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  • Loud Neck Snap After Rotator Cuff Surgery

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    Old 02-12-2011, 09:30 AM   #1
    RickH35
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    Unhappy Loud Neck Snap After Rotator Cuff Surgery

    I had Rotator Cuff surgery on my left shoulder on Dec. 14, 2010. I woke up with a very stiff neck and noticed that my neck would crack / snap (audibly to others) when I turned my head or moved my head ear to shoulder TO ear to shoulder. I went to my Chiropractor and he helped with the stiffness, but no impact on the cracking. I called my Ortho Surgeon and the nurse said it would go away and NOT to go to a Chiropractor because they would make it worse. My physical therapist told me to do some stretches - NO HELP. I went to another physical therapist, two of my primary doctors, had x-rays and an MRI from a Spine Surgeon who now says I need a CT scan. I've also tried Muscle Relaxers and Anti-Inflammatory medication. I looked up Upper Cervical Spine Chiropractors and none of them take insurance and I'm not confident that I want to take a $500 gamble that they would solve the problem. I did go to a Chiro that does the drop coach technique - - No luck.

    The pain/tension is in the back of my head and the snapping sound drives me crazy and keeps me awake at night. The pressure feels like the tension you would feel with neck stress, but inside my skull.

    I did not have this problem at all before my surgery. I spent hundreds of dollars on an MRI and now I'm hesitant to get a CT scan because of the cost and uncertainty of the outcome.

    Would a head/neck trauma doctor be able to help??? Any suggestions.

    The only thing I found to help AT ALL is if I do a head stand. Sounds crazy, but it numbs the snapping for a bit and allows me to function at least for a little while.

    Thanks in advance for any direction.

    I wish I was a millionaire - - I'd offer a reward to whoever solves this riddle.

    Last edited by RickH35; 02-12-2011 at 09:41 AM. Reason: Additional Info.

     
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    Old 02-12-2011, 03:34 PM   #2
    jennybyc
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    Re: Loud Neck Snap After Rotator Cuff Surgery

    Do you have the results of the MRI...the radiologist's report? That would help a lot. Many here can interpret these reports.

    The reason the doc may want a CT now is that MRI's are great at showing soft tissue problems but for bone issues, you need a CT. I had fractures in my vertebrae show up in a CT that were hidden in an MRI. And CT's are a fraction of the cost of MRI's.

    Skip more docs...they will all want the same thing....a CT.

    And skip the chiro....you have 2 arteries to the brain going up through the vertebrae starting at C6 and if there is something going wrong, if anything hits those arteries, you talking about a major stroke. No chiro should do anything without a full MRI and/or CT. You can't afford to hit those arteries.

    So save your $$$$ and skip the chiro and trauma doc and get the CT. My last neck CT was $200 compared to an $1800 MRI. Ask for no contrast and that makes it cheaper and it takes about a whole 2 minutes to do.

    good luck and let us know...............Jenny(fused C3 to T1)

     
    Old 02-12-2011, 09:20 PM   #3
    RickH35
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    Re: Loud Neck Snap After Rotator Cuff Surgery

    Thank you for the reply. I will get the results of the MRI and get a CT Scan to get the best overall analysis of the problem. I'll post the results when I get them.

    I know I have a slight bulge in my C5 / C6 area, but I've known about that for years. This new situation is way up in the base of my skull / back of my head.

     
    Old 02-15-2011, 03:41 PM   #4
    RickH35
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    Re: Loud Neck Snap After Rotator Cuff Surgery

    Here are the results of the MRI. I am certain that my problem is higher up in my skull. I have pain and snapping in the back of my head. I understand that I have issues lower down on my neck, but I don't feel they are related to this issue. The cracking and other issues were not present prior to my surgery, and the bulging etc would have been there way before my surgery. My unlearned opinion of course.

