Help!! C5 C6 Discectomy and Fusion Now Severe Pain!

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daylont
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 20
   Posted 3/12/2009 9:34 PM (GMT -7)   
 I went to the doctor today because I had a c5 c6 discetomy with a anterior fusion a year and a half ago. For the past  couple of months Ihave been experiencing severe headaches and pain. The did a regular xray and this is what the report says:
 
Normal alignment and stable hardware at the cervicle spine fusion site. However there is a thin lucency through the graft site, with sclerotic margins, concerning for incomplete fusion.
 
Anybody understand what this is saying?? The doc said he will call me when he gets these results, but I have heard nothing as of yet.  I am not on any pain meds and it feels like my head is too heavy for my neck to hold it up.
 

PAlady
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Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 3/12/2009 9:44 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi, Daylont,
Welcome to the chronic pain forum of Healing Well. So sorry that you're having problems, especially after such a major surgery. This is a great support group, but we're not doctors, so I think you have to wait to talk to your doctor.

I'm assuming the doctor who you went to is the one who did the surgery. I certainly would want a neurosurgeon interpreting the results. And remember you can always get second opinions. It seems like they may be saying the fusion might not have completely worked, but what that means and what your options are have to come from your doctor.

I've had a lumbar fusion, and even though my fusion is complete, it didn't resolve any of my pain symptoms. I know if it was me I'd also be careful with movement of my neck, or any activities that might put stress on your neck. And call your doctor's office tomorrow, since it's Friday and otherwise you might have to wait until Monday. But if he's a neurosurgeon he's probably in surgery a lot; still, you could try to talk with his nurse if he's not available.

Let us know what happens. Again, welcome.

PaLady

fatherjohn
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Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 999
   Posted 3/12/2009 9:46 PM (GMT -7)   
Daylont, welcome to the site and sorry you find the need to be here. Most of us came here because we needed somewhere to vent and find comfort and encouragement from caring people who are in a similar spot as you. We are not doctors and can't even begin to give you advice on what the report says. Depending on what the doctor sees, he might order an mri or other diagnostic tool. Now that it is Friday, you have no choice but to wait until Monday to try and contact him. I would suggest that if the pain gets too bad, the ER might be an option. They might be able to get you through until you can see your doctor the first of the week. The ER docs might even call your doctor to get information which could speed up the process of getting in to see him, although that is not a good reason by itself to go to the ER. What kind of doctor are you seeing now? Is it the surgeon who did the fusion or a PCP? Sorry I don't have any better words for you, keep us updated. Opps, I thought it was already Friday, I would definitely call the Dr. office first thing in the morning. I see while I was writing PAlady gave you some very good advise.  

Post Edited (fatherjohn) : 3/12/2009 10:49:30 PM (GMT-6)


daylont
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 20
   Posted 3/12/2009 10:00 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks for all of the advice. Unfortunately we are military and  the neurosurgeon who did my surgery is in Charleston South Carolina and we are now in Washington State. I had to go to my primary care doctor at the Naval hospital and so Iam sure this will all take time, since it did take 5 years to get the correct diagnosis to even get treferred to the neurosurgeon. So like everything else in the military it is HURRY UP AND WAIT!! I don't have the patience for the ER, so I will just wait it out. I appreciate you all reading my story and trying to give me some comfort. Thank-You

Pamela Neckpain
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 1821
   Posted 3/12/2009 10:00 PM (GMT -7)   
I think your surgeon would want to know if you are having a emergency. Try to
contact him. I assume you haven't yet called. Try!

I don't understand why you weren't prescribed pain medication. Tsk tsk on your
doctor.

If you don't have any luck reaching the doctor,

I think it would be a very good idea to have someone drive you to ER. Take any
surgical papers that you might have. (You probably don't have any) Let them
decide what action to take.

As both CPers have mentioned, we're not doctors. All we can do or say is tell
you how we would personally handle the situation.

Take care.

