. I was a gymnast so everyone assumed the pain was just because I had weak muscles. Even though I had many many x-rays and such, it wasn't until 2001 when I had a head-on car accident that it was discovered that my neck was fused. The specialist explained that it was congenital fusion defect that somehow had gone undiscovered all that time. None the less I ended up having to have surgery to complete fusion of the rest of the neck because the compression on my spinal canal was extreme and they could not tell me the rate it was closing in because the just then discovered it when I was 23!!

    I recently fell on my wrist and thought I broke it and that the x-rays were not showing that and I then had an MRI on my wrist. Low and behold, my wrist also has a fusion! It just amazes me that no one noticed this either!!

    This is the question I am going to ask my new doctor on Friday; is my arthritis causing fusions of my bones or was I truly born this way and no one saw it until now. How is this even possible????

    So yes, I also in severe pain everyday and take multiple meds to help me get through the day. I completely feel your pain too!!


  • Hi, I am new here. I too recently found out I have a congenital C2-C3 fusion upon seeing a Chiro after having a migraine for 1 week and after multiple meds that my Neurologist threw at me wasn't working. I have been diagnosed with Migraines and seeing a Neurologist since I was 16, I am now 26. My Chiro seems to feel this could be a contributing factor. He also stated, and my spine doc echoed, these congenital abnormalities/fusions comes in 2's or 3's usually. This is on top of over the past 6 months I have found out the I have a congenital Pars defect at L4-L5 and spondylolysis, with fluid collection in bilateral L4-L5 facet joints. I am a nurse and it is all I can to to try to go to work and try to manage my household (no kids). In the past 6 months i have had 2 bilateral L4-L5 injections and 2 epiduradl injections. All in all my pain has gotten about 25% better on a non-work day. I leave a 12 hour shift in tears, as I obviously can't take meds that provide any sort of relief and work. I do not plan on the living the next 6 months like I have the last 6 months. Cymbalta has helped with some musculoskelatal aches and my mood, thankfully. I am consulting with a neurosurgeon right now to see if he can help, i never thought I would be in this position! Hope everyone has a less painful day!
  • Hi I've even having back pain for the past 7 months. Been to the dr multiple times. First they had thought I had kyphosis, but now my dr says I also was born with congenital fusion in c3 and c4. Would that cause back pain? I'm so confused.
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