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Severe neck pain after ACDF operation in September 2010

WonderboytwiceWWonderboytwice Posts: 149
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:52 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Despite having intense physiotherapy since March 2011 I am still experiencing severe neck pain which does not seem to want to go away! Has anyone had this problem and resolved it? If yes I would love to hear from you. I feel that I may have to suffer spinal pain now for the rest of my days! The physiotherapist feels that wearing a soft collar for so long has seriously weakened the neck muscles. I have also been told to stand more erect which is most difficult when you have constant pain. They have tried numerous painkillers on me but most have little or no effect.

Previous ops: Rt knee replacement 1998 followed by early revision 2000 as first operation was failure! Lt knee replacement 2006. PLIF plus rebuild of bottom of spine 2008. ACDF C4/5/6 2010.


  • What about muscle relaxants? Have you tried those? Sometimes the pain is coming from muscles spasming and I can tell you from experience that that can be a big problem post-op. I still get them in my cervical and upper back area as well as my lumbar.

    If your neck muscles are severely weak, then it could be that they're fighting hard to hold up your head and revolting.

    Just a suggestion.
  • Had to go to my GP today as the pain was so bad. I have now been put on Amitryptiline and if these don't work I have also been given Baclofen as a backup. Finding it extremely difficult to sleep and pain is worse first thing in the morning. Will let you know how I fare. GP said if I feel dizzy at all not to attempt to drive the car.
  • Believe me I can relate. I had a three level cervical fusion on August 24, 2010. They say all is well according to numerous MRIs, but the pain is intense. It is all in one spot and feels like my neck is blocked. I am going to get a facet block to try and cope. I would never have done the surgery if I had known this was the result.
  • My neck pain is so bad today I can barely stand it. I had MRI about 6 months ago due to this pain and they said everything looks good, except for the bulging of 2 discs that I had prior to surgery (they say that can not be causing this much pain). I dont understand it. Ive had ACDF of C6/C7 a year ago due to loss of sensation and reflexes in my right arm. I still have bulging discs, but C6/C7 had ruptured and deviated my spinal cord so surgery was only option for that level. The bad part is that through all of this, I created a drug problem due to the pain. I took way too much to ease the pain. So now I think my doc is leary of prescribing me anything stronger than Lortab which is the same as eating candy to me because of my history of pain medication use. I lost my job because of all of it. Im to the point I just want to give up, literally. Im in so much pain, I just want to die sometimes. What do you guys do to alleviate the pain? I can barely move in the mornings.
  • :))) Since my GP prescribed me Amitryptiline, 2 before going to bed and attending regular physio the neck pain is I would say 80% better which is marvellous but unless I do the prescribed exercises my neck muscles are still inclined to go into spasm mode. I must therefore remember to do the exercises on a regular basis. My physio told me that correct posture is most important as incorrect posture can cause the neck muscles to stiffen up. When I was playing and teaching golf I was never overweight but in the past few years due to spinal problems I put on around 10 kilos but I am pleased to say that I have lost this excess weight due to careful eating and exercise. I only take my tablets if my neck is in spasm mode as they are never the solution to the problem. I am having a brain scan next month as my walking is still wobbly! Will let you know the result as soon as the Radiologist writes to me.
  • wow...you said it perfect! this is exactly how I feel. I have more pain now than I had before the surgery. I have 3 disks done 4 weeks ago and feel miserable!!!!
  • Sorry I erased post after reading
    ACDF C5-6 July 10, 2012 with plate and screws.
  • susabellssusabell Illinois Posts: 241
    I have the same issues here three level c4-7. I would of never done the surgery if this was the end result. I have just been presicrbed bacolfen as well, my neck and in between shoulder blades go into horrible spasms, especially later in the day. It is debilating. My surgeon recommends a posterier surgery with fusion for more stability pain dr. who works on same team as surgeon disagree's with surgeon. Pain dr. says the posterier surgery is the old fashion way of doing surgery and will not sign off for the surgery. So I do my exercises and take the medicine only when I go into spasm. I guess I will be one of those who suffer for the rest of my life. Very depressing indeed, I don't know anyone who would want to live with this kind of pain. If anyone else has ideas as to what they do for pain relief I am all ears.
    ACDF C4-C7 5/13/2010. Synthetic Bone Graft Failed Fusion.
    PCF C4-C7 8/13/13. Rods and Screws Fused in 3 Months with Autograft.
    C6-C7 Spineous process Surgically Shaved Off 3/11/14.
  • Hi Susie, I had ACDF C4-C7 almost 9 months ago. I am at work today. Suddenly I got some of the worst pain I have felt in awhile in my left arm/neck. I can only take Tramadol at work and I have already taken 200mg. I want to go home but, dread the long 1 hour 20 minute drive. Once I am home I will be able to take vicodin, ibuprofen or flexeril and ice. I wish I could just blink - like in the "I dream of Jeannie" show! :) I think I must be having muscle spasms - I do not know. Plus, I have a "buzzing" feeling on the top part of my left shoulder which I have been told that is the nerves coming back. I hope to be home soon :''(
  • susabellssusabell Illinois Posts: 241
    I hope you feel better! I cannot imagine being at work and having that kind of pain. I feel for you. When I was working I would have to excuse myself many times and run into the restroom and cry due to the pain.:-( It is amazing how the pains can come with no warning. I would walk into work and they could just tell by the look on my face how much pain I was in. I had a long long drive also. Message me any time Eva if you want to.
    ACDF C4-C7 5/13/2010. Synthetic Bone Graft Failed Fusion.
    PCF C4-C7 8/13/13. Rods and Screws Fused in 3 Months with Autograft.
    C6-C7 Spineous process Surgically Shaved Off 3/11/14.
  • MetalneckMetalneck The Island of Misfit toysPosts: 1,617
    Had my first 2 level anterior in 2006 - revised in 2008 to a 3 level anterior - posterior - cage .... been dealing with varied level of pain for about 10 years .... Spinal Surgery (#*&%@(#%@*#%&@(#*&% !

    And now I have lumbar issues also.

    I pray for us all.

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  • susabellssusabell Illinois Posts: 241
    No I don't believe you have the "Old Fashioned" surgery, that is what my Pain Dr. said to me. What a dumb thing to say, he has scared me to death. I agree with you God Bless Us All. This is not easy to deal with by any means. I am also having lumbar issues as well, just feeling like I am falling apart from top to bottom! I hope you are feeling better and I appreciate your help.
    ACDF C4-C7 5/13/2010. Synthetic Bone Graft Failed Fusion.
    PCF C4-C7 8/13/13. Rods and Screws Fused in 3 Months with Autograft.
    C6-C7 Spineous process Surgically Shaved Off 3/11/14.
  • I have only a one level ACDF 4-5, 5/2010, but initially fell and had 2 other cervical fx,a T5 fx and L345 as well.Other ortho trauma too.

    The pain in my shoulder and arm are improved from the initial damage, but have continous burning there that seems to be what I will be living with.

    Regarding posture, I starting taking a gentle yoga class at the YMCA. It's specifically for those with mobility issues, or surical or injury recovery. It has helped more than anything I've tried in the last year, and I was taking Oxycontin 15mg twice a day,with 3 or 4 Percocet for the break through pain.

    I have weaned myself off the opiates, take Tramodol in the mornings. It's the worst time after being still for so long. I still have pain, some days lots, but the opiates weren't working anymore, so I move as much as I can, and really do concentrate on my posture. For me it helps, and any bit of relief goes a long way.

    I never thought I would have good days again, but now I do, and it's incredible to me. I hope that all of you may get some relief from your efforts.

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