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I AM 6 MONTHS POST OP ANTERIOR CERVICAL DISECTOMY WITH FUSION AT C5/6 6/7. I WENT THROUGH 2 YEARS OF PAIN MANAGEMENT PROCEDURES TRYING TO AVOID SURGERY, BUT I HAD A HERNIATED DISC TOUCHING MY SPINAL CORD AND 1 BULGING RIGHT BELOW IT, ALSO HAVE DDD THROUGHOUT SPINE. ALL IN ALL, I GUESS I NEEDED THE SURGERY BECAUSE OF THE HERNIATION, BUT I HAVE WORSE NECK & SHOULDER MUSCLE PAIN THAN BEFORE. THE PAIN RETURNED ABOUT 6 WKS AFTER SURGERY. I HAVE STABBING PAIN BETWEEN MY SHOULDER BLADES AND SEVERE MUSCLE SPASMS AND PAIN FROM THE BASE OF MY SKULL THROUGH MY SHOULDER AND DOWN INTO MY RIGHT ARM TO MY ELBOW. WHEN I STRETCH, IT FEELS LIKE I AM SEPERATING MY SPINE AND I HAVE INTENSE PAIN WHEN RETRACTING FROM THE STRETCH. MOVING MY HEAD IN ANY WAY SENDS SHARP PAINS THROUGH MY NECK, SHOULDERS AND IN THE CENTER OF MY SHOULDER BLADES. I HAVE BEEN TO 6 WKS OF PHYSICAL THERAPY, 2 DIFFERENT MASSAGE THERAPISTS, HAD ABOUT 50 TRIGGER POINT INJECTIONS, SOME EVEN WHILE ON THE MASSAGE THERAPISTS TABLE. I CAN'T SLEEP FOR MORE THAN A COUPLE OF HOURS AT A TIME EVEN WITH SLEEPING PILLS. I AM AT WHITS END. MY POST OP XRAYS AND MRI LOOK FINE ACCORDING TO MY NEURO AND PAIN DR. THE ONLY THING MRI SHOWS IS A BOOMERANG SHAPE IN MY NECK WHERE THE TITANIUM PLATE IS. HE SAID THAT SHOULD BE A SMOOTH CURVATURE, NOT A HUMP, BUT CAN'T DO ANYTHING ABOUT THAT AND NOT EVEN SURE THAT IS CAUSING PROBLEM. I AM AN ACTIVE 35 YR OLD WOMAN WHO'S QUALITY OF LIFE IS DETERIORATING. I WORK 40+ HRS A WEEK, AM VERY ACTIVE IN CHURCH ACTIVITIES, KEEP UP WITH 2 TEENAGE BOYS AND BASEBALL SCHEDULES, HAVE HORSES AND ENJOY DOING OUTDOOR THINGS, BUT I AM IN SEVERE PAIN 24/7 AND SEE NO END IN SIGHT. DR IS OUT OF SUGGESTIONS. ANYONE ELSE EXPERIENCED THE SAME AND GOTTEN BETTER? I AM TRYING TO KEEP MY HEAD UP AND A SMILE ON MY FACE. THE LORD IS GIVING ME THE ONLY STRENGHTH I HAVE. THANKS FOR ANY REPLY!

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Hi, Gilmore - I also had cervical surgery about 6 months ago C4-7, corp C4-5. Reading your post was like deja vu.

Does your pain feel different than pre-surgery? I seem to have much more pain at the base of my neck and on the back of my head, and earaches, and also am experiencing "electric-like" shocks if I move the wrong way or too quickly. There are days where it also feels like someone has hit me in the area between my shoulders. While I do not regret having the surgery, as my right arm/hand is at least less numb than pre-surgery, it has still been an adjustment in lifestyle - and sounds like it has been for you, as well.

Do you also have to sleep with your head/neck elevated? Do you ever find that when you wake up, your arms/hands/areas of your face are numb?

I am also having some neuropathy in my right leg, and some unsteadiness when trying to walk rapidly - not sure if this is related to the surgery, or to other disc problems in my lumbar area.

My surgeon has now suggested a few possibilities, including:
1) While everything looks fine on x-ray of the fusion area, the vertabrae above and below may not be supporting the stress. (I also have DDD, mild herniations, and osteoarthritis). I will be having a new MRI done soon.

2) I may need additional minor surgery on my right arm (ulnar nerve).

I also found out that I was severely vitamin D deficient, and as a result, was having bone deterioration. After being on high doses of vitamin D, I am having a little less pain, but like you, still having difficulty at night sleeping.

Please post what you find out from your doctor, and I will as well. Hopefully, others will also respond to your enquiry.
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Hello, Gilmore06. I to had a Cervical Discectomy on the C5,C6,C7. My surgery was performed 3 Times. 2 Anteriorly and 1 posteriorly. I had my surgeries, back 2 back in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005.

