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  • 4 months since cervical posterior fusion

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    Old 04-26-2009, 09:06 AM   #1
    captnanny
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    Question 4 months since cervical posterior fusion

    It's been a while since I have posted but have recently been feeling frustrated about my pain and some new symptoms. I realize that since I have now had two surgeries and three levels are fused with bone and hardware, I will have flare ups of pain for the rest of my life. I can deal with general soreness.
    Lately I have had this extreme pain in the back of my neck like a needle is going through the side of my spine. It will just hit me. I've checked for a rash or bruise and there's nothing visible. It is about two fingers right of my neck (spinal area) and radiates throughout my whole neck and shoulder area. The spot is the only place that stings, the other areas are more muscular pain. I have no idea why this is happening. I'm tired of calling the doctor with symptoms, I believe I've called way too much. I am scared of a non union again. I smoked after my first surgery, not since this last one in December. Has anyone else been four months out of surgery and have a similar pain thing go on?

     
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    Old 04-26-2009, 10:09 AM   #2
    jennybyc
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    Re: 4 months since cervical posterior fusion

    Yup! Been there. It's most likely a nerve ending starting to work again. They sting like hell...like the pain of hitting your "funny bone" but worse.

    When you have a posterior entry(both of mine were posterior)they have to cut muscles to get to the vertebrae and then end up cutting nerves as well...not big nerves but little ones that generally heal. They just take forever to heal. But take the pain as a sign of healing instead of a sign of dying...which would mean no function in that area. Nerves take up to 2 years to completely heal and function. I know since I was partially paralyzed from my neck injury and I'm 2 1/2 years out and I managed to get back a good 95% of the muscle function and feeling. Each nerve that came back gave me that same pain and I loved it. Meant more function.

    So give yourself time. Major spine surgery such as you've had is similar to having a knee replaced. It takes time and is rough on your body. they tell knee folks that it takes a good year + to recover. Spines are no different and take even longer. At my 2 year check-up with my neurosurgeon he told me he never tells his patients it will take 2 years to fully recover as they tend to freak out. I told him I'd rather have known. I've had my knees replaced so I'm used to healing taking time. It also would made me feel less anxious to get the muscle function back. But then if he had told me, maybe I wouldn't have worked so hard!

    good luck...............Jenny(and I may have surgery #3 this summer and do it all over again)

     
    Old 04-27-2009, 09:39 AM   #3
    captnanny
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    Re: 4 months since cervical posterior fusion

    Thanks Jenny,
    It's good to think of it as healing and not dying. I was getting worried that it was a sign of nonunion. The way you put it, a nerve getting better makes so much sense. Yes it does hurt but it is tolerable when I don't get so freaked out about it.

     
    Old 04-28-2009, 11:32 PM   #4
    Janatee
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    its done!!!!

    jennybyc, Its me Janatee. My surgery is done, and I'm home to recover. So glad I came across what you wrote, about the "pain",, This one is rough. Doc told me it would be, and he was right. The muscles in the back of my shoulders, hurt, hurt and hurt. Pain meds do the trick, and I keep on a good pain schedule. I can not let this pain get away from me.... But that hurtful pulling , burning pain..it scared me. But reading what you said about the nerve endings make sense. Also, after waking up from surgery this time, the horrible groin pain I had in my left groin, and the calf pains were all gone... I could not beleive it. Walking better, and I know in time, a long time, I will be getting better and better. Doc told me, at least 2 years..or more... and I beleive that. It hurts to write, so I got to go. Thank you for all your info. It really helped me get through this surgery. Take care... Janatee

     
    Old 04-29-2009, 09:52 AM   #5
    jennybyc
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    Re: 4 months since cervical posterior fusion

    Glad everything went well Janatee. The posterior approach is a rough surgery but if it's needed, it's needed. You'll find adding muscle relaxers along with the pain meds will help too but not before driving(don't ask!). If your doc orders any PT, talk to them about using electric stimulation on those neck muscles. it works them for you until they get tired and can relax on their own.

    I was a very bad patient in one respect. I removed my dressing almost immediately and started taking long hot showers to relieve the pain. I got a shower stool to sit on and just sat there and let the water hit my neck, head and back. It felt ssooooooooooooo gooooooooooood. I know I wasn't supposed to get it wet until the staples were out but I developed a rash from the tape on the bandages so I had to remove the dressing and change tape. But it kept coming off. So I figured what the hell...shower! I was supposed to keep my neck brace on during showering but that didn't work either. So I just kept my neck in the same position as the brace held it and got wet. So if you are at the point where you can shower, do so. It will feel so good!

    Let me know if you have any questions. I've had the posterior approach twice and looking at #3. I go Boston 5 weeks from today! It can't be any worse than last time so I'm not worried....just want to know what is wrong and what needs to be done.

    Take care and gets lots of rest.

    gentle hugs..................Jenny

     
    Old 04-30-2009, 09:10 AM   #6
    sammyo1
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    Re: 4 months since cervical posterior fusion

    Hello Capt, I am glad to hear from you as I am always wondering how your doing. Sorry about your pain though. My neck will get stiff & so muscle spasms. Every now & then I get a sharp pain that has me rubbing my neck. You have alot more work on yours then I do. My Pt told me to expect certain pains as part of recovery & reminded me of what I long process healing can be.
    I am having more problems from the shoulders then the neck & or course this stupid carpal tunnal. Which the brace is helping alot with.
    HOw do you feel over all postop vs. preop? You know I have differnet pains now but have been lucky & had a few good days, feel limited though but perhaps that is normal. Do you feel like you have improved with this surgery? I remain optimistic no matter what & hope you improve to. God bless, Sammy

     
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