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Crippling Back Pain after Neck Fusion..

charliesangelccharliesangel Posts: 5
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:55 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I'm new to this site and have found it quite helpful to read through others posts. I had neck fusion a month and a half ago (three levels, C4-C7), was told by my doctor that I had the neck of a 60 yr old (nice guy.. huh?). I had extensive bone spurs that had grown around my nerves and had lost feeling in my right hand and arm. Numbness also in the left arm, but not as sever as the right.
Surgery went well, the numbness is gone (some tingling if I over do it but not much). My doctor has agreed to do an MRI on my lower back (which is the source of most of my ongoing pain, the neck was not causing pain, just complete numbness of hands/arms). He thinks due to the degeneration of my spine, more then likely my lower back looks the same way.
Luckily, because of the neck surgery I have not extended myself too much and my back has been verily calm in the last month and a half. However, I woke up this morning and can barley walk.
Even sitting is so painful I have to sit in a lazy-boy with arms, so I can support myself with my arms for the first few min's after sitting.
I have pain medication but refuse to take it, for personal reasons (I don't have time to go into it now, but it's for very good reasons).

My question is, I do not know if the two are related? I have had my back act up before with out doing something to stress it out, but I have never been in this much pain with out stressing it out.. if that makes sense.
Could my neck being fixed cause more pain in my lower back?
I have told my doctor, regardless of what we find on the MRI, I am done with surgeries for right now (I have had 6 surgeries in the last 7 years, so I'm tired). He agrees to try and treat me any other way, aside from surgery.


  • HI,
    Sorry to hear of your lousy spine...I have one myself!
    Could be that before the surgery, you were moving around more...the need to rest after surgery can in fact aggravate your back as you are not only moving differently, but you are probably moving less than usual. It's such a balancing act...sit, move, lay down, move, sit.... Your back may be as bad as your neck, so see how the dr can help without another surgery, if you're looking for that... degeneration seems to track down or up your spine... Personally, I have no disc material left, from L5 to T11...the bones are now fusing together... I hope you feel better! This is a great site for info and/or support! Let us all know how you're doing... Good luck!
  • Angel,

    I've had a question about that too. I've definitely had increased pain in my lower back, legs, etc. which has made it more difficult to walk, and very difficult to walk distances. I figured that the lower areas were aggravated by the neck surgery - either by a change in the way I'm moving or the lower trying to adjust to whatever affects from the neck realignment. My update with my surgeon is next week and he's going to review my lower back issues than.

    4 level ACDF C4-C7 5-2-11, laminectomy & discectomy L4-L5 1/26/12, ALIF L4-5, L5-S1 12/10/12.
  • Thank you both for such quick replies!

    I just had to email my teacher and notify him that I would be unable to make it into class... arrrr..... we had a test today that I will be missing.

    Karen, I am so thankful I am not the only one! However, I would never wish this pain on any one, I am very sorry that you have been experiencing the same. I do think I will email my neurologist. He did my neck surgery with the thought of fixing the upper portion first and then trying to fix the lower portion. Maybe he can do an MRI sooner then we planned.

    Frannie, ya... I do NOT want surgery. I'm tired. Thank you for your reply, I was thinking the movements that I'm not use to after surgery, might cause a problem. And maybe that is what flared this up.

    The lower back pain I'm experiencing right now, is much worse then post-op pain. I cough and it sends sharp pain up my spine and down my back side (rattling through my hip bones, down my butt and through the back end of my thighs).
    My neurologist knows I do not want another surgery and he has acknowledged this. He has agreed to do an MRI to make sure we know what exactly is going on and we will try every other route, aside from surgery to help me live/cope with the pain and live a normal life.

  • Yes.... I have been having more mid-lower back and hip pain since surgery. I think/hope it is from sitting a lot and not getting proper exercise. I will also discuss with my ns on my 6 week apt on aug 8.
    ACDF C4-5 June 23rd, 2011

    Another surgery in the near future. I am 26 years old.

    Current Meds- Norco 7.5/325, Cymbalta 60mg, Gabapentin, Adderall 20mg
  • I had mine 5 months ago and started to get burning sensations in my lower back around 3 months post-op. I did not have this problem prior to surgery. Did discover after the MRI that I have 2 mild bulges in the lumbar. Just started PT today and hope it will help this problem! I was told that if you have degeneration in the neck, you will have issues in the lumbar. I hope I can avoid surgery if possible. Let us know what the MRI says! :)
    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 am due for surgery August 11 for ACDF C5-C6. I am worried because I have bulging discs L4 through S1 with lots of arthritis. My concern is that sitting and resting from surgery will make the pain in my lumbar area difficult to deal with. Even my epidurals for my neck cause me pain in the lumbar area...I am not exactly sure why. I have used lidocaine patches with fairly good results. My plan is to use the patch during my recovery. I hate my spine! 38 and I feel 70!
  • Ya, Lili, that's exactly what my neurologist also said. If there is degeneration in the top, there will more then likely be in the bottom. He (and his nurses) were pretty animate about the theory of fixing the top portion first and then the bottom. Which makes sense to me.
    I have had two doctors diagnose the problem as a herniated disc, just from the description of pain. However, after the MRI was done on my neck, they now believe it's more then that... frustrating...

    Dana, aaaah.... I'm 30, oh, and feel the same way. I always said I'd retire at 35 but didn't realize it would be because of this.. I always thought it was because I fell in love with and married a man double my age (gives me a good excuse to retire early ;o) And he's in better shape then I am! After the neck surgery it's become a joke between him and I, in regards to age and health. He's got such a great sense of humor and it is nice to have someone around that understand aches and pains.

  • Yes, I feel like I'm 80 years old! I'm 42 and my 81 year old father-in-law is visiting from Sicily. He can do more than I can! He's been taking care of our yard since my husband has been doing way too much with household work due to my surgery.

    A herniated disc in your cervical or lumbar spine means you should not bend forward or twist. My first trip to the ER was because my physical therapist had me doing neck stretches where my chin touches my chest. That was what really started all the terrible burning pain in my upper back.

    charliesangle, Dana and KimD: I wish you luck with your lower back! I already have some improvements since I started the exercises from PT. :)
    2011 ACDF C5-6 for Spondylosis with Myleopathy
    2012 L4-5 herniated disc and hernated disc at C4/5 2013 Taking Amitriptyline for headaches
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