Pamela
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.


daylont
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 20
   Posted 3/12/2009 10:10 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks Pam, Nope no pain meds!! Military docs don't believe in giving you pain meds, so they are very tight with them. Good thing I have a high tolerance for pain. Thank-you for taking the time to read my post.

PAlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 3/12/2009 10:16 PM (GMT -7)   
Daylont,
I wonder if your neck needs some support (like a brace) until you can get to see a neurosurgeon - or at least a specialist who can tell you about the fusion issue.

Just a thought. And it's late so my thoughts may not be very clear!

PaLady

daylont
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 20
   Posted 3/12/2009 10:26 PM (GMT -7)   
I don't have my neck brace any longer. I got rid of that thing as soon as I could. LOL!! I hated wearing it. I also had soem space age thing to help the bones heal, got rid of that darn thing too!! I was doing great until about 3 months ago. I thought I was hurting because of the weather change from South Carolina to Washington. I even mentioned it to my doc a couple months back and he said ya that was to be expected. He kinda just blew me off. Well I have only gotten worse. Thanks for all the advice. I guess I will call him tomorrow. If I can get comfortable to sleep. That has been a big issue for me.

Tirzah
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 2279
   Posted 3/12/2009 10:29 PM (GMT -7)   
D-
Is your pain in the same place as before the fusion or is it now in a different place?

White Beard
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 3610
   Posted 3/12/2009 10:37 PM (GMT -7)   

PaLady I was just thinking the same thing maybe a soft cervical collar, I know that is what I had to wear for 5 months after my c6/7 fusion, and even now when I start to have problems I slap the soft cervical collar on to stablize my neck!

 Daylont if your in the military don't you have sick call in the morning? I was career Air Force and they had sick call every morning at the hospital or clinic. I was in the military when I had my fusion done, but they did it at a civilian hospital in Anchorage Alaska, The military couldn't handle it after the myelogram they paniced  and they were afraid to try and move me to the lower 48, so the rushed me down town and had a civilian neurosurgeon do it all! Anyway I do wish you luck, also if and when you get out if the military won't give you anything  for your fusion, they wouldn't me, then go right to your VA, that is what I had to do!

Pleas don't mess around and put it off, this can be serious! I have been there and done that! Keep pressing them, about it! I know how the military works, they just about made me a Quad!

Good Luck

Whit Beard



 

I'm Retired USAF, went back to school and became an RN, and now am on ful disalbility!

Degenerative Disc (affecting mostly the thorasic disc but all levels involved), C6/7 laminectomy/diskectomy& fusion, Osteoarthritis, Ulcerative colitis, Chronic Pain, Fibromyalgia, Complex Sleep Apnea, and host of other things to spice up my life!(NOT!)

Medications: Oxycontin, Percocet, Baclofen, Sulfasalazine, Metoprolol, Folic Acid, Supplemental O2 at 3lpm with VPAP Adapt SV


daylont
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 20
   Posted 3/12/2009 10:38 PM (GMT -7)   
I never hurt in my neck before, I had left arm pain. Felt like a migrane in my left arm all of the time. After surgery no more pain in my arm immediately. I was doing great!! NOW I hurt in my neck all the way down to about my shoulder blades. I am having excrutiating headaches. I cannot rest my head on my hands the pressure is just too much. My neck gets tired and feels as if my head is too heavy. I have had a few instances where I was laughing and leaned my head back and got an electrical shock that went down BOTH arms to my finger tips. It was intense enough tomake me sick to my stomach, I had to lay my head down on my computer desk and rest for about 5 minutes. Really weird feeling. I couldn't even hold the phone. This has happened a couple of times.

daylont
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 20
   Posted 3/12/2009 10:45 PM (GMT -7)   
White Beard, Thank you for reading and responding. My husband is the active duty member. I too had my surgery in the civilian sector. My neurosurgeon was a Doctor Marzluff in Charleston South Carolina. I am going to call the doctor tomorrow and find out what he thinks, and where he is going to send me. I know I need to see someone sooner rather than later. I did some reading online about this and there is a 7% of ACDF's that fail and it sounds like mine may be one of them. So ... I JUST WANT SOME PAIN MEDS!!! Ibuprofin is not getting it any more! 

