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4 Months Out ACDF 5-7 Headaches, Pain - Any Hope?


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Old 01-04-2018, 04:09 PM   #1
Hope4New
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4 Months Out ACDF 5-7 Headaches, Pain - Any Hope?

Hello All,
My pain started in 2011 . Pain and numbness both arms. Had two opinions at the time. Neurosurgeon wanted to operate as cord was slightly indented. Ortho said to wait and I would know when I needed surgery. I waited and had a couple years managing along ok. I FInally gave in and had ACDF in the beginning of September, four months ago. I knew it was time and couldn't go on in the pain I was in everyday. I am 48 years old.

I have not felt back to my normal self except for maybe 3 or so days since. I know this is a big surgery and expected a long recovery. However I have been on a steady decline since the very beginning of November. The last 3 weeks I have had terrible neck pain, a headache that came on up the back of my neck and spread to my head. It was like nothing I have felt before. It lasted for 3 days. I still have a knot at the base of my skull from that headache with sensations up my head everyday. And now burning shoulders. It feels like an elephant on each shoulder. Alot of crunching but it seems like quite a few people here have that as well. Also have had arm numbness upon waking again.

Why is all of this pain coming on now four months later? Does anyone with any insight have any possible idea?

I thought I made the right choice choosing a teaching hospital in South FLorida with a well respected surgeon. I cry everyday and try to go on but am losing hope of getting out of this pain. I went into surgery with a positive attitude envisioning a positive outcome. Now I just try to pray for painfree days ahead and act as normal as I can for my family.

I do have an appointment Monday with the surgeon. I pushed for a new MRI which was done 3 weeks ago. The cord is ok at 5-7 BUT THERE IS SEVERE FORAMINAL STENOSIS at those same levels left and right. I am at a loss as I thought they clean up that area during this surgery. I called the nurse yesterday and she talked about scar tissue, and once a spine patient always a spine patient. Sigh. Somehow the didn't say that going in.

Thank you for listening. It is sincerely appreciated. If anyone can offer any insight, hope or suggestions I would be eternally grateful.

 
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Old 01-05-2018, 08:08 AM   #2
teteri66
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Re: 4 Months Out ACDF 5-7 Headaches, Pain - Any Hope?

Welcome to the board. It is always discouraging to go through everything spinal surgery involves and then, several months post surgery, to develop symptoms you didn't have prior to surgery. I'm glad you will be seeing your surgeon soon and hope you get some answers. You should be prepared to ask specific questions ( like the severe stenosis) because surgeons tend to tell patients that it is early in recovery, that you went through a big surgery and that you need to be patient.

I gather that you felt you were making progress post surgery, and then in November, things started going the other way. I gather the headache and burning sensation in shoulders is new? It is normal to not feel "back to normal" yet, but generally speaking, it is not a good sign when new symptoms develop post surgery.

In case no one told you, even though you can see bone growth as early as several weeks post surgery, it takes a full twelve months for the new bone to fuse, grow hard and set.

It is also normal to have various weird symptoms pop up from time to time as you heal. I had a smaller lumbar surgery at L2-3 on Sept. 22nd (was previously fused L3-S1) and am still experiencing weird sensations in legs...sometimes burning, sometimes intense itching, etc. Nerves take a long time to recover and you can have "new" symptoms while it is going on.

I'm not sure why you would have severe stenosis at the levels where they operated. That doesn't make sense to me. Scar tissue is always a potential problem but I wouldn't think it would fill up the foraminal openings. This is something to pursue with your surgeon on Monday.

Please come back and let us know what he tells you.

 
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Old 01-10-2018, 08:45 AM   #3
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Re: 4 Months Out ACDF 5-7 Headaches, Pain - Any Hope?

How did your appointment go? Did you learn anything helpful?

 
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