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Pain after ADR Surgery one level C5/6 Four weeks post with muscle spasms /migrianes

I had an artificial cervical disc replacement surgery four weeks ago on c5/6. I had a car accident over 13 years ago and suffered with migrianes on and off every since. I am 39 years old. I did chiropractor for years and it helped minimise the problems. I had a MRI in January this year a and they said I had a ruptured disc and quite a bit of bone spurs that was causing my pain and tingling down into my hands. I tried physical therapy, massage therapy, injection shot with no luck. Symptoms were not terrible until about 5 year of being a hair stylist/instructor. I had to cut down on hours for the past four years. Went to two neurosurgeons and they told me I either live with the pain or have surgery. So it's been 4 weeks yesterday and I'm very discouraged and depressed!! On my second pack of steroids now. Just started second pack today. I have had a migriane on and off for six days. They say it's due to muscle spasms. I don't know how much more I can handle. I have stayed home for the past 12 days because I have not been recovering well. Pain has been bad since surgery. I've only been out three times and regretted immensely!! Is anyone having this much trouble recovering for artificial disc replacement?? I read one person say that the length of how long you dealt with the problem prior to surgery is how long you'll have trouble. Well I can't imagine in my case cuz my terrible began over 13 years ago .



  • Hi Lisa! I had a similar experience to yours when recovering from my cervical surgery. I didn't consider myself fully healed and headache–free until three months post-op.

    Are you taking Soma, by any chance? With my recent lumbar issues, I figured out that it was the soma that was giving me my terrible post-op headaches. I had some medical massage and trigger point injections done through my physical therapist, and that helped also. But four weeks is very early in your recovery, it might just take time. Feel free to look at my cervical thread for the details of my recovery.
    L4/5/S1 scar tissue removal surgery, plus unexpected L4/5 microdiscectomy #2 October 2015
    L4/5 microdiscectomy May 2015
    2-level ADR C4-6 (Mobi-C) February 2015
  • Thanks for the reply! I never took soma. It has been six months now. I've had 3 + packs of steroids since and at 3 month apt they took me off muscle relaxers , neurosurgeon doesn't like them (family doctor had prescribed them) . Only did a couple apt of physical therapy, I got really swollen in my neck and had a lot of pain after therapy so he stopped that too. He told me to lay off of house work and work. Now it's six months later and I have good days and bad days. Barely working part time. Very frustrated. Seems like I've been having more bad days. ...but it's got very cold lately and I hear that the cold messes you up. Anyone out there with the same problems? ???
  • I don't have first-hand experience, as I am awaiting ACDF (3 out of the 5 doctors I consulted telling me I wasn't a candidate for ADR; one telling me I could have ADR if I wanted and one wanting to do a hybrid fusion/ADR).

    However, from what I have heard, the recovery from ADR is supposed to be easier than from ACDF so if you are still in bad pain at six months, I would absolutely seek a second opinion. Before visiting the surgeon who wanted to do a hybrid fusion/ADR, I did check out his online reviews and there was one woman who complained that he gave her an artificial disc and it did not work for her, she was in pain for six months and finally had to have it removed by another surgeon. I also consulted the surgeon who she mentioned had removed her artificial disc and I told him the story, and he just looked at his nurse assistant and said, "wonder who that was? I remove a lot of artificial discs." Anyway, the fact that this surgeon is busy removing artificial discs tells you that they don't always work. If I were you, I would definitely seek another opinion.
    C6-C7 fusion -January 20, 2016
  • I am worried that is what it is too. I saw my family doctor last Fri and have an apt this coming Fri. with that surgeon. Family doc put me on 10 MG steroids Six pills a day!!! I was thinking of maybe going to a hospital and complain about being in so much pain that I could get the tests I need to see what's going on and if in fact the surgery didn't do right then I can tell my family doc I want to see someone else. Idk, I'm just so frustrated. Went the ADR route cuz you are suppose to heal so quick and get back to work. I originally saw a different neurosurgeon that want to do the disc fusion with plate immediately (he didn't do the ADR) but I decided to do some research of some other doctors and wasted about 3 months because they wouldn't take me..He put the referral as a second opinion ...so I didn't spend but a day looking for the doctor that did my ADR ..he's a DO. Just can't believe all of this is happening, I've lost so many clients cuz I can't work very much and is I have to have surgery again I doubt I have anything to go back to :( Anyways, I didn't realize ADR'S had so many problems. ..or maybe just finding the right doctor. Thanks again!
  • I know it is discouraging to think about having to have another surgery, but it happens and at 39, you have your whole life in front of you. I have a neighbor who many years ago had an unsuccessful ACDF and who was in pain for a year until another surgeon fixed her and said the first surgeon had used the wrong hardware and also left disc fragments.

    Not sure what testing you think you need and I'm not sure where you live. But here where I live, in Los Angeles, MRI's are ridiculously cheap if you pay cash. You can have one for $300 on a 3 Tesla scanner, which is pretty much state of the art, if you shop around. I know your financial situation is suffering if you are unable to work, but if it were me and an insurer or an HMO was denying me a MRI, I would just go out and pay cash for it. The sad truth, unfortunately, is that neither your insurance company nor an HMO cares about your pain.