    RADIOLOGY REPORT

    FINDINGS:

    MRI of the cervical spine without contrast.
    CLINICAL HISTORY: Neck pain.
    COMPARISON: None.
    TECHNIQUE: Coronal T1, sagittal T1, sagittal T2, sagittal IR and
    axial gradient recalled images of the cervical spine were obtained.
    FINDINGS: The cervical vertebrae demonstrate normal alignment,
    stature and marrow signal intensity. Incidental left-sided C5
    inferior Schmorl's node is present. Disc height and hydration well
    maintained at all levels. The cervical spinal cord appears
    intrinsically normal. Craniocervical junction and visualized
    paraspinal soft tissues appear normal.
    At C2-C3, no significant abnormality identified.
    At C3-C4, 0.1 cm annular disc bulge is present which effaces anterior
    subarachnoid space without cord compression or central canal
    stenosis. Mild right foraminal stenosis is present secondary to
    uncovertebral and facet spurring.
    At C4-C5, no significant abnormality identified.
    At C5-C6, 0.3 cm posterior disc ridge complex deforms the ventral
    spinal cord and combines with posterior ligamentous hypertrophy to
    narrow the AP diameter of the canal to 0.8 cm, consistent with
    moderate stenosis. Moderate bilateral foraminal stenosis is present
    secondary to facet and uncovertebral spurring.
    At C6-C7, 0.2-0.3 cm broad right-sided disc protrusion abuts the
    right ventral spinal cord without mass effect or central canal
    stenosis. This protrusion also encroaches slightly upon the right
    lateral recess. No significant foraminal encroachment is seen.
    At C7-T1, no significant abnormality identified.
    CONCLUSION:
    1. C5-C6 moderate central canal and bilateral foraminal stenoses, as
    described above.
    2. C6- C7 0.2-0.3 cm right-sided disc protrusion, as described above.
    3. C3-C4 degenerative disease and minimal annular disc bulge.

     
    Old 02-15-2011, 03:43 PM   #5
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    Re: Loud Neck Snap After Rotator Cuff Surgery

    By the way...CT was performed today. Results to follow in a couple days.

     
    Old 02-16-2011, 07:24 AM   #6
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    Re: Loud Neck Snap After Rotator Cuff Surgery

    Well, you definitely have a neck problem. At C5-6, your spinal cord and canal are down to 8mms in width...normal is 11-12mms. And the holes where the spinal nerves exit is also moderately closed up.

    In spine talk, they rate the amount of closure as minimal, mild, moderate and severe. The start to talk about surgery when you reach moderate on the cord and severe on the nerves.

    You may feel the snapping high up in your neck and that may be a tendon going over a bone spur...it makes it snap......I have it too.

    If you feel the back of your neck, the 1st vertebra you can't feel...it is round and looks like a donut and is right at the base of the skull. The 2nd disk has a rather large "spinous process" off the back of it....feels like a lump of bone sticking out and it can catch on the tendons and muscles in the area....it's maybe an inch below the base of the skull. It has a small bone that sticks up and goes into the donut hole of C1. Between the 2, that's how we rotate or necks. The MRI didn't show any problems with C2 and we'll see what the CT says about them but I bet the pain you have is from C5-6.....the pain often radiates upward.

    Post the CT result when you get it.

    hugs.............Jenny

     
    Old 02-19-2011, 11:58 AM   #7
    RickH35
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    Re: Loud Neck Snap After Rotator Cuff Surgery

    Thanks again for the reply.

    I understand the issues with the c5 c6, but my main concern is the snapping/cracking. It is audible to others, happens every time I turn my head from left to center/right, is causing dull pain / headache in the back of my head and is driving me crazy. It is almost unbearable. Is there anything I can do about it????

    I really don't have any pain in the lower area of my neck. Maybe I have some stiffness, but no pain. The major problem is the cracking.

