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new - looking for advice - major neck issues (long)

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:25 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I'm not sure if I should post this here in the neck forum or in the chronic pain area, but here goes:

Hi, my name is Jacky and I’m posting for my boyfriend Scott. About 3 years ago he had C5-6-7 fused. He had an injury at work and the doctors said he also had degenerative disk disease so the fused that part of his neck. All went pretty well. Then last year he had a motorcycle accident and had no choice but to rear end the guy in front of him. He was almost at a complete stop on his bike when he hit the guy because he hit him square on and then the bike tipped over. He probably took most if not all of the impact in his wrists/arms that of course traveled right up to his neck. Up until about 4-5 months ago his neck was manageable – had pain but not anything that stopped him from work etc. Then the pain just started getting worse and worse. He goes to a pain management doctor and they have done the trigger point injections, the part where they inject something to find out if nerve ablation should be done and the nerve ablation. Nothing helps.

Now he is also getting headaches that start in the back of his head and he says he can live with those but they usually travel up the right side of his neck, behind his ear and then he has stabbing pains on the top right of his head and sometimes into his right eye. The migraines when he gets them are unbearable. He uses an icepack to help but it usually doesn’t do a whole lot.
He is on Percocet and can take that with a Tylenol and is on the fentynl patch (50mg I believe).
I don’t think the pain management doctors really have any answers for him – the pain should be getting better not worse. I don't think they know what the cause is either - right now we think it is a pinched or trapped nerve in the C7, T1 area or possible scar tissue from the previous fushion that is pushing on a nerve.

I have had him go to my chiropractor and that has helped but it is a slow process and he just can’t afford to go 3 times a week ($35 a pop) – insurance does not cover it, so it is all out of pocket. She is really really nice and explained a LOT of things to both of us. She thinks that because of all the procedures he had done in that area that it’s over stimulated and because of the nerve ablation the brain keeps sending signals but is not getting an answer back. Sort of made sense to me how she explained it.

She gave us the name of an acupuncturist and I hope that he will try that route also. I don’t know if that will “solve” his problem but I’m hoping it will give him some relief. But then there is the money problem with that also, the medical bills are killing him.

He also gets constipation from the pain pills – one thing just leads right on into the next doesn’t it. He also gets really frustrated and has a “bad attitude” when he has all this pain and his doctors don’t really seem to care too much. (He has had various MRI’s etc.) I do understand about the depression and frustration but I also feel really bad that I can’t seem to help him. He has an appt with a neurologist for the migraines – he called in early Nov when his regular doctor gave him a referral and he can’t get in until Dec 11 ! It’s a 3 hour appt and part of it is with a physicologist so I hope that he will help him in dealing with the pain (he has mentioned that he wishes he were dead rather than have this quality of life).

Anyway – I joined so I could try to get some information for him – I’ll try to get him to post but he is an IT tech and works on computers all day so he doesn’t want to get on one after work.

These are the medications he takes:
Fentanyl 50 mcg/hr Patch changes every 3 days)
Oxycodone /APAP 7.5 mg-500 mg Tab (about 2 per day) was a higher dosage and 3-4 per day before they prescribed the patch)
Ambien CR 12.5 mg Tab to sleep
Lidoderm Lidocaine Patch 5% he only puts that on if his neck really hurts

Cymbalta 60 mg capsules
And then for high blood pressure and cholesterol:
Pravastatin Sodium Tablets 40 mg
Metoprolol 50 mg Tab
Diovan HCT 160 mg/12.5 mg Tab

It’s like a Walgreens pharmacy over here!

I’m just wondering if anyone else has the same/similar problem and some methods that may have worked for them. It seems you have to be your own doctor nowadays and really research because the doctors don’t tell you anything.

Wow – that was really long so if you made it to the end – thank you for taking the time to read it and I thank you in advance for any advice, suggestions, comments, etc.



  • Jacky , I just responded to your other post....just wanted to remind you that if there is anything that I can do for you then please just let me know. The members here are so wonderful , supportive and knowledgeable....I hope that you find all the answers that you are looking for....take care....Miki
  • hey scott and jacky i sure hope u get some answers from the ns in dec. i also feel sad for u that the high cost of treatments are affecting what is and whats not being done for relief. please keep us informed and i really would like to know about the acupuncturist if it helps? i wish and pray u find a solution quickly.
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  • Hello to both of you. I am so sorry that Scott id going through all this and I'll tell you a few things that help me along the way.