Tirzah
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 2279
   Posted 3/12/2009 10:47 PM (GMT -7)   
It's possible it's not even related to your previous surgery. I had surgery on C1 & later got pain at level C6/7. It turned out it was at least mostly unrelated (can't ever rule it out completely).
I think White Beard had a good suggestion about going down for sick call. See what needs to be done to get a surgical consult on your films. Perhaps they could even email the films or snail mail a DVD with your films & report on them to your previous NS (not sure what military rules are, but that's what I would recommend for civilian care so hopefully there is some way to make it happen for you).

Do take care of yourself. It does sound pretty miserable what you're going through. Possibly something with an entrapped nerve & pain meds really don't seem to do much for that anyways. Good luck with everything!

White Beard
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 3610
   Posted 3/12/2009 10:49 PM (GMT -7)   
Originally that is all I had was severe arm pain like when you hit your crazy bone! my arms and hands hurt like crazy, I was like that for over 3 months, One army orthopedic said I was malingering and sent me to the shrink, one of the air force Docs was and Osteopath and manipulated me, I honestly thought I was going to die! Anyway when they finally did the Myelogram and MRI they found a massive herniated disc at C6/7 with free floating fragments in my spinal canal. The civilian doc said he could not understand why I could even move my arms and legs, he said I should be a complete quad! He did the emeregency surgery! The took the graft from my pelvis, but that was all back in 85, after the surgery I completly lost my voice and could barely swallow and that lasted for close to 4 months, they damaged the Vagus nerve when doing the anterior approach!
 

I'm Retired USAF, went back to school and became an RN, and now am on ful disalbility!

Degenerative Disc (affecting mostly the thorasic disc but all levels involved), C6/7 laminectomy/diskectomy& fusion, Osteoarthritis, Ulcerative colitis, Chronic Pain, Fibromyalgia, Complex Sleep Apnea, and host of other things to spice up my life!(NOT!)

Medications: Oxycontin, Percocet, Baclofen, Sulfasalazine, Metoprolol, Folic Acid, Supplemental O2 at 3lpm with VPAP Adapt SV


daylont
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 20
   Posted 3/12/2009 10:56 PM (GMT -7)   
Wow White Beard, They put you through the ringer. I hurt in my left arm for about 5 years. I had shoulder injections, neck injections, chiropractor ,physical therapy,you name it I went through it. They treated me like I was crazy.  Finally did an MRI of the neck and saw the herniation in C5 /C6 and C7. He decided C7 was bad enough to do anything with but that C5 and C6 needed to be fixed and took me right into surgery. I wanted to kiss him when I woke up and that arm didn't throb. But now Iwant to KICK HIS BUTT!! I am dying right now.

White Beard
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 3610
   Posted 3/12/2009 10:58 PM (GMT -7)   
daylont
I have trouble now with the disc above c5/6 is going bad. and I get the same symptoms in my hands that you mentioned! Do be carefull, It is scary dealing with the military doctors! and I think they treat the dependents even worse than the active duty member!
Best of luck to you, I think I would ask them about a cervical collar to help stabilize your neck though and possibly prevent any more strain on it!
Good Luck to You
All my Best
White Beard


 

I'm Retired USAF, went back to school and became an RN, and now am on ful disalbility!

Degenerative Disc (affecting mostly the thorasic disc but all levels involved), C6/7 laminectomy/diskectomy& fusion, Osteoarthritis, Ulcerative colitis, Chronic Pain, Fibromyalgia, Complex Sleep Apnea, and host of other things to spice up my life!(NOT!)

