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I had a C4-5,5-6 discectomy with fusion 6 weeks ago. I originally went to a Neurosurgeon because of severe shoulder and upper arm pain, with tingling and numbness in my hands. The diagnosis was stenosis, causing nerve compression. The surgery went great! I spent one night in the hospital and was released with a soft neck brace, which the doctor said I really did not have to wear. I went back to work in one week and started driving at 2 weeks. I was feeling pretty good at that point, then the arm pain started coming back! It has progressively worsened until it is now as bad as it was prior to surgery! The doctor says that there is nothing left to compress my nerves at the levels he operated on, but is ordering another MRI to see if anything was possibly missed. I am beginning to feel like I made a bad decision in having surgery, but the doctor told me that my nerve damage would only continue to progress without the surgery. How long will this pain last? It is especially bad at night while trying to sleep, yet subsides during the day, if my arms are at my side, not lifting, gripping, etc. Putting my arm into a shirt or coat sleeve hurts the worst and I have little or no strength when the pain occurs. Anyone with longer post-surgical experience?

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One year out and I still have pain, though I have good weeks and bad weeks. Did you ever go to PT......it really did help. Building up my biceps and deltoid muscles relieved the pressure from my neck when I lift objects. Unfortunately, I don't know many people that are pain free from this surgery, but for me I was nearly paralyzed, so I'll take the pain!!
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I would love to know also. I had my surgery(cervical decompression and fusion 5,6,7 and iliac bone crest graft instrumentation) on March 13. I hurt my neck 2 years ago, but my husband is in the military and they wouldn't take me serious because I was only 21 at the time. I am now 24 and FINALLY had an MRI done and it showed degeneration of my discs, herniated and bulging discs at 5,6,7 and spinal stenosis. It has gotten progressively worse over the years, with the pain finally radiating all the way down to my fingers with the most recent injury in December. The doctor said that the arm pain should be completely gone after surgery, and it was for the last week and then all of a sudden, it's back after my 10 day check up. I have been using a bone stimulator to help the bone to heal and wonder if that has anything to do with it. I can't even sit a little slouched with my feet up because I have the most intense pain run thru my spine. As of right now, I feel as though I made a huge mistake. My surgeon told me it would get progressively worse if we didn't do surgery, so now I'm freaking out a bit. I would love to hear experiences from people who have been post-op for a little while.
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I had an anterior cervical fusion, C5-7, in April, 2006. I have been painfree until February, 2007, when I started to get what felt like muscle aches in my left upper/outer arm. This ache has progressed to my shoulder, across my upper back and now down my arm with some numbness at times. I cannot reach behind my back with my left arm now nor can I put this arm behind my head without a terrible ache. I will be going back to my surgeon March 30 and will have another x-ray of my neck. Don't know what is causing this yet, but will find out soon, I hope. Will keep you posted....
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I had the same surgery as you have all described (cervical decompression) only last Wednesday - Mine was on C5-6. I was sent home from hospital after 2 days with a soft collar - I have been advised by my surgeon to wear this for 6WEEKS!!! at all times - I had a Brantigan Carbon Cage - Not sure if this is any different all the other cases listed, but I'm suprised how long I have got to wear it for.

I am already feeling pain in my right arm, when my original symptom was pain and numbness in the left. Also I've been constantly light headed an nauseous (this maybe the mass of meds I'm currently taking) - Please keep upto date with how you all progress as I'll be really interested to know.

My neck is going to be very weak in 6 weeks. :'(
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:-( I am replying to all who have pain after surgery. I had c3/c4/thru C6/c7
with plate. I wore a Miami hard collar 8 weeks, showered and slept in it.
I also had the pain come back into my right arm and hand, I am worse now then before. My neck,shoulder, arm and back are in paiin 24/7, ranging
from moderate to severe. I had 10 wks PT, wore soft collar for comfort.
