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Continued pain after ACDF

Jessie40JJessie40 Posts: 1
edited 02/28/2015 - 9:11 PM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I was injured during my job as a hospice nurse. I quickly discovered what a horrible nightmare it is to be injured at work n NJ.

On the day of my injury I was diagnosed with a neck sprain and a right shoulder sprain. That day I began suffering with extreme neck pain, shoulder pain, pain and pins and needles down the right arm and in the right hand, and horrendous debilitating headaches in the back of my head right side of my head starting where my neck and head meet. I saw numerous doctors and had cervical, right shoulder and brain MRIs. I was diagnosed with a herniated disc C5-C6. I spent months in physical therapy, with chiropractors, acupuncture and massage therapy; all hopeless.

The pain continued for nearly a year before I saw an orthopedic surgeon who told me he could fix me with surgery. I was ecstatic! I had a two level c5-c6, c6-c7 acdf at the beginning of sept 2014. Only the pain did not go away, I'm pretty sure it got worse. I did another month of pt and was sent for a FCE before the surgeon told me there's nothing else he can do for me and he has no idea what's causing the pain.

The pain is severe and debilitating. I spend days in bed from headaches, and I can't drive at all because of the limited mobility of my neck. What is going on? Am I crazy? I don't know what to do anymore.

The doctor sent me back to work on permanent light duty. There are no light duty hospice nursing positions and I'm being laid off. The workmans comp is cutting my coverage off and refusing to send me for a second opinion. I just don't know what to do anymore. I'm only 34 I don't want to live the rest of my life in constant pain. I was extremely active and athletic running 50-60 miles a week and doing yoga 4-6 times a week when this happened to me. I can't do either anymore because of the pain. I feel like my whole life has been ripped away.

I've spoken to an attorney (3 different ones) they've all said the system in nj is horrible and they've seen my situation over and over.

What do I do now? What could be causing this constant pain? Why am I not better after that surgery?



  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
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    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • Motor1MMotor1 Pittsburgh, PaPosts: 552
    Your story is a lot like mine. I also got injured at work. And I was a hospice aide. I was injured on March 4, 2013. I had herniated c4/5 disc. They first treated me with therapy, medications & injections. When things didn't get better, I had ACDF in June 2013. I was still miserable. My surgeon dismissed all of my complaints so I found a new doctor. He took an X-ray & determined my neck didn't even start to fuse. So in March of 2014, I had PCDF. Going in through the back of the neck was much worse than the first surgery. The main thing I wanted to say to you is, my new surgeon explained to me that surgery isn't done to eliminate pain. Surgery is done to fix what's going on in your neck. My issues also included pain & tingling & numbness in my left shoulder & arm. Those issues have gotten much worse so I am now seeing a pain management doctor. I am on meds for nerve pain & an extended release pain med. I had to hire an attorney because i wasn't being compensated by my employer/workers comp while I was on light duty. My employer has since terminated my job so my attorney has me on temporary disability. I'm not getting my full wages, but at least I'm getting something. I suggest maybe you should talk to your surgeon & ask him about seeing a pain doctor?
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