I still have pain in my neck, shoulder and back muscle in my left arm. I have difficulty sleeping and staying asleep. Until they can find a way to relief all my issues of pain, I will treat myself. So, get yourself a flat pillow and some icy hot. At first I was using a heating pad every nite. The heat soothes the pain to allow me to fall asleep.

So I tried the icy hot and it to produces heat. My husband rubs the icy hot on my arm, all around my shoulder blade and neck. Use only a very thin layer and not to much rubbing, it will burn. Within minutes, I felt relief. This is my method for bedtime, it is when all the pain hits, when I am lying down. But during the day, I try to keep my mind occupied, so I won't think about the pain, which is a continuous thing.

I really don't want any more surgery. I feel that each time I had surgery, it created another problem. I now have sinus problems, My left eye is a little droopy, I have TMJ and numbness on the rite side of my skull.

I hope this helps you. I was told the surgery may help, but there is no gaunrantees.

P.S. Try to take as little Meds as possible, Not good for you!
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i am 30 years old and have the same exact problem, i had c4, c5, c6 done in february 06. the only thing that got better for me was the numbness in my left hand. like you i can not sleep with out taking sleeping pills, my husband says i cry in my sleep i hurt so bad. I know i have arthritis and have had it since 16. Do not know if that is what is causing the pain or not. I hope we can all figure it out soon and get on with our lives. I hurt going over bumps in cars and everytime i sneeze. good luck to all and hope we all feel better soon
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I've gone through 6 lower back surgeries culminating in L4-S1 fusion and more recently two cervical procedures which have combined to fusion from C2 - T2. Reading the original post was like telling my own story to my Surgeon, Therapist and Pain Manangement Specialist - all of which tell me everything looks fine. From my first cervical procecure, I lost complete use of my left arm, which eventually led to shoulder surgery to remove significant inflamation. It was as close to a miracle I've ever experienced. I could move my arm and shoulder without pain (once going through therapy and strengthening). I've asked my surgeon if that same procedure can be performed along my shoulder blades, sides of my neck and other shoulder as I have the same symptoms as you describe in these areas.

I have not gotten a final go ahead, but it looks like the surgeons are interested in moving forward. I will post again if I get the go and provide the results.

One note...keep in mind that even though you are the one in pain, the others in your family are dealing with your issue as much as you are. I lost my family due to not paying attention to their needs. It sounds like you are still keeping up with them, but smiles and open discussions go a lot further.

My prayers are with you, Gilmore.
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I had an anterior cervical fusion (C5, C6) about 3 months ago. Initially, after the surgery, I was doing great - went back to work in a week and gradually increased gym activities. About 3/4 weeks ago, I noticed increased pain in my neck and left shoulder that radiates down my left arm. I also have some numbness in my left hand, which is similiar to what I felt before my surgery. I see my neurosurgeon on Monday, but I'm really nervous about what could be wrong. Any ideas?
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Hi there.
I had a fusion of the C6/7 a year ago. The cage became unstable so 6 months ago they had to redo the procedure and insert a plate. 6 weeks ago i started experiencing pain in my arms, neck and back. So severe that my whole life came to a halt. I have had X-rays and MRI and it shows all is well except there is a spasm but no reason why. I have been on muscle relaxers and pain killers and no joy. 2 weeks ago i had a cervical manipulation under anesthetic. Still no help. I think my surgeon has just palmed me off onto a physio now. I feel so desperatly alone because nobody at home understands what Im going through. It was so good to find this site because I realise Im not the only one. But will there ever be light at the end of the tunnel or is this it for me? Im only 34 with 4 kids. I have to believe that somethings going to give. I have tried pill and potions. Massages and therapist. Any ideas? Anyone?????????
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It's amazing how our symptoms are so similar, I think that drs should check out this site. I had my first surgery in 2003 and just had another Decembe 2007. The first was c6 & c7, found out it didn't fuse. The second was c4-7. They had to remove the first plate. I seemed to bounce back fairly quickly with the first one. This one was landed me on my behind. My pain is the same as others have expressed. I have been in & out of therapy, trouble sleeping and tired of popping pills. I miss doing the simple things. When I do things with friends and family, I pay the price dearly. After 7 months, I have not been able to return to work. I think we need to come together and figure this thing out. As others have mentions, drs seemed stumped by the pain issue. If I see another drs shake their head and tell me to just give it time, I'm going to scream. Has anyone experience consistent sore throat and sleep apnea?
Thanks for reading
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Hello. Back on feb 28 i have 2 disc fusions in my c5/7. It did help get rid of the pain in my left arm and neck for a little while. Until about a month ago I noticed a lot of pain in my left shoulder and down my arm. I called me surgen and they told me to stop the exercises they had me doing. The pain still got worse. So when i called them again they told me to go see an orhropedic guy. I did. he then told me to get Physical Therapy. I started that last week. My therapist told me it is related to my surgery (the doctor didnt do anything wrong). It is nerve damage. Me shoulder snaps and pops all the time. He told me he is almost able to pull my arm completely out of the socket. We are working on stabling the bone and so on. So far a teny tiny bit of releife. I think and hope this helps. If i had known it was going to be such a pain after my surgery i would have looked for better options.
Anyone have any other ideas that may help me inbtween my therapy appointments to help with the pain? I've tried ice, alieve and rub on stuff. Please let me know if anything else may help
Thank you!
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I hear all of you.I had my surgery on 4/9/08.C5/6=6/7.I have been going to physical therapy for 4 months.I am in pain.Left side of neck left shoulder,going down back,pins and needles.I hardly sleep.I find when they stretch me at P.T its horrible and I'm going to tell them to stop.I thought this was the answer.I was on morphine before the surgery. I take Klonapin at night.What are we supposed to do?Become drug addicts.I just suffer in pain.My husband thinks I sound like I'm 90 when I'm 53.he also thinks I should be thankful I don't have cancer.I'm out of work on disability and praying for an answer.
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I have had neck fusions between 5- 6 and 6-7 discs. I now am having pain go into my shoulder blade when I move my head forward and back. I also have that pain when I turn my head to the right. I notice this pain getting worse as time goes on. I have had to have the5-6 fusion redone 2years ago. I had a screw break.
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I stumbled across these postings this am and I was like WOW I am not alone.. and I am NOT crazy! I am off to a pain management center today at 3. My neuro has advised that he has fixed the cervical herniations and is at a loss as to what to do for my chronic pain/muscle spasms. He said that back is in spasms due to having suffered through 3 surgeries all within a 17 month time frame. I am 16 months post surgery now and life is awful.

