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Severe pain in cervical spine/neck and lumbar spine

During the past few weeks I have been suffering severe pain in cervical spine/neck area also in lumbar spine causing me pain in my feet/legs and buttocks areas. I have never before felt pain like this and am now quite worried that something has gone wrong with my previous operations: PLIF plus rebuild December 2008 - ACDF C3/4/5 September 2010 - Posterior CDF C5/6/7 plus plating to facet joints December 2011 ( 2 operations as plates etc had moved in 1st operation! ). Fortunately I am due to attend Spinal Clinic 27/9/2012. This year I have also had 2 Lumbar Caudal Epidural Injections which have helped pain for only a few weeks then back comes pain worse than ever. My other 3 operations have been total knee replacements including revision to one knee - 1998/2000/2006.


  • Wonderboytwice:

    I am not a doctor, but I feel we have a few things in common. I have had several back surgeries the first was in my low back building a cage & then adding a replacement disc above, this surgery relieved alot of leg pain (nerve pain) that was 12/2007.

    I felt good for awhile, then slowly got a little low back pain coming back (nothing near what I had) so I had a Radiofrequency Ablasion done on both my low back and my neck which started to hurt for the first time ever after my first surgery prior to that all my pain was low back pain, that was 07/2009.

    Then I had neck surgery which was a multi-level fusion 06/2010. Afterwards I had more pain then I had before the surgery but my arm numbness went away.

    Then while in PT for my 2nd surgery I started having a lot of knee pain, first just my left knee. It got so bad, I ended up having Arthroscopic surgery to clean it up because my meniscus was worn right thru the center down to the knee cap. That was 10/2011. My right knee has been bothering me for the past year, but I have not started investigating it for surgery yet.

    Anyway, my surgeries and dates of surgeries were very similar to yours. Then all of sudden in the past few months my pain level just went thru the roof. For the first time in years I started having a lot of low back pain. Then my neck has been hurting worse and I also have NEW mid-back pain now. I just went to my Pain Doctor this past week. Some of the things we discussed make me think you could be going thru some or all of the following:

    * My nerve ablation and any steroid injections I had are all wearing off. If you had RFA the nerves heal, and the pain can come back. And with my injections, the first ones lasted quite awhile, and each set after lasted less & less time, and the pain seemed to come back stronger - my theory is, we build up such high pain tolerances from being in constant pain, when that pain is relieved for awhile, those tolerances weaken, causing us to think the return of pain is worse, when actually we are just not as tough about it as we once were.

    * Also one thing that I noticed is that with each surgery I had to fix whatever issue I was having, after the problem was resolved within a year or less I ended up with NEW problems. My theory on this is that our spine is very similar to the game Jenga, each time they slide pieces in and out, they change the way the weight shifts. By altering the way things lean and how the weight is distributed new problems form. For example if your spine was unevenly putting more pressure on the left, causing a bulging disc, and they remove the disc and redistribute things so they no longer lean to the left - now you may be adding additional pressure to a different disc that previously had enough room, causing a new bulging disc. So as you heal from each surgery you have to realize that your back changes significantly, there is always additional strain above and below the surgery site for starters as it heals. So you could be feeling NEW issues rather than having failed surgeries.

    * I would guess the extreme pain, is from as I mentioned above a lower pain tolerance than you once had, making it seem worse than it is. BUT, I have had about 5 or 6 discs rupture, and I can tell you - that is the worst pain ever! When they rupture and the fluid leaks out and touches the nerves it is excruciating, but only lasts briefly, a day or two, maybe a week tops - and when this happened to me steroids helped alot. I always used oral dose packs when i had this happen.

    I hope you feel better soon, and that maybe I gave you some insight of things that are not nearly as bad as you feared. Make an appt. with your doctor, and maybe keep a log of the new symptoms, where and how painful they are, and what helped or how long they lasted. This way when you see your Doctor you have accurate details on what has been going on, and maybe that will help come to some answers more quickly and without to many additional days of pain & tests.

    Good Luck - Feel Better!
    Thank you,

    Back Pain (Undiagnosed) Since Age 12
    Chronic Pain Sufferer Since 1999
    Degenerative Disc Disease & Fibromyalgia
    Spinal Stenosis & Spondylolisthesis
  • WonderboytwiceWWonderboytwice Posts: 149
    edited 09/27/2012 - 8:55 PM
    Hello Everyone. Saw my Spinal Surgeon yesterday 27/9 and I now have to undergo Nerve Block injections to Lumbar Spine. In addition I have to undergo 2 injections to either side of my neck to reach facet joints! I am not looking forward to this in particular as no sedation is given due to injections being done in Scanning Department and not Theatre. Here's hoping they work as pain is very severe.

    Ops: ACDF C2/3/4 - Posterior CDF 5/6/7 plus plating to Facet Joints - PLIF L4/5/S1 - also had both knees replaced.
  • I have had the injection to the right side of my neck also the Nerve Block to the right side of my lumbar spine. The pain level to the right side is some better particularly around the neck area however I am due to get the left side done on 1st November. They have also discovered that part of the plating and metalwork at the top of the cervical spine is too long and is impinging on my neck giving me lot of pain. I have to suffer this until around Mch/Apl 2013 when they will have to open me up again!! Has anyone had this problem?
  • Have now had injections to left side of my neck to reach C5/6/7 areas also I had the Nerve Block to the left side of my lumbar spine and I am feeling a lot better thank goodness. I also asked if the CT Scanner could have a look at the top of my cervical spine and it is definitely metalwork that is trying to come through the skin. Not good so I shall have plenty to say about it when I attend Clinic on 22nd November 2012. The tremor in my left hand is getting worse and I also have now a tremor in my right hand which is new. I assume it is all to do with the damage to nerves in my spine. Hope that in time the tremors will disappear.
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