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Old 09-07-2012, 02:15 PM   #1
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Unhappy ACDF 5 Months Post Op - PROBLEMS

Usually a Normal 25 year old had ACDF surgery April of this year. Went well recovered good and back to full active duty by June 23rd (vol. Firefighter). Been having shoulder burning pain that got a little better but now getting worse. The pain is spreading to my upper arm and sometimes even my forearm and hands. Starting to get really sore on back of neck with tension headaches pushing all the way to my right side affecting ear, jaw and eye. Went and saw the doctor today he took an X Ray in the office and said that it is perfect and fully fused.. He is sending me for a Contrast and Non Contrast MRI and seeing what could be wrong. I have not done anything crazy, no lifting no strenuous work and no fires. He said it could possibly be a bone spur and is aggravating the nerve.. Anyone else have this issue before? could it be anything else? Thought I was in the clear but now the pain is slowly creeping back.

 
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Old 09-07-2012, 03:45 PM   #2
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Re: ACDF 5 Months Post Op - PROBLEMS

That is pretty early to return to active full duty as a Firefighter only 2 1/2 months after a fusion.

As well as it's pretty amazing for them to say you are 100% fully fused this soon. Usually it takes up to year for that.

I was a also a volunteer Firefighter/EMT for about 10 years and I know how hard it is on the spine. I have had 3, two-level, cervical fusions but they were all after I left the Dept.

What do you do for your regular job?

At this point I would be getting a different opinion from another Board Certified Neurosurgeon to take a look at the MRI once the results come in. I just don't know if it's wise to continue Firefighting at this point and it may be best to wait for another 6 months at least....there is no sense in ruining or damaging your fusion or causing another herniation of other discs. If you are more patient...then returning to Firefighting once you are really strong enough and healed enough.

Did they have you do any Physical therapy after the surgery? Or just release you?

Obviously I, or anyone on here, are medical professionals and I am just giving my own opinion based on going through the surgeries.

Good luck..

 
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Old 09-08-2012, 05:53 AM   #3
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Re: ACDF 5 Months Post Op - PROBLEMS

What level was the ACDF at? When you have symptoms in your shoulder/arm, what parts of the arm (which muscles?) and which fingers are affected?

 
Old 09-10-2012, 08:03 AM   #4
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Unhappy Re: ACDF 5 Months Post Op - PROBLEMS

I have seen the Xrays and it looks as though it is fully fused and all bone.. He said since I am so young I heal a lot quicker.. My reg job is working in an office. I sit at a desk all day and the past two weeks Ive had pain just sitting down.. I was back to driving in two weeks post surgery and back to work 3 weeks after surgery.

There was no physical therapy after the surgery, Long story short I was having shoulder pain the doctor who I was seeing prescribed physical therapy with NO MRI and the first session the PT was stretching my neck and I started getting vertigo, as the day progressed it got so bad I was told to go to the E.R... After many doc visits and a nuero test I ended up at a spine doctor and have been told by over 10 people i know he is the best around.. Most doctors did not want to touch me or do anything after the PT pinched my nerves.. He said the neck will gain strength on its own. He fused c5-c6 with hardware.. It was hard to even get a second opinion about getting the surgery because everyone knew what this doctor said goes.. He has been good with me an I trust him.. I dont blame him if it is a bone spur or another level.. but just want to know sooner then later.. I dont think he is a fan of physical therapy when it comes to the spine and my previous problems with PT I feel no doctor has wanted to send me.


The pain I have now is different from the first incident in Jan of this year. The pain is mild in the neck 24/7 with burning in the shoulder, more like the trap and between the blades. The pain is starting to spread to my upper arm bicep tricep area. I have had SLAP Lesion type 2 surgery on this shoulder 4 years ago, had no problems until after this surgery however the neck pain has been getting worse as the paing is spreading down in my arm.. where as the pain before surgery was shooting pain down into hands, and all over.. This is diff and he is going about this by Contrast MRI. I just hope it is not another level.

 
Old 09-13-2012, 11:41 AM   #5
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Re: ACDF 5 Months Post Op - PROBLEMS

Got the MRI yesterday.. Will see the doc in about 5 days.. Did pull it out and took a look and it to me it looks like the nerve is pinched on the SAME levels I had the surgery. I mean I'm no doctor but you can tell the diff between a normal spine and a messed up one.. Hopefully he will have answers and solutions cause right now the pain is progressing and just not doing any better. Starting to get real depressed about it and just want to be a normal 25 yr old..

 
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Old 09-13-2012, 11:49 AM   #6
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Re: ACDF 5 Months Post Op - PROBLEMS

What's the radiologist's report from the MRI say?

 
Old 09-13-2012, 12:00 PM   #7
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Re: ACDF 5 Months Post Op - PROBLEMS

did not come with one.. the doc office requests and even stats on the prescription to give films to me.. I believe they email it over when it is complete.. the nerve looks pinched on the other side of where the disc was so the opposite side.

 
Old 09-13-2012, 12:02 PM   #8
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Re: ACDF 5 Months Post Op - PROBLEMS

If you can read MRI images of foraminal openings, you are way ahead of me...

 
Old 09-13-2012, 12:42 PM   #9
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Re: ACDF 5 Months Post Op - PROBLEMS

haha not exactly. I read the side view of whole neck and googled how to read it and saw where the surgery was done and what the spinal canal looks like and remember from surgery months ago what a pinched nerve looks like.. and it so happens to be on the same level/ in between the levels? of where I had ACDF.. which to me is good news cause hopefully it is not another level.

Will post up news next week when I find out.. until then I wait.. luckily I am getting away for the weekend and hopefully get my mind off the pain..

 
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