HealthBoards

HealthBoards (https://www.healthboards.com/boards/)
-   Spinal Cord Disorders (https://www.healthboards.com/boards/spinal-cord-disorders/)
-   -   ongoing problems after ACDF (https://www.healthboards.com/boards/spinal-cord-disorders/713341-ongoing-problems-after-acdf.html)

stitcher8 09-18-2009 09:27 PM

ongoing problems after ACDF
 
I had an ACDF in April 2009. I was never really pain free after the surgery. I was better for a while. Then I had muscle inflammation around the two month post-op mark. I went to physical therapy for that. Got all that worked out and that uncovered other pain in my shoulder. Narcotics didn't even touch that pain. So the neurosurgeoon referred me to a pain management specialist who is also a neurologist and a sleep management specialist. I had to wait a monthe and a half to get into see that guy. So my regular doc started me on neurontin. That helped for about a month. Then it stopped. Had my appointment with the other guy this week. He did some tests and it turns out that I residual nerve damage in my neck. He switched me from the neurontin to Lyrica. He is going to give me the shots in my neck too. He also told me that the carpal tunnel that I've had for at least ten years in both wrists is now very bad in both. Going to try the splints again for now and see what happens. And he is also going to try to get to the bottom of my sleep issues too. He has me scheduled for a sleep study and an EEG.

No real question. Just an update really. But is anyone else having this many problems this far out?

sammyo1 09-21-2009 09:18 AM

Re: ongoing problems after ACDF
 
Hey there, I have a story much like yours. Had some relief for a while after my fusion in december, went to PT felt some what better. My fusion was Dec, 26 & easter night I was admitted with severe pain & burning in my hand which worked its way up my arm & had my neck in major spasm. My froze into a bent postion & noone could get near it without sending through the roof. I feel like I have told this story a million times so for those who have read it over & over I apolagize. Its strange how I had not symptoms of of carpal tunnel before that day, but thats what my EMG came back showing, severe carpal. I started having symptoms within a month after in the other hand but different. I had fingers that would freeze in a bent position & the hand did not respond to any splints.
I started to have alot of pain under the scapula on the carpal side. When I went for my last set of ESIs & nerve blocks I showed the nurse where & she marked it. Im waiting for my ESI report to come in, but since the injections the carpal pain has been reduced greatly. That was the beginning of sept & I can feel it trying to kick in again. The other hand had relief also. My PM doctor does not think it is carpal as he stated there may be a nerve issue, such as you speaking of. He stated many are labled with carpal tunnel that do not have it. EMGs are not reliable many times. Im having more & more neck pain & headaches returning along with shoulder & chest/rib pain. Much of my old symptoms which worrys me. I have some other issues in there but its awful walking around wondering whats going on in there & worrying what each day will bring.

I have 2 splints, one with a gel padding I wear during the day & one for at night that covers more of the hand. They do help most of the time. These are actually much more comfortable then the ones I had received from a medical supply with a script. I dont think we can list brands but it you want you can PM me & I'll let you know if your interested. I found the day time splint did not work at night well enough.
Im waiting to see exactly where my injections were on my ESI report in hopes of locating the area causing my hand problems. When its bad it can feel like the right hand is on fire so I feel for you.
I have discovered any lifting, even small things or to much lifting seems to set things off with my pain levels.
Im wondering do you know the test your PM did that indicated the residual nerve damage?
This is driving me crazy with the headaches returning. My neck is stiff & sore. Because I have herniations in the lumbar also its hard to get my PM to focus on both areas. I feel like Im falling apart. I know what you mean as when this is bad the narcotics dont help much at all. I spent yesturday in bed with very little relief for over 12hrs. I spent the morning hanging over the toilet as I could not handle the pain.

I tried the lyrica in the beginning & had such bad side effects I could not take it. I wish the best of luck with it as anything that brings relief is a godsend. I have discovered with nerve pain not much helps. Thanks for the update as who knows what one person posts may help another. If you know the name of the test I would appreciate if you could let me know. Im doing my own homework here & trying to piece together what could be causing these flair ups. god bless & good luck, Sammy

stitcher8 09-21-2009 11:55 AM

Re: ongoing problems after ACDF
 
I'm not sure what the name of the test was that the doctor used to determine that I had residual nerve damage. He did it at the same time that he did the nerve conduction study test. That is where they put electrodes on the wrist and send a small electric shock to the nerve. I hope I am explaining that right. Anyway, he just didn't put the electrode on the neck. So I'm not sure about that. I wish I could help you.