Had MRI, neck xrays, my surgeon said it looks good, nothing there to explain
this pain. He sent me back to my pain intervention doctor, now Im having
trigger point injections in my neck/shoulder, back on Hydrocodone and
Cymbalta for pain and depression. My surgery was 9-5-06,I can't work,
limiting on driving or doing any tasks at all, I had to retire from my job
and applied for disability in Jan 07. I need a cane to get around and most the
time I sleep, it sucks. I now wish I didnt have the surgery, but I had no choice, I had spinal stenosis and serious problems coming to a head. It
was have surgery or be in a wheelchair or worse. So I know how you all' feel. So keep in touch if anyone has a solution
Mary
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I was injuried in car accident in August 2005 and it blew out the disc and caused spinal cord compression creating the pain and numbness down my arm into my hand aswell as severe chest pain. my first surgery was performed in january 2005 with not complication or pain after the sugery completly pain free. But the doctor kept me in a hard crevical neck brace for three months 24/7 with no lifting more than 5 pounds, no driving or working. This surgery was a complete sucess. Neurosurgeon performed the work

But in December 2006 i started having chest pains and pain running down my left arm and and I was taking to the hospital thinking i was having a heart attack but that realize that nothing was wrong with my heart. So i went back to the doctor and they ran another MRI found that C-3 was completly deteratied from the stress of the other fusion so i had another surgery in January 2007 again this surgery was good and no pain after the surgery and went home in a soft neck brace and was allowed to drivwe after two weeks. I was about to start physical therapary, but i started using a bone fusion stemelator and the pain started back in my left arm and my neck is huring and stiff from use this equipment. So I am going to quit using the stimulator util i speak with my doctor.
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I just saw my surgeon today and am having the same experience. I had cervical fusion of C5-6, and am still in excruciating pain. Add to that my PT told me to bend at the waist when I sew (my work) and then my back really went out. The MRI showed a herniation in L5-S-1, but nothing in the neck to cause the pain. I have nerve pain into the arms, frequent numbness from things like using the mouse or esp. talking on the phone. Holding my head up hurts, now I get horrible headaches from it and the bones in my face ache. I'm on Robaxin & Vicodin & sometimes Neurontin, but on bad days they don't touch the pain. He cannot find a reason for it and is referring me to a pain specialist, which is what I feel they do when they've given up on you. I'm 28 and a mother of 2, and feel so badly for my kids most of all. They don't deserve a "broken" mommy=( I thought surgery would fix me, I too had to wear a hard collar for 6 weeks, sleep and shower in it. I have a neuromuscular disease that might be worsening my symptoms, but I feel like my doctor doesn't really care. It's just so frustrating and debilitating.
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I too had a cervical fusion in Feb. 2004, mine was a result of an auto accident in Aug. 1999. It took 5 years for the dr.'s to finally figure out that I had a small tear in my disc.. I had my C5-C6 removed and I too used a piece of bone from my hip. The surgery was no problem, hardly any pain! I had too stay in the hosp. for 3 days and then for 6 weeks wear a soft neck brace. I was off of work for close to 4 months, I really could have gone back sooner but because I had decided to use my hip bone instead of a cadaivar my recuperating time was longer! The only pain I really had was from using my hip bone, it was EXTREMELY painful! Before the surgery I had a lot of problems with my left shoulder and arm. I had experienced numbness and tingling, my doctor thought I had carpal tunnel. I had carpal tunnel surgery in Dec. 2001. It helped my hand but my pain was still in my arm. One month before my fusion I had a nerve block to see if it would help, it did for about 2 weeks! I have no problems now with my arm or shoulder, the only problem I have is muscle spasms in my neck where they had to cut! It hurts to yawn sometimes, in fact I am on muscle relaxers at night! Does anyone else have these problems? If so how have you been told to correct it? Did I mention I was 24 when the accident occured and 28 when I had the surgery?
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Hello, I have been referred to have the Anterior Cervical Disk Surgery in the C-5/C-6. They want to fuse and put a metal plate in there. I injured myself exercising 6 weeks ago and an MRI later, I have a large herniated disk. I have some mild on and off pain and "slight" weakness in my right arm. Do you think there are other options that I could try instead of surgery? From what I've read, surgery sounds like it has it's own set of problems after you get home.
