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  • Recent ACDF C4-C7, but I still have the same pain

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    Old 09-29-2016, 01:38 PM   #1
    motoman122
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    Angry Recent ACDF C4-C7, but I still have the same pain

    Hey everybody,

    I had been putting off surgery for about 6 or 7 years and recently ( August 27th ) I had a fusion at the C4-C7 levels and still have 85-90% of my pain. originally the Dr. was going to do C3-C6 but changed his mind at the last minute and went the C4-C7 route.

    Unfortunately, I still have roughly 85-90% of my pain. I have severe muscle pain in my neck, in fact the muscle on the back of my neck on the left side STAYS as tight as a Banjo string. I have muscles knotting up below my scapula and upper left shoulder region in general as well as muscle pain in my upper left arm. When everything gets knotted up, I still have radiating pain all the way down to my left wrist and still have some numbness in my thumb, my index finger and middle finger when everything gets knotted up.

    At the C3-C4 level, the level he was originally going to work on, the MRI reads as follows:

    Diffuse disc osteophyte complex and mild ligament flavum thickening. Mild compression of the cord. The canal is narrowed to 8.5 mm. Moderate right and moderate to severe left foraminal stenosis secondary to foraminal disc osteophyte, facet and uncovertebral joint hypertrophy.

    I go back in to see my Surgeon next Friday, October 7th, and needless to say since my pain isn't significantly better after the C4-C7 fusion, I think he missed the level that was causing the most pain.

    He thinks he did what was most important, C6-C7 canal was narrowed to 7.5 mm and he was afraid of paralysis. I get that, but the whole reason for the surgery was I couldn't take the pain anymore and I was about to lose my job over it. That is what forced me into it....well and the fact that I couldn't take the pain and I want off of all these meds!!

    Personally, based on what I have read and listened to from videos Neurosurgeons have posted on several sites, I think this part of the C3-C4 is the problem.... moderate to severe left foraminal stenosis secondary to foraminal disc osteophyte, facet and uncovertebral joint hypertrophy.

    As i mentioned, I see him next Friday, October 7th and I need to get whatever is wrong fixed and get back to work ASAP. Not to mention my out of pocket maximum has been met so it needs to be done NOW!

    Thank you in advance,
    Motoman122

    Last edited by mod85; 09-30-2016 at 07:27 PM.

     
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    Old 09-29-2016, 07:59 PM   #2
    teteri66
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    Re: Recent ACDF C4-C7, but I still have the same pain

    We're fellow sufferers who share knowledge based on our experiences.

    There are a number of reasons you could still be in pain. Since you have had these issues for years, it is likely that the nerves that were compressed are still suffering the effects of the compression. Nerves heal very slowly...and it is rare to have nerve pain and symptoms magically disappear as soon as the nerves are decompressed. It can take 12-18 months for nerves to recover.

    You are very early in recovery, particularly for a multi level fusion. You may find that by the three month mark, your pain and symptoms will subside.

    I would agree that the C3-4 doesn't look great. The surgeon must have not wanted to work on more than three levels, for whatever reason.

    The foramen is an opening located at each vertebral segment where the spinal nerve exits the spine to go out to the part of the body it innervates. Severe foraminal stenosis indicates the opening is almost closed, so the nerve is being compressed quite a bit...if it were any more compressed, the nerve would cease to function.

    Last edited by mod85; 09-30-2016 at 07:28 PM.

     
    Old 09-29-2016, 08:19 PM   #3
    motoman122
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    Re: Recent ACDF C4-C7, but I still have the same pain

    Thanks for replying so quickly!

    Yeah, they don't like to do more than 3 levels of fusion at a time. I was pretty sure we weren't getting the right levels when he switched from C3-C6 to C4-C7, but he was afraid the C6-C7 level had a high risk of causing paralysis if I had an accident or something. But, with the pain I was having, and that being the reason I finally gave in and had the surgery, I would have thought he would have done the C3-C4 level and then addressed the C6-C7 level some other way.

    By what I read on the MRI and researched myself, I was pretty sure the C3-C4 moderate to severe left foraminal stenosis was probably the main issue to begin with. I had put this surgery off as long as I possibly could and apparently longer than I should have.

    My physical therapy has been putting me in absolute agony, and 2 of the therapists that do the rubdown at the end of physical therapy told me they felt like they were doing me more harm than good. They both actually said they felt like they needed to refer me back to my surgeon.

    As I mentioned earlier, I have an appointment with him next Friday, October 7th. I think I am going to go ahead and have them refer me back to him for records purposes anyway.

    As luck would have it, my left vocal cord got paralyzed during the surgery, so I haven't had a voice since August 27th. I go in for a surgery/injection in my vocal cords to attempt to get some type of voice going next Wednesday. This surgery has not gone as planned AT ALL.

    Have you had a personal experience like this yourself with the Dr. not getting everything on the first surgery?

    Last edited by motoman122; 09-29-2016 at 09:40 PM.

     
    Old 12-02-2016, 09:05 PM   #4
    Katrob56
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    Re: Recent ACDF C4-C7, but I still have the same pain

    I had c4_c5 last October. None of my problems, left arm, hand and shoulder pain, neuropathy in both hands, first 3 digits. I have been dealing with this for 2 1/2 years. I had bilateral carpal tunnel surgery 3months prior to my ACDF c4-c5. No improvement in the neuropathy.In 1996 I had ACDF c6-c7. I am to have a myelogram next Tuesday because the surgeon thinks my problems are coming from c5-c6. I have become very anxious and irritable. I sure do hope they find something to help you.I know how life changing these health problems can be. Best of luck to you.

