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???? Could a Fusion cause Severe Headaches.....

MLT01MMLT01 Posts: 172
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:54 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery

Hello Everyone,

I was wondering if anyone had or does have severe headaches from there Fusion??? I have been having a headache now for about 2 months...It feels like a ICP headache but wasn't sure could it be coming from the back? I had a strange feeling 2 months ago walking and that night flat on the couch with a headach....

Maria
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Comments

  • Where was the fusion? Cervical, thoracic or lumbar? Headaches are most like caused by muscle spasms in the neck, but it all depends on where the fusion is.
    2011 ACDF C5-6 for Spondylosis with Myleopathy
    2012 L4-5 herniated disc and hernated disc at C4/5 2013 Taking Amitriptyline for headaches
  • I also have had the worst headaches after acdf which I had 4 1/2 months ago. Very bad I don't know why. Maybe it is neck muscle spasms. Does this ever go away? I hate this surgery so much!
  • Did you have headaches before surgery? I had them before and I still get them because of muscle spasms. Which levels did you have done?
    2011 ACDF C5-6 for Spondylosis with Myleopathy
    2012 L4-5 herniated disc and hernated disc at C4/5 2013 Taking Amitriptyline for headaches
  • I had these headaches after the fusion and now I so regret this surgery. The doctor told me it is probably from the surgery and I do believe it is because I am not a headache person. I had c5-6 fusion and when I get really bad headaches I get nausea. I am seeing an osteopath on Monday for it to see if there's anything I can do. I also have muscle spasms on my neck but the weird thing is that I didn't really have them as bad before surgery, they were mostly on my upper back now I have them on my neck and head which is worse pain. I wonder if this from the hardware or the structual change in the neck. The surgeons don't tell you anything about these things.
  • Keep in mind fusion is a major assault on your body. I also had body aches and pains that I never knew could hurt after surgery.

    One remote chance could be a little spinal fluid leakage after surgery. It's pretty remote, but when that does happen, most folks get a very bad headache among other symptoms.

    If you keep having headaches that you've never had before, it's certainly worth mentioning to your doctor.
    Several Epidurals, L4-S1 360 ALIF, Numerous Facet Joint Injections, RFA x2
  • I am still having headaches 6 months after surgery. I had c4-5 fused with plates and screws. I had headaches before surgery but severe and daily headaches since surgery. Brain scan to rule out anything else and then on to the pain management dr. I'm wondering about the occipital nerve being inflamed. Thinking about an occipital nerve block. Any thoughts from those who have had this done for headache relief?
  • I had the bad headache's before I had my fusion with cage C5 C6 C7 on Jan 23 2007 my neck would swell. Now I don't have them. I don't have the plates & screws per say mine is kinda weird-looks like the rods goes threw the top of C5 all the way threw C7 2 of them then a plate with screws. I had steno sis, bone spurs which was Big, compression on spinal cord. Something is just not right are you seeing a Neurosurgeon??? If not go see one please!!! Even with a spinal leak it should have quit by now, I had Lumbar Fusion in May 24th 2007 L3 L4 L5 S1 & I had spinal Leak with a God awfull headace but the hospital was to far from me the surgeon was afraid for me to ride that far in the ambulance it was a NIGHTMARE!!! We did what he told my family to do & it did quit but lord it was bad along with the pain.
  • yes, possible. I suffer form them... on a daily basis.. see: Occiptial Neuralgia

    What is Occipital Neuralgia?

    Occipital neuralgia is a distinct type of headache characterized by piercing, throbbing, or electric-shock-like chronic pain in the upper neck, back of the head, and behind the ears, usually on one side of the head. Typically, the pain of occipital neuralgia begins in the neck and then spreads upwards. Some individuals will also experience pain in the scalp, forehead, and behind the eyes. Their scalp may also be tender to the touch, and their eyes especially sensitive to light. The location of pain is related to the areas supplied by the greater and lesser occipital nerves, which run from the area where the spinal column meets the neck, up to the scalp at the back of the head. The pain is caused by irritation or injury to the nerves, which can be the result of trauma to the back of the head, pinching of the nerves by overly tight neck muscles, compression of the nerve as it leaves the spine due to osteoarthritis, or tumors or other types of lesions in the neck. Localized inflammation or infection, gout, diabetes, blood vessel inflammation (vasculitis), and frequent lengthy periods of keeping the head in a downward and forward position are also associated with occipital neuralgia. In many cases, however, no cause can be found. A positive response (relief from pain) after an anesthetic nerve block will confirm the diagnosis.


