Cervical disc heniations no relief

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RogiB
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2017
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 3/28/2017 8:49 AM (GMT -7)   
Hello
I just joined this site today. I am at my wits end and don't know what to do next. I started having neck and lower back pain around December 2015. Primary doctor sent me for PT for 6 weeks. Felt worse after and pcp sent me for x rays which showed everything was ok. then sent me for an mri. which showed a big herniation at c5-6 and c4-5 as well as degenerative discs and facet arthritis. I was advised to see a spine specialist who referred me to a pain management specialist. I was given zanaflex for the muscle spasms and told to go back to PT, which I did for another 6 weeks. He wanted to put me on anti inflammatory medication but due to having a kidney removed from a previous cancer I cannot take them. After second round of PT I got facet blocks in the hopes it would work for an RFA which was performed about a month later. all this and a year later i'm in worse pain than ever and dr gave me small scrip of Percocet 5-325 for the times it gets bad. I was sent for another mri that showed the herniation at c5-6 got bigger and is now severly pinching the nerve roots. I have bad pain at both shoulders, across my back and down my arms. Two weeks ago I got and epidural in the hopes this will finally help. I felt ok for about 12 hrs. then the pain was back. I am waiting for my next visit at pain management next week. I'm fearing that he may send me to see a surgeon. Has anyone else been in this same position? In agony. Thanks Rogi B

straydog
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Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 15321
   Posted 3/28/2017 9:14 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Rogi & welcome to Healing Well. Reading through all the events of your journey it is looking like the conservative approach has been pretty much exhausted. I know the thought of surgery is terrifying for anyone. My suggestion is to ask your PM dr to refer yo to the best neurosurgeon he can for a consult. Many of us here prefer neurosurgeons instead of orthopedics when it comes to spine surgery of any kind. They have a lot more experience dealing with the nerves of the spine & in my opinion the best set of hands.

We have had lots of members here that has had successful surgeries. Now a days they are really common. Keep us posted on how you are doing.
Susie
Moderator in Chronic Pain & Psoriasis Forums

RogiB
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2017
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 3/28/2017 9:23 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks Susie for your response. I was sort of expecting that response but just thought there may be some other stories out there that people have tried. My Pain management dr works with a group of very good neurosurgeon's. ill let you know what he says next week.
BTW i have been reading posts on this site for years since i had my kidney cancer and found them very helpful in the coping process.
sincerely RogiB

straydog
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 15321
   Posted 3/28/2017 9:28 AM (GMT -7)   
Rogi, glad to read HW gave you some comfort in such a hard time. I will say this too, even though your PM dr works with some good neuro's, please, please get an independent 2nd opinion from another one. We always urge members to get 2nd & even 3rd opinions when it comes to surgery. This surgery is like many others, you only want to do it once & you want the very best dr doing it if it comes down to doing surgery.

Take care.
Susie
Moderator in Chronic Pain & Psoriasis Forums

RogiB
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2017
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 10/3/2017 9:53 AM (GMT -7)   
Hello
Just following up from March. Straydog I took your advise and did get a second opinion with a reputable orthopedic spine surgeon. both the neurosurgeon and Ortho Dr. had the same advise of fusing C-4 to C-6. Just had the operation on Sept 6. Just at 4 weeks post op now. I went with the neurosurgeon. it was pretty tough first few days to a week but arm, hands and one shoulder is pain free. just the neck is still hurting bad.

I wanted to put this question out there. At 4 weeks post op acdf, should I still be having this much pain? I have pain medication but only take it when the pain gets severe. I also feel very lightheaded when I stand up. I is a weird feeling, if I get up and go to open a door I get this feeling like I cant coordinate my hands to open the door. I goes away after a couple minutes.
Thanks
RogiB

straydog
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 15321
   Posted 10/3/2017 10:24 AM (GMT -7)   
RogiB, time is now your new best friend. You are still pretty fresh from surgery, so please allow you body the time it needs to heal. And listen to your body, it will let you know when you have done too much. Even though your incision may look healed, things have not healed on the inside. It takes months to heal from this surgery. It sounds like things are going good since you are seeing improvements. Keep in mind with the neck pain its going to take awhile for that to settle down. It went through some trauma during surgery. Things are pretty irritated in there.

You may want to call & talk to the surgeon's nurse about the light headed feeling when standing up. You may want to move a little slower when trying to stand on your feet. I have read about other members having some dizziness but cannot recall what the dr said about this.

Other than the pain medication, are you on a muscle relaxer? If not, ask the dr to give you a script for one. Muscle spasms are very common with this surgery & you may need to be on one for a good bit. Are you using any ice packs on your neck? Many of our members found ice packs were really helpful after surgery.

Activity wise, what are you doing? Walking is good to help build up strength. You don't need to be trying to stretch your neck or arms right now. You need to be some modified activity but over doing causes more harm than good.

