anterior cervical surgery

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redster068
New Member


Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 1/11/2009 5:31 PM (GMT -7)   
Hello,
 
I am not sure if this is where I am suppose to post this or not, but here goes.
 
I had anterior cervical surgery June 25, 2008, on C-5 and C-6.   I am still in pain.  I have a very high tolerance to pain medicines.  I was just wondering how long will this take to recover from.  I still have numbness (like right under my chin) feel like when you get novacane from the dentist.  Just recently,  I started to have itching at the cut site, and it feels like somebody hit me in my throat where the graft and screws were put in.  I am still having headaches as well as numbness and tingling down my arm.  I have been on percoets, vicodin, soma baclofen.  nothing seems to take the pain away. any ideas please help. My nuerosurgeon ( i think has a god complex) They left me in pain for a solid week, my husband had to call them and yell at them to get me a perscription for meds.  The nurses to most of the check-up and he comes in looks at me for about 2 minutes.  I keep telling him i need stronger pain meds and muscle relaxors, but I don't think he even listens or hears me. I have a follow-up visit this wed. Was wondering how long will I be under the nuerosurgeons care for this.
 
Thanks

ryand
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 639
   Posted 1/11/2009 7:15 PM (GMT -7)   
Redster:

Although we are always so sorry to hear of another person who is suffering, I want to welcome you to the forum. I have not had a cervical fusion, so I cannot offer you much wisdom there, but from what I've heard I always thought they were the more successful of spine surgeries. Everyone I know of who had surgery on their cervical spine had a pretty short recovery time (weeks) and did not have continued pain. That's definitely not the case with stories I hear of back surgeries related to other parts of the spine. Of course, as I said I have no personal experience here, so hopefully others will soon come along.

Has your surgeon given you a timeline for recovery? Are you in Physical Therapy? What does the therapist say about your pain? If they are saying your pain should be resolved and it is not, you may want to consider asking your surgeon to refer you to a good pain management clinic. They might be able to get you some better therapies to mitigate your pain. Hopefully you are still at a point where a good doctor would be able to find an actual resolution so you could get to the point where you wouldn't need the medications at all any more! I am sure that would be your best case scenario.

I hope you find some relief soon.

Ry

Chutz
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 9090
   Posted 1/11/2009 11:14 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi and welcome, Redster!

I agree with Ry...a few more questions/answers would help. If you are not getting help with pain control I'd be heading back to my primary care doc and have a serious talk. Take hubby along with you. Be firm yes courteous. There is no reason you should have to suffer if you are still in recovery. If you have passed the recovery window then they need to find out why you are still having this much pain...and treat it. Another thing you can ask for is a referral to a pain clinic. That would help you and also get across the point that you are not kidding about your pain.

One more idea...keep a pain journal. Below is a link to a good one I use. It's just a record of your pain level on a daily basis and other factors that may affect the pain. When you go to your next appointment take along what you have and keep using your journal as long as your pain problem exists. It's a powerful tool when taken to a good doctor.

Hope this helps,
Chutzie

This first one is the full notebook to download.
http://www.painfoundation.org/Publications/TargetNotebook.pdf

