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4 years post cervical fusion 2 levels pain getting worse

iris3599iiris3599 Posts: 3
edited 06/11/2012 - 9:03 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Hi everyone. new to forum I had a what i would call a very successful 2 level anterior neck disc removal with fusion over 4 years
ago following a roll over car accident which occurred 10 months previously, During that 10 months I had physically therapy 3x a week including aqua. Chiropractic, epidurals, massage, traction and blocks. Nothing helped the constant pain
like an ice pick in my neck. Tried pain killers, steroids, muscle relaxers nothing helped until I had surgery. Made a hugh difference. Unfortunately I developed severe scar tissue and arthritis especially in facet joints. Trigger point shots, chiropractics, radial frequency (once a year ) have allowed me to continue working at a very labor intensive job
in a school kitchen. However over the past several months the pain has gotten so much worse. Can't afford chiro anymore and just had trigger point shots 2 weeks ago.I am currently using tens unit, ultrasound, heat and ice. The only relief I can get and that is temporarily is when I take a pain med and a muscle relaxer which I won't take more than once a day. Due for radial frequency in July but wake up every morning with migraine and, stiff neck and severe pain in shoulder blades, Fortunately school out till
august. I know I can get relied from RF procedure but since it only last 8-10 months i was hoping to have as close to school opening. Can't even do minor housework as it stands now. Any suggestions will be appreciated


  • Hey Iris

    Sounds like you have tried many things to alleviate pain. Sorry nothing seems to help. I have severe foraminal stenosis which neuro want to do acdf at c4-c7. I know your pain. I also dont want surgery because like in your situation it may only temporarily help. Sometimes I wish we had a crystal ball to see what would work and what wouldnt for us. Maybe so kind of revision surgery to remove scar tissue would help. Truth is I just dont know. I, like you and everyone else on this board just do the best we can. Pain management may be another choice. God bless and good luck

  • First let me say welcome to spine-health. Have a look around and you will find many whom have had ACDF and felt better for sometime and then the pain has returned. I would suggest that you need a new set of films of your neck, such as, x-rays and or a MRI. There is a condition called adjacent disc disease that happens to the surrounding disc once you are fused. Which means those disc now become the load bearing disc and fail. The fact you felt better and then things began to turn for the worse, suggest something is wrong.

    Further, your hardware could be a issue. They can put a hardware block in to see if it is the problem. But first off are you sure you fused originally? If you are fused the hardware is not needed any longer. So taking it out, it is not a problem most don't do it as it is a surgery with risk. But if it is causing you problems then it needs to be removed. I myself have had some removed and then suffered adjacent disc disease and had more hardware put back in.

    If you don't need a referral to see your surgeon I would make a appointment with them and see what they have to offer. It might be you don't need surgery, but then again who knows and it is worth a shot to see what is going on. One thing you can do is look at a dermatone map and see if any of those pathways are the pains your having?

    Just thought I would stop by and welcome you to spine-health, to let you know your not alone and we all do understand the pain your living in. If there is anything I can do for you in the future don't hesitate to pm me. Otherwise look forward to more of your post. Take care and keep us posted on your progress.
  • I had a (2) level fusion, that fell apart. When a different neurosurgeom, went in to do the levels above,
    he confirmed this. It did NOT show on any MRI. He ended up fusing, the (2) that fell apart, and the (2) levels above that, for a total of (4) levels.
    I had the left sided migraine-like headaches, and I also had radio frequency. It worked once.
    The next time I had RF, my whole neck and left shoulder, was red, swollen and so painful for a month!
    I am never doing that again.
    I am four years post the 4 level fusion and now I can feel pain going down my spine from the top of my neck.
    My left shoulder keeps getting tendonitis, and since my insurance switched Medicare to primary and ANTHEM to secondary, neither will cover ANYTHING related to my neck. (this was a drunk drivers fault, but the trooper let her off)

    I am 53, and I feel like I have nothing to look forward too. I cannot keep paying out of pocket, on a disability check.
    She was underinsured, so the settlement was a total insult. The attorney bullied me into settling and I had told him I wanted to go to trial so everyone could know the whole story.

    No more needles for me, and I am down to 20mg of oxycodone TID, which is better than all the other narcotics that were piled on me.

    Is this the best I am going to be? I have no place to turn for help since my MEDICARE told me I am "no longer a productive member of society, therefore, I do not qualify for any more treatment".
    How kind of them. They sent me a letter, telling me, my file was now, "closed".
    "For we walk by faith, not by sight"~ Corinthians
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