nov 05 c6-c7 anterior fusion w/cadavar bone
may 06 c6-c7 posterior fusion (first one failed) w/ own hip bone this time and used bone stimulator 4 hours a day for 6 months fusion was confirmed via xrays
april 07 c5-c6 anterior fusion w/own hip bone and used bone stimulator 4 hours a day for 6 months
(fusion has been confirmed via last xrays in june 08 )

Since last fusion in April 07 I have been experiencing agonizing muscle spasms throughout my entire back. I can only walk for approx 30 mins before pain starts in my left rib area in my back. Life a knife is being stuck in me and then the pain starts to travel straight up to my neck. If I walk any longer then that the pain in my neck grows in intensity and also my left rib area in my back to the point I am in tears and literally out of breath. My neck actually begins to feel "unstable". Then at night I end up in a soft collar to try support it better. The headaches are incredible. I have had migraines in the past... usually 1 a month... but these are a whole different story.

I can't sleep at night due to severe lower back pain and spasms. I wake up in the morning after only a few hours of sleep (off and on all night) to pain in my lower back that is incredible. I have knots in each side of my lower back the size of baking potatoes and they hurt to even touch them.

My daughter tries to give me a massage in my back (icy hot etc) and she just tells me that it feels so "spongy" with all these hard "rocks" everywhere. There are times when my back pain is so bad I can't even tolerate a simple touch on my skin.

Today my lower back is at a 10 in pain level and I keep feeling a knife like pain spasm going into my left hip. It hurts to bear any weight on my left leg.

The neuro has me on 10 mg of Percocet every 6 hours. I find that to even get through the day I end up taking 2 every 4 hours. Even then the pain isn't gone, but it is at a bearable level. He also has me on 750 mg of robaxin 4x a day and that is a joke... I feel like a freakin drug addict... I never leave home without them. If I try and not take anything or take it the way it says on the bottle I am on the floor on my hands and knees or the fetal position crying. I have tried physical therapy, I practice the stretching excercises and use heat and ice to no avail.

I am lucky I can work from home as I cannot tolerate the 30 min drive in the car to my office. Nor can I make it through a whole day of sitting in a cubicle. At least at home I have my ice, heating pads and able to try and sit in different positions to alleviate some of the pressure.

