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Old 11-28-2009, 12:19 AM   #1
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altomaro HB User
discectomy and chronic arms, neck, and shoulder pain

About two years ago (Oct. 4, 2007) I had discectomy surgery on C5-6, 6-7 disks. Pain did not subside much, only about 30%. I am still in extreme pain at work and at home and cannot perform daily tasks or chores. Pain is constant and it is a numbness, burning, irritating pain. It usually is in my right arm but it switches back and forth between both arms. Also, my neck feels as if it is cracking and crunching when I turn my head from side to side. Accepted a new job about three years ago, and ever since the pain has been much worse. Have been told that I lived with the pain efore doing anything about it for so long that my brain is telling my body to continue hurting even after corrective surgery. He called it "fantom pain". I am desperate and cannot bear to live like this any longer. Please, anoyone who has any solutions, contact me.

 
Old 11-28-2009, 03:17 AM   #2
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Re: discectomy and chronic arms, neck, and shoulder pain

Welcome Altomaro
I am not one that believes in "phantom pain." I just do not. I am not saying in a particular case that a person cannot feel certain sensations, but when you have surgery and the pain is not relieved, I would not be happy with a doctor telling me that it is phantom pain! grrrrrr

I too had neck surgery on one of my disks. I now have more herniated disks that I am dealing with, but to back up, as much of a success that my surgery was, I was not pain free in the neck area. I had other things going on. You also may have other things going on. I would consider a second opinion. Most of all, please don't give up because someone can help you. I am sure others with more experience than I will come along with great advice.

Just know that you are not alone..

Madison104

 
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Old 11-28-2009, 08:09 AM   #3
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Re: discectomy and chronic arms, neck, and shoulder pain

Welcome to the board ! Youll find there are a few of us on here who are going thru the same thing you are...

I was t-boned by a drunk driver in 2001. I had the fusion with hip bone graft in 2003 ( NOT recommended EVER ! Hurts worse than the neck surgery..) I have the titanium and screws in my neck and Xrays look creepy !

I have been in constant pain since. I have the burning down my right arm, my neck does the crunching you were talking about.. My neck hurts and its like I have a band that goes from under my shoulder blade up my neck, up the right side of my head and down to my eyeball.... Sounds weird , hurts like hell, and my PM says its pretty typical of the injury/ surgery.. Parts of my right hand start tingling and go numb..Changes fingers....

Ive done so many things trying to make it stop and go away ranging from the billions of steroid shots, TENS, physical therapy, injections...etc.....Started pain management in 2004 or 5....My doc says eventually I will probably have to have another surgery, but its like a domino effect..Im trying NOT to go that route again !!

So what all have you tried ? What all is your doctor suggesting ?

Im glad that you have found this board, you will get alot of helpful info on here ! I hope you find something that will help you !!


 
Old 11-28-2009, 12:13 PM   #4
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Re: discectomy and chronic arms, neck, and shoulder pain

You need to see a pain management doctor or another PCP. I had a fusion 7 months ago and I'm still in severe pain. There is no reason you should suffer and live like this. There are many things that could be causing the pain like disc fragments left behind from the surgery, scar tissue, another herniated disc, or nerves are permanently damaged. Please go to another doctor.

Quote:
Have been told that I lived with the pain efore doing anything about it for so long that my brain is telling my body to continue hurting even after corrective surgery.
That is the most absurd thing I've heard. I would never see that doctor again!

Last edited by Nicole74; 11-28-2009 at 12:13 PM.

 
Old 11-28-2009, 09:44 PM   #5
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Re: discectomy and chronic arms, neck, and shoulder pain

Yikes! You guys are scaring me! I'm in the process of coming off of the opiates so I can be evaluated for C5 thru C7 surgery for bulging discs and stenosis that are causing pain and numbness. The opiates controlled my pain, but the doctor said I should get the problem fixed. So, I'm just about off of the oxy and I'll probably get an eval before Christmas.

altomaro I feel so sorry for you. I also don't believe in long term phantom pain. Short term I can see the possibility of, but after years, there's no phantom pain in the brain in my opinion. To me, it sounds like there is something else wrong. You should get a 2nd opinion. My PM told me that after surgery I should only expect a 70% decrease in pain, but I hear of other people that have had 100% decrease. I hope it works out for you. I don't like living in pain and I don't like to hear about others living in pain. Good Luck!!