I wish I knew if the increase in the carpal tunnel was related to the nerve damage. I don't work right now. But I really need to get a job soon and all of this is just delaying things even more. How does anyone work with issues like this all the time? Am I just being a big 'ole baby?

Toonces1 09-21-2009 05:43 PM

Re: ongoing problems after ACDF
 
No, you are not being a baby. I had a LOT of problems for 1.5 years after my ACDF until I had another surgery to try to fuse the vertebrae from the back. I still have pain, but it is better than it was before the 2nd surgery. I had terrible pain in my shoulder and shoulder blade area into my arm and elbow. It would just stop me in my tracks sometimes it was so severe. I went back to work 9 weeks after my ACDF, but it was a very hard year at work. My work suffered, but luckily I had a very understanding boss (his wife can't work due to chronic pain) so I got by. It would be hard to look for a new job though, because you would have to worry about the pre-employment physical.

For me, it appears that some of my problem is that my fusion did not work, so I still had movement between the two vertebrae that were supposed to have grown together. However, I do still have some of the pain I had before in my upper back between my shoulder blades and into my left scapular area. I would say I have more good days than bad days now though, which is a huge improvement from before.

It sounds like you have even more problems because of your carpel tunnel. I have heard that people who have carpel tunnel can experience pain working it's way up the nerves into the neck, so that could potentially be part of your problem, too.

stitcher8 09-21-2009 10:52 PM

Re: ongoing problems after ACDF
 
My pain isn't "terrible pain" usually. It is like a burning, pinching kind of pain in the left back/shoulder area. But today, I've been doing a lot of sitting on hard chairs and my whole back and neck is KILLING ME! I'm hoping my Sleep Number Bed will do the trick. My muscles are starting to twitch and I'm thinking it might not be a good night!

The carpal tunnel is really bad in the right (dominant) hand. Particularly my ring finger and thumb is really going numb for some reason.

And I have even noticed that my feet are going numb. What is up with that?

sammyo1 09-22-2009 05:27 AM

Re: ongoing problems after ACDF
 
Yes thats true, carpal can go all the way up into the neck, as the rehab doctor informed me. Your area of pain sounds like where I experiaced mine. I had it in the back at the scapula, almost directly under. Thats where it started to increase with pain as the carpal in the hands increased. Im thinking they may have injected that area. Im hoping to find out during my next appointment with my PM.
Where was your fusion at? Before I had my C5-6 done I had problems in with my thumb. Now its the last 3 digits (fingers). Mostly the middle & ring finger.
No your not a baby, my gosh If your anything like me there is no telling what each day will bring.
I had the EMG (nerve conduction) to. Im really confused about it all. As my PM thinks it may not be carpal at all.
As far as the feet, I would be curious to know if its related to the cervical. I have some problems there but I also have lumbar herniations.
I know people experiance some issues in the lower extremities with the cervical but not sure why. This may be worth putting another post up. Often when you have cervical problems your at risk for lumbar, so thats one possability.

Since the injection I have more use in my hands, I still drop things but not like before. I just ordered my reports hoping we can find the nerve that is causing the hand problem & match where the injections were done. My PM says it my just be the cortisone helping but Im not taking anything for granted. My hands were so bad before this injection that Im still stunned at the relief. I know it wont last but I'll enjoy it while I can. I have enough pain every where else to worry about.
Its awful not knowing whats causing what & these things can develope so quickly you just dont know what to make of it.
Toonces how wonderful that you have a boss that understands. Its always nice to hear something positive. Glad your second fusion gave you more relief. God bless, Sammy

stitcher8 09-22-2009 08:38 AM

Re: ongoing problems after ACDF
 
I was having the burning pinching pain in my back/shoulder before my hands started acting up again. So I'm not sure if it is the same thing. I am so confused at this point. I am really afraid of having the injections in the neck. That just freaks me out. I've never had the shots in my hand even. I've only ever done the NSAIDS and wrist splints.

My fusion was done at C5-6 and C6-7. I'm not in pain everyday. But it seems like when I have a good day, I try to do things around the house and I end up paying for it either by the evening or the next day. So I really can't see a (new) employer being okay with me coming in and saying "I want this job, train me, but oh yeah, I may not be any good to you after a few days". How long would that job last realistically?

