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When do you ask for more testing when you really think something is wrong after ACDF 2 level??? Surg

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:24 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hello everyone,

Some of you may already kind of know what is going on but incase you do not I will refresh.

Before my ACDF surgery of C 4-5 and C 5-6 whcih was mainly because of discogenic pain. There was no cord compreesion. I had burning pain in the left side of my neck and pinching constantly. I had arm weakness on the left side and severe spasms where my head would go tilted to the right and none of my home medications were enough to help the problem, i would wind up in the ER. I also had, and still have burning under the left scapular area right ot the very base near T spine. the right side of my neck would bun and pinch same as left but very intermittently.

Since my surgery on 9-3 of this year all my pain on the left side of my neck...the burning and the pinching and the arm weakness has gone away.
I still have the burning near the bottom of the scapular

The right side of my neck now since surgery has had burning and pinching that is exactly like the left side had been pre operatively.

I also had a Posterior cervicle foraminotomy on Jan 8, 2008 on C 3-4 and 4-5.

I have a positive discogram that showed pain coming from all four levels. The most from C 4--5 C 5-6 which were the discs that were deicided to be fused.

The above and below diskcs have milder bulges, not as severe as the C 4-5 and 5-6. Alll discs C 3-7 have annular tearing and fissureing along wit the bulges.

I am now I think like 6 1/2 - 7 weeks post off and was transitioned to a soft collar and given my driving privealages back but I only drive if it is a necessaty. I have only driven 3 times because it causes to much pain.

My questione??????? is when do I say I want and MRI or what eever to make sure everything is okay??

The reason I ask is becasue the pain I am having is exactly the same as the other side was before surgery. The right side now hurts me constantly which it did not prior to surgery.
I will not see my surgeon until Nov 25th. i have not started to do PT yet.

Upon the last x-ray there was visable fusion taking place but I do not think it was much.

I have constant spasms and the right sided neck pain is the kind of pain you have when you know something is going on in there.

How can I get the doc to hear me without thinking I am some freak! I wish they would just do some sort of a test to make sure and set my mind at ease rather then tell me it is all normal.

Doctors for many injuries I have had have told me things were just fine and I had to persistenly complain for ever to finally have them take me seriously enough to look further into my symptoms/complaints.

I am afraid, and confused. I don't want to drive unless it is necessary. I am only walking a mile a day because of the pain. If I have to shower it causes me serious pain for the rest of the day because I have long hair and I need to blow dry because it will be frizzy if I do not...total chick thing-

Please someone help me to understand this better if you can...help me to get throug this time until the next appointment. I do not want to tell my friends and parents anymore becsue it worries them and my friends just do not get it nor do I expect them too.

So I guess I just wait untill I see the surgeon again becasue I have called before only to get the words about how this is all normal etc....

Any help support or suggestion would help

My good friend asked me a lot of questions that got me wondering if this is something that is underlyingly causeing me to have fear based behaviors with out really realizing it could be at the core of things going on with me...so I am asking for opinions and help to figure it out or at the least to put it out there that I need support it the waiting and not understnding things...
Thanks for reading


  • You are still very early on in your recovery process and I think that the spasms may be a normal part of the healing process. But, if you are really concerned about it I think that you could insist on a new MRI. I do not know if there would be insurance issues with it or not since the doc thinks that all is well. What about seeing another doc for another opinion? Maybe that would either set your mind at ease or get to the bottom of things. Sorry that I did not have more suggestions but I did want you to know that we will always support you here and know that for the people (friends) that have not experienced this sort of pain it is impossible for them to understand what we are going through. it is really tough (especially for women) to be taken seriously about their pain levels. I wish you luck and please do post when ever you need support or just need to talk.
  • It sounds like you are completely frustrated. I have said this before and may sound like a broken record, but spine surgery is not like other surgeries where you go in, remove the problem, and get on with your life. It does take a long time to feel good again. It sounds as if you have had a lot done to your neck. One thing that you may want to think about is that even though you weren't having pain on the right side of your neck, the surgeon would have worked both sides when he performed the ACDF. The little nerves get quite mad when they are messed with, and the pain you are feeling could be from the manipulation of the nerves. Also, by decompressing those nerve roots, it may have "awakened" them, and so now they are healing and causing pain. It is great that the original pain on your left side is gone.

    I wish I could help, but really the best thing for you to do is to try to get in to see your doctor earlier than November 25th, and explain your symptoms in detail. Write them down if necessary and just give him a copy of what you write. Your surgeon needs to reassure you that all is well, or look for what could be causing your new symptoms. If you really feel that you need an MRI, ask for one, explaining why you feel it is necessary. If the doctor orders it, he should be able to persuade your insurance company to cover it. Not to guarantee that they will, but it is worth a try.

    So sorry you are in pain, and that you are worried. Just take it a day at a time.

    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
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  • Thank you both for your replies...I appreciate them

    Yes talking about all this does help. Even if they told me something was wrong in there ... unless it was threatening something I would not go for surgery! i have just had way to many on the last 4 years.....

    I do understand about the other nerves being awakened and how the pain of nerves actually healing can cause terrible pain in an of its self.

    I had what is called Cubital Tunnel Syndrom! I hed never heard of it til I had it. I sort of self diagnosed myself before the doctors did becuase they did not take me seriusly at first. But when they surgically went in and decompressed it it hurt ten times worse right after for about 2-3 months....

    That I guess is why I asked the question about how long do I wait to get checked to see if one of the other levels is compromising something??

    My Neck injury is from a car accident and unfortunately I recieve my helath insurance through the college I attend and the college changed insurance carriers 30 days after my accident! This means the new carrier is not responsible for any of the neck stuff.

