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5 months post op still having neck pain

Just wanted to share with you all that I am experiencing the same problems 5 months post-op. Very bad card accident by drunk driver. I had a 2 level fusion (c4-c5 and C5-C6) and spinal decompression May 2012. I had an excellent Neurosurgeon in
the Philadelphia Area who was very honest by stating he could fix the mechanical issues (arms, legs,
hand, shoulder issues) which was very debilitating but neck pain he could not guarantee. NS referred me to a Physiatrist who stated that my neck pain that radiates into my upper back with constant headaches in the back of head could be from joint damage. Joint damage cannot be found on an MRI or X-ray so I am scheduled for a Facet Joint Block soon.
Cervical Surgery is definitely a very long, slow recovery and not being able to do your normal daily activities can be frustrating but I find some peace in knowing that I am not alone and a very supportive husband is a blessing. There is hope that at the one year mark which I am told is when you experience total fusion things could improve. Massage therapy really helps and I continue to do my daily exercises that I learned at Physical Therapy plus walking is key. First walking helps with the depression that comes with this long recovery and helps with flexibility. I will keep you all in my prayers for full recovery and if that is not possible then strength to take it one day at a time. May God bless you All!!


  • I am 3 months post op and I'm in the same amount of pain that I was before. Now they want me to get lumbar spine surgery. If it wasn't for my husband I will b going crazy too. I have been real down and out. Because I did the surgery thinking everything will go away fast, but that is not the case. I'm 31 years old and feeling sorry for myself.
  • I also am three months post surgery and have more pain now then before surgery, my neck constantly hurts, I have nerve pain in my neck that shoots into the back of my shoulders then to arms hands and fingers. Told my neurosurgeon this and he said see you in three months, the nerve pain I am having now is far worse then before surgery. Tonight I went to the High School football game, my daughter is in the marching band, the team they played was from Clayton N.J. where Autumn was from. Her brother is on the team as is a brother of one of the two arrested, it was emotional. I was sitting on the bleachers with my other daughter and my neck was really bothering me and when I turned my body to the right, jut a little, I had very bad nerve pain shoot from my neck to back of shoulders and ll the way down my spine. It scared me because I have never felt that. Hopefully I can get a doctor to order an MRI because I know something is not right. God Bless, Joe
    ACDF C5-6 July 10, 2012 with plate and screws.
  • jellyhalljjellyhall Posts: 4,373
    edited 10/27/2012 - 12:26 AM
    Welcome to spine Health. This is a great place to find others in similar situations to you and being able to talk with them is really helpful. I am sorry that you are still having neck pain 5 months after your surgery. Have your arm and other symptoms gone?

    I am having a 2 level ACDF on 5th November. My surgeon has warned me that this surgery is done to stop the progression of damage to my cord rather than to relieve my symptoms. He says that he expects 70% of his patients to get some sort of relief, but that he can't predict how much and how long it will take to see it. He did say that it will take 6 to 12 months to know how much relief I am likely to get. So you can see, there is still time for you to get more improvement. I really hope that you do continue to improve. He has warned me that the surgery may not help with my headaches and that it may even make them worse! He says we can try injections if that happens.

    To read your story has helped me to remember all these things he has said, and hopefully now I will have a more realistic idea of what help I will get from the surgery. I must remember that the surgery is to stop the progression of cord damage and that any refief I get will be a bonus.

    I had a lumbar fusion done 2 and 1/2 years ago and was pleased with the results from that. I do still have pains, but nothing like the pain I was in before the surgery. I definately found walking was helpful, both physically and emotionally and will be doing plenty of that after this surgery.

    Take care and God bless,

  • I had 3 level ACDF on May 15th, and this weekend was the worst yet. Still taking pain killers. I've been through over 30 ortho surgeries since birth, but nothing compares to this. Oh, and guess what? We just put my dad in a nursing home and was told he won't live 6 months, and I have a bullseye on my house for hurricane Sandy. It just keeps getting better!!! where's the percocet?
    - Vin

    3 level ACDF, c3/4, c5/6/7 in May 2012
  • I am still having issues with pain after a 3 level c4-c7. Having a Medial Branch Block on Tuesday on c6&c7 where thru
    a ct is confirmed non-union. VinG sorry to hear about your on going pain, and also about your Father. I will say a prayer for the hurricane sparing your home. Jelly my thoughts and prayers will be with you on Nov. 5th, please post when you can. Joe, sorry to hear the news, about your Nerve pain. The nerve pain I had prior to surgery wore me out, to the point of having to lye down most of the day and night. Prayer's sent to all on SH.

