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Return to Spinal problems after ACDF five years ago

scoopsscoop Posts: 20
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:46 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Hi Gang,
I had ACDF at c5-c6 in Jan 05 and then shoulder rotator cuff surgery in June 06. Since then I've had several bouts of neck pain, probably one or two per year, that required various NSAIDs and Oxycotin and several weeks of rest to get under control.

However, in July 2010 I awoke to severe neck pain, shoulder pain and could barely swallow, talk and loud noises hurt. Now i'm taking relafin, scalaxin and oxycotin to combat throbbing pain in my shoulder and tingling and some times hot or cold sensations in my hand. This feels very close to the way my neck and shoulder felt before the first surgery.

My question is this - I thought this was over since the ACDF in 2005 removed the disk that caused the initial nerve compression. I find it hard to believe that I injured my shoulder again, but the pain is convincing me otherwise.

I'm now scheduled to go to a NS and will probably start the whole MRI/testing diagnosis routine again. I feel like I'm stuck in a bad dream.

Can anyone shed some light on what to expect a second time around?

Thanks,
sKC in Maryland
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Comments

  • Howdy Scoop, and Welcome to Spine Health!!! I had ACDF and a partial Corpectomy in March of 08 at the same level as you. In April of 09, C6/7 went! I am one month shy of a year post op, and now C7/8 is going amongst other levels!

    Some folks have a level fused and they are good for years, maybe even life. Others go a few months or years, and other issues (levels) start being problematic. When we have a segment fused, the whole dynamic of loading around that fusion changes forever. If there was/is anything in adjacent levels that are weak, there is risk of adjacent level failure(s). Sad, but it happens.

    Hopefully you won't have additional levels going and therapy or light meds or shots or something will help. Please keep us posted on what you find out. Take care, and again welcome to the site!!!

    Brenda
    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Hi Brenda,
    Well the NS told me back in 2005 that c6-c7 also looked shady, but he didn't want to do any more fusion than was necessary at a minimum, and that "we" meaning me - would watch it and see how things developed. I guess from looking at other people's stories that four or five years is not a bad run before having problems again.
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  • scoop said:
    Hi Brenda,
    Well the NS told me back in 2005 that c6-c7 also looked shady, but he didn't want to do any more fusion than was necessary at a minimum, and that "we" meaning me - would watch it and see how things developed. I guess from looking at other people's stories that four or five years is not a bad run before having problems again.
    Howdy Scoop,

    Nodding, sadly a lot of us are lucky if we get a year or so. My other levels looked great at the time of my C5/6 fusion. My surgeon was actually a little surprised when my C6/7 went. *I'm* not surprised that my C7/8 are going now, as I've had a cluster of bone spurs on one side pushing the disk out. I think a lot of it Scoop boils down to things we've done over our lives, the present conditions of our spines, our present lifestyles etc. Short of a direct impact or some known disease, many times we don't know what causes this stuff.

    If you had a 'shady' level before your surgery, and you have gone almost 5 years, I am officially jealous! (G) Please keep us posted on what they find out. :)

    Brenda
    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Welcome to Spine-Health.

    Adjacent disc problems after fusion is not uncommon. It's not a given, but it happens. My cervical spine is a mess and I don't want to go into it, but as far as my lumbar spine, my problems were at L4/5 and many of my doctors have said that I need to be especially careful to make sure my L5/S1 is not effected in the future. I'm not exactly sure how I go about that, but I try to work on my core muscles and keep my posture the way it should be.

    With that said, I'm sorry you're having to go through this. Nobody here can really tell you what you can expect so I'm glad you've got an appointment with your NS for more tests to see what's happening.

    Please keep us posted and how your tests and appointment go.
    Cath
  • I totally understand what you're going thru and its not a bowl of cherries. I, myself had ACDF on my C4-C5 September '09, knowing that my C5-C6 was "shady". I felt great for a few months after the surgery, until I was able to be more active and get about my reg. routine of house cleaning, ect....Now here I am less than a year out from my first surgery, contemplating another ACDF on my C5-C6. I too, am jelous you had a few years of relief...LOL. Please keep us posted and good luck with your decisions.
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  • Thanks for the kind words. I'm trying to stay positive and not get depressed at the whole situation. so many people on this board have worse stories than mine. I'm trying to do that but it's difficult. I will let you know what the NS says when I here something.
    /scoop
  • Thanks for the words of encouragement. I keep thinking that I will wake up and be okay just like I was in June. This morning I tried to skip taking the meds, but was in too much pain by lunch time. Maybe its not such a good idea to let all of the drugs out of my system. I think I will keep a steady level from now on. This whole pain thing is not a good feeling. I'm so sorry to hear that you have to go back under the knife again, but anything that even hints at pain relief is worth considering..

    /scoop
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