    As far as getting any diagnostics such as CT's, MRI's, or discogram (dont want another one of those..lol) I have an ongoing lien with a local imaging center so if the test was ordered then It eventually would be paind out of my settlement money.

    Whew...what a tangled mess.

    ????I have not been walking as much because of the elevation in pain afterward but I feel guilty for not walking because it is what helps me Fuse if I am not mistaken?? So I guess I should continue to walk at the very least 1 mile a day or more as long as it is not hurting while I am walking right??

    If it hurts me while walking I will stop. But I have been walking less because it will flare me up later.

    I feel like I am doing something wrong.

    I do little things around my house because I live alone, but never lift over the 5 lb limit. I barely drive even though I am allowed.
    But I feel like I should be doing more moving around then resting.

    ????My body feels like it needs alot of resting still is this normal??? When I say resting I mean either a nap, or just sitting on the couch in a reclined position with the computer and my pillow or listening to the TV while laying.

    ????I also have been given the soft collar to wear, but still feel the need to put on the hard one sometimes while walking or if I am having a bad flare up...they said I could transition slower......????did anyone else do this??? Switch back and forth on the collars???

    I guess I am just impatiente..lol...who isn't..lol

    I have already been told that my neck is ALWAYS going to give me pain and be messed up..Docs words were"unfortunately no matter what we do you will always have a bad neck"

    Painintheback~~~~~~I have spasms but they ar not the same type as I had pre-surgery. The ones I would get before surgery were similar to dystonia or Torticholis...Very bad and very painfull.
    After about the second time I had to go to the ER for them I was not really scared anymore about them..I guess because I knew what they were and I knew how the ER docs would treat it. They basically would just pump me full of meds until a nurse or the doc himself could manipulate and massage my neck muscles enough to get my head in an upright position.

    I guess I just get overly scared that some other thing has gone wrong or gotten worse in there, but it is not like I have any arm weakness or numness or aything on that right side...just the burning and pinching and the spasms that go on both sides of the neck and shoulders...

    Better to ask and see what othrs say rather than to stuff it and not ask for an opinion or someone else's experience!
  • Darling of mine RELAXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX :$ I) I) I)

    Call the Dr Monday. See if its normal "for you"
    I told you many times over that it took about 2-3 months for all the pain and burning to go away.
    They messed you up girly girl. >:D< >:D<
    Any spinal surgery is major.
    PLUS you went back to school REMEMBER. Most of us are just sitting home doing nothing. That has alot to do with it. Reading, work, sitting at a desk, you get the idea.
    I am in no way shape or form yelling at you, so don't take it that way :X :X :X :X :X :D :D :D

    I know how frustrating it is to feel like crap. I'm also still very sore. Not horrible pain, but spasms, aching, lower burning pain. just yukkkkyy.. (well I have other crappy issues going on) but still.

    So put your mind at ease. A PA should call you back and tell you what to watch for. You have had alot done to your neck.
    Your meds may have to be changed around so your more comfortable.
    Its going to take awhile for your body to adjust to the soft collar. I think the hard ones are just crazy and if I was a dr would never ever put one on a pt. But of course I chose not to go to medical school #o =)) =)) image:)" alt=">:)" height="20" />

    Also once they start you with PT which of course should of happened by now, but all drs are differnt. Your neck muscles will get stronger and stronger.
    You will feel such a difference. Of course you will be sore the first few weeks of doing so. I felt so great while there till I got in the car to drive home. It was like working out at a gym for 3 hrs. UGGHH. but it got better believe me.

    You hang in there hunny, I am only a phone call awayyyyyyyyyyyyyy :T :T :T :T Of course I am not getting out of my comfy bed right now for nothing to go get the phone downstairs hahahahahahah.

    Mabye later this afternoon after my NAPPY I) I) I) (|: (|: (|: (|: I will give you a call so you can rant away love buggy 8> 8> 8>

    Love ya lots and lots
    Ter Bear >:D< >:D< >:D<

  • Terri,
    You are truly aninspiration to me! You always seem to have such kind words and good direction! Especially with all you have going on!!

    So I have called my Ortho. Dr. J, a few times on this issue and I think your right about calling on Monday, but I may just want to see what happens and wait a bit longer!

    I am a tough girl...I guess I am just tired of it all...and I am sure many here can relate.

    I have been thinking about what the other posters have said...about being to soon out to really worry to much about it.

    Yes, your right about the school! It is my most dreaded day of the week! I would not be going right now except that my health insurance comes from the school and I reallly need that right now! It considers all the neck stuff pre-existing..Long Story...but I really do need to have that insurance.

    #:S #:S Whew, Okay you' all I am going to work on just doing the next right thing...focus on the walking and the eating healthy, which I hacve to say...my portion control is a bit out of hand at the moment, but maybe if I focus less on the what if's and more on the what "IS" and try to bein the moment more...I will have some ease of mind.

    I so value eveyone here. You all are good at reminding me wehn to try and go with the flow a bit more..and be patient!

    I think at the three month mark things may be better. I hope!

    Does anyone feel guilty if they do not walk every day??? Some days I don't walk because I will do other things like laundry or sweep op the bird seed shells, but I figure that is some sort of move ment and that is the key to stay moveing for the cirrculation....
    Or should I go walk anyway????

    ?????I have a hard time telling if I am over doing it sometimes! Anyone else???

    Well I must run now...I want to drive myself to church today to my normal mass time. I have gone to church since surgery but not as often and not to the time of mass I usually go to..

    It will be nice to go there and see the familiar faces...some of whom i know have been praying for me.

    Have a nice Sunday everyone..

    Terri, I will be home all day after the church if you want to :-C ..lets see that makes it around 12:30pm your time....anytime after that...If not you make sure to get that rest Alright!!
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