    ACDF C4-C7 5/13/2010. Synthetic Bone Graft Failed Fusion.
    PCF C4-C7 8/13/13. Rods and Screws Fused in 3 Months with Autograft.
    C6-C7 Spineous process Surgically Shaved Off 3/11/14.
  • All prayers accepted gratefully.
    I have my pre-op testing tomorrow morning.
  • I'm over a year out from surgery and i still have neck pain. what's weird is alot of the neck pain appears post surgery, it just never went away. the arm pain i had, went away for months, and now is slowly coming back. nowhere near as bad as pre-surgery, but definitely feeling it again.

    Just had a new MRI last week. and results are showing a protrusion at c3-c4 (directly above the fusion) and foraminal stenosis from c3-c6. sigh... unfortunately it never seems to end.
    Microdisectomy / hemi-laminectomy 6/2010 and revision 10/2010
    Cervical fusion C4-5 and C5-6 9/2011
    Lumbar Fusion L5-S1 6/2012
  • and I still struggle with healing. I had a 2 level fusion C5-C6. My neck has gotten a lot more stable after the fusion and this last month has showed a lot of healing progress, maybe more then earlier. Still, I have ways to go and my left arm is far from healed from the nerve damage. I also still struggle with neck fkare ups, aches and stiffness. There is no way of telling if the arm will ever get fully healed, but the steroid injections seem to help with pain and weakness. Waking up after surgery the arm was almost 100% normal again, all the numbness and pain gone. But then a few months into recovery the problems kept creeping back again. My surgeon says that it can take a long long time for the nerves to re-generate and when they do it can be very painful. So perhaps what we sometimes think is failed surgery or non-healing is in fact the nerves re-generating and giving us h... about it. Who knows.
    All I know is that the healing process from a fusion is far longer than I ever anticipated and that there's no way of telling how successful it was until probably at least a year has passed. Hang in there friends!
    Cause: car accident & genetics
    Effect: herniations C4-7, stenosis, osteoarthritis, myelopathy, neuropathy
    Non-invasive Treatment: everything under the sun
    Invasive Treatment: 2 level ACDF, C5 & C6, May 2012
    Moving Forward: SCS
  • shirleelynnsshirleelynn Posts: 6
    edited 11/04/2012 - 6:15 AM
    I had a two level ACDF, C5-6 and 6-7. I couldn't believe how much better things felt as far as the constant headache, and I was going paralyzed on my entire left side! The radiating pain and muscle spasm hasnever gone away. I have had injections, nerve blocks, used acupuncture, chiropratic, massage, etc. Yes walking and Yoga have saved me! The more active (gently) you can stay the better you will feel in more ways than one. It has been a number of years now and I am having problems above and below the fusion site, and of course bone spurs throughout the fusion. My doctor has referred me to a specialist who says that we may be able to avoid another surgery for a while, as the disc it only starting to compress the spinal cord. he is suggesting an implanted spinal cord stimulator....it seems a little freaky, and I am wondering if anyone else has heard of this or tried it?

    Secondly, yes, recovery takes a long time, and as mentioned the surgery itself is to prevent further spinal cord damage, not necessarily reduce all of the pain. Tens units used at home seem to help me a little, lots of praying, supoport from your family, exercise all of these will help. Hang in there, and I am thinking of all of you that have upcoming surgeries, and those of us who are dealing with the aftermath. VinG, hope that you and your loved ones are o.k. after Sandy! Pain free hugs to all!
  • Zeus2006ZZeus2006 Posts: 23
    edited 11/05/2012 - 10:17 AM
    My desk job causes stiffness in my neck and upper back every day, I am 34, M, height/weight proportionate, 6 months post op, c3-c5 ACDF. I have tried to be conservative, but I live alone, and I have to cook, clean, etc mostly on my own. My neuro said i had a bulge, but no compression at c5-c6, but choose not to fuse a third vertibrae, as a triple fuision is difficult to recover from/ have successful fusion. Lately, I have been in pain in my neck and back, and felt a bit of tingling in my hands, and I am afriad something happened to compress my c5-c6 disc. I will probably try to get a second opinion soon.
    Now, I have had a FEW good days. Every now and then, I realize I am pain free. Mostly, it lasts an hour or two. And the lainfree symptoms have occured more lately. But then on days when I am in pain, I am probably about a 4 or 5 of 10. Usually, I wake up in the AM and feel better though, where as pre op, My flare ups would last DAYS. Pain meds dont realky help me, so I dont take them often. The only thing that gives me releif within the day is PT. But Im soooo tired of PT. Been doing PT for 3 x's a week since early Jan this year. Ugh. Right now, I just want to go from work, make dinner, and relax for an evening without pain. At this point, I am being pessimistic in thinking this dream may never be a reality for me.
    Is everyone else handcuffed to PT for pain management 6 months post op ?
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