Nice to see your post but sorry to see us both back here.
Can't answer your question but I am in exact same boat as you. I think we both had pretty similar issues and our Drs decided to treat us "minimally" with the theory we could always go back in for more surgery if needed.
I am sure I have new spurs due to new trap/neck spasms and trouble swallowing on occasion food gets "stuck". Had this issue prior to surgery 2 yrs ago and my NS said there were spurs pushing into my esophogeal tract.
He said I would be getting a 2 for 1 surgery as they had to drill those spurs off to lay the titanium plate and screw it in flush to my spine. So much like a mechanic!
My primary gave me a script for an MRI but I have not decided to go for one as I will not go thru surgery again. Yet why am I back here? Hmmmm.
How is your activity level?
I have been careful as I am fused only at one level.
Carefully swimming, bicycling and walking. I will not do anything that bounces or jars my neck. I am working f/t and just eat ibuprofin
I have been dealing with nightmare lower back stuff, too. Its total deja vu of he neck stuff. I just got the nerves burned in my left side lumbar, due to facet joint pain. I went right from the neck to the back. The neck was doing fairly OK till it got torqued on Monday when I had that radiofrequency rhiztomy thing. I must have tensed up BAD. I hate this neck AND back garbage.
How is your voice doing? My friend had neck surgery and had the same thing you had. His voice is coming back 6 months later, but he is really bumemd out like you because he sings and of course needs his voice for work.
Sorry to hear that your neck is hurting again! I do know the symptoms that I have as far as stenosis goes for C4-5, because that is one of the things that I am currently dealing with. The base of my neck hurts real bad, and I have a lot of burning in my shoulder, and upper arms. I also have a lot more headaches now, and the pain radiates into both occipital points, and over entire scalp. Have you had any new MRI's?
I had my surgery Jan 2007, and my last MRI was about a year ago (after the surgery) when I went to NYC and my neck hurt so much afterwards. I am sure the taxi rides and luggage pulling did not help. After the C5-7, I have had to baby my neck a lot. Its better than before, but if I sit up long, like at a party....my neck, traps and upper back always get tight as a drum and I end up spending the rest of the night on a heating pad trying to get things to quiet down. Yea, C4-5 is now a big issue.
I've had 2 MRI's within the last half year for different reasons, and it shows that my C4-5 is progressively getting worse with each MRI. I too always end up doing something to make my neck worse. I actually fell 2 months ago while camping. I slipped in the dirt, and hit my head pretty hard. That really scared me, and now I'm still paying the price for it. I fell, because I was dizzy, which seems to happen a lot lately? I have gone to years of physical therapy trying to losen the muscles in my neck/back, but only to have it all come back as soon as I stop going, and I can't afford to go every other day.
It's just a visious cycle, because the herniated discs or bone spurs are irritating the nerves, and then the muscles create knots, and so on. I had an injection in one of the knots right by my left shoulder blade, and as soon as the doc injected it it actually jumped, because it was so big.
I want to exercise soooooooo bad, but I am so afraid to do anything. Even just walking or sitting in a car can irritate my neck. I know that I need to build muscles in my neck, but how do I do that without inflamming everything? Instead of heat I use ice, and actually sleep on ice packs. It's amazing what you get used to! I would ask your doctor to order another MRI to see what's going on. Do you work?
I am not working now because I am having bad lower back problems to the point that I cannot stand long enough. I am an elem. school substitute teacher and I am on my feet longer than I can manage right now. Since having neck surgery, its not as bad when i sub. But the job is very stressful, so I tend to tighten up pretty bad in my upper back, traps, and neck. I just got a radiofrequency nerve burning thing on my bak, 6 days ago. I am better, but it takes about a month to see how much it will help. I had that i nmy neck too, before my fusion. It only helped a little. I had too much going on in my neck, unfortunately.
The nerve burning thing has several names: Radiofrequency Rhizotomy/Ablation/or Neurotomy.
In a nutshell...Radiofrequency (RF) rhizotomy or neurotomy is a therapeutic procedure designed to decrease and/or eliminate pain symptoms arising from degenerative facet joints within the spine. The procedure involves destroying the nerves that innervate the facet joints with highly localized heat generated with radiofrequency. By destroying these nerves, the communication link that signals pain from the spine to the brain can be broken. So its more for arthritis. Its not for disk pain. I was told that the "average" time frame for having relief is 9 months. But it can be less and can also be a lot more. I know that my nightmare hip pain that was referred pain from L5-S1 was immediately alleviated. I still have lower back pain, but its better. I may have to do the left side...since what i had done was my worst side(the right)...4 levels.