 
Old 11-29-2009, 02:32 AM   #6
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Re: discectomy and chronic arms, neck, and shoulder pain

Hi Denon, my surgery was a great success by all accounts...but I am telling you, no-one told me about scar tissue and how painful that can be. The doctor where I went cleaned out my bulging disk and then he opened the spine and popped in a piece of bone from the bone bank. It was a perfect fit. I saw it on an Xray. NO screws, nothing of that sort. I never needed one day of physical therapy, honest to God. I wore a collar for 6 weeks and my neck did feel very weak for a while. Now my poor neck is so very screwed up from so many other problems that I just am miserable on any given day. I just feel sorry for all of us suffering with any kind of neck or back pain. My head feels to heavy for my neck to carry
Did not mean to hijack this thread....hope it does not sound that way. Wishing everyone help and pain relief.....
Madison104

 
Old 12-02-2009, 05:28 PM   #7
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Re: discectomy and chronic arms, neck, and shoulder pain

Oh my gosh I lived thru that "it's in your head pain" for 4 years. Finally another surgeon did CT, MRI and x-rays and saw that the bone had not fused and that the cage the 1st surgeon put in was sitting on a nerve. He agreed to go in and take out the old titatim cages and screws. 2 hrs into the surgery my husband got paged by the surgeon from the surgery room. He cut me open and found a broken titatim screw and other loose screws in the cages. The surgeon needed permission from my husband to proceed as this is not what we thought was wrong in my neck. So please if you continue to have pain, please have it checked out. I now have 4 years of nerve damage from the cage sitting on the nerve and who knows what the broken titatim screw could have done. My father is a metals engineer and he told me no way could that screw have broken in my neck and it if it had it would have most likely been from a blow so hard it would have killed me. My husband also continued to be in pain after his surgery on his L5-S1 from the first surgeon. The new surgeon did MRI's and x-rays and found out that the 1st surgeon didn't put in any cages, only tried to fuse, and no hardware. As for the poster that said they had surgery and now more herinated discs, my new surgeon told me that whenever you do a fusion that it weakens the ones above and below it. Hince I have more herniated discs in my neck and having an MRI tomorrow to see if my L3 has herniated if so every disc in my back will now be herniated. Check out that continuing pain!

 
Old 12-02-2009, 06:30 PM   #8
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Re: discectomy and chronic arms, neck, and shoulder pain

Definitely get a consultation with a Neurosurgeon and/or Orthopedic spine surgeon as you may be a good candidate for a fusion. I had an ACDF C5-C7 that alleviated many of my symptoms and I improved a great deal. At the same time a good Pain Management physician should be able to help as well.

I saw something in regard to having to come off medications to be evaluated for surgery noted above - I have not seen that happen. I'm currently in active treatment and preparation for lumbar surgery and have continued strong pain management the entire time. The only time I'll have to alter my medications is the night before the surgery as I have to skip my last dose of my long acting pain med.

Due to all my spine issues I ended up going out on Short Term Disability in May and am now on my employers Long Term Disability (LTD).
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Rt&Lt thumb arthroplasty 2012 ; RT TKR & Bilat CTS 2011
Fusions: L5-S1 (87), L4-S1 (93), C5-C7 ('06), L3-S1 ('10)
C5-C7 foraminotomy 08

Last edited by SpineAZ; 12-02-2009 at 06:31 PM.

 
Old 12-30-2009, 11:59 AM   #9
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Re: discectomy and chronic arms, neck, and shoulder pain

I had an ACDF 5 months ago C5-7 and it has worked out well. I still have some pain and maybe a little crunchiness when I turn my head. If you are a candidate for this surgery get a second or third opinion and go with their diagnosis. I am glad I had the surgery I feel stronger today and have mitigated most of my pain. Best of luck.

 
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arm pain, c5-6, c6-7, discectomy, disks



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