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chronic pain/ nonfusion

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 12/09/2013 - 3:56 PM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Had ACDF c6-7 surgery in 2010, did OK for awhile, and now seem to be tumbling down a spiral staircase. Summary is the ortho thinks I did not fuse, neurosurgeon disagrees (but he did not seem to review my hx well). All I know is pain is getting worse and I am losing coping skills. Have tried all kinds of treatments w/o success. Tired and despondent.


  • I am very sorry to hear that you are having a tough time with things. I understand feeling fairly hopeless and just so frustrated. Have you tried seeing different doctors? I know it is a grueling process to bounce from doctor to doctor (I had to do the same thing), but you WILL find someone and something that can help you. I don't suffer from the same issue as you so I cannot say that I understand THAT pain and THAT frustration, but I do understand pain and frustration in general. I'm usually up late at night so if you ever need to vent or just chat, I'm here. Good luck with everything! I sincerely hope you get some relief soon.
    36 yr old with one degenerative disc (L5-S1)
    3 rounds of Epidurals in 2013
    6 PT visits in 2013
    Microdiscectomy L5 S1 on 9/5/2013.
    Re-herniated in January 2014.
    Epidural on 3/3/14.
    A/PLIF (L5-S1) 6/3/14
  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
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    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • Thanks for your responses. Today was a better day mentally, but unfortuately not physically. I try to wrap my mind around positve thoughts, to get through the days. Some days it works better than others.
  • sandisandi Posts: 6,343
    edited 09/21/2013 - 6:06 AM
    Have you had a recent CT scan to see if there was fusion? MRI won't show fusion but CT scan will.
    I think that most of us can understand the frustration that comes from not getting better after surgery, and the depression that comes in the post op period and then lingers when things aren't improving.
    Have you had an emg to see if the nerve damage is ongoing? I found that I got far better treatment from my spinal cord injury physiatrist than I did from my surgeons so that might be a good place to start......they tend to look at the overall function and treatment of the patient, rather than just the areas where the surgery were done and mine was more than willing to seek out answers.
  • this year I have had a MRI, 2 EMGs, one pre and post ESI, and a CT mylogram , and 2 sets of xray, one a complete 12 angle series. I deal with military Drs which have been mostly good, but they don't have a physiatrist. The issue with me is after my ACDF (c6-7)the nerve pain in the left arm went away till Sept 2012 when the same pain started to occur, slowly, but now overwhelmng. They do have concerns about c5-6 bulging on the right, but I don't have the pain & numbness so much on that side, but that seems to be bothering me more
  • I have a dermatome map as my avatar. If you do a search for one, you will find it. If you look at the map, you can see where each level of the spine innervates each area of the body. It might help you to narrow where your symptoms are, and then see what level of the spine correlates with that area.
    Just an idea that might help.
  • AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
    edited 09/23/2013 - 11:03 AM
    The dermatone is wonderful. My pain in the last year, has mimiced the pain I had before my ACDF exactly. I have mild to moderate narrowing at the L foramen that level c6-7, I know that is irritating my nerve. But that is not suppose to happen, according to some MDs. That would be the first time time they misinformed me. When I was 28 I was told I would not get pregnant w/o fertility drugs/intervention. Had one baby (with help) at 29, but out of the blue, was pregnant and had a baby at 43. No way they can convince me they are 'all knowing', lol.
    Anyhow about 2 weeks ago, I was looking up at a spool on a boat lift, when I started having pain in both shoulders, arms went numb, and cramps and tingling in my hands, fingers, Thumbs seem OK though. I still have the cramps in my hands, fingers aren't numb but hurt, and both shoulders, clavicles hurt. Of course my spine in the neck and upper back hurt. I have had several disc bulges c5-6, and c7-t1, and wonder if while looking up I aggravated one of those. now I have had to take more pain meds to get thru the days, and I really don't like feeling tired and out of it all the time. Thanks for talking the time to read this.
  • I've had a similar history to having children- so I agree, doctors don't always have all of the answers. I think that most try to do their best, no matter what for their patients .
    It could very well be that you did aggravate the bulges or the looking up position caused a compression that wasn't there and simply caused a flare. It might settle down in a few days to a few weeks but it might also be worthwhile to see a surgeon in the meantime to see what he thinks. I forgot but have they suggested doing anything other than medicating to see if injections or something similar might help to reduce the pain? Even a medrol dose pack might help calm it down if it is just a flare/positional aggravating increase in pain.
  • I used to have chronic pain in practically all areas of my body. Doctors, chiropractors, everyone was useless. I tried all the usual treatments, therapies, etc. but it wasn't until I started strengthening neglected muscles around these problem areas and fixed my posture that all my chronic pain went away and I felt like a kid again. Still do. There's a book on Amazon called "Eliminating Pain: Your Guide to a Better Lifestyle". It explains everything we need to know about chronic pain and structural problems and how to conquer it.
  • I have been going to PT off and on since 2009 to strenghten muscle. I will look that up at the Library. I just got a couple books about trying to ward off more pain: "Manage Pain before it Manages You", and "End Back and Neck Pain" I enjoy reading but I can tell you this is not my favorite genre.
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