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???? Could a Fusion cause Severe Headaches.....



  • Sporto:

    Talk about nailing it!!! Exactly to the point of what I was having & have from time to time wow!!! Thanks you answered my silent question's!!! I also have to have the steroid which is called Trigger Point Shot's done. Also take Muscle Relaxants not only for my neck but for my spine because of all the nerve damage. I also take antidepressant's since I deal with so much pain from fusion from neck & back fusion's. But man wow never in my life how someone described to a T the exact headache that I was & have sometimes even after my C5 C6 C7 fused with cage. I just had 4 Trigger Points done on the 6th Dec but did not help me :( so not headache's but I am afraid something else is going on, which will be seeing my neurosurgeon to see if the spurs are bk or other disk gone :(. but thanks again for the POST!!
  • Glad it sounds familiar... but please see your doctor. When I read your post, it sounded like what I was having and was diagnosed with and looked it up and read the description and it nailed it for me to.

    I was having Occiptal Nerve Blocks done, which help
    instanlty, but do not last permanently... but for the time it does last its AWESOME! THe Occiptal Nerve Blocks are Trigger Points Injections on the back of your head on both sides... IF it works.. the site will be NUMB... instanlty. So far every time I have had it done.. It has worked. (NO PAIN) (NO HEADACHES)!!!

    I take Topiramate also known as TOPOMAX..it helps with the Severe Headaches caused by the cervical fusion. This medication works, but you CANNOT DRINK

    Unfortnuatly, no surgery is 100% perfect.... and sometimes some people get side effects, some don't.

    Please see your doctor and wish you well,
    Good luck! and keep me posted I hope it works out.
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  • Hey,
    I have just had my 2nd fusion (first c6-c7, now c5-c6) about 4 weeks ago. I am going in tomorrow for my post op check up. I have had headaches every day for about 2 weeks. but I have had the occipital head aches in the past and went in for the blocks without much success. I am a retired martial artist and was trained to make something traditionally called " dit da jow" which is just a topical anti-inflammatory and I have used this with wonderful results on my head aches for several years. (I haven't used it now because they told me anti inflammatories slow the bone growth so I thought I shouldn't use it for now???) but there is a catch, it smells pretty strong and I am typically confined to the house when I am using it, the plus side is I am symptom free for the rest of the day. I'm not sure how this would work, if you are able to send me an e-mail I would gladly send you some for you to try out and see if it relieves your symptoms as well. I have used it with countless numbers of students for several years with no harmful effects but that would be "at your own risk" if you want more info just let me know. totally free of course, just trying to help.
  • I am searching for answers for what I have been dealing with since I had to have surgery due to a accident I was in on august 22 2012, had 4 disc removed and 5 vertebrae fused from C3 to C7 on October 16 2012, after 12 weeks I was sent to pain management by the surgeon who did the fusion, prior to the surgery I had severe headaches, neck pain, numbness in hands,I would actually drop things,the pain was so severe at times I thought I was having a heart attack till I got up to call 911 and just as fast as the pain started it was gone, ruptured disc were pushing on the nerves, after surgery I have all the same symptoms minus the numbness in my hands, I have had an epidural no results, injections directly on the nerves themselves no results, the nerves at each location of the fusion cauterized, nerve block to the occipital nerve with no results, I guess I shouldn't say no results, it had little to none effect on the consent pain I am having, I wake every day with a stiff neck and a moderate to severe headache, I take a 8 milligram hydromorphone and a Fioricet every morning and wrap my head in a heating pad till the pain is bearable enough so I can get ready for work at 3:30 am, I spend most the day behind a desk since the accident, I have to take a 2 milligram hydromorphone and a Fioricet around 10 am just to get me to quitting time, I go home totally exhausted every day, most saturdays I spend resting in bed just to have enough energy to cut the grass and the shopping on sunday for the following week, I do live alone so there isn't anyone there to help me with things I have to do like laundry cooking and cleaning.

