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Non-Union of ACDF C6-7 and MD issues (NEED ADVICE)

AMFreeAAMFree North MSPosts: 24
edited 08/24/2015 - 3:44 PM in Recovering from Surgery
Has anyone else experienced a non-union of their fusion? (ACDF C6-7) I have ZERO bone growth at 3 months post-op. Still having a lot of pain, but not the same pain as before my surgery. Now it feels more like bone pain. I'm assuming from where the hardware is. I'm in a soft collar to stabilize, but the pain continues. My PCP seems to think I am fabricating the pain for the medication, but that couldn't be farther from the truth. It's really frustrating to be in pain every day and people seem to discredit you. My surgeon understands my pain, but my PCP called his office and told them not to prescribe medications to me that they would be taking care of it. I don't deserve to be treated like this. Any one have any advice? Anyone with the same experience?

Needed to add I am not allowed to take ANY anti-inflammatories at all, because it inhibits bone growth. Since I haven't begun to fuse at all, this is out of the question. No range of motion, manipulations or exercises via PT, so that's out as well. (All per NS) I'm so limited as to what I can do and take for pain control.

I take Celexa 40mg X1 (because my PCP believes my frustration with my pain is depression) Neurontin 100mg x3 a day, Skelaxin 800mg x3 a day, Norco 7.5/325 1x a day which does not decrease the pain (and I have to basically beg for those)

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Specific comments :

Personal Opinion, not medical advice :

--- Ron DiLauro, Spine-Health System Moderator : 08/23/15 22:02 est

•ACDF C6-7 (5/12/15) resulted in a non-union of the 2 vertebrae. I am using a BSG & Forteo injections every night, PT for e-stim, US, MFR, dry needling, acupuncture & another private MT for MFR. My tone is improving, however the bone pain continues.


  • Motor1MMotor1 Pittsburgh, PaPosts: 606
    You are still very early in your recovery to be worried about not fusing yet. My first surgery didn't fuse, but we waited almost a year before they would do a second fusion surgery.
    I agree about not taking ibuprofen. My surgeon stopped filling my pain meds & actually told me to take ibuprofen! I ended up having to find another doctor & he determined my neck didn't fuse.
    Can you talk to your doctor about going to a pain management doctor? Tell your surgeon that your pcp doctor isn't controlling your pain.
    I hope you get some relief soon.
  • AMFreeAAMFree North MSPosts: 24
    edited 08/25/2015 - 11:22 AM
    My surgeon is great.. Couldn't ask for anyone better. He mentioned a second surgery as a possibility, but after 12 months with no progress, so same as you. He truly understands my pain and knows how I'm feeling because the X-rays, etc show objective data as well as my subjective complaints. I mentioned to him about the PCP and he said "I'm in control of your neck, not him". However, since the PCP has requested to be the only prescriber of medication, I'm not sure what he can do. Not real sure how that works?

    My PCP initially recommended PM, but due to the fact that I'm not fused and my surgeon doesn't want any treatments that may or may not complicated things further, he changed his mind. He said "without being able to use other treatments, they would just give you pills and you don't need that". I truly believe he thinks I have no pain and I'm just doing all of this for the medicine . He wouldn't even look at my X-rays when I brought them in. I'm also afraid if he were to refer me to PM, he would send some kind of note that I have drug seeking behavior. I am a medical professional, so I know how that stuff goes. I'm just in a tough spot right now I guess. I should also add that I have had no relationship with this doctor prior to my injury. I just needed a referral to my surgeon and pain control before the surgery, and now, after.
    •ACDF C6-7 (5/12/15) resulted in a non-union of the 2 vertebrae. I am using a BSG & Forteo injections every night, PT for e-stim, US, MFR, dry needling, acupuncture & another private MT for MFR. My tone is improving, however the bone pain continues.
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  • Why would your PCP be taking over when your NS is still willing to handle your case and prescribe whatever mess you need? That's ridiculous. A PCP has no idea what ACDF recovery entails. It's a roller coaster with every day being different from the next. Some days you feel good and don't need mess, other days you're in agony and need mess around the clock.
    My NS keeps prescribing me Wharton need to stay comfortable. I am 16 weeks post ACDF and he told me to not consider tapering off the mess until I am completely done with PT.
    at 16 weeks, so 4 months I am still in pain too, and like you the pain is different. My NS told me in can take up to a year for the pain to subside completely. The longer your nerves were impinged, the longer you have pain, etc.
    I would go back to your NS and tell him or her that you would like to have them continue to manage your case, as you PCP is being unwilling to listen to your issues. Your NS understands how difficult this recovery is and what it entails.
    In my opinion your NS should be monitoring you, not your PCP. Go back and communicate what's going. Sounds like your NS is quite understanding. And don't feel bad that you're still in pain. I, a month ahead of you in recover, and still hurt every day, still take Percocet almost daily and muscle relaxers several times a week for all the spasming this surgery has caused.
    Don't let your PCP treat you that way.
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