I have Degenerative Disc, back in 2007, was my first cervical fusion on C4,5,6. It failed to fuse, the plate was too big and I was in more pain post op than I ever was pre op? I asked the neurosurgeon at that time, why are we fusing 4,5,6 when the pain I have is in the head and ear? Anatomically, it didn't make any sense. I was told that I was experiencing "referred pain" I should have known that it doesn't help to tell the expert your thoughts... (I've worked in critical care nursing in the trauma unit for 22 years, I am a little familiar with anatomy :$ )
Second surgery, 2010, removal of all hardware, reconstructed C4,5 with cadaver bone, and then fused at C4,5,6,7.
Still in the same pain I had all along. :S I kept telling them, the pain goes up the back of my head on the right, and out my right ear. Very specific pain route, although the 2010 surgery did resolve the shooting pain I had going across my back and down my arm.
2 years later, I have been in pain management, I have had all the different types of injections, ablations, and the only relief I get is from the botox injections in both sternocledomastoid muscles. Botox is awesome stuff! But it is temporary and doesn't do anything for the head and ear pain. When that hits, thank goodness it only lasts a few seconds, because there is no kind of pain medication that could get rid of that pain. Diprivan maybe..... :<
I researched doctors down here in Florida, I moved here a little over a year ago, as the cold weather really caused my pain to get worse. I found a doctor that I really like and had more films... I have a fractured C1 and C2.... Can you believe that? On my way for a bone scan and an arteriole gram as he is concerned that I don't have enough bone to insert screws to. It looks like a posterior cervical reconstruction with something, my bone or cadaver, (my 13 year old kids me and says that if I keep going with all the cadaver bone.... I gonna be a zombie
) ) but reconstruction of C1, C2.... halo time and long recovery.
That is my story as briefly as I could make it....
I think the most frustrated thing about these fusions are the muscle spasms that we tend to get. I guess it is because our structure has changed.