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I had the fusion done on c 4-5 c 5-6 on 3/28/07 and I am having alot of discomfort and pain in the right arm, shoulder blade, to the finget tips and am having a lot of trouble sleeping at night because of numbness and tingling. I can not sleep on my right side or stomach and when I sleep on my left side my arm has to be by my side. I cannot rech across my opposite side or raise my arm with out pain. I am so frustrated. I wear my soft collar still because it seems to take strain off my neck. I do not do anything at all, my sisters come and help me in the house as well as other areas I don't even see the Dr. until another 2 1/2 weeks, so I trying to figure out what the next option in for me. Any ideas
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Hello to all my co-hearts who have and are still having neck, arm, and hand numbness and pain.!
I had surgery 3-26-07. I was good for about 3 weeks then slowly as Itried to ween myslef off the pain meds back comes the pain. Meds were masking or at least keeping pain at bay. Called dr because I began dropping things like butter, glasses, anything that required strong grip of fingers. %-) She said it was probably because the messages from brin to finger were getting mixed upand that PT would help. I went yesterday 5-08-07 for my PT evaluatin. I could squeeze 30 lbs with my left hand and only 2-5 lbs on my right hand where the nurve had been compressed ue to spinal spondolys (sp??). i sure hope I get use of this hand and arm back.
Has anyone out there in cyberspace experienced this? I getting scared I might not be able to work. I'm teacher and teach language arts How am I to teach a child to write if my writing is so bad you can hardly read it?
Scared in MI
dian
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Hello again! I had my fusion Dec. 5.2006, and it was done by and amazing surgeon whom I have the utmost confidence in. Unfortunately, it hasn't relieved all the pain. I'd say I'm at 25-80% of the pain I was in before, depending on the day. My doc and the pain doc have said it could be nerve damage, because my new MRI showed nothing in my neck. I thought all my problems would be solved after surgery, and was sorely mistaken. They say it can take time to go away, or if there is enough damage it could never go away. There was 18 months between when I was injured and when I met with a surgeon (due to misdiagnosis) and my spinal cord & nerve roots were being compressed. My advice is to try conservative treatment (advil, ice/heat, PT, massage, rest) and see if it goes away on its own(it does for most people). If you're a lucky person like me and it doesn't, my own *personal* theory (my docs have told me they feel the same) is that surgical intervention or epidural injections work best when done close to the injury. If it is left long enough, the damage can be irreversible and you'll be left in a cycle of chronic pain. If you're far out from the date of your injury and considering surgery, it's a possibility it might not work for you, and unless you're in danger of paralysis or the like, you might think twice abut surgery. Just my 2 cents for what they're worth!
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:'( OMG, I have had nothing but pain since my srugery from C3 to C7, had rt radiculopahty and horrible pain, I had to have surg due to early spinal stenosis, I had all modaliites prior to surg, nothing helped, guess what Im pretty much in the same place now, my surg was 9-06. I am seeing aneurologist,pain intervention doc,phycologist,phyciatrist,podritrist for neuropathy and fibromalgia, internal doc. Lots of meds, trigger point inj monthly in neck and shoulder. I applied for disability in Jan got denied, hired a lawyer to fight it, I can not go back to any kind of work, I can not do anything in my home or elsewhere, it sucks. I really know were you are coming from, I was told this is the best Ill be and will more than likely getr much worse. I have nerve damage also.
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Hello all, Glad (unfortunately) to see I'm not alone in this 'adventure'. I had my surgery 1/16/07 and got rid of the knife between the shoulders feeling, but have had horrible arm pain since then. The pain is constant and any activity I do makes it more intense. It's as though someone is slicing my arms open from the shoulder blades down to my middle fingers 24/7. I'm working with my neuro surgeon, a pain specialist and a neurologist to get some relief. The pain specialist is suggesting a spinal cord stimulator, but that involves another surgery and it just sounds risky to me. I'm scheduled for the lovely EMG testing on 5/29, can't wait to be stuck with more needles! I hear you about being out of work, I've been on disability leave since January but it's about to run out and I'm not sure what I'll do next. Hope you all can hang in there.
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