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1 year Post Op C4-C6 Cervical Fusion - Still pain

BrendieleeBBrendielee Posts: 23
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:52 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Anyone else have cervical fusion and still have issues?

I'm one year post op. The pains in my neck, headaches, numbness in hands, tingling and pain across shoulders continue. After surgery I was better for 3-4 months and then it started back.

My doc says x-rays show fusion is good and doesn't know why I'm having pain. Suggested physical therapy.

I'm back to not sleeping all night due to pain, waking up with headaches and neck pain.

Anyone else ever have this kind of experience? Not sure were to turn if the doc says, don't know why everything looks good.



  • Your not alone there are many of us with the same issues. What test did they do to confirm your fusion is solid? If your fusion is not solid it could still becausing you issues. Also there is no guarantee that surgery will resolve the pain. Now in your case the fact that you got better for so long then got worse makes me wonder if something isn't going on. Have you had a emg study sense your surgery? What types of treatments have they tried or test to find the pain generator? You might consider getting a second opinion as to why your still in pain. But I wanted to let you know your not alone as there are some of us that surgery doesn't resolve the pain and the nerves have permanent damage. A emg study might confirm that or wether it is active damage. One other thing did you have a EMG study pre-surgery? If so it would be good to have it done on the same machine by the same person.
  • Like Metalneck and Tamtam, been there, done that, still doing that! I am set for new MRI's, blood work and full NCV/EMG's in the next few weeks, and if answers aren't complete, then he'll hit me with x-rays and CT for deeper status.

    Like Metalneck, the squeaky hinge gets the attention! My EMG studies before and 6 months after surgery where almost the same - so I am not holding out much change on the plus side is going to be there. I would keep pushing, and if needed, get another opinion. It is your body and pain, and not theirs. I hope you get answers soon. Please let us know how it goes.

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
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  • MetalneckMetalneck The Island of Misfit toysPosts: 1,778
    My short answer is YES

    You are not alone.

    I had a two level that failed 5 years ago and then had a revison anterior and posterior 1.5 years later with an additional level, corpectomy and posterior rods.

    It took me a year and 1/2 of telling MANY doctors that something was still wrong .... they finally figured it out and did my revision.

    I remain in chronic pain today, tomorrow, and the forseeable future.

    I currently have another level above the "works" that is progressing and will eventually need surgical intervention.

    Keep asking your docs questions - get opinions from other surgeons - orthopedic and neurologist(s).

    Just curious did an ortho or a neuro perform your surgery??

    Regards and understanding,

  • I'm 5 1/2 months post-op from a C4-C6 fusion with a plate and screws. All x-rays are normal,had a 2nd MRI and it's normal according to the surgeon but I got the radiology report and they mention a rather large bulging disc. The surgeon never mentioned that though he read the MRI on the same day it was taken, before the report was released. I got the feeling he felt he didn't need the report and could read the MRI just fine without it.
    I'm not sleeping, still wearing the collar though the surgeon wants me off of it. He just says he has no idea why I'm having pain and acts as if I'm his only patient who has symptoms at this stage. Very frustrating.....He's convinced I'm fine. I'm far from
    fine and not sure where to go next...

  • :SS I had ACDF C/4/5/6 in September 2010 and am still suffering spasms and severe pain in neck and shoulders. On 4th August 2011 I had neck injections of 2 either side and within no time at all the pain had gone and spasms stopped. These injections were diagnostic in addition to pain relief but unfortunately some 3 weeks later pain/spasms returned with a vengeance. I saw my Spinal Surgeon on 6th September 2011 and I now have to undergo posterior cervical surgery to fuse numerous facet joints which are causing the problems. My balance also has been very unstable and I have to use a walking stick to prevent me toppling over!! I cannot get this operation until probably January 2012 due to huge waiting list on NHS UK however they are trying to organise further injections until that time. I also had PLIF plus rebuild ( 7 hrs ) operation in December 2008 as spine was crumbling!
    Believe my spine problems are caused by being exposed to massive doses of ionising radiation when a young Naval officer present at UK Atomic Tests at Christmas Island, Pacific in 1958. Have also had both knees replaced with right one being revised due to faulty replacement. I find sleeping easier if I use a 'butterfly' pillow and I take 2 Amitryptyline tablets before going to bed. Hope this helps you. Hugs from across the water in UK.
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  • April 15 Fusion to c5c6. c4c5 still herniated As Surgeon stated he wouldn't fuse do to DDD. Here it is the end of October I feel like my neck can't hold my head up and the headaches are terrible. Arms and hands feel like they are swollen but there not. I go back to surgeon on Nov 2 wants another CT or MRI will see whats going on.
    Tried the PT only made me worst with pain.
    When I saw the Surgeon for the first time he stated your neck is a mess.
    Hang In There
  • Hi Bill,

    Welcome to spine-health. As you can see there are many others in your situation. Hopefully your surgeon will get to the bottom of what is causing your issues. While I am sure you don't want another surgery, that is one of the risk of having surgery, that adjacent disc disease will set in and cause other levels to fail. Good luck at the surgeon and let us know how it goes. It might help for you to start a thread of your own, so people can get to know you and follow your progress and lend some support. Take care.

  • I see that you were going to see your surgeon today. How did you get on?
    I have also been toldl that my neck is a mess. :S

    Interesting that they only fused C5/6 because of your DDD. My neurosurgeon is putting off fusinf my neck as long as possible, because of the state of the rest of my neck. His registrar advised a 2 level ACDF but once he spoke to the consultant, came back and said they would wait. He didn't actually give a reason, but my physio spoke to a different doctor, and they viewed my MRI scan and he said the doctor said that it was probably due to the condition of the whole of my neck, as to why they were proposing to hold off the surgery.

    I do physiotherapy every week to try to keep my neck mobility. I do think that it helps, but I am not getting better, just trying to hold things as they are. I do think that my symptoms are slowly getting worse. Today for instance, I woke with numbness in the ring, middle and pointer fingers of my right hand which lasted for several hours. I also get all sorts of pains, shocking and shooting pains in my legs and feet as well as cramping in the feet and tightening spasms in my legs and abdomen right up to my neck. These are starting to affect my right arm now too.

    I just hope that they don't put of surgery so long that I am left with permanent nerve damage.

  • Well I did see the surgeons nurse practitioner (surgeon out of town) and no mention of a MRI or CT so the same old thing asked how I have been feeling. Told her still lots of headaches and arms and hands still feel the same but did tell her my feet have been going numb and tingling feeling and that some off the headaches are lasting 12 to 14 hours with a upset stomach. She stated that that is not caused from the neck and that I should go back to the pain management doctor to see what they say. Made and appointment Nov. 11 and back to see the surgeon Dec.14.
    All this because the garage door at work rolled down on my head.

    Thanks for the invite TamTam
  • On Jan 21, 2012 it will be 2 years post surgery and I still have chronic pain. I had a herniated disc at c/7 and had hardware inserted to hold my neck in place. I have had many xrays, MRI's, CAT Scans, ect. and they still can't find why I am still in pain. The doctors say I get to be one of the many people that has to live with pain for the rest of my life. I am on Gabapentin and Loritab daily to control the pain.
    The surgery did nothing to relieve my pain, but I hope you get some kind of relief soon.
    Best of luck.
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