Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up
Includes Expert Content
Cervical fusion surgery in 20122
avatar
An_252295 posted:
I had a cervical fusion surgery in 2011 C5.C6.and C7.Corpectomy of c6
I have a metal plate and plastic discs in my neck. I have serve nerve damage and vocal cord damage as well. I get numbness and zaps of nerve pain from my jaw right down to my fingers so painful. My neck throbs like a tooth ache 24/7 a headache that never goes away.. I have gone back to my surgeon he says there's nothing he can do I see a pain management doctor he has me on a pain medicine but that doesn't help. I do my physical therapy everyday. I learned not to carry my purse on my shoulder. I'm in so much pain that drives me nuts. You would think surgery would make the pain stop and you could life a normal healthy life. So I thought I suffer silently. So much I can't do anymore like golf or even go swimming I fine myself driving less and less. I keep doing research
on cervical fusion side effects. I know we can't give up we have to keep fighting our pain everyday.
Reply
 
avatar
David Maine, MD responded:
Thank you for your post. I am sorry to hear of your struggle. Have you ever tried alternative techniques to try to help manage your pain (i.e. - acupuncture, bio-feedback). Sometimes these can be a helpful non-pharmacologic way to help manage pain. The jaw/shoulder discomfort you describe could arise from adjacent segment problems that can sometimes occur in the setting of a prior fusion. I would discuss this with your doctor. In regards to pain medications - if they do not provide benefit you should consider a change to an alternate medication or class of medications. I wish you the best of luck.
 
avatar
suz1catz50 replied to David Maine, MD's response:
To Dr. Maine, Thank so much for your kind reply to my post. I appreciate that you care about me and my health so heart warming. I have tried acupuncture, bio feed back and therapy. Gone to a doctor for the emotional side of dealing with my pain. Had rounds of injections in my neck no relief. seen so many doctors. I do extensive research and everything in my ability to make my quality of life better. My surgeon who did the cervical fusion just pushes me to another doctors Instead of attacking the problem.. Dr. Maine thank you so much for caring I appreciate it to the max. Sincerely Susan.
 
avatar
77grace replied to suz1catz50's response:
HI suz1catz50,
I am sad to hear of your struggles with so much pain!I also suffer with alot of pain!Recently my Dr. started a change in my pain meds and I think it's helping!But I don't like the way it makes me feel!So I gues I have the chice of alot more pain r side effects from this new med.!Anyway there are a lot of different med you can try!Tell your Dr. you need more releif !
Best of luck to you ,!
77grace
 
avatar
annette030 responded:
Hi,

Surgery has only a fair to middling effect om chronic pain when done on the spine. I also had cervical spine surgery many years ago. I had it for function, not for pain, so it met my expectations when the function was restored.

I also switched purses, and gave up a stick shift in my car. That was harder.

If the pain medicine does not work, change it or stop taking it altogether. Discuss this with your doctor. You may find that when you try to do without it, it really does help more than you think.

I had to give up my horses, too dangerous if I took a fall. Quilting became a thing off the past because my hands go numb after about 10 minutes with my neck flexed. It is tough, but there are other things to do.

I use CBT, that helps a lot. I also remember what my son described Afghanistan was like when we first invaded (he was in the Marines for that one). Women like me didn't get any medical care to speak off, I am lucky to live in America, and get the medical care that I do. In other words, I could be much worse off. Keeping that in mind does help me.

Take care, Annette
 
avatar
suz1catz50 replied to annette030's response:
Annette, You have to accept what you can't change. I find out lets to deal with pain like photography,singing,listening to music. I have a positive attitude. Doctors can only do so much but it's up us to help our selves. When we go for physical therapy and the sessions stop you have to keep doing them every day. It's a part of our every day life.
I find that helps allot. I walk on nature trains. Nerve pain is not fun. Today June 17 2013 had a Thoracic interlaminar epidural steroid injection of T1/2. I hope that will help me. I'm so blessed to have a pain PM doctor who is a very caring and gentle. He tries to help everyone. He's not in it for the money. I'm grateful for WebMD blog where all a family trying to help each other out.
God Bless you Annette Be well everyone!!!
 
avatar
annette030 replied to suz1catz50's response:
That is my attitude exactly.

Please let us know how you respond to the "thoracic interlaminar epidural injection".

Take care, Annette
 
avatar
cweinbl responded:
I'm sorry to hear about your spine surgery failure. The success rate for spine surgery today is about 60%; it's often lower if fusion, instrumentation and disc replacement is involved. I know... the surgeons don't tell you this. Like artists, they believe that all of their work is a perfect solution.

I've had four failed spine surgeries, including multilevel fusion. I'm left with severe nerve damage, massive fibrosis (scarring), osteoarthritis and sciatica. But that's not the worst of it. Because my fifth lumbar vertebra collapsed into my sacrum, I cannot sit or stand for more than a few minutes without unbearable pain.