    Also, my CT results were sent to my Spine Ortho as well as my Primary Care Doc. My Primary doc told me that the c5 c6 area is still an issue with the ct, but no real mention of the upper area of my neck. He seemed to imply that the CT focused more on the neck, but not the upper area / back of my head where I feel the problem lies.

    I'm desperate for an answer. I have an appointment with my ortho spine doc on Tuesday, but I didn't feel he was very 'hands on.' He didn't do much in terms of examining me the first time I saw him.

    Is there a type of neck doctor I should see that may have more experience or more insight as to what this cracking may be???

    Thank you so much for your insight and help.

    I've never had to deal with anything so frustrating in my 37 years. This is worse than a bad headache...at least those go away at some point...this is constant.

     
    Old 02-19-2011, 03:03 PM   #8
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    Re: Loud Neck Snap After Rotator Cuff Surgery

    From my experience, ortho spine docs don't work with any problems above C3. That is neurosurgeon territory as it's so close to the brain.

    Rheumatoid arthritis eats those top 2 vertebrae so if you had that, it would make sense you have these problems but I know of at least 1 person who was here who had major arthritis in those top 2 vertebrae and that was how she found out she had RA.

    See a neuro-spine surgeon to get a second opinion. They call that area the atlanto-axial junction. If you feel pain and hear noise, demand they check it out. But when they do a cervical MRI, they look at C3 through 7 and will only include C1 and 2 if requested. That needs a separate MRI for the base of the skull and atlantoaxial junction.

    I will admit, that I too have a similar problem and keep telling myself it's just referred pain from down below but I've heard that click-click-click in my high neck for years and years and for the past few months, have had horrendous headaches and snapping coming from the high neck area....and I do have rheumatoid arthritis so I am scared to find out. I only have 1 vertebra with a "spinous process" that bony part on the back that sticks out(the stegasaurus part) as they removed them from C3 to C7 for my fusion, so I can tell where the problem is by feel. It's above the big bump in my neck so it has to be C1 and 2. And no one will touch my neck except my neurosurgeon....won't even order an MRI. So I have to wait until I can see him in June(takes 4 months at least to get in). So I guess in telling you it might be referred pain, I'm trying to tell myself too.

    If your docs won't listen, get a second opinion from a neurosurgeon spine surgeon....they are the only ones who deal with that area where the brain meets the cord. And if they see RA, then you head to a rheumatologist and get under treatment ASAP and do surgery only if you really, really need it. Once they fuse those 2, you can't drive. You have almost no movement of your head.

    Let me know what the spine doc says on Tuesday.

    hugs..............Jenny

     
    Old 02-19-2011, 10:25 PM   #9
    RickH35
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    Re: Loud Neck Snap After Rotator Cuff Surgery

    Well, I don't have any pain at all other than the irritation that the cracking / snapping creates. I was fine the day before my rotator cuff surgery. Once I woke up from surgery I had a very stiff neck and this audible clicking. I can't imagine I have RA. I know I have that issue with my c5 c6, but that is probably related to my failed attempt at a back flip when I was 10 years old.

    The cracking in my neck happens when my head is either up-right or tilted to the right. When I tilt my head to the left and turn my head it does not click. If I'm laying down and raise my head and turn it I get the worst click. It does sound like it could be tendon related.

    I had an MRI and CT and would hate to have to pay again for another one. It seems to me that if they imaged the wrong area they would redo it. I told them where my problem was, base of skull, and the MRI and CT were of my cervical and don't seem to have targeted the correct area.

    Anyway, I know I have c5 c6 issues, but the snapping was a result of something that happened in surgery and just want to identify it and fix it. Before the surgery I was running 3 times a week, exercising and in great shape with no neck pain.

    I do like the suggestion to see a Neuro Surgeon. I may take that route.

     
    Old 02-19-2011, 10:39 PM   #10
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    Re: Loud Neck Snap After Rotator Cuff Surgery

    Also...I am getting some ringing in my ear. Like the ringing after a concert or something, but not as loud.

     
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