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  • 6mo s/p C4-5 ACDF now w/increased pain & swallowing problems

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    Old 04-27-2007, 12:12 PM   #1
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    Location: Albertville, MN
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    Laenini HB UserLaenini HB User
    6mo s/p C4-5 ACDF now w/increased pain & swallowing problems

    I just wanted to ask some of you veterans who have gone through multiple spine surgeries when did you realize you were having continuing or progressing problems that were going to need further treatment? I have been followed post-op by only my surgeon's nurse practitioner (I haven't seen the surgeon himself since I woke up in the recovery room) who said "all is well" and discharged me from the practice at the 12 week mark. I have had pain all along and actually referred myself to a pain management physician last month. Although I can't think of anything in particular that I did this week, I have had a significant increase in pain, particularly in my neck, left arm and shoulder. I also have had trouble swallowing pills again (I had this symptom before my surgery and now since Tuesday its back) and even just swallowing my own spit seems to be difficult. I find I need to take a drink of water or swallow a bit of food just to swallow my normal secretions.

    I am thinking I have herniated the next disk in line (C5-6). I'm trying to work up the nerve to go to the doctor. So what do you guys think? And if I go back to the doctor, who should I see? Should I see my family MD first? Should I go back to the neurosurgeon's practice? If they want me to see the nurse practitioner should I insist on seeing the doctor? Should I see some other type of doctor to get another opinion? I kinda feel like I got tossed to the wind by the nurse practitioner without anyone set up to continue following my neck problems. I trust some of you much more than I trust the medical establishment right now. So what do you guys think?
    Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Type 3
    Scheuermann's Kyphosis
    Severe DDD with multiple herniations and areas of stenosis, 16 affected disks!
    C4-5 ACDF 2006
    C3-6 ACDF 2013
    Chronic Myofaschial Pain Syndrome

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    Old 04-27-2007, 04:59 PM   #2
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    Re: 6mo s/p C4-5 ACDF now w/increased pain & swallowing problems

    I've thought that i had other problems just a couple months ago. So much so that I ended up getting another MRI of my C and L spine, questioned problems in my shoulder or my T spine. What ended up happening was 1) everything was fine with my neck and lower back. 2) But everything was SOOOOOOOO tight that it felt like something else might have happened. I ended up going on more meds for nerve pain and a muscle relaxer. I was also to start Physical Therapy again. I CHANGED physical therapists because I felt she might had aggrivated syptoms somehow. I ended up with a couple of great PT's and I am now doing much much better! It takes work keeping up with it all. If I don't do the excersies almost every day, I start getting tingling in my hands and such. If you are stressed out, it does't help the fact that your muscles are tensing up and choaking your nerves and muscles. You can always get more tests just to be sure, it doesn't hurt and it may give you peace of mind, but also know that your body is going thru a lot right now. I hope you feel better soon!

    Old 04-27-2007, 05:05 PM   #3
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    PearlDoves HB User
    Re: 6mo s/p C4-5 ACDF now w/increased pain & swallowing problems

    you can always call the doc office about the swallowing issues as well, they may let you go on NSAIDS now. I had a lot of problems off and on with swelling there. I found that I think a lot of it is aggrevated by acid reflex. Watch soda and coffee intake and hold off if you can to see if you are better. You can get over the counter acid reducers, I find them helpful, but soda really seems to aggrivate it for me a lot. But realize if your issues are due to acid reflex, if you go on an NSAID it might further aggrivate the problem.

    Old 05-05-2007, 05:52 PM   #4
    Join Date: Nov 2006
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    julyg HB Userjulyg HB User
    Re: 6mo s/p C4-5 ACDF now w/increased pain & swallowing problems

    Hi I had ACDF in Oct and when surgery was performed my right vocal fold (cord) was paralysed, which controls swallowing, speech and breathing.
    The last thing you wat to hear is see another Dr, however I personally think you should RUN to an Ear nose and throat dr who is familar with swallow disorders.

    I would also consult with your NS or an ENT and request a script for speech therapy, and or a swallow test.

    Swallow test will instantly tell if there is a true problem. You are drinking a liquid with a radiologist seeing how different items are swallowed...cracker pudding , sandwich bite, pill.

    Speech therapy has massage and tongue exercises you can do to improve swallowing.

    Here are a few tips diet wise. And before you groan I was a caffeine addict up until surgery. What I would give for a cup of coffee!

    My ENT said....

    1) No caffeine

    2) No whole dairy (milk, ice cream thickens secretions) Fat free milk and lo fat yogurt ok

    3) No extreme temps on food or liquids. Cold Icy drinks make me spit up or cough. I now drink warm chamomile tea and tons of water. No creamy soups. Clear soups work best

    4) Following a GERD diet cannot hurt you and can help you.

    5) Take your meds with applesauce it gives the pill grab and you will be able to get it down.

    The only person managing your health care is you! Take control! it is not normal not to be able to swallow.

    Good luck.


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