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  • Still in pain after ACDF-8 wks post-op

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    Old 06-18-2003, 02:57 PM   #1
    lifeonhold2003
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    Post Still in pain after ACDF-8 wks post-op

    Hi, I am new to this board so please bear with this long explanation of history.

    Post-surgery symptoms: pain - neck, shoulder, down arm to elbow, shoulder blade (all left side), tingling and numbness- same areas including left side of face and both hands (mostly left) vision: problems in the very beginning-fuzziness, spots, also headaches and dizziness

    Broke down and saw PCP 6/27/03

    2/2003 (Eight months later) found out I had a herniated disk at C5/6 and there were two nerves being pinched, one on each side, Surgery was scheduled for 4/23/03

    During the eight months I saw 2 Neurosurgeons, 1 Neurologist,1 Orthopedic surgeon, 1 Pain Management Specialist and 1 Physical Therapist.

    I had MRI of brain and cervical area, CT w/contrast of cervical area, 2 epidurals for pain, short try with TENS and traction and myelogram (which finally pinpointed problem).

    My social life became nonexistent and I resigned from my job of 21 years in Oct. due to inability to work a regular schedule and difficulty with extending leave without a diagnosis.

    Surgery 4/23/03 - Anterior Cervical Discectomy with Fusion - Titanium plate - surgery completed by a Neurosurgeon and an Orthopedic Surgeon (attached plate) - NS told husband that it was worse than what he thought (not sure what he meant)

    Post-surgery - As of today, 6/18/03 (8 wks. post-op) I am still experiencing the same and some new symptoms:

    Pain at the base of my neck is constant, when walking the pain will go from the base up the back of my head and over to my forehead - this is not like typical headache pain - it is sort of a tingling type of pain - also at these times, I have frequent periods where I feel a real hot and flushed feeling from my shoulders up

    Pain in the left side of my neck and shoulder, down my arm to my elbow (all the way around arm) - often burning pains in neck and top of shoulders (both left and right)

    Numbness and tingling in left arm from shoulder to fingertips (hands get particularly numb)

    When sitting, I occasionally have a quick lightening bolt feeling go through my body ending in a quick jerking motion (anywhere in my body)

    Still sleeping in recliner - I have tried to sleep on couch a few times - but usually too painful

    MRI was scheduled in mid-May, but due to claustrophobia, I was unable to go through with it (which I had warned them ahead of time).

    I had a myelogram on 5/22/03, which came out okay.

    I had an EMG on 6/17/03, but do not have the results at this time.

    I have an appointment with my doctor on 6/20/03, which will be the first time since surgery. Iím hoping he can explain what is going on.

    If anyone has experienced any of these symptoms and/or maybe able to shed some light, that would be greatly appreciated.


    ------------------
    4/23/03 - Anterior Cervical Discectomy w/Fusion C5/6 - donor bone with titanium plate, 4 screws, no collar post-op
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    4/23/03 - Anterior Cervical Discectomy w/Fusion C5/6 - donor bone with titanium plate, 4 screws, no collar post-op

     
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    Old 06-18-2003, 07:17 PM   #2
    jdog
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    LifeonHold-

    I think your screen name sums it up for all of us. I'm sorry to hear about all your problems after the ACDF, and I hope they can get cleared up. I'd like to offer a couple of suggestions.

    For the shocks and jangles, ask your NS to prescribe you a drug such as Neurontin or Topomax. I think the majority of Cervies (I've had a 2 level ACDF) have some adverse side effects to Neurontin and switch to Topomax. These drugs help your nerves (which are firing like crazy due to being freed) calm down a bit.

    Also, for the MRI, can you call your local MRI place in Indiana and ask if there is an "Open MRI" in your area? An Open MRI is an MRI without the tube. You do lie down on a table and another plate is above you (about 8 inches from your nose), but all the sides are open to air, so there's no need for panic. Also, your regular MD or back doc can prescribe you a single valium to help reduce tension as well.

