It depends on how far post surgery you are and if the pain is the same as it was pre-surgical. I had an additional steroid injection about 8 weeks post ACDF to calm down a nerve that just wouldn't heal right.
did your pain ever go away? I am 4 months post acdf of c5, c6. Ever since a few days post op i had trouble with my left arm from my shoulder down. I also had numbness and pin and needles in my left hand, the thumb, index finger, middle finger, and a little of the ring finger. My post op MRI looked normal they say, and there was nothing there that should be giving me this trouble. I had an EMG test that showed moderate to severe median nerve damage, most likely to be carple tunned. It said that there was no cervical radiculopathy. My pain however comes all the way down from the left side of my neck it seems into the bicep, which hurts if you squeeze it, then to the back of my elbow and into my forearm, which hurts really bad in the forarm. And it goes into my hand. The hands and fingers is where i get the numbness. If i try to extend my arm it hurts badly, and that has been happening since the surgery. I was also diagnosed with tennis elbow, which is odd, cause i dont play tennis or raquet ball, or engage in any activity that would cause me to overuse that muscle. It is odd for the carpal tunnel cause i do not do any activities that would cause that to come about. I dont know what to do, my neurosergeon assures me that this is not coming from my cervical disc. and that my operation went well with no complications. He said there is no evidence of this coming from my neck on the MRI(with and w/o contrast) or on the EMG that was done. I am afraid i am being misdiagnosed with the carpal tunnel and tennis elbow and that this is coming from some median nerve compression higher up in my body. At what point i do not know.
About 18 months after the ACDF I had severe symptoms return. The MRI showed stenosis and I had a C5 and C6 posterior foraminotomy. Going in the surgeon said the MRI showed mild stenosis. After the surgery he told me it was severe stenosis and he was amazed how bad it was and now understood my pain. I had an ESI after that as well to calm down the C5 nerve.
I know your post was a year ago, but i'm just seeing it now and unfortunately going thru what you were going thru. I am s/p almost 6 weeks acdf and have such severe forearm pain..(had the same pain before surgery, and did the surgery to fix the problem) >>I am so hoping you figured out by now what it was and hoping youre better. What ended up happening??
The Following User Says Thank You to WLS For This Useful Post: estella3 (12-07-2010)
I thought i would reply. I had the surgery feb, 2010. I did not have forarm pain before my surery, just pain going to about my biceps on both sides. My neurosergeon NEVER did an EMG prior to the surgery, and i wish he had of. He just went by my symptoms and my MRI images. I had no numbness or forarm pain prior to surgery. BUT i have it NOW. The forearm pain started about 3 weeks post surg. I kept complaining to the surgeon about it, finally about 3 months post op he did an EMG, which showed moderate to severe median nerve damage, most consistent with carpal tunnel, no cervical radiculopathy was shown. I was sent to a hand surgeon for it. He said there is median nerve compression coming from a point up higher near my collar bone, called the brachial plexus. He said i have bilateral neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome, or also called bilateral brachial plexopathy. This is why he said my entire arm hurts from my neck down on both sides. It felt like a pulling sensation down my arms, and it hurts to reach for anything. He said he could do the carpal tunnel release surgery, but it is likely that it will not improve my symptoms because the nerve impingement is coming from the brachial plexus area. One doctor said i had this thoracic outlet all along, and that i never needed the ACDF surgery, and that the back surgery made my thoracic outlet condition worse. I am going for another EMG in a couple because the last CAT scan i had done showed that there is still is foraminal narrowing at the c5-c6. I said to the PA i thought that the ACDF was supposed to open that up, she said it was, but we sometimes dont get it all clear from the front. She suggested going thru my back to try to clear it up that way. I said NO. Cat scan also showed i have more osteophyte formations at that level and above it and below it. I also have a herniated disc in the thoracic spine, which i am not sure what they do for that, if anything. My forearm is not as sensitive now, but is painful to reach or rotate it. In the beginning i was walking around with icey hot on the forearm and an ace bandage over it. I went to PT, OT. pain management. nothing seemed to help. The orthopedic also says i have lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow), but i did nothing to get that or the carpal tunnel. NO repetitive motions whatsoever. The hand surgeon says i have that cause the median nerve is damaged all the way down the arm. Also i have numbness on my left hand the thumb, index, and middle finger, and now sometimes the pinky hurts. I had NO numbness or pain in my fingers/hands prior to the ACDF surgery. but i do NOW. NOW I am not sure the symptoms i had before the surgery were even coming from my c5-c6 discs. There is alot of pain im my shoulders too, but an orthopedic looked at them and did not show any abnormalities on x-ray. I have crunching noises in my neck. My shoulders pop, and feel/sound like bone on bone. And the back pain seems to come from the back and wrap around my rib cage to the front of me , where i have the feeling of pressure. that was going on prior to surgery as well. feels like i just did a bunch of chest presses. i was told that could be the thoracic outlet syndrome as well. The cold seems to make my symptoms worse. Anway that is how i am doing, not so well unfortunately. i will let u know what my new EMG test says in a couple weeks. U should ask for an EMG test, the soonest they do it after an acdf surgery i think is 3 months, they like to wait that long or the reading wont be accurate they say. good luck ESTELLA
unfortunately i'm still having lots of pain in my left arm. i've had 2 more opinions and nobody can seem to tell me why. i am now in pain management and even with good medication every day seems to be a battle. i did get disability which helped mentally, but my physical problems go on