    Is there any treatment?

    Treatment is generally symptomatic and includes massage and rest. In some cases, antidepressants may be used when the pain is particularly severe. Other treatments may include local nerve blocks and injections of steroids directly into the affected area.


    What is the prognosis?

    Occipital neuralgia is not a life-threatening condition. Many individuals will improve with therapy involving heat, rest, anti-inflammatory medications, and muscle relaxants. Recovery is usually complete after the bout of pain has ended and the nerve damage repaired or lessened.


    What research is being done?

    The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) and other institutes at the National Institutes of Health conduct research related to pain and occipital neuralgia in their clinics and laboratories and support additional research through grants to major medical institutions across the country. Much of this research focuses on understanding the basic mechanisms of pain and testing treatments in order to find better ways to treat occipital neuralgia.

  • I had the Occiptal Nerve Blocks..
    they worked for me.. but they do wear off.. after a while... but well worth it.
  • I had the Occiptal Nerve Blocks..
    they worked for me.. but they do wear off.. after a while... but well worth it.
  • Sporto:

    Talk about nailing it!!! Exactly to the point of what I was having & have from time to time wow!!! Thanks you answered my silent question's!!! I also have to have the steroid which is called Trigger Point Shot's done. Also take Muscle Relaxants not only for my neck but for my spine because of all the nerve damage. I also take antidepressant's since I deal with so much pain from fusion from neck & back fusion's. But man wow never in my life how someone described to a T the exact headache that I was & have sometimes even after my C5 C6 C7 fused with cage. I just had 4 Trigger Points done on the 6th Dec but did not help me :( so not headache's but I am afraid something else is going on, which will be seeing my neurosurgeon to see if the spurs are bk or other disk gone :(. but thanks again for the POST!!
  • Glad it sounds familiar... but please see your doctor. When I read your post, it sounded like what I was having and was diagnosed with and looked it up and read the description and it nailed it for me to.

    I was having Occiptal Nerve Blocks done, which help
    instanlty, but do not last permanently... but for the time it does last its AWESOME! THe Occiptal Nerve Blocks are Trigger Points Injections on the back of your head on both sides... IF it works.. the site will be NUMB... instanlty. So far every time I have had it done.. It has worked. (NO PAIN) (NO HEADACHES)!!!

    I take Topiramate also known as TOPOMAX..it helps with the Severe Headaches caused by the cervical fusion. This medication works, but you CANNOT DRINK
    ALCOHOL N THIS MEDICATION!! and they MEAN it!

    Unfortnuatly, no surgery is 100% perfect.... and sometimes some people get side effects, some don't.

    Please see your doctor and wish you well,
    Good luck! and keep me posted I hope it works out.
    HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!
  • Hey,
    I have just had my 2nd fusion (first c6-c7, now c5-c6) about 4 weeks ago. I am going in tomorrow for my post op check up. I have had headaches every day for about 2 weeks. but I have had the occipital head aches in the past and went in for the blocks without much success. I am a retired martial artist and was trained to make something traditionally called " dit da jow" which is just a topical anti-inflammatory and I have used this with wonderful results on my head aches for several years. (I haven't used it now because they told me anti inflammatories slow the bone growth so I thought I shouldn't use it for now???) but there is a catch, it smells pretty strong and I am typically confined to the house when I am using it, the plus side is I am symptom free for the rest of the day. I'm not sure how this would work, if you are able to send me an e-mail I would gladly send you some for you to try out and see if it relieves your symptoms as well. I have used it with countless numbers of students for several years with no harmful effects but that would be "at your own risk" if you want more info just let me know. totally free of course, just trying to help.
  • I am searching for answers for what I have been dealing with since I had to have surgery due to a accident I was in on august 22 2012, had 4 disc removed and 5 vertebrae fused from C3 to C7 on October 16 2012, after 12 weeks I was sent to pain management by the surgeon who did the fusion, prior to the surgery I had severe headaches, neck pain, numbness in hands,I would actually drop things,the pain was so severe at times I thought I was having a heart attack till I got up to call 911 and just as fast as the pain started it was gone, ruptured disc were pushing on the nerves, after surgery I have all the same symptoms minus the numbness in my hands, I have had an epidural no results, injections directly on the nerves themselves no results, the nerves at each location of the fusion cauterized, nerve block to the occipital nerve with no results, I guess I shouldn't say no results, it had little to none effect on the consent pain I am having, I wake every day with a stiff neck and a moderate to severe headache, I take a 8 milligram hydromorphone and a Fioricet every morning and wrap my head in a heating pad till the pain is bearable enough so I can get ready for work at 3:30 am, I spend most the day behind a desk since the accident, I have to take a 2 milligram hydromorphone and a Fioricet around 10 am just to get me to quitting time, I go home totally exhausted every day, most saturdays I spend resting in bed just to have enough energy to cut the grass and the shopping on sunday for the following week, I do live alone so there isn't anyone there to help me with things I have to do like laundry cooking and cleaning.

