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Lots of neck problems!

charlie6017charlie6017 Posts: 412
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:53 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Hi everyone......I orginally posted on my neck issues (as well as lower back issues) back in November. I received some good responses, and wish to update. The original thread is in the Back/Neck Surgery forum, but wanted to cross-post here in the Neck Pain forum as well.....so my original post from November is next below, and the following post after that is from earlier today......any input and thoughts are great and Thank You!!



  • First time poster here, but spine surgery is not new to me. I have Degenerative Disc Disease---I have already had surgery on my lumbar spine three times....L5-S1 anterior approach (Feb '06), Same level posterior approach to add screws/rods to stabilize (Nov '06), L4-L5 posterior approach and new screws/rods from L4-S1 (July '09). I also have had a double fusion on my cervical spine (C5 thru C7) anterior approach in Sept '07. Now that you know my history, here's my new problem: For the last 2-3 months, I have been having neck pain again, pain down the left arm and some tingling into my left ring and pinkie fingers. Also, some pain between the shoulder blades--and lastly headaches that radiate to the forehead and top of the skull mixed in with what's best described as a "creepy-crawlie" feeling on the right side of my head above and at ear level.

    I did have a myelogram w/CT Scan, and MRI, and a separate CT Scan. I went over them 2 days ago with my neurosurgeon and the tests showed that my C3-C4 disc is pushed out against the nerve and he said that is likely the cause of the headaches/ and weird feeling on the side of my head. Also, the C4-C5 doesn't look the best--and I do realize that it wouldn't be prudent to fuse C3-4 and have C5-C7 fused and leave the C4-5 alone. So.....what I am wondering is: Does anyone have any clue of what mobility would I have left in my neck? I wonder if I will be able to drive sufficiently? I have been a school bus driver for over 9 years.....would that end? I know none of us has a crystal ball, but any feedback would be good. Thanks for reading, and enjoy your day.......Charlie

  • Hey everyone, it's been quite awhile.....and I did read everyone's posts, thanks for your help and wishes back in November. I decided to put off this surgery, in part because I can't really afford to take time off, and after 4 total surgeries between Feb 2006 and July of '09, I had enough (3 of these were fusions and hardware add-ons for L4-S1, combined).

    Certainly, my situation isn't any better. For awhile, I have "gotten by", but I'm getting worse. I still have the same symptoms as outlined in my original post, the tingly/crawly feeling near my right ear and right side of my head seems more pronounced, and now I have weakness in right shoulder and soreness along with it in the shoulder.

    My Neurosurgeon's office (NS is Dr. Zeidman in Rochester) also has a doctor that does fluoroscopic injections and I'm seeing him Thursday (6/2) for consult. Does anyone here think this is a good or bad idea? Would it help? Any input is good and Thanks!

    Well wishes to all!

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  • Sorry I can't help much other than to say welcome back and I hope someone who has more experience than me will give you some good advice.

    I am new to cervical problems (or newly diagnosed anyway). I will be interested to hear what others say as I also have C3/4 and C4/5 compression on my cord. I also get frequent headaches and have the tingling/crawling feeling on either side of my face in front of my ears.

    Did you find that your surgery gave you relief?

  • Hi Jelly,
    Thanks! I can relate, as I also had cord compression before cervical fusion in 2007. Before that, I had trouble lifting my arm up above my shoulder. Afterward, I had much improvement. Dr. Zeidman is a very good NS, no doubt. This is discouraging, it's getting harder to function again due to increasing weakness, and I find myself frequently moving arms and fingers around, and kind of "shaking them" to get feeling. Not sure if epidurals will help or not.
  • I never heard of fluoroscopic injections which you mentioned. I used epidural injections for years for help with cervical related pain. It stopped working. I recently had ACDF 4 level surgery because of pinching of the spinal chord.

    I am glad you have confidence in your NS. It really helps when you're in good hands.

    4 level ACDF C4-C7 5-2-11, laminectomy & discectomy L4-L5 1/26/12, ALIF L4-5, L5-S1 12/10/12.
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  • Hi Charlie,

    If I was in your shoes and there is no risk of paralysis I would most definitely being trying all conservative approaches to include injections. I have seen members come here and utilize conservative therapy and it worked for them and they are out living busy everyday life. If they don't work you can always do surgery later, but I would give it a shot. I am a 4 level fusion myself and there isn't much movement or rotation. Keep in mind surgery doesn't always fix the pain either. It sounds as though you trust and respect your surgeon so I would go with the treatment he/she is prescribing for you.
  • I agree, and that's why I put off the surgery at the end of last year. Dr. Zeidman, my NS actually wanted to do the surgery when I visited his office last November, and it was such a whirlwind (as it usually is) and we set up surgery for 12/20. Ultimately I cancelled, and put off everything. Now I have gotten even worse and it's not even easy to sit here and type. More symptoms and pain......are epidurals worth it?

    Thanks :-)
  • Welcome back. I'm also having problems above my cervical fusion and because I had a 3-lvl at C4-7, the problems are pretty high up at C2/3 and 3/4. Surgery is absolutely a last resort for both me and my surgeon, so he'd like to do injections also.

    I can't afford them at the moment, but will widdle down my deductible throughout this year (with additional problems in my lumbar as well) and hopefully be able to afford injections at the end of the year as well as a MRI on my lumbar to see what's happening there.

    It's just too difficult to even fathom having more surgery at those upper levels, knowing it'll have to be posterior and a long recovery, not to mention what it will do to my cervical spine once the surgical part is healed.

    So I'm anxious to hear if you have any success with injections if you decide to have them. I'll have to be on my death bed to have more cervical surgery and that's a long, long ways away.

    Good luck and please do keep us posted.

  • I am also interested in this questions.

    I suppose that if they reduce the inflamation then they could help, perhaps even in a case like mine, where there is a disc compressing the cord.

    I have been referred to pain management, but there is no way I will have epidural injections into my neck before I get a chance to talk to someone about what they hope to achieve and what the risks are. I have a small spinal canal so things are pretty tight in my neck. If they are only hoping to gain some pain control for me, then I will pass. I am managing my pain and headaches fairly well myself.

    I'll be watching your story Charlie, to see how you get on. Do you have a date for epidural injections?

  • Hello,
    No date as of yet, have to have consult and to see if he wants more new imaging because my myelogram was in October, and I have had more new pain and symptoms since.....we shall see! :-)

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