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  • Cervogenic dizziness, dizzy after ACDF

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    Old 08-14-2003, 04:39 AM   #1
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    need2fuse's Avatar
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    Location: cape cod MA
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    Exclamation Cervogenic dizziness, dizzy after ACDF

    well I was right and the Neuro agreed. It's cervogenic dizziness and not BPPV or any of the other options.... I got a 5 gallon bucket (kidding) of valium to help me past this. I am posting this info, for those in the future who may have the same problem and not be able to find answers, maybe by searching the archives, they will find this. I did a lot of research... and was glad to have it confirmed. This is actually in two sections, an update post with background info that I sent out to loved ones, and then a piece about cervogenic dizziness.. I hope this may help someone in the future, so they do not have to go threw the frustration *I* did. (some of this first part may be a bit unrelated )
    sue t.
    Brief background: about 6 weeks ago I had a re do on a failed neck spinal surgery. (2 level acdf with plate) This one needed to be much more extensive. (I got a copy of the INS bill and it is even more extensive than he had told me it would be!)
    Anyway, the neck surgery was a complete sucess, all the symptoms associated with it are gone.... poof. (Just like last time all symptoms gone, pleae pray this one sticks!) I was left with hip pain at the bone donor site (normal) and some wicked dizzies. Now dizzy is normal after this kinda surgery, guess high speed drills etc will have that effect on the central nervous system. Last time, I had it last a couple of days. This time has been very different. I have been spinning like an *E* ride at Disney on Acid...... for weeks now. (ever get bed spins? same kind of thing) It has gotten better, slowly. Those massive spins only come a couple times a day now, but I feel like I am in constant motion. This leads to you feeling like you have the flu...... your whole body just aches and gets pooped out. (malaise)
    I had been prescribed Valium for it, and it did work. The thinking was, muscle spasms in neck give bad info to nerves that feed brain balance info. Brain still gets good info from eyes and ears.... but has this one bad input, so ya spin. (at least that was the research I had found and they believed me at the Ortho's.) When I went back for 2nd follow up, surgeon said..... valium does NOT work for vertigo.... I said I have article after article stating it does... "well it does not. Go see a Neuro." ( well I don't expect a bone guy to know diddly bout dizzy and he did super on my neck..... so I let him slide) I will print out and bring him those articles next visit tho

    Went to see good ole Doc McCarthy yesterday. I had not seen him in probably 12 years, (migraines) but it was like I had seen him days before. He told me the little stereo he bought from me was still going strong.... LOL..
    He told me that back in those days, he was so worried for me, he was convinced I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown..... 20 something and doing and pushing myself way too much. He asked me what I was doing now, I gave him a brief rundown, and he shook his head and said sarcastically that he was "glad to see I had slowed down" HAHA.

    Anyway, after filling him in on everything, he told me.. "of course valium works for vertigo!" He explained to me, like I did above, the brain is like a computer and it is getting one bad input and it does not know how to handle it.... so I spin. He says.... I need to re boot. (this guy is a hoot no? ) The valium will calm my CNS, and the nerves, and the muscles and my inner ear.... I need more time to heal, and for my brain to figure out how to deal with the new weird input it is getting. So ALL WILL BE WELL..... it's just a matter of time. I now have a *5 gallon bucket* (kidding) of valium so I do not have to spend half my day falling into walls and scaring the kids to death. It is called Cervogenic Dizziness from my research... and it was the only one that made sense, since I didn't clearly fit the symptoms of any other options. He did a quick neuro exam to be sure I had no brain tumor on that 8th cranial nerve and I check out under the hood just fine. =-)


    Cervicogenic Dizziness

    Nerve and muscle problems in the upper neck are common problems for patients with Cervicogenic dizziness. However, many things can cause these signs to occur:

    • Instability in the upper spine.

    • Nerve root irritation in the upper neck.

    • Pinching of the vertebral artery as it passes through the neck.

    The spine specialist will help determine if you have any of these problems. All of these require unique treatments that may be applied in addition to those already described.


    Cervicogenic dizziness is a common problem that can be treated once identified. This diagnosis means that the upper neck is giving strange signals to the brain. The upper cervical spine supplies information on head position that is coordinated with data coming from the inner ear and eyes. All of this information taken together gives us a normal sense of balance.


    When the upper neck becomes injured or irritated, the balance information coming from that area is disturbed. These strange signals don’t agree with information coming from the inner ear and eyes. Your brain doesn’t know what to make of these conflicting pictures of balance, so you feel dizzy, lightheaded, or off balance.


    The dizziness can usually be made worse with changing head position. In addition, headaches are common as well as an inability to concentrate and focus. Looking at blinds, cars going under an overpass, or tracking fast moving objects becomes difficult. Nausea is common. Cervicogenic means that the dizziness comes from the neck… HOW IS THIS PROBLEM TREATED? Restoring normal function to the upper neck is the key to getting better. Hands on treatment of the upper cervical spine can help. However, the most effective treatment seems to be getting rid of trigger points in the upper cervical muscles. Strengthening this area is also important.

    L5 fused early 80's for spondylolisthesis
    2 level acdf 6/2000
    repair torn labrum 7/2000
    shoulder impingement 5/2003
    results are in, the fusion never fully healed. =/
    revision and an overhaul surgery set for June 27th

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    Old 09-14-2003, 05:39 AM   #2
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    Mary.T HB User

    Need2fuse, I was so pleased to read your posting about Cervicogenic Dizziness. I think I could be suffering from this. I haven't posted on this board for nearly 9 months. Here in the UK appointments with neurosurgeons are like goldust , my first took 19 months to get. I had an MRI scan done two years ago this month, which showed herniated discs at levels C5/6 and 7 with some narrowing. I have had PT, acunpuncture, so may different medications, I cant remember the names of them all. Since February of this year the symptoms appeared to be worsening. Lots of pain and bruised feeling in neck, burning down left arm all the way and pins and needles and numbness in left hand. I was put on a course of Vioxx Acute for 10 days which made me feel quite sick, and since May my General Practioner thinks I may have a stomach ulcer (am at present waiting for an Endoscopy) which will probably be at least six months away, so have had to stop taking anti-inflamatories. I saw my neurosurgeon in May, and it was decided a new MRI was needed plus EMG test. The scan I was told would take between 46-52 week wait time due to long lists !!!. By constant chasing the unit at my hospital I finally had my scan done on September 4th, but my appointment with the NS is not until January 13th 2004. I constantly feel like if I dont hold on to something I will go over, I feel like I have a lump in my throat, and come over feeling sick. My left hand side, Arm, and all down leg feel very mildly "nervy" - not pain, just like someone is running a feather up and down, similar to restless leg syndrome, and I notice you mention headaches, I too get these and migraine which I use Imigran for. Sorry that this post is so long. I hope one of you out there may have some suggestions. With very best wishes, Mary.T.


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