    so if anyone has had this problem after a fusion and you got past the level of pain I am experiencing I would like to hear how
    Brian J Sheidy
  • I wish I had an answer but I can say that I also had an ACDF on C3-C7 in October 2012 and here I am some 15 months later with the same and a few more difficulties than before the surgery. The headaches which the neurosurgeon dismissed were confirmed by my pain management doctor as occipital nerve headaches, I had a brief period after the surgery without them but they have returned and the only relief I can get is with anti-inflammatories which they don't like you to take because of the fusing process. I went through a phase of chest pains that shot down my arms after surgery and went to the ER just to confirm it was not the heart, I went through a phase where I swore I had a torn rotator cuff in my shoulder, I went through a phase where the pain went in between my shoulder blades so hard I swore I had thoracic discs out. All of these symptoms come and go where different pain takes priority and I get afraid to even talk about it because it seems crazy and impossible that yet something else is a problem. Before surgery i had some trouble with my hands, but the past 2 months I am losing all strength in my hands with electric charges in my fingers and pain in my wrists, dropping things like mad. They did an EMG and said it was double crush syndrome due to carpel tunnel in both hands so to simply wear hand splints. It's worst at night as a side sleeper and I turn every half hour because of the throbbing hands and down back hip leg, whatever side I am on. Feet are numb as well and dont even want to talk about that. I started on a Butrans 20mcg patch 6 months ago with 10 mg oxycodone as needed which has gotten me back up and moving but not to the point of working and my question is how do you work when you are so drowsy and loopy? I want to try epidural or RFA but I am so afraid of any procedure at this point. In short, I hear everything you are saying and you are not crazy and you are not alone. Wish I had an answer but will post it when I find it :)
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  • fran37ffran37 Posts: 1
    edited 03/16/2014 - 5:57 AM
    I have congenital neck vertibrae fusion with arthritis, this has given me trouble for over 20 years! However was only diagnosed when I went privately for physio 10 years ago and then 3 years ago had an xray at the hospital!! Had nerve block injections in facet joints nearly 3 years ago! Agony as the joints stiff and hit nerves each time the needle went in (about 14 times on each side!) and worse for weeks but then helpful for a few years! I recently had my first Mammogram and my neck and shoulders, despite warning the ladies at Breast Test Wales, were manhandled! into position.For a week I was in trouble with shoulder pain and nerve pain down each arm into fingers and then headaches . Then got off my bicycle into work and blinding headache top of head so severe, wretched in toilet and then slid down the wall to sit on floor and hold my head! I was crying in pain and ended up in A& E-CT scan and then Lumbar puncture despite protests that it was my neck not a brain tumour or meningitis! There was only a dismissal from hospital and no follow up.I can no longer cycle as my coccyx gives me pain on sitting and standing after being seated, and cycling makes that worse. I now walk to work as I cannot afford bus fare and find I have hip and back pain also! My Doc has ref me to the spinal docs and as the last time they saw me I was told that apart from the injections, fusion was the next option, I decided to investigate to see what i would be letting myself in for. This website and the comments of people who have had the procedure has lead me to despair at what I should do as It doesn't sound like surgery is an option worth following! Any one out there have anything positive to say? Or even any advise in hindsight?
  • Brian, 
          I'm so sorry that you continue to have pain after your fusion, but its not to see that im not alone. In January  2014 i had my first cervical fusion C4-5 due to chronic pain down my neck and down my shoulder blades and neuropathy in both my hands  from 4 herniated discs in my neck . After my first surgery i was able to feel my arm and hand again so i thought the surgery was a success . After about 4 months of healing my symptoms returned and i began experiencing  all the same symptoms  as i did before my first surgery except much worse , In April 2015 i had the hardware and screws removed from my 1st surgery and had the other 2 levels C6-7 fused as well , they then put in a cage which contained all four discs and lots of screws , as you stated i am now 18 months out from my last surgery and im still in excruciating pain and still have neuropathy  in both arms and hands , i have chronic headaches that begin in my neck and travel up into the back of my head and the pain is like no other.  I just went back to my neurosurgeon and he stated the the cadaver bone has finally begun to fuse . And that I am 38 and have a 4 level fusion so im gonna be in pain for the rest of my life. This isnt exceptable to me , i go to a pain management doctor , which prescribes my pain meds which entail Oxycotin 40 mg every 8 hours and Oxycodone every 4 hours as needed for breakthrough pain , i also have gotten a medicinal license for medical marijuana which helps alot . I would suggest trying that if it is legal in your state. I have begun having these excruciating headaches almost every other day and the only thing that helps is submerging my head in a very very hot bath , i am open to any suggestions that may help. Again I am so very sorry to hear from you and others that they continue to have pain after sugery , but as I said its nice to know im not alone and others are enduring the same hell as me. Again I welcome any and all suggestions that tend to help you all. 
    Melissa Camarota 
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