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Old 01-04-2007, 08:05 PM   #1
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A different kind of pain - post ACDF

Has anybody had chest pain issues following an ACDF? I'm not talking about something like a pulmonary embolism or anything, I'm talking about, in general, as in perhaps the pain in the neck is referring or radiating to the chest, and if so how long did it last? It feels a lot like pressure and sometimes the pain can be quite sharp, it comes and it goes.

Last edited by PearlDoves; 01-04-2007 at 08:07 PM.

 
Old 01-04-2007, 09:38 PM   #2
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Re: A different kind of pain - post ACDF

Quote:
Originally Posted by PearlDoves
Has anybody had chest pain issues following an ACDF? I'm not talking about something like a pulmonary embolism or anything, I'm talking about, in general, as in perhaps the pain in the neck is referring or radiating to the chest, and if so how long did it last? It feels a lot like pressure and sometimes the pain can be quite sharp, it comes and it goes.
>>

I think it was on this message board that I read that someone was having a chest pain issue. As I remember they said it is because of the position the neck is put in at the time of surgery, it makes an area near or on the chest hurt.

I am sorry I am not much help...my memory sucks anymore. But you might want to do a search of this board and see if you can find it. I am most certain I read it here.
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Old 01-04-2007, 09:43 PM   #3
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Re: A different kind of pain - post ACDF

Quote:
Originally Posted by ShepherdLady
>>

I think it was on this message board that I read that someone was having a chest pain issue. As I remember they said it is because of the position the neck is put in at the time of surgery, it makes an area near or on the chest hurt.

I am sorry I am not much help...my memory sucks anymore. But you might want to do a search of this board and see if you can find it. I am most certain I read it here.
PearlDoves,
Here is the address of the post I was thinking of....it is on this board.

<< [url]http://www.healthboards.com/boards/showthread.php?t=425259&highlight=chest+ ACDF[/url] >>
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Old 01-04-2007, 09:46 PM   #4
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Re: A different kind of pain - post ACDF

PearlDove,
Just in case that URL doesnt work do a search of " wierd chest pain after acdf "

That is the name of the thread. Hope this eases your worry....
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Old 01-04-2007, 11:28 PM   #5
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Re: A different kind of pain - post ACDF

Thanks ShepardLady, that gives me some comfort and hope, very much apprieciated, bless you!

 
Old 01-05-2007, 06:34 AM   #6
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Re: A different kind of pain - post ACDF

I have only had pain on my left side under my arm as far as chest area. The worst pains I have had run down behind my ears, especially surgical side. This pain also radiates up onto the back of my head. It is the strangest feeling. I thought at first it was from the hard collar and laying down in it, etc. But I have not worn the collar for over a week and the pains are still there. Last night the pain was really bad on the back of my head. I cannot lay on my back or sit back in a recliner. Has anyone else experienced this type of pain? I have not experienced the muscle spasms that most people experience in the middle of the back. Believe me I am so thankful for that.

 
Old 01-05-2007, 10:02 AM   #7
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Re: A different kind of pain - post ACDF

Not being able to lay straight on the back seems to be a fairly common trait following this surgery. Use to be that if I would recline in the recliner, sometimes my back and face would go incredibly numb. I would also get werid sensations behind my ears and such.. lots of different things I've felt, but I'm not too concerned about those anymore, I just keep telling my surgeon/pa the problems so they know whats going on with me. I'm 2 months post-op, and I've just within this last week or so started having some muscle spasms.. seems to be mostly in my arms, and not very bad at that, I know for some people it can be quite painful, but so far these are pretty subtle and not really painful per say.

I find that if I'm laying down I like to be proped up by at least a 45 degree angle and like laying on my side... making sure that my neck is fairly straight in line with the rest of my body.

 
Old 01-05-2007, 11:07 AM   #8
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Re: A different kind of pain - post ACDF

There are a lot of strange pains associated with the recovery from ACDF.

I had chest pain prior to surgery from the nerves. I went to the emergency room thinking I was having a heart attack. This is a common feeling, because of the arm pain and numbness that usually comes with it.

The nerves take a while to recover. You may feel some of the original pain as the nerves get better. The muscles are the one thing that will cause all kinds of strange pain, and sometimes even feel like the original pain.

Muscle spasms are common and if this is what's happening, there are a ton of threads on here that talk about them, and how to ease the pain.

You should be using hot and cold packs to reduce the spasms.

In my case, I had spasms all the way through Physical Therapy about 8 months after the surgery. Eventually they went away completely but it took time and consistent excercise.