Medications: Oxycontin, Percocet, Baclofen, Sulfasalazine, Metoprolol, Folic Acid, Supplemental O2 at 3lpm with VPAP Adapt SV

Post Edited (White Beard) : 3/13/2009 12:01:25 AM (GMT-6)


PAlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 3/13/2009 12:09 AM (GMT -7)   
Daylont,
I tend to agree with White Beard about something to help stabilize your neck with all the symptoms you're having. And definitley don't let a chiro. or anyone manipulate your neck. I've had cervical spine problems for over 20 years and manage them with lots of stretching, good ergonomics, a great cervical pillow for sleep (definitely need that or I'm a mess), heat, and occasionally a PT session or two. I do feel like the rest of my spine is slowly worsening since I had my lumbar fusion. This all gets kind of scary. But do be gentle with that neck and push the military system in whatever ways White Beard suggests to get the right help.

PaLady

edt
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 773
   Posted 3/13/2009 5:04 AM (GMT -7)   

Hi Daylont,

I have a Cervical Fusion C567.  Your report indeed sounds like the bone did not completely fuse, which should be done before or within a year (according to what I was told).  I had to have xrays until they could see the fusion was complete.

Please, I understand the added discomfort of wearing the soft collar...but the purpose is to keep your neck stable until someone figures out how to treat this.

I recently fell and it caused a whiplash, I have been wearing my soft collar for 2 weeks, definitely causes discomfort and more spasm.....but prevents me from turning my neck and causing more symptoms.  On top of my regular pain level this situation has doubled my already unbearable pain situation.  But.....sometimes we just NEED to do things!

Please take care of this ASAP!  By the way, I was like you I did not want to take pain meds, I still don't like taking pain meds BUT it has made life a little easier!

Good Luck and keep us posted!

Patti

 


daylont
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 20
   Posted 3/13/2009 7:30 AM (GMT -7)   
Patti,
 
Thank- you for responding. You know the more I think about this the more I kinda get angry. My neurosurgeon onlyhad me come back once after surgery to follow up. No follow up xrays nothing. I am wondering if this is because of me being military and tricare not paying the full amount. I will be calling my neurosurgeon in South Carolina and my primary care doctor first thing this morning. I want to thank everyone for their care and concern and help. 

Pamela Neckpain
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 1821
   Posted 3/13/2009 9:00 AM (GMT -7)   
Frances: I don't want to break this thread, but I don't know where to post a question to
you. Did you injure C1? Sounds serious.

Daylont: It's a sin. Really a sin that you do not have pain medicine. I'm growling. mad

straydog
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 13451
   Posted 3/13/2009 12:34 PM (GMT -7)   
Daylont,
 
Hi and I too would like to welcome you to HW. I am a little late posting but just the same welcome aboard. I hate to see a new face be here, because no one should have to suffer, however you have landed at the right place. As you can see we are a great group of caring people on here. Not docs but just share our experiences.
 
I do hope by now you have had some luck in getting a dr to look at you. You sound like you are suffering needlessly. I know all too well how the military drs are. You should be given something for pain. It does sound like your fusion did not become solid and if that is the case that certainly explains your pain. Can you get a soft cervical collar at a drug store, they will at least stabilize your neck. One thing, please do not bend your head back anymore, not good, Try to keep your neck really as still as possible, thats why so many of us are asking about a collar. It would help in that area. Your neurosurgeon needs his butt kicked for not telling the military drs to x-ray your fusion every 6 weeks for awhile. They should have been monitoring the the bone graft to make sure it was becoming solid. Thats just reasonable care, what a cad. Patti is right for the neck to completely heal it takes one year.
 
Until you can get some medical help please be very careful with your neck. Stay out of a car as much as possible. Try to limit your driving to work and such. Don't need you to be getting in a wreck with your neck in the shape its in. I found moist heat helps more than dry heat. I take a hand towel and wet it and then wring it out. I nuke it a minute or so in the microwave, careful not to get it too hot and then make a roll with and put it around my neck. Feels wonderful, have cooked many meals nuking a hand towel,lol.
 