Comprehensive pain management programs can help, at least a little. They offer things like:
TENS, traction, acupuncture, biofeedback, physical therapy, kinesiotherapy, injections, rhyzotomy (radio frequency denervation), spinal cord stimulator, intrathecal infusion pump, off-label medications (anti-depressants, anti-convulsants), combination of long-acting pain medication with breakthrough meds, counseling, hypnosis and meditation. To be honest, most of these won't help, or if they do, it won't make a huge difference. But I'm glad that I learned how to use biofeedback. It can reduce my pain by 15-20% at almost any time.

Beyond a pain management program, you might need to get used to using powerful medications for a long time, or the rest of your life. If you don't have serious problems with side effects, you can use these medications safely for the rest of your life.

Finally, people like us must develop a good perspective. I was a vocational rehabilitation counselor for seven years. I worked with paraplegics, quadriplegics and people with terminal illnesses. Compared to them, we are lucky. We might be in constant pain, but almost all of us can still take care of our own bodily needs. We can stand and walk and millions of people will never be able to do that.

Good luck!
cweinbl
csw2@bex.net
 
avatar
suz1catz50 replied to cweinbl's response:
To those who fight with pain your all in my thoughts and prayers.Every day we fight our way through pain take pills do what the doctors say to do. Your right my cervical fusion was a failure I'm not any better then I was before my cervical fusion.
I see my surgeon once a year who did my cervical fusion he just says my x rays are fine I just do surgery I don't deal with your side effects or pain. Those are words we hear all the time. They don't care about our quality of life. They push on to other doctors. We suffer silently in pain we cry many tears. We push our selves because we want to be better and have a good quality of life.We all have been drugged by pills which only mask the brain and not the pain. Having this blog helps out in so many ways. God bless you all
 
avatar
suz1catz50 responded:
My cervical fusion surgery was done through the from of my neck not on the side. I have allot of nerve pain/headaches/numbness in arms and hands. I can not long go swimming or play golf or sleep on my stomach. I sleep 3 hours a night. I just take tramadol twice a day and advil still not long lasting. Doesn't help. I have fallen twisted my ankle and dropped so many things because of the numbness. I appreciate are read the blogs I find it very helpful. Has anybody had a nuero stimulator for there neck.. I would appreciate if that has helped you?? Thanks God Bless you all..
 
avatar
shell484 replied to cweinbl's response:
I had a C 4-5,5-6, fusion in 2007, with titanium cage, donor bone discs. felt okay till i went back to work. I am a home care nurse, alot of bending and straining with my job. I quit last august. Doc says facet joints are now my problem. I take neurontin 800mg, flexeril 10mg, aleve 2x a day. I stopped the tramadol because was on it for 5 years, Doc says if PT does not help he will burn the nerves in my facets. I can hardly stand the pain. little sleep, I pray alot. Do not want to be addicted to narcs, I know the dangers involved. i will keep all in my prayers who deal with chronic pain. I will keep searching for answers, thanks for all the support from these discussions..
 
avatar
suz1catz50 replied to shell484's response:
Hi Shell484, I had a cervical fusion in 2011 c-4.c-5, and corpectomy of c-6 I have a titanium cage but I have 3 plastic discs. Surgery was done in the front of my neck not the side of my neck. I have vocal cord damage,and nerve damage from the surgery.Nerves travel up and down your spinal cord when
any kind of surgery is done on your spinal cord these nerves are cut off and they have no where to go. That's what causing my painful zaps of pain from my jaw through my shoulders arms and hands also have numbness in my arms and hands which has caused me to fall or dropped things that I carry I have been burned by cooking. Sprain both my ankles and list goes on I walk with a cane Yet my surgeon doesn't care. I had a thoracic epi shots on June 18th did not help.I see all kinds of specialist still no relief. I no longer can swim,play golf so many enjoyable activities no longer can do. I sleep 3 hours a night.So frustrating. I wish you the best.
 
avatar
shell484 replied to suz1catz50's response:
Hello suz1catz50, I relate to everything you are going through, it is not easy to live like this everyday, sometimes I feel like I am draining the people I love , my husband and my teenage son. I hold it in alot and it kills me. But I will not give up trying to get well..and you should not either .Find another Doctor who listens to you, and will try to find the answer. I will keep you posted on my progress with this new doctor I have, hoping that burning the nerves will work... I will keep you in my prayers.
 
avatar
suz1catz50 replied to shell484's response:
Cervical Fusion, I sleep 3 hours a night. I have seen so many doctors. Most doctors will say go back and see your surgeon if you have any pain. I did he said I just do surgery I don't deal with the pain. Then doctor says your cervical fusion is unsuccessful there nothing I can do for you. Then you walk out go back to your crappy life of pain.


Featuring Experts

Peter Abaci, MD , is certified in anesthesia and pain management by the American Board of Anesthesiology. Dr. Abaci received his undergraduate educat...More

Helpful Tips

Fibromyalgia Pain
I had a lot of pain in my lower back. The doctor diagnosed it as Fibromyalgia. He prescribed lyrica which works really well. I still have ... More
Was this Helpful?
1 of 7 found this helpful

Report Problems to the
Food and Drug Administration

FDAYou are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.