I had ACDF at C4/5 on April 28 of this year. After a car accident I began having neck pain, burning in my right shoulder blade, debilitating headaches and neck and upper back spasms. MRI revealed disc herniation at C4/5 and a small disc bulge at C5/6.
During my surgery, it was discovered I also had a torn ligament. C4/5 disc was obliterated but C5/6 "didn't look bad enough to include in surgery, but we will have to keep an eye on it".
As levels above or below fusion level have added stress on them and can have issues post op, I was told by my NS that he would keep a close eye on C5/6. But I probably wouldn't be needing to think about surgery for 5-10 years.
About 6 months post op all of a sudden, my pain levels started increasing. I was having more high pain days instead of low pain days. I was needing Valium for the incessant muscle spasms and "guarding" I was having in my neck (like I used to have before surgery). The debilitating headaches started coming back too. Then my right arm started feeling like it was in a vice. This was a new pain for me.
Called my NS, he ordered an MRI and now it looks like the small disc bulge at C5/6 is a large disc bulge and it is pushing up against my spinal cord. I have been ordered to get a series of epidurals to that area. If the epidurals don't work I was told another ACDF at C5/6 this time, would be the next step.
I am so upset by this news. I have been so depressed at the thought of having 2 fusions in a year. My first fusion isn't even fully fused yet. Has anyone had this happen to them? Any recommendations? Were you able to buy time?