Dennis

 
Old 01-06-2007, 01:28 PM   #9
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Re: A different kind of pain - post ACDF

PD,
I had some pretty bad chest pain during maybe the first two months after surgery. I was told that the chest pain was a result of nerve stuff from the thoracic area, that we "overuse" the thoracic spine as the cervical spine is healing. I was repeatedly reminded to watch my posture, and eventually realized that certain activities (typing was one of them) caused or at least aggravated the pain and learned to keep them at a minimum whenever possible. So when you get the chest pain, try to think of what you are or were doing.
That pretty much applies to everything else, too. REST is one of the most important parts of the recovery process. Do what you need to do in small increments, resting whenever possible in between.
You get anxious, you get restless, you get bored, you start telling yourself that you "should" be able to do this or that, you decide you need to push yourself to get back to normal, etc., etc. Nope, your body has been through a trauma; it needs time to heal and you need to allow it.
In general, I'd say there is just a lot of weird stuff that goes on while you're healing. Pains and sensations in places where you never had them before surgery are common and will usually go away. Everyone wonders if what they're experiencing is "normal".
I think the surgeons who send patients home with anti-anxiety meds have it right. I know I wish my surgeon had done that!

 
Old 01-06-2007, 09:44 PM   #10
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Re: A different kind of pain - post ACDF

thanks ember, dennis and melinda, all your responses are very much appreicated.

But yes, the chest pain for me was so bad last weekend I contemplated going to the ER, but I stuck it out. The last couple of days it has been a bit better, and a lot of that has seemed to do with posture and the t-spine to a degree - I've been trying to pay attention to my posture and do what my physical therapist said. I was very inactive for the most part prior to surgery because of all my symptoms and only a little active after, so working with those muscles again in relationship with the surgery aches and pains has been contributing to the difficulties I'm having probably.

Thanks again for all the replies, many blessings to you all.

Last edited by PearlDoves; 01-06-2007 at 09:47 PM.

 
Old 01-07-2007, 07:29 AM   #11
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Re: A different kind of pain - post ACDF

just a suggestion for you PD,and sorry you are still suffering,sometimes it can take quite awhile before all those really angry nerves calm down.

i just wanted to mention something regarding your reoccuring chest pain.as a medic for many years before my life was over,i learned alot about good old chest pain.it IS possible,only slightly possible that this could be a cardiac related pain.all you have to do tho,is when this pain comes back again,if it does?is call 911 and when the medics come,they will run a strip on your heart before doing anything else.this would be able to tell you whether or not this IS or is not cardiac related in most cases.you dont have to pay for this either unless they actually treat you(like strating an IV) or they actually transport you.it would cost you absolutely nothing in most jurisdictions just to have the medics show up and run that strip.not all cardiac problems will actually show up on a strip but i can say that most would cause a change in your natural heart rhythem in at least some little way.they would know.just an idea for you in case you really were concerned again if this pain shows up.

the thing is,cardiac symptoms in women show very differently than in the average male.we are wired a bit differently so our cardiac pain can show up in some really odd places and in some really strange ways.luckily for us,all ERs and docs finally get this and women who used to be told it was all in their head only to drop into full cardiac arrest in the flippin parking lot at the hospital are now being taken just as seriously as men are when they present with chest pain.

you just want to make sure there is nothing else going on,thats all.this would not take a whole lot to have done if you ever feel like it needs to.saves you a trip to the ER and some money.but when in doubt,always get any chest pain evaluated.better safe than sorry you know?hope things get better soon.

by the by,just what does your chest pain present like?is it always there or does it completely leave you and then come back again?how does the quality feel?like a heaviness or crushing,deep,light,you get the idea?does anything you do make it worse or better?just wondering.Marcia
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Old 01-07-2007, 02:48 PM   #12
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Re: A different kind of pain - post ACDF

PD,
I was like you, had been very inactive for a long time before surgery because pain and other annoying symptoms kept me from doing a lot of things. I was worried about being so out of shape before surgery, but the surgeon kept swearing that it made no difference. And I was at least thankful I was in my 40s having this surgery rather than in my 70s.

I don't know if this will help or not, but maybe ask your PT about some stretches for your chest and upper back, and for the thoracic spine. I found that those sometimes helped a bit.

I was genuinely amazed at how painful the chest pain could be, and also (a LOT of people post about this) the muscle spasms in the shoulders and upper back. Yikes!

But Marica also has a good point - better to be safe than sorry, and being sure might give you a little more peace of mind.