    so if anyone has had this problem after a fusion and you got past the level of pain I am experiencing I would like to hear how
    Brian J Sheidy
  • I wish I had an answer but I can say that I also had an ACDF on C3-C7 in October 2012 and here I am some 15 months later with the same and a few more difficulties than before the surgery. The headaches which the neurosurgeon dismissed were confirmed by my pain management doctor as occipital nerve headaches, I had a brief period after the surgery without them but they have returned and the only relief I can get is with anti-inflammatories which they don't like you to take because of the fusing process. I went through a phase of chest pains that shot down my arms after surgery and went to the ER just to confirm it was not the heart, I went through a phase where I swore I had a torn rotator cuff in my shoulder, I went through a phase where the pain went in between my shoulder blades so hard I swore I had thoracic discs out. All of these symptoms come and go where different pain takes priority and I get afraid to even talk about it because it seems crazy and impossible that yet something else is a problem. Before surgery i had some trouble with my hands, but the past 2 months I am losing all strength in my hands with electric charges in my fingers and pain in my wrists, dropping things like mad. They did an EMG and said it was double crush syndrome due to carpel tunnel in both hands so to simply wear hand splints. It's worst at night as a side sleeper and I turn every half hour because of the throbbing hands and down back hip leg, whatever side I am on. Feet are numb as well and dont even want to talk about that. I started on a Butrans 20mcg patch 6 months ago with 10 mg oxycodone as needed which has gotten me back up and moving but not to the point of working and my question is how do you work when you are so drowsy and loopy? I want to try epidural or RFA but I am so afraid of any procedure at this point. In short, I hear everything you are saying and you are not crazy and you are not alone. Wish I had an answer but will post it when I find it :)
    Liv38
  • fran37ffran37 Posts: 1
    edited 03/16/2014 - 5:57 AM
    I have congenital neck vertibrae fusion with arthritis, this has given me trouble for over 20 years! However was only diagnosed when I went privately for physio 10 years ago and then 3 years ago had an xray at the hospital!! Had nerve block injections in facet joints nearly 3 years ago! Agony as the joints stiff and hit nerves each time the needle went in (about 14 times on each side!) and worse for weeks but then helpful for a few years! I recently had my first Mammogram and my neck and shoulders, despite warning the ladies at Breast Test Wales, were manhandled! into position.For a week I was in trouble with shoulder pain and nerve pain down each arm into fingers and then headaches . Then got off my bicycle into work and blinding headache top of head so severe, wretched in toilet and then slid down the wall to sit on floor and hold my head! I was crying in pain and ended up in A& E-CT scan and then Lumbar puncture despite protests that it was my neck not a brain tumour or meningitis! There was only a dismissal from hospital and no follow up.I can no longer cycle as my coccyx gives me pain on sitting and standing after being seated, and cycling makes that worse. I now walk to work as I cannot afford bus fare and find I have hip and back pain also! My Doc has ref me to the spinal docs and as the last time they saw me I was told that apart from the injections, fusion was the next option, I decided to investigate to see what i would be letting myself in for. This website and the comments of people who have had the procedure has lead me to despair at what I should do as It doesn't sound like surgery is an option worth following! Any one out there have anything positive to say? Or even any advise in hindsight?
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