I have a very arthritic spine. In 2001 I ended up have a lumbar fusion of L5/S1 and then had to have it revised in 2003 due to severe pain radiating down my right leg. In 2005 I had a neurostimulator implanted to help with nerve pain down my right leg. After having that implanted I finally began to tolerate life again. I was still on long acting pain killers for both my low back and neck.
In 2003 an MRI was done of my cervical spine and low and behold I had stenosis and moderate arthritis of c6/c7. I decided to leave it alone and work with the pain specialists using physical therapy, epidural injections and trigger point injections. Everything was tolerable until last summer when the epidural so stopped working and became so painful to get that they had to sedate me. In January I saw my spine specialist and we did a cat and then a cat mylogram. My one level now became a 3 level problem that had to be felt with. I now had severe spinal stenosis at C4/5, C5/6 and C6/7. In June I underwent a 3 level cervical spinal fusion with a corpectomy at C5. The surgery went very well and although I still have pain in my neck and shoulder the numbness and weakness in my arms have completely resolved.
While all this was going on, I had upper/mid back pain going on for the last couple of years. I always shrugged it off because my neck hurt so darn bad. Well since my surgery in June this has gotten progressively worse to the point where I have a wide band of severe pain in my mid back that radiates to my rib cage. It is worse on the right rib cage but I have it on both sides. I breathe ok but it is difficult to breathe deep, cough deep and it is very painful to sneeze. I am in severe pain sitting, standing, laying and walking. I have to constantly change positions and I feel like my whole life has become ice packs, heating pads and muscle relaxers.
I called my spine surgeon because I see him on Thursday. I have to fly to Minnesota to see him. Thankfully he ordered a CT scan of my thoracic spine and I did that today. I am praying that whatever is going on is not going to require another spine surgery down the road. I have been taking Tylenol 3 when the pain gets bad because my surgeon is in Minnesota and it is not easy to get narcotics without being able to get there. As most of you know Tylenol 3 does not do much for this kind of pain.
I am concerned that having my cervical spine done made this worse. The mechanics of the spine seem to rely on each and every vertebrae so fusing 3 together might have had an impact on an area that was definately wearing to begin with?
I did have this pain but it was only when I overdid it vs. every minute of every day.
Could this happen?
I guess I will know more on Thursday but this is disheartening. I actually want to go back to work some day. I have been working since I was 14 years old. I worked for a major retail company for the last 25 years but I literally can no longer function. I finally had to file for disability and am waiting to see if I get approved. The issue is I was a Sr. Director and made a lot of money at my job. I need to work, it's just who I am.