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  • Numbness and spasms 2 years post ACDF

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    Old 08-27-2007, 06:58 AM   #1
    purpletrail
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    Question Numbness and spasms 2 years post ACDF

    It has been a long time since I posted on this forum. You folks were a great resource for me when I went through two spinal surgeries in 2003 and 2005. I had a two level fusion in July of 2005, C5/6 & 6/7 with a titanium plate and cadaver bone. The fusion was considered successful, since it stopped my arm numbness, spasms eventually subsided and pain was reduced by about 50%.

    I am currently freaked out by a return of my severe symptoms. I have a lot of pain and numbness down my right arm and sporadically on my left. My shoulders feel like dead weights and my biceps and triceps are constantly spasmed. I can actually feel nerves firing into my arms and have that "I just hit my elbow on the counter" nerve pain. I do still have two herniations above my fusion, C3/4 & 4/5. Everything I read about nerve pain seems to say the new symptoms are from C5/6 or 6/7. How could this be if I have both areas fused? I did have degenerative disc disease with some degree of myelopathy and stenosis diagnosed prior to my fusion. Could this be from a new spinal cord compression?

    The orignal neck injury happened 20 years ago when I was hit by a car while biking. It also messed up my lower back, which has continuously gotten worse, but is not currently treated. I sure hope that this is not going to evolve into another spine surgery. I just can't stand the thought of that! Yikes!

    Holly
    2005 ACDF C5/6 & 6/7
    2003 Microendoscopic discectomy and spinal cord decompression

     
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    Old 08-27-2007, 07:09 AM   #2
    mcarr36
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    Re: Numbness and spasms 2 years post ACDF

    I had c5-6 fused in 2004. I woke up from surgery with horrible shoulder blade pain. Much worse than before. But, the arm pain was gone! About 6 months later the severe arm pain returned and the spasms also. I was referred to a pain doctor and have had the spinal cord implant for a year. It controls the arm pain. It does not take it away but it does a good job of masking it. The numbness is permanent. Best of luck to you, Mcarr

     
    Old 08-27-2007, 07:49 AM   #3
    purpletrail
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    Re: Numbness and spasms 2 years post ACDF

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mcarr36 View Post
    I had c5-6 fused in 2004. I woke up from surgery with horrible shoulder blade pain. Much worse than before. But, the arm pain was gone! About 6 months later the severe arm pain returned and the spasms also. I was referred to a pain doctor and have had the spinal cord implant for a year. It controls the arm pain. It does not take it away but it does a good job of masking it. The numbness is permanent. Best of luck to you, Mcarr
    Mcarr,
    Sorry to hear about your bad experience. What a nightmare! Did the doctors give you any idea about what went wrong? If you have C4/5 fused, then where is the pain coming from? It would seem that they would have decompressed the nerves at the time of your surgery.

    Too bad we can't demand a refund when these things happen, or, some type of warantee period. Excuse me, I would like my $50,000 back since I am back to square one with my problems.
    Holly

     
    Old 08-28-2007, 09:01 AM   #4
    Backinthesaddle
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    Re: Numbness and spasms 2 years post ACDF

    Yup sounds like C6/7. I have also had two surgeries 2003 and 2005. I am now waiting for the third one. I had C4/5 fused and had a laminectomy on C6/7 now need a fusion there. My triceps hurt like crazy and my elbows burn and hurt all the time. I really do not have any area except my ring finger that doesn't hurt from below my ears to the middle of my back. My feet, knees, hips, legs and ankles ache too but not all the time so not sure if that is back or what.....But it does sound like your C6/7 is involved. From what I been told is that the areas above and below over time will become weak. Esp if you continue to work. Like most of us have to.

     
    Old 08-30-2007, 07:20 AM   #5
    feelbad
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    Re: Numbness and spasms 2 years post ACDF

    the ulnar nerve(the one you hit that triggers that lovely 'hit the funny bone' feeling?)if this is the one you are talking about it would correlate to the c 8 nerve up in the c spine.while you do not actually have a c 8 vertebrae,you DO have a c 8 nerve.it is not unusual to have problems develop above and below the area of a fusion over time.the weight gets displaced when you have that fusion done.i had my c 6-7 done way back in 2002 and now have a host of problems just from that.but i also have an actual spinal cord injury in about that same area due to having a surgery done that went directly into my cord at the c 8 level.i have radiculopathy and myelopathy.two seperate issues.you stated that you were at one point actually Dxed with myelopathy?did you have actual cord contact with that previous hernation?this would be the only thing that would cause that.anything that starts with myelo is in correlation to the cord itself.have you had an updated MRI recently?if not you really do need to get one at this point just to see what is being affected.do you still have that myelopathy?marcia
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    3-22-01,herniated C-6-7
    11-20-01,placement of hardware for failed fusion
    9-22-03,removal of cavernous hemangioma that was inside spinal cord. Neuro damage to L hand L leg and R leg.

