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C6/7 C7/8 ACDF (edema, chest pain, numbness etc...) Help!

JameriJJameri Posts: 3
edited 05/26/2015 - 5:51 AM in Recovering from Surgery
Hi everyone !

After herniating a disc in my cervical vertebrae (December 2014) I underwent three steroid shots over the course of three months for the pain. After the pain went unresolved, surgery was the only other option. I had the surgery March 26, 2015 and my surgeon says it was a successful surgery. I am almost two months post op, and the symptoms I've been experiencing have been so severe. My PCP put me on Lisinopril 20 mg , Amlodopine 5mg, and I've been taking Norco 10mg/325 every 6 hours, and I've also been taking metformin. I've been experiencing numbness in both my ring and pinkie fingers . I've been feeling pain radiate all the way up my left arm into my chest, mainly just the left side. The pain radiates underneath my left arm to my armpit and it feels like a huge weight is on my chest. I've been to the ER more times than I can count for fear of having a heart attack! At one point the pain was so excruciating I thought I was dying! It was horrible. They ran every test in the book, EKGs, MRIs and every cardiac test came back negative for heart failure. I've gone to the ER so much that I was afraid that they would think I was crying wolf. Anyway, I am grateful that I'm not in heart failure but what is the explanation for my symptoms?! Last week my PCP raised my Lisinopril dosage from 20mg to 40mg after seeing my raised BP and my swollen edematous feet. And now my feet are even more swollen, especially my left foot and ankle. My daughter has been icing my feet and I have a heating pad that I put on my chest when the pain hits. And also, I've noticed that about an hour before my next Norco my body starts to hurt and this intense itching that feels like pinpricks all over my body begins. It's my concern that I'm either becoming dependent on the Norco (my doctors want to wean me off) or is my body rejecting the cadaver vertebrae? I am going to be 76 in June. I have never been a drinker and I have never been a smoker. Prior to the surgery I would exercise everyday, walk for about an hour and then go to the YMCA to exercise further. I so desperately want to break out of this sedentary lifestyle that I'm currently living but I simply can't. It is so frustrating! I am so weak and I just don't know what to do. I just went to the ER two nights ago again and once again, the same results, and no explanation for my edema or chest pain. Is there anyone out there experiencing similar symptoms? I'm in desperate need of answers.
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  • LizLiz Posts: 7,904
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    Spinal stenosis since 1995
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  • I am sorry for all you have been through and I know you want to get back to an active lifestyle. It's good you had that prior to surgery. I am pre op so not in your exact situation yet but have been reading so much since I got my diagnosis. Lots of people talk about tingling and little areas of numbness and things like that and attribute it to "things waking up " after spine surgery. The swelling in your neck and chest seems unusual to me but I have heard that others have had ultrasounds of the neck/ chest/ arms.when there is swelling. Sounds like you are swollen all over though so that is puzzling. I would agree with your Dr about weaning off the pain pills. The bottle says every 6 hours but doesn't mean you have to take that much. For me, off this meds as soon as possible.

    Please let us know how you are doing. You will have lots of support here.

    {{{HUGS}}}
    ivym
  • Wow what a blessing just to get a response! I've been eagerly looking for answers and support and I am so grateful to know I am not alone. And yes, I completely agree with you when it comes to weaning myself off of the Norco. I will definitely try to cut back before I go and see the pain/addiction specialist that I've been referred to. As far as the swelling, I've only experienced it in my ankles and feet. I do believe that you're right in thinking that there's more inflammation all over and the tingling, I pray, is just nerve regeneration occurring. And I wish you all the best with your surgery! My family and I will be praying for your success and a speedy recovery. Don't be a stranger! Let's keep each other updated and thank you for restoring more hope in me. The support means everything.
  • Suport is everything! Thanks for your prayers, I do appreciate them and you will definitely be in mine.

    Love,
    ivym
  • BlessedMom74BBlessedMom74 Posts: 322
    edited 05/27/2015 - 4:58 AM
    I also experience itching all over my body when I take Norco, especially when they increased my dosage post op from 10mg up to 20mg at a time. I think that is just a side effect.
    Also, the chest pain sounds like it could be from a pinched or irritated nerve at C4. That nerve supplies sensation to the chest, clavicle and shoulder area. For me I really feel it in the shoulder, others feel it more on the chest. If you've already had all the heart exams possible and everything looks good, I would try to not worry as much.
    Also, the edema of the feet could just possibly be from inactivity. Maybe try to take short walks, even around your house, a few times a day and see if that helps the edema. Also try to increase your water intake. That may also help.
    Hang in there, and hope this info helps or gives you peace of mind.
  • I can't tell you how helpful this is to me. I have been so confused about the itching and the chest pain and everything you're saying is really adding up. Our doctors can only troubleshoot so far and the rest is really up to God and critical thinking. I just started taking short walks in my garden and I've noticed that the swelling wasn't quite as bad or as tight. So I believe you are right! I certainly won't overdo it but I will incorporate more walks into my daily regimen. I'll be praying for your recovery as well. Thank you for your help and encouragement. It truly helps lift the weight of it all.
  • as I too thought I was having a heart attack. I previously took methadone and hydrocodone - had been on them for about 7 years and my sense of pain and where pain was "coming from" was distorted but I didn't realize it. I had an echocardiogram for chest pain, shortness of breath, pain radiating into jaw and arm. I was put on a heart monitor for a month and I had an extensive pulmonary workup complete with radioactive injection. Worst of all was the sleep test for apnea. Nothing showed so my cardiologist recommended I go off of methadone. I took the dive and dumped all my narcotics. Low and behold I was able to identify my pain as coming from the cervical area. As I had been in a horrible car accident many years ago I started putting 2 + 2 together and asked for a cervical CT. Turns out all of my discs are completely collapsed from C3-C7. It looks like I may have had a broken neck that went undiagnosed after my accident.

    Anyway, I did the exact same thing that you did and interpreted my cervical nerve pain as heart related. I, too, went to the ER at one point. So don't despair. You aren't alone. kathy
  • Jameri said:
    I can't tell you how helpful this is to me. I have been so confused about the itching and the chest pain and everything you're saying is really adding up. Our doctors can only troubleshoot so far and the rest is really up to God and critical thinking. I just started taking short walks in my garden and I've noticed that the swelling wasn't quite as bad or as tight. So I believe you are right! I certainly won't overdo it but I will incorporate more walks into my daily regimen. I'll be praying for your recovery as well. Thank you for your help and encouragement. It truly helps lift the weight of it all.

    I am glad I could give you some peace of mind.
  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,110
    My surgeon warned me that some cervical surgeries can cause severe swelling to the point of needing a ventilator until the swelling subsides. Good luck
    Susan
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