Degenerative Diseases Community
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290592 tn?1205771676

problems after a neck fusion

is anyone out there that has had a fusion and isn't better? im going through hell trying to defend myself to attorney's and dr's.they tell me its all in my head and im faking it! I was struck by a fork lift while grocery shoppin and fractured 2 bones in my back and have numerous disk problems.I had fusion c-4 c-5 and now im worse!! please if anyone couls tell me their stories and prepare me for whats to come please,please contact me.***@**** my name is sheryl.I know im not crazy.I take muscle relaxers and pain pills now for 2 years and my pain is worse since the horrible surgery,i feel a hard extremely painful lump right above the site i had operated on and twitching,numbeness,headaches,swallowing issues and i can go on and on.I will listen to all that is offered.thank you.
50 Responses
Avatar universal
There are many, many, many that have not been helped by fusion!  You are NOT crazy!  I too have had fusion of C6-7 and I'm much worse than before my surgery.  I am currently waiting to see my third neurosurgeon to see if anything can be done besides another fusion above and below my original fusion site.  I have herniated discs above and below the plate they put in just 3 years ago.

Have you had an MRI?  Also if you feel a lump I can't believe that is normal!  I too take muscle relaxers, pain meds and Lyrica for the nerve pain.  My pain is excruciating between my shoulder blades, shoulders and down both arms to my fingers!  I've also experienced twitching and the nerve pain is not even something I can explain.  Also if you are having swallowing issues there is definately something going on!

I wish you luck, see a neurosurgeon and see if you can get an MRI or x-rays or something to see what is going on.  Keep reading on the degenerative forum and/or neurology forum and you will see many that are in the same spot you are.

Hang in there!
292728 tn?1263237133
I had my spine fused from the neck to just above the hips in 2002. I have NEVER had so much pain in my life. A ct myleogram found some issues, but I suggest you get a referral from your doctor to a pain management specialist. Unfortunately, I HAVE to have pain medications for the rest of my life..........now. Our goal is to see to it I have some relief, and have somewhat of a life. Pain medications are included in my everyday life now. Please consider asking for the CT test and a pain specialist.
You're not alone.

Avatar universal
i have had 2 cervical fusions, one anterior, one posterior within a year of each other.  Today i am worse, i just had a MRI that shows everything above my fusion has gone bad.  The kicker is the DR. who did both fusions will no longer see me and i can't find a NS or OSS  that will see me.  My problems have gotten worse, where my plate is i now have popping and crunching which to me can't be a good thing.  Both my arms and hands tingle and feel very heavy and i have pressure in the back of my neck to my head, but no one will see me.  I am scared to death that something is really wrong, but it doesn't seem like anyone gives a ****.  Just know that where ever your fusion is either above or below will start going bad.

Avatar universal
Why won't the Dr. who did the fusions see you?  And I agree that a lot of people are experiencing problems above and below the original fusion site.  Sure wish they told you this before you have the fusion!  I too am in a lot worse shape than I was prior to the fusion.  

