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3 Level ACDF one year Post Op.. Still in Pain anyone else?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:23 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I'm just approaching my one year mark from my ACDF, c4-5, c5-6, c6-7, and I'm still in a lot of pain. My muscles are so tense I don't know what to do anymore aside from taking muscle relaxers 24/7. I've got a lot of crunching noises and I feel my range of motion has lessen due to sharp shooting pains.

I saw my neurosurgeon and he's sending me for another MRI and Xray.. by the looks of it he thinks my pain is coming from my joint facets and had prescribed another EMG and joint facet injections. The funny thing is, is that he hasn't even seen my new MRI or xrays??

Does life get better after this type of surgery because I'm surely not seeing the light at the end of this tunnel.



  • Thank you for the info... I've been reading so many stories and have found so much information so far.
  • Hello
    I had 2 level ACDF (C5-7) back in March of '07 and I have just as much if not more pain then I did when I was first injured back in May of '05. Just had another MRI which showed mild arthrosis just above the surgery site. Currently taking Ultram and Vicodin when I'm not working (drive for a living)Back to the surgeon next month

    Be Well
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  • I am improving but at a snail's pace. My neck makes incredibly interesting popping and cracking sounds that my physical therapist says are the joints and ligaments loosening up. Most of my pain is around my shoulder blades, and comes on as the day goes on (I now wake up around 6 AM pain free, but it sets in by 9 AM or so - so the three hours is my definition of progress). My thumbs then tingle and start to go a bit numb. I know a lot of this is muscular, because the times I feel best are at the gym after lifting some weights and walking on the treadmill (though I pay for it the next day if I go too long). But I haven't figured out how to solve for it. So I am headed to physiatrist next week, and have started doing some massage, thanks to a new inexpensive massage place in the neighborhood. In any case, my surgeon thinks I am doing great given the extent of my injury, and only partway through a 1-2 year recovery.

    Have you tried anything like shiatsu massage or acupuncture? Might be worth a shot to help with some of the tightness.

    Good luck.
  • I'm so sorry to hear that you are still having pain after so long. I was still having pain at 1 year, but not that bad.

    chicagogal....at 7 months I was similar to you. Neck popping...yep, and I still have that today. Somehow I don't think that will ever go away. Thumb pain & numbness...yep, but a lot more rare now. Definitely muscular like you said. It's brought on by too much shoulder & arms overhead exercising. I have to back-off when I do too much, but at the same time still keep progressing to improve it.

    Massage has also helped me with upper back and shoulder pain. I was reluctant at first, thinking it was more about pampering. But after realizing the improvements over time (massage only once a month is all I need), I found out that strengthening the muscles is so important, but just as important is teaching the muscles to relax and getting all those tight little knots pushed out.

    All I can say is...even after the 1 year mark I have continued to improve. As long as you're seeing some improvement then you're headed in the right direction. If you're not, then definitely get back to the doctor.

    Take care!
  • I am going through the exact same problems, have been for years. I thought I was insane.....my PT thinks it's the facet joints too.....they are so stiff she can't even get it for massage. Last MRI only showed herniation at T1....nothing else...now I need to go back to the surgeon & see what her says!

    If you need to chat, let me know!!

    Take care,
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  • Hi Spinasaurus (Lisa), TPM (Tom), Chicagogal, Patricia and Titanium Girl (Lisa):

    It's sad that we're all in the same boat and we have to go through so much, but I do find plenty of encouragement from all of you, and for that I thank you.

    Like Patricia, my muscle spasms get worse if I do any kind lifting. I sit at my desk at work and I have to force myself to get up and stretch, and that's pretty limited. I'm trying to remember all the exercises and stretching my PT told me to do..ANY SUGGESTIONS? It's been a while since I've seen her and at 40 my memory isn't the greatest (at least that's my excuse for forgetting).

    Acupuncture sounds like its helped with some relief and I’m going to definitely look into it. My PCP gave me a new muscle relaxer called Amrix and it works pretty fast without making me sleepy but that only helps for a couple of hours. I hate taking all these meds,, I feel like an old lady! Anyway, I’m scheduled for my MRI tomorrow, and then I’ll have my xray done on Monday… hopefully things are still in order, and what I'm going through is just a slow healing process.

    For those of you who are married, how has this affected your spouse? I feel embarrassed with my husband cause I’m always complaining that I’m in pain..

    Initialed with care,

  • Michelle,I know exactly what you mean about being embarrassed about your complaints of pain.I've had ongoing issues with my lumbar and cervival spine for years.They fix one thing and something else pops up you have to deal with.Thankfully my husband is very understanding and knows the pain is real. I include him in Drs visits so he can see the problems. My husband is really the only one I will vent to. I am embarrassed to talk to friends and family about my neck issues.I 'm even embarrassed to to talk to the DR! The one thing that I try to do is not let the pain keep me home and stop me from doing things with the family. My husband has learned that the pain is real and is very helpful with physical things. He is even doing the housework and I think he likes it. Good Luck! Bethy
  • Hi Betty,
    My husband has been a real Saint, thank God. I sometimes wonder if I can tolerate me if I were him :D I’ve been married for two and a half years and my poor husband hasn’t really seen me at my best.. Isn’t that sad!

    I find it so hard to believe that he can actually put up with my ups and downs. I ask myself does he really understand?? I try so hard not to complain, and I really try hard to hide how down I get sometimes.

    I wonder if he’s starting to get tired of all my neck problems?

    Thank you for taking the time out to write : )

  • I am 6 months pot from a total c3-c7 and so far I can't see light a the end of the tunnel either. It seems I get excited that I am having a really good day and then I can't move the next day, bummer.So, unfortunately I have no wonderful answers. I am very stiff all of the time have tried PT, Shots, all kinds of things. But, like my Doctor said, basically with such a solid fusion on so many levels you've basically lost 90% of your cervical movement, so the muscles around that area have to mack up for that which is going to make you stiff. Sounds great, huh? But, if you think about it all makes perfect sence.
    So, alot of muscle relaxer's, pain meds, and prayer. :D
  • Boy, I should look before I post. Sorry for all of the typing errors...
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