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2nd opinion?

aggienickaaggienick Posts: 14
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:46 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I used to post on here back in 2007 when I had my ACDF surgery 2 levels c5-c7. I went three years with only a couple of flare ups but at the end of 2009 an mri showed that my c4-c5 is now bulging. The flare ups have incresed considerably since the end of 2009. My ortho prescribes oral steriods and muscle relaxers to help calm the flare ups down. I asked him if I would be able to do certain activities without pain such as golf and he indicated that I would be very limited in doing such activities. The only other option he recommended was epidural shots. I am not sure if there are any other options and was considering getting another opinion from a nuerologist. Any feedback is appreciated.



  • Welcome to Spine-Health. Good to have you here.

    For starters, second opinions are almost always a good thing.

    How do you feel in between flareups? How long does the medication help? Do you have constant pain?

    I don't really know what your next step could be, so getting another opinion might be a good idea. I know that I'm having some problems above my fusion and I'm still able to play golf. But you need to be sure that's not something that's going to make you worse or put you in danger.

    Is the doc you're going to a spine specialist? Or is this the same one who did the surgery before?

    Sorry for all the questions, it's just that the more we know, the more we might be able to help or make suggestions.

    Again, welcome and let us know more about what's going on.

    Take care,
  • Thanks Cath.

    Before my recent problems the flare ups were only occurring once a year and lasted for a couple of weeks. Since the end of 2009 I have had 4 flare ups that last about two weeks except the one I have now has been 3 weeks. The pain is tolerable mostly spasms in the neck and traps but this time I experienced intermittent pains in my arms and shoulders. I tried putting away a few dishes this morning and paid for it for a few hours.The muscle relaxers seem to help the most but make me very sleepy. My ortho is a spine specialist who performed my acdf.He is a great surgeon but it is very difficult to get info from him.
  • I like to get a couple opinions. It makes me feel like I'm getting the whole picture. If the second doctor says the same thing then you know which direction to go. If not, then you'll have to do the pros/cons list for both and make a decision. Let us know what you learn. Take care!!
  • HI Aggie,

    Welcome to spine-health. Sorry you had to return to us for a additional pain.

    As you know one of the biggest risk with fusing the cervical spine is adjacent disc disease. That is without the movement in the levels you have had fused the motion is placed on the adjacent levels and they are doing double time. With that being said my guess is your surgeon see's the new issues but feels at this time you could benefit more from conservative treatment than cervical intervention. Also keep in mind while yes they did surgery on you before they also need to follow the protocols that go with maintaining our necks. I would speculate that he is trying to maintain your ROM, as well. I would take the injections, if it was me. I have had injections following surgery and they kept me off the OR table for sometime. Just because they may not have worked for your first surgery doesn't mean they won't work now.

    AS far as the second opinion, there is never anything wrong with that either. Even as someone with multiple surgeries I still did the second opinions not because I didn't trust my surgeon just because I wanted to get a different perspective is all. Keep in mind it is your body and you need to do what is best for you.

    Keep us posted on what you do and if there is anything I can do don't hesitate to pm me. Take care.
  • Thanks Tamtam and rwill.

    Making an appointment with a neurologist for a second opinion. The spasms were not too bad a few days ago but yesterday was pretty miserable. Today they are considerably better maybe the predisone is kicking in. I work in the golf industry (although currently unemployed) and play golf frequently because of my job. My concern is that I will not be able to play that much in the future.
  • still suffering spasms in both of my arms. Scheduled for a mri on my c spine tomorrow. Muscle relaxers don't seem to provide any relief from the spasms.
  • Hi Aggie - Let us know how your MRI goes. Hopefully it will give some answers and give you some clear direction.

    My husband, and two twenty something sons are big golfers. The younger son hopes to make it his career. I cannot imagine any of them having to quit due to spinal issues like you and I have - it would devastate them. So sorry. Sadly I tried golfing, but it really bothered my neck, so I didn't get to play for long, but it sure is fun! Now I watch them in their tournaments.

    Best wishes,
  • Thanks.

    Had the mri yesterday and my c4-c5 disc is still bulging. My ortho made an appointment for an epidural next Tuesday. My arms started getting better yesterday but my neck seems to be a little worse.
  • I had my second epidural at c4-c5 last Monday and see some improvement, but my forearms still continue to cramp a bit depending on useage. I noticed after the second shot my arms started shaking a lot more the Dr. said it is related to the steriods. He said he wants to do another shot at the lower levels c5-c7 since the spasms are in my forearms and hands. Is it normal to have more spasms right after the shot and then they dissipate? He also put me on Lyrica and instructed me to take them at night. Thanks Nick.
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