Good luck and I hope you find a NS soon.
Avatar universal
I have no clue why he won't see me, I was told by two doctors to call his office and make an appointment, and his nurse called back and said they he no longer wants to see me. I was in so much shock, but to this day it is getting worse, can't hardly turn my neck, where my plate is there is popping and crunching, so much pressure, can't lift either arm up to brush my hair, and really bad headaches.  I don't have any clue what to do
Avatar universal
It's been seven years since I had cervical surgery... I believe C4-5... I finally got an MRI that found the totally blown disk after over a year of being miss diangosed.  I was told that my pain tolerance was so high that a normal person would have been in the ER and if I had I might have received the proper help long ago.  I know the pain in my arm and leg was gone when I woke up from the surgery.  Now years later I'm experiencing the pain in my neck and left arm all over again.  The pain in my neck has been there all along and constant headaches, but it's all getting much worse.  I recall they found arthritis in my shoulders and I even recall them mentioning that surgery leads to other problems above and below the surgery site, but I suddenly feel as though I made the worst mistake of my life by having that surgery.  I'm so sorry that you are defending your pain.  I'm so use to the pain that I feel like I couldn't explain it in a way that people can understand.  I have suffered for so many years I always have a headache and often migraines.  I just started a new job and frankly I don't have a lot of confidence in Doctors.  I don't want my work to know about my health issues, but I don't know that I can avoid it.  I'm 39 years old and I dread the thought of 20+ years of sitting at a desk in front of a computer in constant pain. I don't know what to tell you... I believe that I just jumped into your boat and we could sink or swim together at this point.  Do you experience jaw pain and inner ear aches?  Good luck!  ~Tricia
Avatar universal
What exactly was used (hardware etc,) in your fusion?
Avatar universal
Excuse me for answering your question.  I have titaniam in my neck.  Do you have a fusion?
96108 tn?1197691330
I just had a ACDF at C5-6 three months ago.  I am still having neck pain, shoulder pain and an aching type pain down both arms into my hands/fingers.  I have been on Topamax for two month because I developed severe migrain type headaches since the surgery.  Though I don't get the headaches as severe on the medication I still have a headache daily.  I am in worse shape than I was before I had surgery. I just had another MRI my fusion looks great, is almost complete however I now have bulging dics one before and one after the fusion.  Which would make 3 total bulging discs in my neck currently.  I had a small bulging disc at C2- C3 before surgery that my doctor left alone.  It seems like my doctor is blowing me off and doesn't believe I am in this much pain still.  I also have problems in my lumbar spine a hernated disc and an annular tear.  I have had scatica from it. I had epidural steriod shots earlier this year and got the problem in control.  However that has suddenly returned as well.  My Neurosurgeon has me following up with my Neurologist for headaches, lower back problems..   However the neck issues were basically ignored.  So no you are not the only one out there with this problem....   I don't know what to do either.  I have 3 children at home ages 15,10,3.   I normally work full time but am currently off work on Medical leave.  I am scared to death they will release me back to work in this condition and I don't know how I am going to make it.  
290592 tn?1205771676
Avatar universal
I guess I am fortunate.  I had 2 cervical fusions within a year of each other, fusing 3 levels.  I no longer have pain.  I have a somewhat reduced ROM side-to-side and some partial numbness in my fingers, but no pain.  The pain was unbearable before I went to surgery, particularly the first time.  I had heard that my neurosurgeon was the best in Springfield.  I believe that.    He did tell me that it was common to herniate or rupture disks above or below a fusion as they have a great deal of increased pressure on them.  The more levels fused, the greater the pressure on them.  At some point, I have another level that will require attention.  Barring an accident, he expects it to last 10 years or more.  He is hoping there will be an alternative to fusion by then.  
Avatar universal
I have several friends and a parent with a fusion.  My parent had the lower back fused for 45 years without much complaint.  My friends with titanium fusion have had mixed results.  The people who had a single-level done right after their problems began had very successful outcomes.  Everyone I know (with titanium plates) who waited over six months regained much of their strength but continue with pain, less mobility, and sometimes took as long as two years to fairly heal.  Thankfully, the new artificial discs are being used fairly successfully in certain parts of the spine.  Of course, long-term outcome at this point is unknown.  But, I have mostly heard good news and less damage above and below the surgical replacement is expected in the future with the newer procedure(s).  Let us hope so.  I would investigate all options, if possible, before undergoing more surgery.  But that is just me and I am not a medical doctor.  Just thought I would chime-in.  Hope you can start getting some relief.  Docs wanted to fuse mine; but, I have now been advised against it.  So, I am not doing anything like that for many years (if ever) if I can help it...Therapy has helped off and on, a little, too.  Hang in there and LOL!
Avatar universal
I completely understand what you are going through.  I had two neck fusions (upper)?  First fusion was about 12 years ago and second was about 5 years ago.  Last week I had  to be transferred to a hospital for severe head and upper back pain.  The hospital took complete tests and found that I now have osteoartritis of the neck.  I believe surgery is not an option.  I have to be very careful and what activities I can do.  Of course lifting anything over 15 lbs is Out!  I went to my prime care physcian and he prescribed anaprox and valuim, both upset my stomach.  I have been in perfect health even long after my fusions; however, down the road it brought about the pain I am suffering now.  I want this pain to stop!  I'm not much on taking drugs so I'm in a real fix.  I'm 63 years of age and  feel if this pain continues...I hope the good lord sees to it that it will be short lived.  Good luck.
Avatar universal

I am so sorry to hear of your pain I having problems with my spine and doctor has refered me to disceuss surgery having read all the posts here I don't think i will be having surgery. It seems like they still have not got it right and i think it best to leave well alone. I was refered to this forum from the Back and neck forum to read this and warned about surgery.

It is so difficult to get anyone to really listen to you I know have had this problem, but you need to get some help there is an old saying those who speak the loudest you have to keep annoying the meventually they will have to do something.

Good Luck and God Bless
Hope you get the help you need soon
695262 tn?1248903918
I am a 42 yr old woman who has had 2 fusions. The first about 15 years ago worked wonderfully, however the one 10 years ago left me an incomplete quadriplegic with severe pain every day and in a wheelchair.
I do wish you luck with your health in the future, but be very careful if you have to have more surgery.
Avatar universal
I had neck fusion of the c 3-7 in October and I'm pain free.

