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advice needed please help. anterior cervical fusion has left me disabled and depressed

Christine987CChristine987 Posts: 2
edited 12/20/2014 - 6:54 PM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I was suffering with severe neck pain, headaches and numbness in my hands and feet. I was told it was caused by a collapsed c5 disc and the only solution was removal of the disc and cervical fusion. I was under the impression that the worse thing that could happen is that the operation might not work.

Unfortunately, after having the operation, in April this year, I have been left with severe nerve damage causing weakness in my hands and legs. I am unable to walk without a walking frame. Initially my left hand was clenched and useless but after months of physiotherapy I can now use it a little, although it is still very weak. I have reduced sensation down my right side, I don't feel anything sharp at all, useful when having injections there though :) I have pain in my left arm and both sides of my torso, pain in both legs and they either feel freezing cold or burning hot. Both legs and feet are swollen. I am practically incontinent and have difficulty sleeping because of muscle spasms. I am 62 but have always felt much younger than this as I was so active. I now feel closer to 92 and that my life is over.

The worse thing is that nobody seems to know what is going on. The consultant seems to think there will be some improvement but he has no idea how much. My GP just prescribes pain killers and doesn't seem to have a clue what else to do for me. I just want to know if anyone else has experienced anything similar. Will I always have this pain? Will my legs always feel frozen? I am so depressed and can't seem to get any answers.


  • 1028761102876 Posts: 248
    edited 12/20/2014 - 7:49 PM
    I had posterior cervical surgery and although I am not in the exact same boat as you I can understand where you are coming from. Have you don't OT to work on strengthening your arms and PT for strength with walking? Have you gotten second opinions about medication control from a pain doctor? It can be very helpful to look around at different doctors to see who the best fit for you would be. I also recommend seeing a psychologist or psychiatrist, they have been very helpful tools for me and have helped me get parts of my life back. Also are you on any medication such as lyrica or gabapentin which may help with your nerve pain? Have they done any scans on your full spine to make sure nothing lower is causing these symptoms?
    Sorry your going through this, it's hard which is why it's important to find the right doctors!
  • Thankyou for your reply. It helps to know I'm not alone :) I've never heard of lyrica or gabapentin but I will mention these to my gp. I have been prescribed Zapain for the pain and amitriptyline for the muscle spasms, these do help me sleep although I wake feeling very groggy. I have had CT scans and they show bruising and swelling around my spinal cord at the site of surgery. When I was first told this I thought. ohh that's ok then bruising and swelling go down in time, but I've been told it's unlikely, so I suppose I have to learn to live with my disability. Reading the topics on this website it seems that there are a lot of things that can go wrong with spinal surgery. I wish I had done more research before my op, but the pain was so severe I was prepared to try anything. I no longer get that debilitating pain in my neck and head now and the pain in my legs is controlled with pain killers to an extent. So there is improvement there. It's my lack of mobility that I find hardest to deal with. I go to physio but while there was initial improvement, now it seems more a case of learning to adapt. Maybe I should find a gym with a trainer experienced in spinal injury.
  • Some things that helped me personally was acupuncture, massage (once released by surgeon), psychology appointments to help me cope. I have a spinal cord contusion and from what my surgeon said is that my symptoms may never go completely away but they can improve. It's all about time and patience. I know it's hard ! Lyrica and gabapentin are used for nerve pain. Have you talked to a pain doctor to talk about injections? It may be helpful and they may be able to numb the area that's bothered. It's helpful to look into some pain relief options for yourself so that you have ideas and know there are options. Being hopeful is key! You will figure it out! In the meantime continue trying to live as normal of a life as possible (I know it's difficult) but it will be better in the long run and you can't let pain win- it took me a long time to realize this but it's true so as hard as it may be just keep pushing forward'b
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