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8 mos post ACDF & PFL problems C3-7

allicat623aallicat623 Posts: 45
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:41 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Hello all....

I had surgery last summer due to severely compressed spinal cord canal. It was only 5 mm and my NS said normal is like 15 mm. My symptoms were numbness/tingling down both arms when I coughed. Nerve pain in arms/hands felt like guitar strings being pulled extremely tight.

My NS didn't prescribe any PT post-surgery. Just said to walk 30 minutes a day. Did that most of the time. But beginning in December, which was 6 mos post-op, I began having widespread achiness in shoulders and neck. In January, pain got worse, including major tension headaches in back of head from ear to ear. Now if I am on my feet for more than a half hour, I have to go sit and rest my neck on a heating pad. I also have numbness and tingling in hands and feet after activity.

I have an appt with NS on Mon, 2/22, and will have X-rays. What should I ask him for? PT, pain pills, nerve tests?

For a while in December I was taking tylenol/aleve/advil on a daily basis, but in reading up on this I know this isn't healthy for kidneys. I had a major kidney infection in January and so I don't take anything now...I just deal with the pain.

Any help would be much appreciated.


  • I'm so sorry to her you're having these new pains and problems since your surgery.

    My opinion is that you don't ask the NS for anything. You tell him absolutely everything that's happening (write it all down if you think you might forget something) and then let him make the decision about what to do next.

    Make sure you voice your concerns and that you really need to get these problems under control and you'll do what you need to to get to the bottom of this and get it fixed. You could ask him what meds he could prescribe to help you get through until it's time to do whatever it is he's going to suggest be done.

    I'm glad your appointment is only in four days. That'll give you a good amount of time to create a journal of everything that's happening, even the little stuff.

    Take care and please keep us posted.
  • MetalneckMetalneck The Island of Misfit toysPosts: 1,778
    When you see your NS .... be prepared to describe in detail your "new" (post surgical) pain and other symptoms.

    Ask him (or her) for a course of action ... that may include everything that you mentioned and more. referral to a pain specialist?)

    There is the potential of adjacent disk disease, hardware failure, progression of disk degeneration, or maybe you simply are "over doing it".

    Many potential causes that diagnostics, time, and good clinicians will hopefully figure out.

    Let us know how the appointment went .... make a list of questions !! Check it twice!!

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  • Thanks for the quick responses!!

    Yes, I will write down all my symptoms and questions.

    I also have DDD and arthritis in the neck area. Will arthritis show up on an x-ray? I know that in arthritis "if you don't lose it, you lose it" so to speak. So maybe some of these symptoms are from that....

    I am 47 and was also diagnosed with fibromyalgia years ago and the neck and shoulder areas were always top trigger areas. But then once I had the MRI done last June, both my neurologist and NS said I didn't have fibromyalgia...

    So I realize there are many potential causes for the pain....
  • I just got back from my NS... he said my x-ray showed absolutely NO problem with my fusion. All looked great. Whew!

    I explained all my symptoms and frustrations. He said he believes it all stems from muscle spasms. And he said, "There is no magic bullet, you gotta move and keep moving or you're gonna have pain."

    So to give me moving again, he gave me a prescription for Robaxin (methocarbam), which he said was a non-addictive muscle relaxer. AND he suggested that I go to PT for a 6 weeks!

    I am so thankful that there isn't anything physically wrong with the fusion and I can't wait to get started with PT!

    Thanks you guys for the support.
  • Good news! The PT should help. Have you tried any massage?

    I think there are a few people on here who have similar muscle issues and used various treatment methods for the muscle release.

    Good luck.

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