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Pain is HORRIBLE!!

I have had 2 neck surgeries. The 1st one was back in 2009 (anterior) to fuse 4 discs. The 2nd was a refusion of c6/7 (posterior). I have been in severe pain since. Stabbing shoulder blade pain into the neck, down the arm into the elbow, down the forearm and into the pinky and ring fingers. I have been diagnosed with some sort of Ulner nerve damage. Could this be the reason for the SEVERE stabbing pain in the inside of my shoulder blade? I've been told I need surgery. What type of surgery am I looking at and will it take this horrible pain from my shoulder/neck? I'm beyond frustrated and live on pain meds....they barely touch the pain at all. I see an orthopedic surgeon, but would like to get others opinions on this as well.

I know I have probably posted/vented this before on another forum, but I'm back for additional comments. I work sitting and typing at a computer all day and I can not begin to tell you how much pain I am in on a daily basis. :(

Has anyone had this happen after posterior cervical fusion? Did you have complications with the Ulnar nerve or any other nerve damage? Did it require surgery and if so...did it help?


  • Hi ya, i had a cervical fusion around the same time, but haven't had the problems you've had... what i did have though before i had the cervical fusion was similar pain as you describe. At first they had me on pain meds like tylex and tramadol... but they didn't touch the pain at all... nor did morphine injections... what finally worked for me was lyrica. Lyrica saved my sanity til the operation.... it has side effects though... but for me those side effects were worth it as once they got my lyrica to the right level i was relatively pain free at the height of the doses... felt it when I was due a dose... but all in all worth it. My side effects were weight gain (which came off farirly easily once i came off lyrica) and short term memory loss... now that drove me a lil nuts lol, but i managed by writing practically everything down... and i do mean everything! Got lost in the grocery store once... and I'd forget where my 16 year old had just told me where they were going... solved that one by having them text me details everytime they went somewhere... nuisance but i'd take a bit of periodic short term memory loss over the pain... anyway the difference about lyrica is that it is a neuropathic pain killer... hits the pain at an entirely different level than narcotics.... if you're not on a neuropathic pain killer... i'd suggest you chat to your doc about it... best of luck and hope you are feeling better soon!
    L4-L5 fusion 1998; ACDF C4-6 2008; DDD
  • Thanks diamonde for the info. I will definitely keep this in mind. :)
  • tina coylettina coyle Posts: 125
    edited 04/19/2013 - 6:05 AM
    HI in 2007 i had a fusion at C/3C4 C4/C5 C5/C6 and the told me i had cervical myelopathy but since then i got other problem with my back i could go on, but i fast forward to 2012 when i kept getting this stabbing pain in my right shoulder and pain all over that area from the neck down . Also in the right arm and my ends of my fingers on that hand were numb , i had a lot of pain over the year but that shoulder pain was bad well i went to see my consultant he did a MIR and told me i need surgery strate away on C6/C7 for about 3months great releif but now i am sorry to say the pain is just back to the way it was before surgery the medds are not helping i really do feel your pain. I rang the pain team i am under last week told them what i am going through and they have made me an appotment to go in and see what they can do for me Are you under a pain team and if so give a try .The earlyest app they had for me was 14 may , just try and rest up as much as you can dont carry or lift with that arm , and no Ironning with that arm thease are just small things but they help. Takecare
  • Hi Tina. Yes....I've been seeing a pain specialist for over a year. The pain has gotten worse over the last few months to the point that none of the medication I am taking is working. The pain specialist looked at my EMG and said I needed Ulnar nerve surgery. But...he is not a ortho doctor and didn't understand that my pain that is in my arm/shoulder and hand is coming from the cervical spine/thoracic area. The pain doctor does nothing but dole out prescriptions and tries to mask the pain...(that's not working anymore) I see the ortho doctor on Thursday so will hopefully have more answers. All I can say is....I know my body and recognize the increase in pain and know that something is not right. Anway....will be back to post what he says. Praying for the best :) Thanks and take care!
  • KC, I have been there, not knowing whats going on, and been at the mercy of doctors trying to figure out what to do.

    I understand the medications start to loose their affect, and I wanted to tell you what worked for me before. Change the medications from time to time. This is not a permanent solution, however it might help in the interim.

    I had my PM doctor change the meds every 6 months and it helped. I'm not sure what you take, but I was on a long and short acting medication for pain, and have been for the past few years.

    I found that when my body adjusted to the medication, when I changed it I had good relief for a few months, and than changed them again. It's kind of a hassle, but considering the pain I was in, I'd try anything.

    Take care, and I hope you feel better soon. Eric-
    Left foramina stenosis of L3/L4 (retrolisthesis)
    L2-ilaic revision fusion ( loose screws) with a laminectomy at L3 (cage at L3-L4)
    (PLIF) -@ L4/ L/5 - S1 (cage at L4/L5)
  • Its sounds like you are alot futher on then me in finding answers, I hope all goes well for you on Thursday,and hopefully you will get the help you need i will look out to see what you post. Takecare
  • Hi Eric! I am taking percocet, neurontin and protriptylene. I'm sure you are right....I think I've just built up a tolerance and might need to switch. Will run that by the doc on Thursday. Will keep you posted.

    Thanks for your kind words Tina C and Eric, they are greatly appreciated! Take care and God Bless :)
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