My Physical therapist questioned the extent of the carpal tunnel. He says that when there is nerve damage, it can be making it seem like the carpal tunnel is developing or in my case getting worse. So that is confusing too.

The thing with the feet didn't really start until I had been on Neurontin for about a month or so. And now I am on Lyrica and it is continuing. So I don't know if it could be from that.

At this point, I just want to trade my whole darn body in for another one!!!

HarleyLdy61 09-22-2009 11:43 AM

Re: ongoing problems after ACDF
 
[/QUOTE]
My fusion was done at C5-6 and C6-7. I'm not in pain everyday. But it seems like when I have a good day, I try to do things around the house and I end up paying for it either by the evening or the next day. So I really can't see a (new) employer being okay with me coming in and saying "I want this job, train me, but oh yeah, I may not be any good to you after a few days". How long would that job last realistically?

At this point, I just want to trade my whole darn body in for another one!!![/QUOTE]

Stitcher,

I have been following this post and as you qouted above I feel as though I could of wrote this. I totally understand what you are saying about good days and also employment, I was terminated on Aug 12th (ran out of medical leave). Although I don't have carpal tunnel, it's my finger joints that hurt, feel stiff and weak. I have no strength in opening things. I have a pain in my top right shoulder blade (sometimes bottom left) like someone is digging in that area with their knuckles also feel tingling & tightness along backbone between shoulder blades. My legs/feet tingle alot and my knees, ankles and feet hurt most times to walk, among other issues.

I guess I just wanted to let you know your not alone and hope we all can find out what's happening sooner than later.

sammyo1 09-24-2009 06:14 AM

Re: ongoing problems after ACDF
 
Stitcher I think your PT may have a point. There are a few of us who have carpel tunnel here , severe carpel tunnel & this combined with some other factors have me thinkiing. My guess is the same nerve or nerves involved in carpal are the same that I or we are having problems with but perhaps from the cervical end. Something like that (hope that made sense).

When I receive my ESI report Im hoping to discover what injection brought the relief to my hands. I had no injections in my hands or wrists & for that matter these were not cervical ESIs. Im wondering if they injected the area under the scapula I pointed out while being marked for the ESIs & nerve blocks. When I went in that morning my hands hurt so bad that I kept rubbing them right up till they took me in for the injections. Major difference going in with hands hurting so bad & coming out with full use of them.
Even my PMs surgical staff is curious as to why I have the relief in my hands. The nurse stated he may have hit the nerve causing my hands problems. Its not just one hand but both.
I had problems with my thumb preop but its the last three fingers on the right hand, mostly the middle & ring. The left hand its the pointer & middle that while freeze in a bent postition. Im so thankful to have relief for now. I can feel it coming back & pray to god after this last injection we can figure out how to keep these hands going & pain free. That would be one less thing to worry about. I will relay any info. I get on what could have brought relief once I have my next appointment with my PM in oct.

Its smart to wait to attempt work. Im in pain every single day & if not for PM no way could I do any work at all, I know this wont last & it takes 100% of all my energy & sheer determination.
I pointed this out to you HL, if your not in PM you should consider looking into it. A good PM will continue to look for any existing problems while helping you to obtain some quality of life with pain control.

Im lucky to put my shirt on the right way with my mind latey. In fact I have put it on inside out or backwards only to catch it before walking out the door. I have so many sticky notes all over & dry erase pads its laughable as my memory can really be bad.
I have made more mistakes writing checks lately then I can ever remember. Its frustrating not to know why Im doing this.
Good luck to you both & Im in line right along with you for that new body. but I also realize it could be much worse then it is now. god bless, Sammy

sammyo1 09-24-2009 07:02 AM

Re: ongoing problems after ACDF
 
Stitcher I think your PT may have a point. There are a few of us who have carpel tunnel here , severe carpel tunnel & this combined with some other factors have me thinkiing. My guess is the same nerve or nerves involved in carpal are the same that I or we are having problems with but perhaps from the cervical end. Something like that (hope that made sense).