  However since my surgery my thyroid has gone crazy I'm a type I diabetic and am having low blood sugar crashes that are life threatening to the point of seizures.  My Dr. just took me off my insulin pump and I'm back on shots he wants to see me this weekend to talk about my thyroid.  Has anyone else heard anything about this?  midancer08 at yahoo
Avatar universal
I have DDD and was recently diagnosed with 4 ruptures and arthritis in my neck that are impinging on my spinal cord.  The doc advised me to do watchful waiting with monthly follow up, however he informed me if I went for a second physician, they would advise immediate surgery.  My neck, shoulder and back are just plain tired and achy.  I get more frequent headaches.  My arm is still in good shape but obviously weaker.  I had 4 ruptures in my lumbar that I have had 3 surgeries to repair over 10 years.  Any thoughts?
Avatar universal
I had anteior fusion of 3/4 and 5/6 I believe. One didn't take/fuse, so 10 months later they went back and did posterior fusion of 5/6 I think. These were done in 9/98 and 7/99.. I had no problems until I fell at a patients home while working as a Hospice nurse. W/C denied r/t pre-existing surgeries 10-11 years ago. I didn't know I could appeal their decision until it was too late. I now have severe neck pain and pain down both arms, but mainly left. Across back and shoulder blades feels like a rubber band that is being tightened and about popped. Sometimes I feel like if someone would just pull my head up it would help. Tried PT and chiopractor will not touch. Plates/screws in front and wires in back. Saw neurosurgeon and states I need fusion of 1/2 or 3/4 can't remember. I am concerned and wonder if anyone can share any info.. I know this is close to brain stem and sounds dangerous. I am afraid, but neurosurgeon says needs to be done ASAP. This is the same one that did my other 2 fusions. I trust him, but I am also afraid. I cancelled the date they had me scheduled for. Please shed some light for me.
Avatar universal
I am so sorry, I think most of my comment should have been posted as a question, but I also gave some response to my cervical fusions. Pain free until my fall 10 years later. I apolgize. I am new to this forum, but glad I found it.
Avatar universal
I have had fusions C2 -C-7  1 yr ago and I am in pain all the time. My head hurts my shoulders and my back between my shoulder blades.  Exrays were taken 8 months after surgery and doc said everything is in contact but they cut so much muscle away from my spine that will take me along time to heel. He also said I will always have pain but will ease up when muscles are healed. Also said I would be parylized if this surgery didn't take place. Now I am moving with awful pain and wonder if it will be for the rest of my life. I do alot of paraying cause I can't take much more. Any more solutions from anyone?
Avatar universal
Hi...I can relate to each comment. It has been 12 years since my posterior cervical fusion. I've taken pain meds and muscle relaxer. once pain better I will write more. Sorry for your pain, but now I see and believe pain is real. Wish my husband did. He says pain in my head. Yes it is. My neck, shoulders and almost every joint. Will TTYL. Wishing for moments without pain.    Madlyn
Avatar universal
I am also expericing problems. I had neck fusins 5 years ago.  There is a plate in the front of my neck.  I'm in pain everyday, the pain rushes up side of my head.  
My surgeon has passed away.  Went to a dr in same office this week.  He told me the plate could be taken out, but I still wouldn't be able to move my neck side by side.  My neck stays stationary.  I do drive, but have to move my body to see if cars are coming. The longer that I'm up , my head falls forward, but I can't help it.  Dr. said to try wearing the neck brace, it might help
  I was not told that I wouln't be able to move my head after surgery.  Now this Dr. is sending me to a pain management Dr. for shots.  He also mentioned that he can insert an abfiberater, (  not sure of the name) in my head for controling pain.  He said it is similer to an pace maker.  I told him that I'm not interested as this point..
I can handle the pain, I just want to be able to hold my head up and turn it from side to side.
Avatar universal
I had a spinial fushion on my lumbar in April and am in the recovery stage. I also have been told that I will need one in my neck eventually. I am only 33 years old and am finding it extremly frustraitng . I also have pain in my upper spine, all the spine seems to hurt. I have a hard like box feeling in my spine just above the site. I thought that this would be the only opption for me. Ive had pain due to degenerative disk desiese for over 10 years. I feel unable to ever return to work and am fighting a disability case. I still have a lot of continued spine and hip pain. I am very werry to go through the neck thing. Im scarred that I went through all of this for nothing. The hip pain and weakness seems to be getting worse and not much better. Im afraid that by the time Im 50 I'll be wheel chair bound. Extreme weakness and pain seems to be taking over my life. The doctor doesn't want me to take to much pain pills. What am I supposed to do with all of my pain. I know I'm young but hoe am I supposed to deal with all this pain for the rest of my life.
1468734 tn?1316535897
Greetings all,
   My name is Douglas, I have so many issues I can not list them all here. I did have the C5/C6 fused in 2003. My surgen was honest and said the rest of my back is three miles of bad rail road track and recomended not to have further surgerys on the lower and mid back. The neck though, he said would continue to get worse and I would lose use of my arms eventualy. I had a new MRI done last week. I have the films, wont see the report until September. They used cadavor bone on my fusion along with two titaniam rods and screws. On the film the disc and vertibra are one big black spot. Well, I just wanted to introduce my self to every one.
     I wish you all the best of luck and if at all possible, a good doctor. Not easy to find. Sorry for my poor spelling. Medications make it tough to think clear.  Douglas
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