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Additional Cervical Disc Herniation or Bone Spur??

kgwozkkgwoz Posts: 5
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:46 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Hi everyone,

I had an ACDF on C5-6 almost four years ago and had a great recovery. Last week, I woke up with intense pain and burning in my neck and shoulder (sometimes shoots pain down arm). This time it is on the left side of my body (last time was on the right side and more in my hand). This new pain feels exactly like the pain I had due to my herniated C5-6. I have to call my surgeon, but wanted to find out what other people had similar issues and how the new pain was resolved. Did you have an additional ACDF on the new herniated disc?



  • Hi Karen,

    First let me say welcome to spine-health, have a look around. You will find a few of us floating around with multiple surgeries from either a surgery that had to be re done, new injury and or adjacent disc disease.

    AS far as what to do if you have a new herniation depends on the degree of it and what not. Sometimes they can be treated conservatively, but then sometimes depending the degree will need further surgery. I myself have been through both ways using conservative treatment and then eventually surgery. But till you see the surgeon it is hard to tell what is going on. I am sure he/she will need some new films and complete new physical exam to make a diagnoses. The good thing is you know now how it goes, at least.

    Just thought i would stop by and welcome you to spine-health and if I can do anything for you don't hesitate to pm me. Keep us posted and take care.
  • Karen,

    Howdy, and Welcome to Spine Health!! :) On the top of the web page is a search box that might help you with additional questions or research you might have.

    As to your symptoms. I had similar a year after my C5/6 was fused. Mine turned out to be the failure (adjacent level disk failure) of the C6/7 level. Mine resulted in instance loss of use and strength of my right arm along with numbness and pain.

    As Tamtam stated, even with symptoms like yours, and too what I had, the doctor or surgeon will examine you, and most likely order up diagnostic tests to see what is going on. And as was already stated, maybe see if you can be helped conservatively or if more invasive measures are needed. Please let us know what you find out. Again, welcome aboard!!!

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Welcome to Spine-Health.

    I just wanted to mention that you might find some comfort in looking at a dermatome map. Just google it and look for the best image.

  • Thanks everyone. I am seeing my primary care doc tomorrow to get the ball rolling, since my spine surgeon is out this week. Hopefully an MRI, etc will be ordered. I have my fingers crossed that I don't have to go through surgery again, but if I do, at least I know what to expect from an ACDF.

  • I have almost the exact same story as you. I had ACDF on C5/6 about five years ago. Most of the pain went away and I adjusted my life to the new normal of living with a fused spine. Then I woke up in early July from sleeping on a couch and all of it was back again.

    The only difference from you is that the pain, numbness and tingling is still on the same side as before, rather than switching sides like yours. So, I'm wondering what the heck is going on since I already had an ACDF, there should be no disk to herniate at that level. I'm beginning to remember why I underwent the ACDF in the first place, because this constant pain is terrible. I'm also not a fan of living on heavy duty pain meds all day.

    I wonder if there are some scar tissue on bone spurs at c5/c6 that are causing the pain. Hopefully an MRI will make things clearer.

    I went to my primary care physican and he sent me off for a week of superpainful physical therapy. I went back to the primary again and he referred me to an orthopedic doc. I have an appointment with him tomorrow, 8/18. Like you I am looking for answers and pain relief. I already did this once and am not looking forward to a repeat trip through the operating room.
  • Scoop - Thanks for your story. Hope you can find out what is going wrong in your neck too.

    I went to my primary doctor on Wednesday and she figures it is either a herniated disc, bone spur or arthritis of the spine. She ordered x-rays and an MRI. Will be going tomorrow for the MRI and did the x-rays on Friday. Fingers crossed that something obvious shows up. Also have left a message for my spine surgeon.

  • Doc did an xray and found out I had a few bone spurs at the top and the bottom of the acdf fusion at c5/c6. I'm seeing a chiropractor/physical therapist and have noticed a big drop in pain/spinal pressure after a few visits of spinal manipulation. I was nervous about the chiro since I already have a fused neck, but it seems to have actually worked. I still have several weeks of physical therapy ahead, but at least the really terrible pain seems to have eased up. However, the chiro said there is no way the bone spurs can be removed without surgery.

    I'm hoping that the inflation and muscle spasms will ease enough so that I can avoid that. I was advised to keep on taking the muscle relaxers, anti-inflation and pain meds until further notice in order to avoid any relapse. You know my brain is already telling me to stop taking the meds, but I'm going to follow doctor's orders.

    Please note: I am not making any suggestions about anyone's medical care. I am only writing about my own experience.
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