    Since you are also 8 weeks out of surgery, I'd like to suggest something that helped me with my pain: Massage. I never thought I'd get one. I'd been taught that only filthy rich people could afford them. But for $55 an hour at my health club, I had a massage therapist who spoke with my Physical therapist to know about my condition. There are a lot of knots in your arms right now. They can help get them out.

    Also, I hope you are taking advantage of Physical Therapy. Especially therapy putty for your hands.

    I hope some of this has helped. I just seem to want to type and ramble tonight.

    jdog
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    Old 06-23-2003, 09:25 PM   #3
    lifeonhold2003
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    Hi jdog,
    Thanks for your response and suggestions. Yes, MY LIFE IS ON HOLD and had been for way too long.

    Actually, I have been taking Neurontin (800mg 3 x day) for approx. 10 months.

    My NS does not want me to go to the open MRI. He does not feel that they are as accurate. This situation could have been avoided if they would have listened to me in the first place. I told the nurse that the last time I had an MRI, I had taken something prior to my arrival, but it didn't work. The hospital called my PCP and they had an anthesiologist to administer several types of drugs to sedate me so that they could complete the MRI. The day I arrived for this MRI, I found out it was in the mobile unit (a trailer) and it was the long, long tunnel. I took 4 vicodin, which is what the nurse told me to take, but it didn't make the slightest difference. It makes since because this is a pain reliever, not something to calm nerves. Anyway, I will finally get to see my doctor for the first time Friday (hopefully), and I will discuss this with him.

    In regard to PT and massage, I have been afraid to do anything until I can talk to my NS. Again, I will ask him about this on Friday.

    I'll keep you posted.

    Thanks,
    Julie (aka lifeonhold2003)
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    4/23/03 - Anterior Cervical Discectomy w/Fusion C5/6 - donor bone with titanium plate, 4 screws, no collar post-op

     
    Old 06-23-2003, 09:34 PM   #4
    lifeonhold2003
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    Well, I did see my NS on Friday. He explained that the pain at the base of my neck was due to the surgery. They stretched muscles, ligaments and probably the Occipital (sp) nerve at the base of my neck. The remaining symtoms (prior to surgery) will take a lot longer to heal. The nerves had been compressed for so long and it takes a longer time to heal. He gave me neck stretches; however, he inidicated that PT would not be an option until way down the road. I'ms supposed to go to my OS the first week of July for X-Rays. Other than that, I won't see my NS for 6 more weeks. No surprise.
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    4/23/03 - Anterior Cervical Discectomy w/Fusion C5/6 - donor bone with titanium plate, 4 screws, no collar post-op

     
    Old 06-24-2003, 03:44 PM   #5
    AmyVirginia
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    I'm also 6 weeks post op and I also live in Indiana. I also had "spots" and "flashes" of blue and white out of my left eye for about 3 weeks after surgery. It has stopped. Interesting though, asked if I have had my vision checked lately......
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    Old 06-25-2003, 10:49 AM   #6
    lifeonhold2003
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    AmyVirgina,
    I have a stepdaughter in Indy. I also lived there when I was young. What a coincidence. Actually, the vision problems were prior to surgery; however, I still got the same type of response. I'm glad yours cleared up.
    Julie
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    4/23/03 - Anterior Cervical Discectomy w/Fusion C5/6 - donor bone with titanium plate, 4 screws, no collar post-op

     
    Old 06-26-2003, 10:11 PM   #7
    ladyblue
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    Open MRI doesnt give anywhere near as good a picture as the closed type. Can you tolerate perhaps a valium before the test to calm you? I had the open MRI first and had to get a closed one before my NS would work on me. Just a thought..........

     
    Old 06-27-2003, 09:45 AM   #8
    lifeonhold2003
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    I wish a valium would work. I am really, really clausterphobic. I have to be just about out to do this. The last time I was referring to, I arrived to find out that it was one of those mobile units. I was nervous just being inside that trailer for a little bit. Crazy, huh!
    Julie
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    4/23/03 - Anterior Cervical Discectomy w/Fusion C5/6 - donor bone with titanium plate, 4 screws, no collar post-op

     
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