I am 35 years old and I feel like life is not even worth living. I have 2 daughters and I can't do anything longer then 30 mins with them and all I do is hurt. I am also a volunteer firefighter and emt... I can no longer fight fires as I can't wear the necessary equipment and I can't respond to as many calls anymore becuase of my lack of stamina and being in so much pain. I have no strength anymore and have to depend entirely on my fellow emts to do all the patient moving and lifting. My pt care at this point is me sitting in the ambulance taking vitals and patient info. I have spent my whole life taking care of and rescuing people and I am so alone in a world of pain now. Fire fighting is now me sitting somewhere out of the way holding a clip board with eveyone's tag on it being in charge of keeping track of where everyone is. I see people look at me like why is she even here... I can't even roll up fire hose after the fire is over because I can't bend down to roll the hose up never mind pick it up. I feel like a failure in everything now and I have no control over how to fix it other then to push on through the pain. I even buckled down and lost 75 lbs in a year. I am a healthly 148 lbs now.. 5'6 (was 5'7 pre fusions) hoping that would help.. getting that weight off... end result: I can wear a size 8...... still in pain

No more smiles or laughter... just frowns and tears... what a great mom for my kids to see.... :(

Is anyone else experiecing muscle pain like this? My last MRI showed a mild herniation in my lower back and degeneration of facet joints.
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I feel unworthy to even type in this post because I have not had anything done yet and I am not in that type of pain that you, "ctmom," are experiencing.
My history started about a month ago with a tingling in my left arm, hand and the left side of my head. I began having anxiety because I thought it was my heart or something so I went to my primary care physician. He first told me that I probably needed to go see a psych. doctor for anxiety because there is nothing wrong with me. I told him that there was something wrong with me and kept pushing the issue. In short the doctor sent me to get an MRI. It showed that I had a Chiari Malbormation, C5-6 Posterolateral osteophytes and disc bulge resulting in bilateral lateral recess with spinal stenosis with flattening of the anterior thecal sac and cord without focal cord lesion or syrinx andPosterolateral ostophytes and disc buldge at c3-4 and c4-5 resulting in bilateral lateral recess stenosis and borderline spinal stenosis.
Since the MRI I have experienced headaches and pain my left pec and neck area, but it doesn't last that long. I do get panicky tho when I start feeling the tingling etc. so I take the Xanax that the doctor gave me and it helps. I am scheduled to see the neurosurgeon this coming next Thursday on the 4th and I am scared to death.
Getting back to "ctmom," my wife is a nurse and said that there is a medication that they give to people with diabetes dealing with nerve pain and I know that it helps my father-n-law. There is a drug called "Lyrica" and another called "Neurontin."
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Hi

I have heard of Lyrica and Neurontin, but the side effects are pretty bad so I have had leaned away from even trying those.

My pain management visit was something out of an out of body experience. I spent about 7 mins with the doctor even though I was a new patient. He prescribed pain meds (peroct/vicoden and oxycontin) and also a procedure called "medial lumbar branch block" basically they use a radiograph (xray) machine to guide them as they insert a needle into the spinal cord to inject cortisone and novacine into the spinal nerves that they "think" are causing the pain. If the pain goes away.. then they have identified the culprit and the next step is to offer nerve burning of the "bad" nerves. I know a few people who have been crazy enough to attempt the nerve burning and EVERY one of them has ended up more disabled afterwards.. some have lost the use of their legs etc... This dr wants perform the the injection while I am sedated/awakw with a valium.. 10 mg... I have news for this dr...I take 10 mg of xanax 2x a day to deal with the anxiety of being in pain.. not sure what they think 10 mg of valium is giong to do as it certainly is not going to sedate me enough for them to stick a needle into my spine and spinal nerves. I need a horse tranquilizer. Only way this someone is going to stick a needle into my spine and nerves is if I am either unconscious or dead. LOL <g> So I need to call them back and negotiate either twilight meds or complete sedation. Nerve burning is out of the question.

I am so upset to be told by several dr now that my back is destroyed and will never be as it was a few years ago.. pain free. That I will NEVER again live my life again pain free... like I said .. I am 35.. what the heck is going to be my life in 10-15 or 20 years? Am I going to be bed bound.. wheelchair? I am so depressed....

sigh...

I can only wish you the best with your condition. NEVER let a dr tell u nothing is wrong when you know or feel there is. We know our bodies best.. not the dr and we know when something is just not right... never ever take no for an answer... I went through months originally of being told.. it was a pulled muscle, pinched nerve etc.. only to find out it was a hugh disk rupture into the spinal cord.... You may end up pissing off a doctor or two along the way.. but your body is the only one you are going to have... have to fix it to use it as long as possible...

good luck.... by all means... let me know how things go...
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I have to agree with you on the nerve burning.....that just even sounds bad.

I'm not trying to give you advise but just something to think about....but I would check out Lyrica or Neurontin. The quality of life that it might give you may outway the possible side effects. I am not a doctor and I don't have stock in either of the drug companies (hahaha). But if it can help you...

Also I am finding a new primary physician. As long as I have went to him and only went to his office for physicals and him not believing me when I told him that something was wrong.

I also want you to know that we have related backgrounds. I am a police officer and we both have seen things that others could not comprehend. Just don't give up hope..........
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