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My fusion was done Dec. '04. I immediately felt better. Recovery has been amazing. There've been a few setbacks after looking up or turning my head for long periods of time. Problems I've recently started having, though, are worrying me. When I try to sleep as I've done for years on my memory foam pillow, sharp icepick-like pains shoot up my neck. Sleeping in a recliner helps, but what is possibly causing this?
I would also like to know what more problems I might experience in the years to come.
Thank you.

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I am having these neck/head pains also. My surgery was 11/30/06. It is the strangest feeling up behind my ears and also a little towards the center of the head on either side if I lie on my back or sit back in a chair or in a vehicle. Best I can tell this is normal nerve reaction. I thought at first it was from the Aspen collar that I had to wear 24/7 as it rubbed the back of my head and ears at exactly these points. I have been out of the collar for 2 weeks and the nerves still fire. I still have pains if I overdo on the top of my shoulders and the same old pain I had before surgery will come back if my muscles spasm, etc. But overall it is not the constant pain I was in presurgery.
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I am five days post op and all of the pre surgery symptoms have gone. No more pain! I am wearing a rigid collar and cannot sleep for more then an hour or more at a time. Any suggestions on comfortable ways to sleep? I have to wear this hard collar for at least another week or more.
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Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion with Synthes Plate the posibilities of success.
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Post fusion followup c6-c7 shoulder pain
After successful ACDF c6-c7 July 2007.

Immediately afterwards neckache and headache pain reduced, shoulder "stuff" increased. Eventually as that "stuff" receded, I have continued to have pain into the left shoulder area, pinching, irritated and long term spasms, medial to the scapula (brachialis?) and on top of shoulder, trapezius, and adjacent. Specialist doesn’t think its via shoulder.

THINGS YOU CAN TRY (I have with varied results)
Pain Clinic- some M.D.s are very good, and sympathetic
Epidurals
Facet's Block/Diagnostic
Facet's RF Neurotomy (Long term block)

DIDN’T DO MUCH: Acupunture, biofeedback, chiro.,diet

MORE TO FOLLOW?
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what a miserable recovery.
I underwent c5/c6 fusion and the Dr left a bone spur he cut off on the vertebre. He cut half off and left half on and this caused severe pain in my shoulder and burning down into my hands. after a second surgery, the Dr removed the other spur and since then it has gotten better..... I wish he would have looked closer before he sewed me up and sent me home. So to you all with shoulder pain, go get a CT scan and ask the Dr to look at the nerve canal to ensure all the stuff was taken out and not just sharpened like mine was
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I am just three days out of surgery and not wearing any collars at all per my Dr. I had fusion on 4, 5, 6 and 7. I have all the rear head and neck/shoulder pain but that's because the fusion stretches your muscles in the back of your head, neck and shoulders. In my case an additional 3/8 inch stretch or pulling that wasn't there last week. I take muscle relaxers for the back of the neck and shoulder pain and Percocet for the surgical pain in the front which is very minimal, but I CAN’T GET ANY SLEEP. I do best now just standing up like a horse or just staying up. I think I may try flat floor soon. Anyone have any suggestions. FYI I had nothing but pain from my shoulder blade to my right pinky before surgery and very limited use of my right fingers. Now everything is working again but the sleep deprivation is driving me crazy.
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You are having a common problem.

Regular pillows do not allow the head to be supported correctly!


What I finaly figured out was that if I used a contoured pillow that has a high side and a low side, that I can find the right hieght for my head and that allowed me to sleep. There are different sizes so if the first one does not fit, try another.

BUT, I think you have to sleep on your back for a while!! After about 2 or 3 weeks I could lay on my left side for a short nap and allways had to go back to laying on my back for the best part of a short nights sleep. Then after 3 months I finaly got to sleep on my right side. But turning over is a very very painful thing to do. Turn your head as you turn your body.
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Hi robert44ht5
I was able to smash a feather pillow into the correct shape I needed at about 4am this morning but I think I'll get a contour pillow as you suggest. I am sleeping on my left side problem is I start caughing while sleeping and that just wreaks me to pieces and it happenes abouyt every hour and a half and it then takes an hour and half to recover, pop more pills and get back to sleep. When awake you know you're about to caugh and can sit up for it. Keep doing those breathing exercises but I am only on day 4 of recovery. Thanks !!
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WOW what a difference. The contour pillow and stopping the Percocet’s helped, I only woke up on last night and it was very brief. Now I noticed that because I got 6 full hours of sleep that when you wake up you are allot sorer but that's because I wasn't moving around all night. This is so cool. So I have learned that if your are taking Percocet and you don't really need it, drop it. I did continue with the muscle relaxers and for fun took 2mg of xanax (I'm 6'3 230lbs so I can handle that much) and I slept like a baby. Thanks so much to everyone and their responses. I would like to repay the favor but doing just one thing, this is the Dr who had me in surgery for three hour meticulously fixed all my crushed nerves.

**edited by moderator**
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I feel so good that I was finaly able to give someone advise that helped them, because I was helped through my toughest times in here by several ppl. :-D

I just noticed when I was replying to your post that I never mentioned that pillow before this. It was advice handed down to me by a family member and it worked like a charm for me also.

Keep healing! Best of luck,
Rob
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I had Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion (C 3 - C 6) 10 years ago, at age 46, and I now regret it. I was very healthy and an athlete, but my problems at the time were interferring with my life. I was at serious risk if I got re-ended - which was what toasted my neck to begin with (re-ended 3 times while sitting at stop lights!)
The surgery and recovery were very easy and for years I bragged that you could not tell my neck had a rod in it. But we just had a family picture taken and when I look at how unnatural my neck now is, I realized, this is not going to go well into old age.
I am also now experiencing pain and trouble at my C 1 - C2 and even now into my lumbar area. I saw another ortho doc as we have moved. He said that is the natural result after 10 years - didn't I get forwarned? I contacted my surgeon and he said he can simply do a "re-section."
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I had 5-6,6-7 fusion using titanuium baskets in 1995 as part of a USDA research. Thesurgery basically did nothing to relieve the chronic tightness in my thoracic area and now it seems my larynx and esophagus and back of throat are always sore and tender. I am taking no meds, but I cannot get my mind off of these pains. I have tried using accupuncture,but w/ limited short term improvement of only the scapular tightness. Eustacion tubes from throat to ears seem impinged and I have developed a ringing in my ears. I am nearly constantly trying to "pop" vertebrae at all upper levels of spine.

Suggestions ?

Thanks !
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How long did you wear this torture device and was it worth it? I wasn't prepared for it at all and am miserable.
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I am not sure what its called, but I had two plastic hollow spacers inserted in C6 & C7. It was then filled with synthetic Bone to fuse the two together. The surgery occured on Dec 9th. Im still not back to work. While my symptems have improved, I now cannot sollow any real food. There is also pain when I try t swollow anything real food, like steak or something simular. To make things worse I have absolutely no taste. All I can feel in when I try to eat is the texture of the food. In three months I have lost 40 LBS (from 220 down to 180).

Has anyone experiance something like this and have any information?

Thanks,

Ed
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