 
Old 01-07-2007, 03:05 PM   #13
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Re: A different kind of pain - post ACDF

Quote:
Originally Posted by feelbad
just a suggestion for you PD,and sorry you are still suffering,sometimes it can take quite awhile before all those really angry nerves calm down.

i just wanted to mention something regarding your reoccuring chest pain.as a medic for many years before my life was over,i learned alot about good old chest pain.it IS possible,only slightly possible that this could be a cardiac related pain.all you have to do tho,is when this pain comes back again,if it does?is call 911 and when the medics come,they will run a strip on your heart before doing anything else.this would be able to tell you whether or not this IS or is not cardiac related in most cases.you dont have to pay for this either unless they actually treat you(like strating an IV) or they actually transport you.it would cost you absolutely nothing in most jurisdictions just to have the medics show up and run that strip.not all cardiac problems will actually show up on a strip but i can say that most would cause a change in your natural heart rhythem in at least some little way.they would know.just an idea for you in case you really were concerned again if this pain shows up.

the thing is,cardiac symptoms in women show very differently than in the average male.we are wired a bit differently so our cardiac pain can show up in some really odd places and in some really strange ways.luckily for us,all ERs and docs finally get this and women who used to be told it was all in their head only to drop into full cardiac arrest in the flippin parking lot at the hospital are now being taken just as seriously as men are when they present with chest pain.

you just want to make sure there is nothing else going on,thats all.this would not take a whole lot to have done if you ever feel like it needs to.saves you a trip to the ER and some money.but when in doubt,always get any chest pain evaluated.better safe than sorry you know?hope things get better soon.

by the by,just what does your chest pain present like?is it always there or does it completely leave you and then come back again?how does the quality feel?like a heaviness or crushing,deep,light,you get the idea?does anything you do make it worse or better?just wondering.Marcia
\


I agree, it is always wise to get chest pain checked whether a man or a woman.
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Old 01-07-2007, 03:26 PM   #14
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Re: A different kind of pain - post ACDF

I totally agree that you should be cautious about "possible" issues with your heart. Like feelbad said....symptoms for women present differently like heartburn, chest pain, fatigue, back pain...etc....It is best to call 911 if you have major symptoms and have that "feeling" that something is terribly wrong...I have learned in the Fire Dept. as well that we know our own bodies so well and should listen...

That being said....I also think it is good to talk with your surgeon and get that MRI....when my first fusion failed....it probably happened within the first 3 months but I kept on with the constant pain for years and it just kept getting worse....Then when they did the second surgery....after the first 2 months when I had constant and worsening pain....I switched surgeon's immediately when he kept saying, "it's all in your head...you should be fine"....RUN AWAY......LOL......And my new surgeon did an MRI right away and saw that it didn't fuse again...I have been blessed to find a wonderful and caring surgeon now that LISTENS and knows that when I say I am in pain...

So, this last surgery....I have had less pain in SO many years....it's a miracle to me....

Now....just like others have said....this doesn't necessarily mean your surgery did not work or you need another one...it does take time to heal and we are all different....But.....don't let your surgeon ignore it either and another MRI will make you feel better knowing either way....


I will be praying that it's only just the healing process and you will start to feel better each day...

Ingrid

 
Old 01-07-2007, 07:19 PM   #15
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Re: A different kind of pain - post ACDF

Perhaps I should tell you all more about my situation. I understand and appreicate all your concerns. Based on the little info I gave you all, I'm sure its hard to tell what's going on, so now I'll expand a bit.

When I orginally started haveing chest problems, if i remember correctly it manifested as pressure and perhaps a little pain. I found that when I would put the hard collar on, the pain would usually dissappear. This is why I doubt its my heart and I already know my pulse ox has been 100% so there is not chance of a PE, and my blood pressure is always fine. But in addition to the chest problem, I was having some swelling issues in my throat, so the surgeon put me back on a steroid for a few days and If I didn't start feeling better, he wanted me to call. I started feeling a LOT better. Chest problems seem to be gone, swelling was down, joint pains were better... but then of course as I was coming down from the steriod, I slowly started to feel worse and worse. So based on this, if I'm not doing better by the next appointment he talked of sending me to another specialist, probably in order to start ruling out causes.


My surgeon has always been very concerned for me and out for my best interest, he's already ordered extra tests (MRI, CT & XRAY) to be brought to the second post-op appointment with him to make sure eveything was okay from the surgery. I have xrays for each appointment; and for the next apointment I'm to have a CT and xray again. My bone growth seems to be going pretty fast, although I'm not sure what normal is, but I'm pretty much expecting to see some fusion to have taken place by the next appointment. I was amazed just by looking at my xrays when comparing them at how much bone had grown after only around 3 weeks, which is why I'm sure he's ordering the CT for this next appointment to see if and how fusion is at each angle/level - or whatever a CT shows.

Thanks for all the concerns again, its good to know about the heart issues and symptoms... very good info to know, I didn't know there was such a big differance between men and women in that regard. Many blessings to you all.

Last edited by PearlDoves; 01-08-2007 at 10:09 AM.

 
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