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neck & upper back pain a year after 2 level ACDF C 3/4,4/5

Cindy22CCindy22 Posts: 21
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:49 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I had 2 level ACDF last December 22, 2009. (emergency surgery for it was choking the spinal cord)

Since surgery I had seen dr. of pain three or four times. I have done PT. I do not take any meds although I feel I need something at this point. Pain: two sharp points of pain directly on spine. One at the top of neck and the second down the spine between the shoulder blades maybe a little lower. When I turn my head I hear clicking/grinding and the pain worsens!!!!! Pain radiates into left shoulder and tricep. I could just cry!!!!


  • I'm so sorry you are in so much pain. I had the same issue after my two level ACDF (C5-C7) except my pain was in my back/shoulder blades and not my neck. I continue to have that same grinding and popping noise that you are experiencing and my neurosurgeon says that is the arthritis that causes that noise. I also have another level (C7-T1) that needs surgical attention and that has developed in the last 11 months or so, but we are avoiding surgery at this time for as long as possible and controlling that left arm pain with the SCS.

    Although the ACDF surgery took care of my hand weakness and severe right arm pain, I was left with terrible pain at the base of the neck and down and it feels like a hot ice pick being driven into my spine at times. I've had 3 epidural injections since my surgery in 2008, two long rounds of physical therapy (didn't help), and eventually was sent to pain management where I had a facet injection (didn't work), SCS trial and ultimately had the SCS implanted (11/2009). I got some relief from that, but still had the searing pain. Currently I am under the care of my pain management doctor, supervised by my neurosurgeon, and I use the SCS, muscle relaxer and a long acting pain patch along with Lortab (as needed) and an anti-inflammatory and I had an epidural injection last month at a little lower level than before and this combination is finally helping me to be more comfortable. I feel like I'm getting my life back, and I'm needing much less of the muscle relaxer and BT medication, but it has been a long, hard road and I know that because of this newest disk issue, I will be facing another surgery eventually, but for now this is good. I hope you can get some answers and feel better.
  • Reading these posts kinda scare me. Surgery was 13 months ago. About 6 weeks ago, I slipped down a few steps. My neck was already aching before that, but now it is really terrible. Surgeon has sent me for 8 weeks of "gentle PT" and hopefully this will resolve whatever is causing the pain. Like Cindy22, I have pain at my neck and between my shoulder blades. The headaches I am getting are incredible.

    All I can say is PLEASE GOD, I don't want to do this again!

    Let us all know what your docs say.

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