     
    Old 12-03-2016, 08:21 AM   #5
    motoman122
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    Re: Recent ACDF C4-C7, but I still have the same pain

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Katrob56 View Post
    I had c4_c5 last October. None of my problems, left arm, hand and shoulder pain, neuropathy in both hands, first 3 digits. I have been dealing with this for 2 1/2 years. I had bilateral carpal tunnel surgery 3months prior to my ACDF c4-c5. No improvement in the neuropathy.In 1996 I had ACDF c6-c7. I am to have a myelogram next Tuesday because the surgeon thinks my problems are coming from c5-c6. I have become very anxious and irritable. I sure do hope they find something to help you.I know how life changing these health problems can be. Best of luck to you.
    Thank you for the well wishes!

    It sounds like you have been through quite a journey yourself. Good luck with your next journey, but I would think, based on what research I have done and what my Chiropractor has been able to help educate me with, it sounds much like my issues and they are honing in on C3-4. I have numbness in my thumb, index and middle finger with some on the inside of my ring finger when the muscles get bound up real bad and put pressure on the nerve that serves that area.

    I have a ruptured disc at C3-4 and moderate to severe foraminal stenosis at C3-4 and C4-5. The muscle that goes from the base of my skull to my shoulder is as tight as a banjo string on the left side and the muscles below my scapula as well as the muscle from my neck to my shoulder are all bound up as well causing immense pain.

    I am taking 60 mg MS Contin ER 2x daily, morphine sulphate 15mg 3x daily, baclofen 20 mg 3x daily, 100 mg Voltaren 2x daily and 300 mg Gabapentin 3x daily and I am STILL in just horrible pain. The Surgeon that did my ACDF C4 thru C7, was originally going to do C3 thru C6, but changed his mind, didn't consult with me about it and just refuses to believe that what he did didn't cure my pain. Yet i still have the ruptured disc at C3-4 and the foraminal stenosis.

    SO...I have had a consult with one Neurosurgeon that does minimally invasive foraminotamy surgeries. He had me do an EMG this week and I see him again on the 13th of December and I also have an appointment with another Neurosurgeon on December 6th that saw me 2 years ago for a 2nd opinion on a workers comp case and I wish I had gone to him to begin with. He is the #1 rated Neuro in this area, but hindsight is 20-20.

    Doctors have a tendency to refer to surgeons that are within THEIR network, and I have one of the best PCP's I have ever had, so I went with him because Healthgrades.com had glowing reviews of the Surgeon he referred me to. What did I learn? Don't trust Healthgrades.com and do your own research for a doctor from people hat have had good results with other doctors.

    Good luck with your next venture. I hope you get the relief I'm seeking. This is no way to live.

    Last edited by motoman122; 12-03-2016 at 08:22 AM.

     
    Old 12-03-2016, 09:30 AM   #6
    Katrob56
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    Re: Recent ACDF C4-C7, but I still have the same pain

    I went to see the neurosurgeon that did my last surgery after my PcP had an MRI done on me. I had complained to him earlier and kept saying the nerves can take a year to settle down. He called me to come in for appt that very day the results were complete. He told me I had Myelomalacia and acute cord atrophy and I needed to see a neurologist because he knew very little about the Myelomalacia except that my spinal cord was deteriorating. That appt is not until Feb 2017. A few weeks ago I received a call saying my appointment with a neurosurgeon at the same facility had to be rescheduled. I told her I didn't even know I had an appointment. She suggested I call the office. They said the appt. With the neurosurgeon should have been cancelled. I needed to see a neurologist. When I asked about why the Myelomalacia that appeared on my pre surgical interview had never been mentioned to me and the first time I had ever heard of it was when he told me I had it after the last Mri, she got very offensive and said I could always get a second opinion. That is how all of this recently has been put into play. The PA. I saw at the neurosurgeons office said that the c5-c6 normally cause the pain,numbness and weakness in the arm and also the thumb and next two fingers. He didn't seem to think the Myelomalacia was a big deal. He thinks the disk is causing compression on my spinal cord. So you just keep doing what you feel you must do. I know you feel that you have been around the world and back again to get someone to do something. Next week may turn out to be a disappointment but at least for a while I have had hope. Take care of yourself and keep the faith that you will be well again.

    Last edited by Katrob56; 12-03-2016 at 12:05 PM.

     
    Old 12-03-2016, 09:59 AM   #7
    motoman122
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    Re: Recent ACDF C4-C7, but I still have the same pain

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Katrob56 View Post
    I edited and continued. Hope you see it.

    Yes I saw it. Yes it does feel like I have been around the world and back and back again, but I have faith, and my faith is what is getting me through right now. My job is a very high stress job and the muscles I am having issues with are all muscles I use as a Customer Service Representative on the computer at a major Telecommunications company. As I'm sure you know, nobody calls in to tell us what a great job we are doing, they only call when their stuff isn't working and they are MAD! LOL

    I have hope that one of them will get me in to get something done. I am supposed to go back to work on January 1st, but I have no PTO time or FMLA time built up, so I desperately need one of them to take my case and get me into surgery ASAP to get me some relief and a little more time off to heal before I go back to work.

    Keep the faith and I wish you well. Nobody should have to live like this.

     
    Old 02-18-2017, 09:53 AM   #8
    Katrob56
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    Re: Recent ACDF C4-C7, but I still have the same pain

    I had C4-C7 12/14/16. I am having a burning sensation between my shoulder blades and muscle spasms. I know this sounds like nothing compared to what you are going through and I am so sorry. My GP said I had probably pulled a muscle from all the coughing I've had since the flu. Just wondering if you had ever had the burning sensation since your surgery. Worried that something is wrong.

    Last edited by Katrob56; 02-18-2017 at 10:01 AM. Reason: Someone else's showed on my post.

     
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