    Good luck and I hope you find some solutions soon.
    C6-C7 fusion -January 20, 2016
  • It hurts that I live in a rural area! I'm 1.5 from Charleston, wv and 1.25 from Roanoke va. I am right in va/wv line. I tried to get into duke or Cleveland clinic but was turned down cuz doc put I was requesting a 2nd opinion. I didn't spend as much time researching this doc. Or the type of implant I was getting. I'm realizing there prodisc-c has some problems with failures, not sure if it anymore than any other type and I'm sure it has to do with doctors experience. All I know is my pain is worse. Migraines are not as often or full blown. Ive read so many that had trouble with ADR wishing they did the fusion instead but there are so many that are successful and back to work so fast with more mobility so it sounded so good. I've had two clients that had done fusion surgery, both with 2 levels, one was done in Las Vegas and one local. ..it's been 10+ years dope them and they are doing great! !!
  • Hi
    Im sorry to hear of your pain. 
    I am scheduled to have ADR on cervical spine in a week. Im still debating on what to do. I am in so much pain and need relief. I though ADR was the way to go, but now im nervous even more snd not so sure
  • LisaGriffithLisaGriffith Posts: 39
    edited 02/07/2016 - 10:55 AM
    Thanks Tanesha! It is a very tough decision.  I also had no doubts that ADR was the way to go when I was scheduling my surgery.  Everywhere I looked it showed how easy the recovery was,  how much better it was ...that it wouldn't compensate your other discs nearly as bad or quickly. I believe it's all in choosing the right surgeon!!!!! You want a spine specialist, someone that has been doing ADR'S for 2+ years so they are very very familiar with them and you are without a doubt they are the one you want to cut on you.  I had a Myelogram and found out that I have bone spurs on my new implant compressing on my vesicular sac,  narrowing  in c3/4 & c6/7 !! The numbing and tingling are back in my hands  and I'm on pain meds just to function.  I'm in more pain now than prior to surgery.  I have been taking Gaba plus DAILY for the nerves in my neck and have not had any migraines or such since. I'm telling everyone I can about gaba,  it is amazing and it helps those nerves heal.   It is a supplement,  you can find at a vitamin store.  What surgeons do not tell you is it takes a year to heal!  I found a specialist and their policy is that they don't see you until a year after surgery, because you're still healing.  I don't know what went wrong with my surgery,  It seems as tho the disc may be too big or something, guess I won't know for a couple more months.  I am going in for a steroid injection next week and hoping that will help get me through until I can see someone.  Goodluck!  :)
  • MyDogRudyMMyDogRudy Posts: 52
    edited 02/07/2016 - 11:54 AM
    There are also cases in which an artificial disc is not appropriate. My neurosurgeon is top in his field and is a self-proclaimed (and very published expert) artificial disc guy, but he said I was not a candidate due to the degeneration between the vertebrae among other reasons. He said some surgeons will squeeze them in anyway, but he wouldn't. And of course, even if you are a candidate for artificial disc, if it isn't done properly it will need to be fixed, just like any other surgery. 

    I would have preferred artificial disc to a fusion, but trusted my surgeon. Either way, the arm pain was unbearable so I had to take a chance. Only a week post op and still dealing with those hopefully temporary side effects, but already feeling better than I did. Hope you get some good answers soon.
    C6/7 ACDF January 29, 2016
    L5/S1 Micro discectomy November 2010
  • Thanks MyDogRudy! It has been 7.5 months so I guess  I have a couple months before I get some real answers.  The surgeon said that I was a candidate but the MRI did state I had degenerative disc disease? ? Idk. But I'm beginning to think he squeezed the disc in there since I've had so much trouble since the surgery and the Myelogram report shows narrowing in the upper and lower discs already.  The surgery notes said they did size quite a few discs.... my fear is the ADR disc is going to make permanent problems and I'll have to have surgery again for all three discs. ..I just can't imagine. ..  :(
  • The neurosurgeon who I choose for my C6-C7 fusion after interviewing five doctors told me that an artificial disc would make my pain worse.  One of the five doctors I saw, who is a nationally known ADR guy, told me I absolutely could have an artificial disc at C6-C7 and it absolutely would work.  The surgeon I chose told me that the problem with that surgeon was that technically he was a very good surgeon, but that he was always jumping on the bandwagon of the latest trend and supposed new best thing.

    Having gone with a fusion, of course, I have no way of knowing if an ADR would have worked, but all I can say is that less than 3 weeks post-op, I feel better than I have in years.  I had a horrible reaction to the anesthesia and was throwing up for one day, but basically after that, I felt fine, albeit a little weak for a few days.  I was back at work at a desk job in five days.

    Now I know that people have different recoveries, but I'm not super young (age 60), am not an athlete or a super fit person, but based on my admittedly idiosyncratic experience, if I were still struggling months out after surgery, I would be asking some serious questions about whether I received the right solution.
    C6-C7 fusion -January 20, 2016
  • Yes, I agree L.A.Spiney! Me and my husband went back to his office and talked about things.  He acted as tho he didn't have a clue what was wrong and why I was in pain.  It went from everything looked great to maybe we need to take out the artifical disc and put a level fusion!!!!!! And they said it was just arthritis. They were just happy there was no compression on the cord but like I said before there in already bone spurring on the implant that is compressing against vesicular sac and the narrowing in the disc above and below.  It was obvious that we were not going to get any answers. ....I am gonna try one other specialist to see if he'll see me. I am not a wimp south pain either,  I had half of a bottle of pain pills from August.  I just dealt with the pain up until this past month,  it has been more intense. Also,  I couldn't believe they were happy with the pics that showed how narrow it was where the spinal fluid was in that area.  It was getting by but very narrow????  Very very very disappointing and frustrated!  :(
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