Take care.
Susie
Moderator in Chronic Pain & Psoriasis Forums

Alcie
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 4931
   Posted 10/6/2017 3:47 PM (GMT -7)   
about the dizziness: get a little wrist blood pressure machine and check before you stand up and just after. It may have nothing to do with the neck or surgery. I get a fairly big drop in blood pressure when I get up - have to be careful not to rush off anywhere or I could fall down! It's not uncommon. The wrist BP machines are fairly cheap and pretty accurate. You can throw it in a purse or large pocket. If you see that you have a BP drop on standing tell your doctor! Not much he can do unless it's severe. Some people take salt tablets or eat salt, although there are medicines available too.

I had to take medicines for this problem for a couple of months after I had surgery on my cervical spinal cord, also had to drink a lot of sports drinks for the salts to raise my BP. It went away after a few months.

(Seashell)
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2012
Total Posts : 680
   Posted 10/6/2017 4:58 PM (GMT -7)   
Rogi:
Low blood pressure with a change in position (sit to stand, lying down supine to standing) is a fairly common effect after cervical spine.

The neck contains baro-receptors that serve to regulate blood pressure along with hormones secreted by the kidneys (renin) and adrenal glands (aldosterone). Baro-receptors are small disc-shaped nodes that extend in a line on both sides of the cervical spine. Baro-receptors are sensitive to blood pressure changes and work with the kidneys and adrenal glands to keep blood pressure constant. Baro-receptors can be traumatized by cervical surgery and exhibit transient inability to perform their blood pressure stabilization role.

Time and patience will be your friend in allowing the baro-receptors to recover. Symptoms normally dissipate in 3-4 months. In the meantime, take your time and move slowly when changing your body position. Avoid rapid changes in position, especially sitting to standing and supine to standing. Keep yourself well hydrated with clear fluids to support total blood volume.
Karen
Pituitary failure, wide-spread endocrine dysfunction
Addison's disease
Mixed connective tissue disorder
Extensive intestinal perforation with sepsis, permanent ileostomy
Avascular necrosis of both hips and jaw
Receiving Palliative Care (care and comfort)

RogiB
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2017
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 10/18/2017 8:36 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks Seashell. I think I may be pushing my recovery too much. Had my wife driving me to work after 4 weeks. Just worked a couple hrs. at my computer or until I hurt a lot. I'm at 6.5 weeks post op now but still have a lot of pain. It seems to have gotten a little worse in the past week. I was taking 1-2 Percocet 5-325 when I get home around 3:00 and sometimes 1 more at bed time. I thought I was not going to need anymore pain meds when they ran out because I have gone a few days at a time when I was resting more during the weekend. Is this common, needing more pain medication 6.5 post op to control my pain? I tried taking just Tylenol but it does nothing. should I ask my pain management dr. for a small script?
Thanks
Roger

straydog
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 15321
   Posted 10/18/2017 9:10 AM (GMT -7)   
RogiB, unfortunately you are not allowing yourself the appropriate healing time for activities such as your returning to work so fast. Working at a computer even those short periods is enough to set things off. Your body is trying to tell you it is not ready for the activities.

Your PM dr may or may not rx more pain meds. All you can do is ask. We see things like this happen when folks try to push too hard too fast thinking it will speed up the recovery. It only pushes the person back, like taking one step forward & two steps back. It takes months to recover from this surgery. Total healing time to know how successful the surgery is around a year or more to know the final outcome.

Take care.
Susie
Moderator in Chronic Pain & Psoriasis Forums

RogiB
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2017
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 10/18/2017 10:31 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks Susie I appreciate the advice, I was kinda expecting that answer. I just cannot stay at home relaxing. I go stir crazy. So it is normal to feel this much pain 6-7 weeks post op? My arm and hand pains are completely gone. The pain is all in the neck and back area now. ill try and slow it down and stick it out. I have another follow up next month and Ill keep you posted.
Thanks
Roger

straydog
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 15321
   Posted 10/18/2017 10:56 AM (GMT -7)   
Roger, yes it is normal, this is your body's way of signaling you its had enough. Two things we tell folks either getting ready to have surgery or just had it is this; time will become your new best friend & let healing happen on its own & not try to rush things. When you try to rush things it always come back & bites you in the arse. It is a very good sign the arm & hand pain is gone, a very positive sign, but healing is still ongoing. Just because your scar looks healed on the outside, you are not healed on the inside. Are you aware it takes up to a full year for a fusion to become solid & heal? Drs have a way on not telling patients this but it is the absolute truth. Think about it, yes you will heal more as time goes on & be able to do more activities. You want to be careful with any activity that can compromise the fusion.

It is very hard to sit & do nothing, most of us are active people. Keep your activities at a level of when you start having problems, back off, don't push it. It will get better just be patient, lol.
Susie
Moderator in Chronic Pain & Psoriasis Forums
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