This one is to print daily log pages. I print a week's worth and staple them together.
http://www.painfoundation.org/Publications/TargetDailyLog.pdf
Co-Mod Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Forums
~~~
Fibromyalgia, Ulcerative Colitis, Insulin dependent diabetic, collapsed disk, dermatitis herpetiformus, osteo arthritis in spine and other locations.
***************

The only difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has it's limits. Albert Einstein: (1879-1955)


hep93
Elite Member


Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 12014
   Posted 1/12/2009 1:35 PM (GMT -7)   

Redster, my long-time b.f. had this exact same surgery.  He said it took longer for his hip to heal (from the autologous graft, in terms of pain) than his neck.  However, by the 6-month mark, he had NO pain.  It was a very successful surgery, as is usually the case with C-spine surgeries, unlike his lumbar spine surgery from which he still has pain many years later.  From your symptoms, it sounds as though you may have some nerve damage and/or scar tissue involvement.  Of course, they warn you of this in the surgical risks, and even state that the surgery does not always work.

However, don't let this go.  You should not be having that level of pain at this point.


hep93
Forum moderator - Hepatitis


straydog
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 13451
   Posted 1/12/2009 1:51 PM (GMT -7)   

Hi Redster,

I too, would like to welcome you to Healing Well. So, sorry you have to be in pain but at least you have ome to a very good forum. One thing we all have in common here is pain. e come here for many reasons, from venting our frustrations, to get some tips & pointers and pretty much anything else that may help in some way.

I am not surprised that you are stilling having problems this late in the game because you have hardware. I may catch some flack on this next statement, but its very true. People do not do well when surgeons go in and put hardware in neck & backs like they do on these surgeries. Our bodies did not come with it, and trying to trick the body into accepting this foreign material is just not real successfull. People end up still in pain, not much better than when they started out with and its so, so very sad. In many instances, they end up going back to surgery to have the hardware removed. I have seen this happen so many times. But, once again the medical field gets all caught in the new & innovative devices and in most cases its the poor patient that suffers.

Had you had surgery w/o hardware the usual time frame is around 3 months for recovery-drs say 6 weeks, but everyone is so different in how their bodies heal. Its great if a person can heal it 6 weeks but not always the case. I saw 100's of cervical fusions done and was told when they woke up the first thing 99 1/% said was the old pre-surgery pain was gone-dealing only with surgical pain that goes way, and usually the numbness & tingling gone. Saw more people complain of hip pain from the bone graft being removed there than anything. That was the biggest complaint. Some of course had some headaches & muscles spasms that subsided over time, plus medication helped relieve it.

I would do as Chutz said, make an appt go back to your PCP with a list in hand of how things are & by all means take hubby with you. Its rather doubtful another surgeon would look at you this soon, but you may just need more time. Have a real heart to heart with your PCP and see what he/she will offer up. Yes, you are so right on the "god like syndrome", alot of them think more of themselves than anyone else does of them.lol. Don't give up and think you have to live like this either. If all fails, get a referral to pain mgt dr for help. At leaset in that dept. you will have someone addressing your pain issues.

Please kep us posted on how you are coming along. Hugs, Susie



Pamela Neckpain
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 1821
   Posted 1/12/2009 10:43 PM (GMT -7)   
I am in too much pain to type right now. I'll be back soon.
Pamela Neckpain
MEDICAL CONDITIONS

Osteoarthritis all levels of spine right down to Coccyx,Spondilytis,Myofascial Pain
Fibromyalgia,Bulging Discs,Spinal Stenosis,Scoliosis,Osteopenia,Chronic Constipation
Carpel Tunel Syndrome, Attention Deficit Disorder,
Depression & Anxiety

Methadone for Pain, Xanax for Anxiety, and more, of course.


redster068
New Member


Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 1/13/2009 10:59 AM (GMT -7)   
Hello everyone,

Thanks for all the advice, I am going for a follow up tomorrow. I need to ask him for something better than the percocet 10 mg and the baclofen 10 mg. That is what I am on right now. I have a very high tolerance to medicine but very low tolerance for pain. You should see me when i go to the dentist. I have to take 4 valiums and then get about 10 shots of novacane. It is horrible. I have been on Vicodin, soma ( small dose), ultram, skalaxin. I was wondering what should I ask him to put me on and how since he doesn't seem to like to listen to me when I tell him I need something stronger. He kinda just smiles at me dumbly.

Thanks again

Pamela Neckpain
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 1821
   Posted 1/13/2009 2:29 PM (GMT -7)   
redster ...
You need Nitrous at your dentist office! It's also called Laughing Gas.
I have Nitrous for everything. Without it my Adrenalin kicks in and
I'm apt to go running outta the office drooling and still wearing my dental
bib.
Pamela

I'd like to just breath Nitrous ALL the time. Who cares about air!!
MEDICAL CONDITIONS

Osteoarthritis all levels of spine right down to Coccyx,Spondilytis,Myofascial Pain
Fibromyalgia,Bulging Discs,Spinal Stenosis,Scoliosis,Osteopenia,Chronic Constipation
Carpel Tunel Syndrome, Attention Deficit Disorder,
Depression & Anxiety

Methadone for Pain, Xanax for Anxiety, and more, of course.


straydog
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 13451
   Posted 1/13/2009 9:58 PM (GMT -7)   
Redster we usually find it to be a big problem with drs when we go in and ask for medication by name.. It generally sends a red flag up with the dr. Any time my meds were changed it was because I told the dr whatever I was on was not helping with the pain. I let him make the decision, unless of course he wanted to give me something I could not tolerate. Susie


Tirzah
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 2279
   Posted 1/13/2009 10:14 PM (GMT -7)   
I had a rough time too. For the itching, my dermatologist gave me a script for a topical steroid called Clobex. It made a big difference & wasn't limited to a short duration like oral steroids. I also got a product called ScarGuard which is sold OTC. After the itching was somewhat under control, I switched to that & it helped both with the pain & the itching at the surgical scar site (plus, it makes the scar look prettier :).

As for the rest of the issues, probably would be a good idea to see a Pain Specialist. My NS also had a god-complex. He just kept telling me the surgery was textbook perfect & there were no problems. I explained that I didn't have headaches before the surgery, but did for months & months afterward so how did he account for that. He said it was just coincidence. Thing is, it seems a fair number of his (& other NS's) patients experience the exact same "coincidence". Oh well. Maybe a PM could come up with something other than more medicine. I had Radio Frequency Nerve Ablation & that helped for a few years. We tried to repeat it, but it didn't work the second time, so I got a Spinal Cord Stimulator and that has been a god-send.

No matter what, don't give up. It is a common enough complication that there are plenty of treatment options out there for your condition.

Good luck!
frances

edt
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 773
   Posted 1/14/2009 7:24 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Redster,
I am 8 yrs post Cervical Fusion C567. It took 8 months to feel like the neck was stable. Because of the cage, above the fusion and below are taking the brunt when you move. The area that is fused doesn't move so moving your head or arms in the wrong way (which we never know at the time) will cause spasm. Hang in there the Surgical pain will ease, it took 6 months to feel human. I stopped pain meds 3 weeks after surgery but did take Tizanidine for spasm. I also went for Prolotherapy....I returned to work in month 8 unfortunately the ergonomics are what caused the rupture in the 1st place...so I worked 3 more years and did permanent damage to the low back as well. Take pain meds daily and alternate muscle relaxers, some days are better then others. I always remember how thankful I am that I am not in a wheelchair.....TALK to people, stay on this site everyone understands and you will not feel so alone in your world of pain.
The neck holds our 15 lb. head add the fusion and daily movement....not pretty, but you can work with it. Ice, heat, Advil, Trigger point injections (not with Cortisone), Alternative methods. Be CAREFUL, don't bend too much, or lift over 10 lbs., honor your limitations and PLEASE find a good PM Dr. There are exercises that strengthen and find a PT that understands fusions....they can teach you how to live and what to do when the spasm is unbearable.
DO NOT GIVE UP, somehow we do learn how to live with the pain. ASK for help from your family!
I understand! I live it everyday!
edt
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