At 52 I broke my C2 completely through in a horse accident in 2006. The surgeon's decision was to put a large screw in at an angle (front to back, bottom up) into my C1. After 11 mos. of PT, I was pretty good, but continued to have pain (radiating to shoulders and down shoulder blades), worsening with any activity. Doctors either didn't believe me or just tried to medicate me enough for me to manage life on my own. With the initiative to get people off narcotics, the hospital (one hospital town in central MT) hired an anesthesiologist to overhaul the Pain Clinic and she took my case. Right off the bat she sent me to a chiropractor to deal with the whiplash damage in my skull that had never been addressed and then proceeded to do tests to figure out if RAF would help the headaches she felt were caused by damage between my C2 and C3. The test shot in my spine did not give me relief, but the two in the left side of my neck gave excellent results.
She proceeded to do the RAF mid-January. The procedure itself, even with the anesthetic given, was extremely painful...definitely 10 on the pain scale, which I hadn't experienced since the initial break. The pain was NOT the sunburn type of pain often described, it was much deeper and radiated from the injection site behind my ear, up my head and down my neck, shoulder and arm. It stayed severe for a week, lessening somewhat the second and third weeks. During this time, I was unable to do much of anything by myself and never left my tiny flat. Now it has been four weeks and I have been out of my flat twice, but still experience level 4 pain. I must 'carry' my left arm when I am outside to prevent the muscles from pulling down and causing increasing amounts of pain when I am just walking. Since my chronic pain from the C2 break came with increasingly levels of activity, I don't feel like I even know if the RAF was successful. In addition to the pain described, I have numbness and sensitivity (like I can't brush my hair type pressure) on the left side of my skull.
The chiropractic work has been successful to increase my range of motion lost since the original PT and lessening the pain associated with turning my head by tearing scar tissue and decreasing pressure on the dura.
Oxycodone was added to my regular pain regimen (Butrans patch 20mcg. and 225mg Lyrica AM and PM) for the first two weeks post-RAF, then switched to Methocarbamol, which does help lessen the post-RAF pain, and an increase to my Lyrica dose at night. Since pain has always increased with activity AND RAF added to my overall pain, I am just doing the very basics in order to cope with the ongoing pain.
At 63 I was looking forward to being medication and pain free with the RAF, instead I appear to have more pain while only doing basic personal care. I would appreciate anyone with opinions on what is going on with my case to comment. I am desperate to hear something positive.