Please keep us posted on how thing come along for you. Susie


White Beard
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 3610
   Posted 3/13/2009 1:16 PM (GMT -7)   
Hey straydog once while I was still in the AF I busted up my knee, on a weekend, I went to the clinic, they wrapped it up and told me to come back on Monday when the Doctors would be in. The thing was swollen up huge, they also told me they couldn't give me anything for pain because they had already give out their quota of pain meds for that day! Looks like the military hasn't changed any at all since the days I was in!

Daylont Pease be careful straydog has given you some good advice!

Good Luck to You

White Beard
 

I'm Retired USAF, went back to school and became an RN, and now am on ful disalbility!

Degenerative Disc (affecting mostly the thorasic disc but all levels involved), C6/7 laminectomy/diskectomy& fusion, Osteoarthritis, Ulcerative colitis, Chronic Pain, Fibromyalgia, Complex Sleep Apnea, and host of other things to spice up my life!(NOT!)

Medications: Oxycontin, Percocet, Baclofen, Sulfasalazine, Metoprolol, Folic Acid, Supplemental O2 at 3lpm with VPAP Adapt SV


daylont
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 20
   Posted 3/13/2009 2:28 PM (GMT -7)   
Thank-you Stray Dog and White Beard. I did call my neurosurgeon in South Carolina this morning, I read the nurse the results of the xray and she stated the same everyone is telling me. She also stated that because I am diabetic that may be why the fusion did not complete. It is called a failed ACDF. She asked me to get ahold of my doc and tell him to do new xrays one flexing and the other extending. SHe also stated I needed a MRI right away. I called my doc this morning and left a message and still her at 2:25 no word from him. She also told me more than likely I would need a new surgery cleaning out the old bone and putting a new graft in. The sooner the better. She did not have answers as to why Marzluff did not have xrays checking on this after surgery. She stated that he only saw me twice and that I had having surgery on my feet and so things were put on hold, which was correct info. I was unable to walk around for a bit due to foot surgery. So.. I am just waiting to hear from my doc. I appreciate all of the caring and support. Thank-you everyone.

White Beard
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 3610
   Posted 3/13/2009 3:41 PM (GMT -7)   
daylont
When you have appointments with the surgeon don't thay have to be approved by tricare or whoever approves the care you get? I am wondering if they didn't approve the reaquired follow-up appointments? I mean after I had my surgery by the civilian doctor, everything was followed up by the military doctors, and that is part of the reason I have some of the problems I have today! I had only been allowed to see my surgeon one time after my surgery, and that was only because my military doctors were at a loss to explain some of my follow-up problems!

Anyway keep pressing them for answers, and be careful getting those Xrays! and try not to get them done by the military, they are usually not trained to handle your type of case! Flexion and extension could be a problem for you. So be careful, if you start feeling any pain or discomfort when having the Xrays, don't let them make you flex or extend any more!
Good Luck to You!
 

I'm Retired USAF, went back to school and became an RN, and now am on ful disalbility!

Degenerative Disc (affecting mostly the thorasic disc but all levels involved), C6/7 laminectomy/diskectomy& fusion, Osteoarthritis, Ulcerative colitis, Chronic Pain, Fibromyalgia, Complex Sleep Apnea, and host of other things to spice up my life!(NOT!)

Medications: Oxycontin, Percocet, Baclofen, Sulfasalazine, Metoprolol, Folic Acid, Supplemental O2 at 3lpm with VPAP Adapt SV


Tirzah
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 2279
   Posted 3/13/2009 4:09 PM (GMT -7)   
idk about military, but typically follow-up visits are rolled into the price of the surgery. Usually insurance companies will not approve follow-up visits with a NS for a certain period post-op (typically either 6, 9 or 12 months depending on the plan). That's not to say you shouldn't get them, just that they've already been paid for. In any case, your NS has gotten a lot of money from you, so he really should be the one to follow up. Obviously, there could be costs associated with additional treatments or procedures (assuming it wasn't the result of sloppy work & it doesn't sound like it was), but a consult or office visit should not cost anything extra. Even years after my surgery, when I got into an auto accident, my NS looked at the films from the ER and gave me his opinion on them at no charge.

Let us know what you find out!
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