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Some advice please

Before my question first a brief summary of the last 7yrs of my life. In 2007 i underwent an anterior cervical discectomy & stand alone fusion at the C6-7 level. This was complicated by cage subsidence into my C7 vertebra. Owing to the original foraminal stenosis & failure to fuse i then underwent posterior instrumented fusion with foraminotomy. Bony overgrowth required removal of the hardware & repeat posterior foraminotomy. Subsequent adjacent level disease at C5-6 level necessitated an anterior cervical discectomy & fusion at this level. So it is now 10 months after my 4th surgery & i still have severe chronic pain in my neck, left shoulder, arm & my hand with numbness in some fingers & pins & needles in the rest. So off to see my ortho surgeon again, he sent me for yet another mri & ct scan & for a second opinion with a neuro surgeon. The mri & ct scan showed evidence of fusions at C5-6 & C6-7. There has been a left sided foraminotomy at C6-7. All left sided neural foramina appear widely patent. So now i have been diagnosed with underlying nerve damage or central neural sensitization syndrome. Now to my question is there anyone out there who also suffers with this this problem, does it get any better or is this it? Is there any medication that helps with this pain? Two months ago i was on 120mg of slow release morphine twice daily & the pain was still severe so i decided to try & get off the morphine i am now on 10mg twice daily & next week i will drop that last 10mg. It will be my first time off the opiates in 8 yrs i am so proud of myself. Now i just have to learn to live with this pain. Is there anyone out there in the same situation as me that can give me any advice? Pleeeeese!!
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Comments

  • I have S1 nerve damage so the symptoms affect my left leg. Have you tried a nerve pain medication such as Gabapentin, Lyrica, Cymbalta etc? You may get some relief from a medication specifically for nerve pain. My next line of defense is trying the Spinal Cord Stimulator. Why are you stopping the pain medications? Are you in Physical Therapy? That can help with some of the weakness, at least it has for me. Nerve pain can be one of the most difficult pains to treat so I feel for you. I hope your Dr will give you some alternative treatments to try.

    LC
    Progressive DDD
    Osteoarthritis
    Chronic S1 Radiculopathy
    Discectomy L5-S1 2002
    Discectomy, Laminotomy/Foraminotomy L3-S1 January 2014
    Bilateral SI Joint Fusion and 2 level spinal Fusion October 2014
  • I had ACDF at C 5-7 in 2011 and it left me with nerve damage at the root of C7 on both sides but more pronounced pain on the left. I am on Cymbalta and Oxycotin 20 mg 3 times a day and Oxycodone 10 mg 3 times for breakthrough. This does not really manage my pain, but it is as high as I am willing to go. I am praying for a miracle some day. I have tried a tens u it and that irritated me more than anything. I looked into SCS but my doctor said it is not as successful with cervical issues as it is with lumbar. Because you are always moving your neck, it is very difficult for the leads to stay where they are supposed to. Looking at the cost was not something I wanted to try. If it moved , then U have to undergo surgery again and incur those costs again. I just can't keep spending that kind of money. Acupuncture did lessen the pain and I was on less pain medication, but insurance doesn't pay for that at all.
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  • Hi, I agre with Lcochran4. I have nerve damage to my lower back and the Lyrica really helped with the pain before and after I had the SCS implanted. You could also try having a nerve block injection.
  • for your replies & advice. Hi Lcochran4 as for medication i have been on gabapentin for about 7-8yrs & i am now taking 1200mg 3 times daily apparently that is the max dosage. It is my surgeon & pain clinic that has told me to ween myself off all of the pain meds. I think it is strange that while they could find something to operate on they were happy to give me pain medication but now they say that this pain is permanent they want me to stop it all. I really cant see the reasoning behind that! I know that it is bad to be on these drugs long term but something is better than nothing. Hello there Tired of the pain we sound like we are in the same boat i have been praying for a miracle for a few years now. I am not dealing with the pain very well at the moment & i cant believe that this is as good as it is going to get. Hi there laura chick i have tried nerve block injections without much success unfortunately.
  • There are other nerve pain meds that can be tried. The combination of Gabapentin and Cymbalta have worked best for me so far. It takes time trying different medications and dosage adjustments in order to find one that helps. Personally I would be seeking another opinion if I were being told to stop all meds and live with the pain. Pain meds aren't always successful with treating nerve pain, but medications specifically for nerve pain should be tried before throwing in the towel. I would really consider getting another opinion. I hope you get some relief.

    LC
    Progressive DDD
    Osteoarthritis
    Chronic S1 Radiculopathy
    Discectomy L5-S1 2002
    Discectomy, Laminotomy/Foraminotomy L3-S1 January 2014
    Bilateral SI Joint Fusion and 2 level spinal Fusion October 2014
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  • I thought that I was told that I ouldn't be on gabapeten because I was on Cymbalta. Has any one else heard that?
  • I'm on both and so far it's helped more than the Gabapentin alone. I'm on the max dose of Gabapentin 3600mg and Cymbalta 60mg per day. I had some drowsiness for a couple of weeks but that has since resolved.
    Progressive DDD
    Osteoarthritis
    Chronic S1 Radiculopathy
    Discectomy L5-S1 2002
    Discectomy, Laminotomy/Foraminotomy L3-S1 January 2014
    Bilateral SI Joint Fusion and 2 level spinal Fusion October 2014
  • bundybbundy Posts: 61
    edited 07/28/2014 - 4:48 AM
    Thanks for the suggestion & i will bring it up next time i see my GP, but from wot i have read tonight i am not sure i would be able to take Cymbalta as i have high blood pressure. I will speak to my doctor about it he might think it would help & i am willing to try almost anything. The other thing that might be a problem is i cant find any information about it being available down here in New Zealand. Kind regards Allan
  • There may be other alternatives you can try. I guess I refuse to settle for the condition I'm in so if something fails, I simply ask "what's next"? Having some sort of plan helps me stay positive through this looooong process. I research a lot so I can stay informed and ask questions to get me to the next step.

    I wish you the best!
    LC
    Progressive DDD
    Osteoarthritis
    Chronic S1 Radiculopathy
    Discectomy L5-S1 2002
    Discectomy, Laminotomy/Foraminotomy L3-S1 January 2014
    Bilateral SI Joint Fusion and 2 level spinal Fusion October 2014
  • I have been asking whats next for years & now i have been surgically fixed beyond repair it seems i have been put in the "too hard basket". Or at least that's how i feel at the moment. I have researched as much as can & asked questions until i am blue in the face. I am not ready to accept that this is it & i am trying to stay positive ( i know it doesn't sound like it but i am!) I think it's the lack of sleep & constant pain is getting to me & some how i think you know what that's like. For some good news i have been to 3 interviews with my pain clinic & have been accepted for there 3 week pain management coarse. Hopefully they will give me some help with trying to live with this condition. I will be going too see my GP next week & i will ask him if there is any other drug combination that might help with the pain such as Cymbalta.
    Regards Allan
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