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burning neck pain after cervical fusion

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:27 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I had cervical fusion at c6/7 6 weeks ago. I had immediate nerve pain relief . I did great was was off all types of pain relievers by the 3rd post-op week. Had x-ray at 1 week post-op and was told it looked good so far. I have had a chronic burning neck pain at the fusion site now for the past two weeks. It's so bad, I went back on vicodin. I go for my x-ray and recheck in a couple of days, but this pain is getting to be unbearable even when on the pain med. Anybody else have this? Is it normal? It isn't nerve pain, it's different and localized in my neck and feels like it's coming from the fusion. Am I crazy?


  • My surgery was nov. 9th and I am dealing with the same burning sensation. It can be very painful. I wish i could say i am all better for the rest of it but i still have a significant amount of ache and pain . Along with headaches daily. My Dr. was the same way ..according to him it can't be from the fusion because that is healing just fine. He wont write for pain meds so I have to really limit activity to try and control the pain. It definately makes you feel crazy when everyone expects you to be all better and your not.
  • I had a 3 level ACDF on Monday 2/14 C4/5, C5/6 & C6/7. Everything seems to have gone fairly well. I am already able to swallow some some soft foods like pasta etc but I am having this burning pain at the base of my neck(where the neck joins the rest of the body)My surgeon told me he used a titanium plate and screws to hold together the bone graft so I didn't really need to use the soft collar. I find that if I am careless and don't pay attention to not looking up or down or sideways etc(even in small amounts) the pain worsens after a while. Have any of you been moving your neck too much? Perhaps that is the cause of this pain.

    I used to suffer from terrible headaches originating from my neck presurgery and my surgeon warned me that the headaches may not go away or they may go away for a while and then return. He said he did not know of any solution for headaches besides pain meds. So far I had them really bad the first day after surgery but they haven't returned yet. :W
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  • Glad that some of you had wonderful results after surgery. I am 10 weeks post op of 2 level ACDF C5-6 C6-7. I still get burning across my shoulders and at the shoulder blade area. I was told that it is caused by inflammation which can be a result of the surgery and or doing too much. Recently I have had some numbness in my fingers which cause them to be ice cold (concerning). I wore a hared collar for a few days and then a soft collar. Now I only wear the soft collar on occasion.
    makado: You are very early on and should be extremely careful. I think you are doing outstanding considering is it less than a week. Good luck, just be careful
  • Do you think 5 days post op is too late to apply ice pack on the neck? They applied ice packs the first 2 days I was in the hospital but I haven't since. The surgeon told me to take Celebrex the two days preceding surgery, because my stomach doesn't tolerate regular NSAIDS like Ibuprfin, but I haven't taken any more Celebrex since the surgery. Maybe I should be taking it to reduce inflammation. What do you think?

    I have an appointment with the NS next Tuesday.

    Frechfri I hope you feel better soon. This burning pain must be from inflammation because I have it at the base of my neck.
  • If ice makes you feel better than you can apply it at any time. Do not take any anti inflammatory medication as it inhibits the bone growth. I am normally on diflonac (spelling error) due to severe arthritis and was told that I can not take it for at least 6 months. I found extra strength Tylenol works well for me unless it is excruciating at which point I take hydrocodone. If you are going to the NS you should start writing down all of your symptoms, questions and concerns. Do not rely on your memory. I kept a spiral notebook and wrote down all of my thoughts, feelings, symptoms that I was feeling, questions and concerns. This way I had all of my questions written little by little.
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  • I wonder why the NS had me take 2 Celebrex 200MG twice a day for two days prior to surgery. Unfortunately I forgot to ask him if I should continue after surgery. Now I don't see him until Tuesday. What a dilemma!

    I have noticed that if I am not wearing the soft collar and happen to move my neck to look down slightly for even a little while the burning pain at the base of the neck intensifies. Putting the collar back on for awhile provides some relief.
  • I hope you asked the NS about the Celebrex. I know that every NS and OSS is different, but I thought the anti inflammatory was the same across the board. Wearing the collar definitely helps when I am in pain also. I still wear it for sleeping, and that I am even trying to decrease. The OSS said that the more I don't wear the collar the stronger my neck muscles will get. PT guy said the same.I was told that the burning was either inflammation or the nerves repairing themselves. Could be both? Let me know how you made out at the dr. :)

    12/9/2010 ACDF C5-6 C6-7 with plate, screws,
    BMP & bone fragment filled cages
    2/14/2011 trying to go back to work as a teacher
    2/17/2011 starting PT
    wearing bone stimulator 4 hours a day
    DDD, arthritis, herniated disks, pinched nerves
  • I'm 3.5 months post op. I still ice because I get very tight across my left shoulder blade and yes it does burn. It has gotten better for sure. What you will find is that each week things change. The pain kinda moves around. The last couple days i've not had the pain in my elbow that hurts so so bad. It's there but I'm not constantly reminded. This is a good thing! Today, I have sore sore muscles in my Mid back and my neck hurts/burns in my C7-8 area. Keep your chin up and do the right things. Take it easy, take it slow. Your going to be like new soon enough. Don't go out and shake tail feathers too early on a dance floor. I think that's what has me kinda hurting.
  • Well I saw my busy NS yesterday. He removed the post op dressing from the wound and said it was healing well although it was a bit swollen and puffed up because I did not use any ice . He told me to ice it and take one 200MG Celebrex a day. Another NS I had been considering for surgery had told me that if my stomach could not tolerate an anti inflammatory I would have to take Celebrex even though it elevates my blood pressure a bit. He also gave me a RX for Valium to take at night to relax my muscles(other muscle relaxers make me weird). One Valium and a Percocet help me sleep in bed at night.

    Anyway he also told me to start PT. I have noticed that the burning pain at the base of the neck has reduced considerably but I have a lot more pain on the side of the neck going into shulder. The NS said it was muscular and that the burning pain at the base of the neck is from irritated nerves.
  • Glad that your incision is healing well. I was swollen at the site for a bit also. Ice will help. Still surprised about taking the anti inflammatory, but every NS and OSS is different. I just started PT at about 10-11 weeks post op. I am sore after the session and will ice my shoulders and neck when I get off the computer. Hopefully the meds will halep you sleep. At your stage I was only sleeping on the recliner.As you move along in your recovery the buring and pain in the neck and shoulder area will continue. As you do more, the pain may increase also. Hope the ice and meds help. Be kind to your neck. :)
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