     
    Old 08-30-2007, 11:26 AM   #6
    purpletrail
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    Re: Numbness and spasms 2 years post ACDF

    Marcia,

    I saw my spine doctor on Tuesday and he got me in for an MRI that day. I have been playing phone tag with his office regarding the results. I also have an appointment with them on Sept. 4th, to discuss where we go from here.

    Yes, I did have cord contact with my prior disc herniations and bone spurs. They did a cord decompression as part of the surgical procedure. I am now having a return of the leg symptoms, though it is hard to distinguish between a lower back injury from that same accident or myelopathy. My low back pain is typically radiating around from the back to my thigh. The new leg pain is more numbness and tingling in both calves.

    My doctor also started me on Arthrotech 75, to see if I have inflammation that might respond to a higher dose anti-inflammatory. I have only taken it for two days and I think that I will need to stop. Really hard on your stomach!

    Your response regarding the C8 nerve is really interesting. I didn't know that nerve existed. I will definitely look into that further.

    I am going crazy waiting for the results of my MRI. I will post when I here from the doc.
    Thanks,
    Holly

     
    Old 09-02-2007, 10:34 AM   #7
    Backinthesaddle
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    Re: Numbness and spasms 2 years post ACDF

    Purpletrail you and I sound very much alike. I have a b ad lower back as well and from time to time I have bad pain in my hips and thighs. Lately when it is in flare up form I have pain in the back of my thighs. I am not sure like you if the pains I feel in my calves and feet are neck or back. I too had spinal cord compression for a 18 mo period. At the time of the MRI my spinal cord was only 6.5mm. I have radiculopathy and mylepathy in both arms and hands. More with my left.

    Feelbad what are you rad and myl symptoms???? I agree about the C8 nerve deal that is my issue now. Sick of it all I tell ya.

     
    Old 09-05-2007, 12:42 AM   #8
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    Re: Numbness and spasms 2 years post ACDF

    You might try talking to the pain mgt doc about an interscalene injection.
    Many of us have tried the ESIs and other injections, but this one isn't very commonly used at this point. Many pain docs are finding injection at the intescalene level where the nerve roots exit can help calm the nerve and help calm the arm, shoulder, and blade/chest pain down. I tried one and it did calm the blade spasms and relieve my chest pain a bit. Less effective on the arm symptoms but did help the elbow pain, but I was glad to have a little relief. I was told it is not as effective wrist/hand level symptoms.

    If you have ever had a selective nerve root block, they come in just a little lower in the clavical groove area and inject upwards.

    I am fused C4-7 and still have lots of pain issues, I am trying everything they offer at this point. I am doing a second one of these later this week.

     
    Old 09-05-2007, 08:59 AM   #9
    purpletrail
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    Re: Numbness and spasms 2 years post ACDF

    I saw my spine doctor yesterday to go over MRI results. He felt that he could not see anything alarming on my MRI and is hoping that my current symptoms are just some type of nerve flare up that will resolve. I had to stop the Arthrotech, since I couldn't tolerate the GI problems and started to have wheezing and a rash. The doctor now wants me to try Lyricia, which sounds a lot like nerontin.

    When I look at the MRI report, I see noted that I have progression of foraminal narrowing since my last MRI. It also shows cord compression with ventral cord flattening at C4-5 and C5-6. I didn't think that I should have any kind of cord compression at an area I had fused (C5/6). I think that my symptoms may be from the cord compression, since my leg numbness has been pretty constant. Either that, or since the forminal narrowing has progressed I probably have a nerve root pinched.

    My doc wants me to come back in two weeks. If I still have the pain and numbness, the next plan would be an EMG. YUK!! I think that this would be EMG number 4. Either that or a Myelogram or injections. I will bring up the injection previously mentioned. I said no to the Myelogram. I don't think that he will go with the injections until I have the EMG.

    Thank you to everyone on this site for being so helpful in getting to the bottom of my situation. This is sure a great resource for information.
    Holly

     
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