    The visit to the neurologist is a great idea, not only for the migraines but for the continued neck pain. Neuro's are inquisitive creatures and great diagnostitions. I had those migraines right after my accident and have them 24/7- they just simply never stop. I am on Topamax and it keeps them at a minimum.

    This is just my opinion but I'd be leery of a chiropractor after a cervical fusion. There is just too much that can go wrong and it's not a risk I would be willing to take, especially after his accident. For me, warm wraps around my neck and massage therapy have been lifesavers. Accupuncture is something I would be willing to try but I live in the sticks and I don't think they know what that is around here LOL!

    Haas there been a x-ray or mri done since the accident? I'm concerned that something may be overlooked and that it's worth it to see the fusion and adjacent levels just to make sure all is well.

    The constipation is an easy fix. There are many over the counter medications for it and they are cheap. There isn't any reason to go through that agony on top if everything else!

    I wish you both the best. It sounds like you are committed to taking care of him and I think that's great. Please let me know if there's anything I can do. There are so many of us here that have experienced some of the same things and, if nothing else, can lend moral support while you're going through this.

  • First let me say Welcome. :H
    Secondly let me say I completely agree with Griff. I wouldn't let a chiro go near my neck now after I've had ACDF surgery. But that's just my opinion. I have no idea how Scott even gets out of bed in the mornings with the list of meds he's on. So hat's off to him for even being able to do that. I too have an appt. with a Neurologist Dec. 12th. I feel very confident that I will find the answers to the questions that I have when I see her. So I hope it's the same for Scott. I eliminated Percocet for a while because I have suffered from migraines in the past and know alot about rebound headaches. That wasn't it because the pain from surgery got to me again and I HAD to take my Percocet or cry and I didn't want to cry because that makes my neck hurt. I figured out that if I lay down and sleep I wake up headache free. Hmmm...
    Griff is right about Neurologists. This particular one sent me an entire of packet of forms to fill out. They wanted to know everything about me all the way back to my childhood. Keep us updated on his condition and let us know how his appt. went.
  • Thank you everyone for your replies. To answer a few questions, yes he has had x-rays and MRIs since the accident. The original fushion is fine. The chiropractor that I (we) use uses the actuator method - and she is very knowledgable and careful with him. She has mostly done adjustments around his right shoulder blade and his jaw. I understand the concern about chiropractors but we both feel extremely comfortable with her, but I appreciate the warnings.
    I'm hoping for some answers from the neurologist too! I'm hoping that she will be able to help him, not just with the migraines but other stuff too.
    Oh and I wanted to say thanks to whoever posted the "Common Pain Management Procedures" - those were very informative and I printed it out - Scott has had 4 or 5 of those procedures but he's going to highlight other ones that were listed and ask his doctor about them.
    Thank you again everyone, it really helps to know you are here and I'm going through the other threads and have found a bunch of things to look up.
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  • just wanted to say hi welcome! :H and to comment on the accupuncture,after my acdf i still had quite a bit of nerve pain but wanted to get off of my pain meds so i started doing accupuncture.I was referred to someone through my physical therapist.I had ten apt. and within that time frame i was completely off my meds. and the pain was resolved.i wasn't sure about it when it was recommended but figured it couldn't hurt now i would go back in a second for pain relief.
  • hA AY Jackie and Scott..
    I had the same type of pain and wa in the same shape as Scott. My, then, chiroparactor was perplexed, too. Then he said that sometimes an accident thows the jaw out of alignment, that there was a technique he wanted to try...put on a rubber glove and pressed on the muscles in the back of my mouth. I almost fainted. I saw stars! The doc was smiling and said that we founf the problem! Oh? Yes, he said that the muscled released and that my jaw was in spaam. Went to a specialist, a dentist that specializes in TMJ. Then, I was fit for orthodontia. The braces realigned my jaw and I don't have that shooting pain behind my ears and neck. Was skeptical but it worked.
    Now I a looking at options to treat a c6,7 fusion. Looks like I may have no choice. (This was unrelated to the whiplash/tmj accident)

    The dentist did give me a "wafer" that I ket in my mouth
    when I didn't have to talk. This helped temorararily. the pain subsided! Oh, I hope you get some relief. Really...
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