When I receive my ESI report Im hoping to discover what injection brought the relief to my hands. I had no injections in my hands or wrists & for that matter these were not cervical ESIs. Im wondering if they injected the area under the scapula I pointed out while being marked for the ESIs & nerve blocks. When I went in that morning my hands hurt so bad that I kept rubbing them right up till they took me in for the injections. Major difference going in with hands hurting so bad & coming out with full use of them.
Even my PMs surgical staff is curious as to why I have the relief in my hands. The nurse stated he may have hit the nerve causing my hands problems. Its not just one hand but both.
I had problems with my thumb preop but its the last three fingers on the right hand, mostly the middle & ring. The left hand its the pointer & middle that while freeze in a bent postition. Im so thankful to have relief for now. I can feel it coming back & pray to god after this last injection we can figure out how to keep these hands going & pain free. That would be one less thing to worry about. I will relay any info. I get on what could have brought relief once I have my next appointment with my PM in oct.

Its smart to wait to attempt work. Im in pain every single day & if not for PM no way could I do any work at all, I know this wont last & it takes 100% of all my energy & sheer determination.
I pointed this out to you HL, if your not in PM you should consider looking into it. A good PM will continue to look for any existing problems while helping you to obtain some quality of life with pain control.

Im lucky to put my shirt on the right way with my mind latey. In fact I have put it on inside out or backwards only to catch it before walking out the door. I have so many sticky notes all over & dry erase pads its laughable as my memory can really be bad.
I have made more mistakes writing checks lately then I can ever remember. Its frustrating not to know why Im doing this.
Good luck to you both & Im in line right along with you for that new body. but I also realize it could be much worse then it is now. god bless, Sammy

acdfstew 09-25-2009 11:18 AM

Re: ongoing problems after ACDF
 
I had ACDF surgery done one month ago. I still feel like I have been hit by a truck in the morning. Is anyone else having a difiicult time sleeping? I am a side sleeper and would love to know the solution for a good nights rest so I don't wake up in so much pain. Are there any other flight attendants out there that have had this procedure, or been diagnosed with Degenerative Disc Disease? I'm looking for a realistic time frame to be able to return to flying. I can't even imagine doing my job right now with all of the physical requirements involved. Help! ACDFSTEW

stitcher8 09-25-2009 05:33 PM

Re: ongoing problems after ACDF
 
[QUOTE=acdfstew;4086330]I had ACDF surgery done one month ago. I still feel like I have been hit by a truck in the morning. Is anyone else having a difiicult time sleeping? I am a side sleeper and would love to know the solution for a good nights rest so I don't wake up in so much pain. Are there any other flight attendants out there that have had this procedure, or been diagnosed with Degenerative Disc Disease? I'm looking for a realistic time frame to be able to return to flying. I can't even imagine doing my job right now with all of the physical requirements involved. Help! ACDFSTEW[/QUOTE]

YES! to everything except being a flight attendant and still feeling like I've been hit by a truck in the morning! Mine was done in April. I am a side sleeper and I do have a difficult time sleeping. I was also diagnosed with DDD. I just had a sleep study done on Tuesday and was told that I have moderate sleep apnea. So that is at least part of my problem. I'm still wondering though, how I can possibly sleep well when I am a side sleeper with residual nerve damage and it still hurts to lay down and turn over. I get fitted with a CPAP machine in a couple of weeks. So I guess I'll find out.

I hope you start feeling better soon. I wish I could tell you how soon to expect to be able to fly and do your job. But since I have the residual nerve pain, my case isn't really a good comparison.

Surgery042909 09-27-2009 05:45 PM

Re: ongoing problems after ACDF
 
Hi!

Just know it will be better soon. I went back to work (desk job) 19 days after surgery for half days. It was too soon. I needed another week.

Now I am 4 and 1/2 months out and things are normal and I can do almost anything I want. Turning my head for extremes or tilting it back will not happen ever again but the pain and the loss of function I had is all history thanks to the surgery.

Just keep the faith. You will be fine and will be able to resume things before you know it. I know at about 6 weeks I went into a slight depression because I thought I'd be further along then I was. Fatigue seems to take forever to go away. Not being able to ligt more then 8 pounds was getting real old at that point and I hated having to rely on others for some things.

Just hang in there.

[QUOTE=acdfstew;4086330]I had ACDF surgery done one month ago. I still feel like I have been hit by a truck in the morning. Is anyone else having a difiicult time sleeping? I am a side sleeper and would love to know the solution for a good nights rest so I don't wake up in so much pain. Are there any other flight attendants out there that have had this procedure, or been diagnosed with Degenerative Disc Disease? I'm looking for a realistic time frame to be able to return to flying. I can't even imagine doing my job right now with all of the physical requirements involved. Help! ACDFSTEW[/QUOTE]


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 11:18 AM.