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  • laurasteele
    Member
    Post count: 3

    Hi Dr. Corenman,

    I am a 26 year old female. In May of 2011 I awoke to severe neck pain and was unable to get out of bed. I literally had to have assistance to lift my head. I had close to no range of motion. This severe pain and limited ROM lasted approx 1 week but I continued to have pain (probably 6-8/10 pain level) with any range of motion, sudden movements and also had debilitating headaches. I tried PT and chiropractic for months to no avail. In Oct of 2011 I finally got an MRI. It showed a moderate disc herniation of c5-6 with mild bulge at c4-5. I had an ACDF c5-6 on Oct 25, 2011. I continued to have severe pain and debilitating headaches following the surgery. In May 2012 my surgeon finally ordered a CT that revealed my surgery was unsuccessful and I did not fuse. He repeated the surgery in June of 2012 this time using bone morphogenic protein along with a bone growth stimulator(he did not use either in first surgery). Since June I have continued to have pain. My pain is basically the same as it was prior to my FIRST surgery. I had an MRI in the beginning of November showing only a mild bulge at c4-5. I’ve had two rounds of cortisone injections since November. The first was at the level above the fusion (c4-5) and the second was in the facets at that same level. That pain management doctor basically said there was nothing more he could do if they did not help. I didn’t notice a difference even for one minute with either set of injections. My surgeon has also pretty much washed his hands of me at this point. The pain and headaches are terrible. My pain is hardly ever below a 6/10. I work as an Occupational Therapy Assistant and have a very difficult time working a full day and carrying out the duties of my job. The pain has really taken a toll on me over the last year and 7 months physically and mentally. I also have a 3 year old son that I can’t play with like I want to because the pain. I’m just getting extremely frustrated and feel like I’m running out of people to turn to. Like I said before, I’m only 26 years old and feel like I’m 80. I can’t do a lot of the things I once enjoyed and I can’t help but think about what my life will be like just 10 years down the road if I can’t find some relief. I was just wondering if you had any suggestions on where to go from here or if there even is somewhere to go. Thank you so much for any help or suggestions!

    Sincerely,

    Laura

    Donald Corenman, MD, DC
    Moderator
    Post count: 8455

    It looks like you have obtained good care up to this point. I will assume that the second surgery to gain a fusion at C5-6 was successful. Please tell me if that has not been assessed fully yet.

    I will also assume that your pain is mainly neck pain and headaches without significant shoulder or arm pain.

    Pain can be generated from the facets or the discs. Have your upper facets been included in the diagnostic facet injections? These facets commonly can cause headaches.

    Have you had standard X-rays including flexion/extension? These can yield a treasure trove of significant information.

    Dr. Corenman

    laurasteele
    Member
    Post count: 3

    I am to get a CT scan this week to see if I have fused since last surgery. I have had several flex/ext x rays in which the doctor just said everything looked fine but that I did have abnormal motion while performing those movements. No one has mentioned anything with facets above level c4-5 where I last got injection that did not help. My family physician has decided to send me to get a nerve conduction study and he also put me on Cymbalta. I was very against this as I’m just wanting an answer and a “fix” to the pain I’m having but he talked me into it saying that would be what the next doctor (a physiatrist) would want to do. This way he would be ahead of the game. I’ve noticed absolutely no change in pain. I’m just worried that they are just going to give up on me when they talk antidepressants. I honestly feel like there is something that needs to be fixed or addressed that they are missing. Thanks again for any help or information!

    Laura

    Donald Corenman, MD, DC
    Moderator
    Post count: 8455

    The CT scan will be important to determine what your fusion status is.

    Cymbalta takes some time to become effective (at least 1-2 weeks) and is a good medication if it works for you.

    The nerve conduction test will probably not reveal any valuable data as you have no motor weakness or symptoms of nerve entrapment (carpel tunnel syndrome, cubital tunnel syndrome).

    Continue to gain more information so an appropriate diagnosis can be made.

    Dr. Corenman

    AlbertDisuza
    Member
    Post count: 26

    It is important to get timely treatment to avoid any further health problems. Along with the treatment given by doctors, ask for any kind of exercises or physiotherapy that will help to make it better for you. Your muscles need to get stronger and for that exercise routine with a special diet is necessary. This will fasten the healing process.

    laurasteele
    Member
    Post count: 3

    I completely agree with you. I am an occupational therapy assistant and work in an outpatient therapy clinic. I have actually been performing formal therapy under the supervision of the occupational therapist at our clinic. I’ve been doing that for approx 2 months now. My ortho surgeon has actually recommended me seeing a neurosurgeon for now. I’m still awaiting further info on that but plan to see the neurosurgeon within the next couple of weeks. Over the last three to four days I’ve been having horrible headaches. They are worse than any migraine I’ve ever had. The headaches knock me off my feet. I’ve also noticed my chest becoming very red and blotchy when the pain is at it’s severist. I’m not on any new mess or anything. Also, there seems to be a spot around right posterior neck (maybe around c4-5) that is very sore and stiff. It hurts to turn my head to the right as well as left lateral flexion. This is still not “the pain” but something that has happened over the last few days with the intense headaches. Thanks for any info or help!!!

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