I have posted already, but as some of you may not know I have had a 3 level ACDF C4-C7. I also woke up from surgery with NEW intense shoulder pain that over 9 months has barely rehabilitated the way it was before the surgery. Plus I had the fusion, 5/2015, unresolved numbness and tingling in my thoracic spine so I got an MRI 9/2015 that did not show any disc herniations, just degeneration, then 2/2016 an MRI of the cervical spine showed a herniation at the base of the fusion C7-T1 that was not there 5 months prior. Between 9/2015 and 12/2015 I herniated the C7-T1. In that time I have done physical therapy at the same location to strengthen myself. When I was done I could still barely move my right arm enough to feel normal. The PT there issues the exercises and the aides watch you and assist you that contributed to the disconnect in communication I think. I tried a second physical therapy place were I would be there for 3 hours and my right arm would be incredibly inflamed, that is when I had the MRI of my shoulder 1/2016 and my neck in 2/2016.
Today I tried a new PT today who told me post fusion, with a new disc herniation at C7-T1, old one at C3-C4 and shoulder tendonosis, calcifications, that my pain is coming from my head and my fear of the old pain!! Needless to say I won't be returning. She did a thorough exam and I'm in a lot of increased pain because of it. Also, she is training a physical therapist so he was learning on me too. They did not mention that nor was it negotiable at my appointment.
During the appointment today, the physical therapist asked me to lie down then lift my head forward with my C4-C7 fusion and new C7-T1 disc herniation and hold it there as long as possible. I told her I don't want to do that. I was taught by my doctor and other PT's that it is bad for the spine and anyone with spine issues to push forward like doing a sit up to get up, but roll to one side and support yourself from the side to get up. She smiled at me like I was crazy then slipped her thin hand under my skull and said, Well you just did it now! I said yes because you pushed your hand in, after I told her no. Plus it was a very small movement. The PT and her student wouldn't clarify if they intended for me to flex forward from the base of my neck or if I could lift up straight inline with my spine and lift my shoulder blades off as well. I did my lift that way and held it. Also I told her my surgeon told me no traction. And what does she do during my exam? She pulls up my legs by the ankles and pulls back. I tell her I feel increased pain in my neck when she does that, she loosens it up a little, then releases and said there, you just had some traction for your whole body, including your neck. She says with a laugh. I want to strangle this lady. My disc hurts now even more and in a new way tonight. I feel like many PT's may even do more harm to complicated patients like myself. It's not like I'm 15 in gym class and you want me to do my sit ups. I'm 42 and I have just been in a hard collar for months, I've been having trouble getting my flexibility back and you want me to push forward on my fusion and a painful disc just to see how strong I am? What?!? What do you think after seeing my flexibility and knowing I had major surgery? Genius.
There is part of me that wonders if part of my issue is me protecting myself from further herniations, that is giving me the continued stiffness and is possibly the reason I was susceptible to getting the disc herniation at C7-T1 with no major incident to speak of except things that happen to everyone. Like I hit a terrible pothole or it possibly happened when I was coughing with aspiration pneumonia 11/2015 after my surgery because I now have issues swallowing. Or maybe it happened during my physical therapy when the PT held onto my head and pulled my chin up while he held my chest down to stretch my scar. That felt so wrong and I couldn't speak while he was holding my chin. I just prayed it wouldn't cause damage.
Sorry for the long rant. If you have read this far you have probably had a similar experience. My PT experiences have been even worse than what I mentioned, I just don't feel like wasting time on more stupid examples. I'm going to try a new therapist Monday. I hate that I have lost PT appointments this year that will be covered by my insurance. I only get 30 a year and have used up 7 as of today trying to find the right PT. Anyone else have this frustration? Are you supposed to feel like your on fire after PT? Should your disc pain feel sharp in a new way after therapy?
Has anyone with a 3 level fusion been told to bring your head towards your chest as much as you can and lift it back as much as possible with disc herniations above and below the fusion?!? They even told me to do neck circles all around. Doesn't seem right. But if anyone with a large fusion is doing things like this I'd love to know!