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  • 4+ Months Post-op ACF C5-6......

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    Old 06-18-2009, 03:16 PM   #1
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    gigi1930 HB User
    4+ Months Post-op ACF C5-6......

    Hi everyone,

    I have a question that I hope some of you may be able to help me with so I can make a hard decision.

    I have now been referred out to a pain management specialist due to the uncontrollable pain, burning and cramps that I am still experiencing without narcotic pain medication and muscle relaxants.

    The Dr. tested my reflexes and stated that I still have spinal cord compression (myelopathy) and that I am really fairly new post-op and he gave me pain medication Norco 10/325 and Robaxin 750mg for spasms.
    My neuro Surg stated that by 4 months out post-op I should not be seeing this amount of pain/discomfort. The pain management Dr. states that I really have only have one option and that is cervical epidural w/cortisone injection. I have extreme concerns with this due to the C5-6 rupture I had was said to be "huge" and I was a "lucky young lady not to be paralyzed" because I had a paracentral rupture. Another is I was also told post-op that the disk above and disk below were not in good shape and I probably would have to have something done with them in the future.

    My concern is cortisone causes degenerative changes in bone and with me getting these injections what affect is this going to have on my other disk that are not in good shape. Also, I am so apprehensive and scared to death to have this done, and the pain specialist doesn't sedate his patients before, he only numbs the area before injecting the cortisone into the epidural space.

    Does anyone have any comments or any recommendations??? I don't know what to do, the pain specialist cuts off all pain medications if you don't follow his recommendations. Should I get a second opinion by another neurologist before I have this done? I have done research and that seems to be my only option, but I'm scared I will end up worse than I am now.

    Comments Please!


    Last edited by gigi1930; 06-18-2009 at 03:17 PM.

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    Old 06-18-2009, 04:34 PM   #2
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    Re: 4+ Months Post-op ACF C5-6......

    I had some pain problems in the months after my ACDF and I did go ahead with the Epidural Steroid Injections. Personally I'd say there is no reason not to - when they target the nerves with the injections it can substantially reduce your symptoms. It's not like being on continuous oral steroids which can later lead to some bone problems - it's a targeted injection.

    Also ask for a follow up MRI if this continues. 2 years after my ACDF I had to have a posterior foraminotomy as the nerves were still impinged.

    In fact, I have a lumbar injection scheduled for tomorrow.
    Rt thumb fusion '13. R&L thumb arthroplasty '12 ; RT TKR & Bilat CTS' 11. Fusions: L5-S1('87), L4-S1('93), C5-C7('06), L3-S1('10), C4-C5('13). C5-C7 foraminotomy '08

    Last edited by SpineAZ; 06-18-2009 at 04:35 PM.

    Old 06-18-2009, 06:10 PM   #3
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    Re: 4+ Months Post-op ACF C5-6......

    I would agree with spine that it can't really hurt to try the epidurals. From what I know they are pretty safe. I had a few and it was uncomfortable, but I got through it. The doc who did mine injected numbing medication as he was getting the needle in father. The first time I was really nervous and wanted sedation, but after the first one I knew it wasn't going to be that bad and I didn't feel like I needed it.

    Just so you know, I would say the absolute worst pain I had was 5-6 months after ACDF (same level as you). That's when I was referred to pain management. it has gotten somewhat better, but I don't know how much is from the medication working. I had all of the same things you are describing and it was excruciating. Turns out my fusion didn't take, and I'm up for surgery again in 2.5 weeks to fuse from the back.

    I am troubled however by your pm doctor telling you that epidurals is your only option. I wouldn't accept a "no other options" answer from this doc. You don't want to be combative, but you need to make sure you are advocating for yourself. I know how hard it is when you are in so much pain. If I were you, I might also seek a 2nd opinion. That's what I did and it's how I found out that my fusion didn't work. Just be VERY careful to not accept any kind of pain medication from any other doctor.

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