Acdf cage fusion incoming - a few questions

A spine surgeon recently recommended a 2 level acdf at c5-6 and c6-f with cages, plate and my bone for graft.  I've had increasing pain in my back between my spine and shoulders and across the top of my back to the point I can't be on my feet for long.  This surgeon says the pain comes from my neck injury but I'm having a hard time finding any connection between cervical herniations and back pain.  Most sources on the internet, including this site, seem to suggest cervical neck pain would manifest in shoulders and down arms and hands.

has anyone had similar pains and diagnosis?  Is it possible for neck pain to manifest in upper back?

ive been through the ringer with tests, scans and other medical opinions.  One surgeon claims acdf surgery is a terrible idea because I don't show the classic symptoms aside from 2 years of neck pain and even accused the other surgeon of beng quick to cut (I am getting a third opinion).  Although about a year ago I did have a epidural that seemed to cure a pins and needles feeling in my right shoulder and hand.

thanks in advance for any advice



  • PaulaOPPaulaO Asheville NCPosts: 4
    In my case, pain in that area prior to surgery was muscle spasms and the like. Everything up there is all interconnected and very close together. Irritate one thing and they all react. It is like you've twisted your ankle and the limping has irritated your knee.
  • xerxes501xxerxes501 New YorkPosts: 9
    edited 10/08/2016 - 6:33 AM
    This is encouraging, at l east in terms of possible relief.  I was hit by a car as a pedestrian which started all this.  I am going to see a third surgeon soon.  Hopefully he will give me a positive diagnosis as the first surgeon.  Thanks!
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  • Quick update - It turns out I have 2 discs "abutting" my spinal cord and one disc is impinging. I have seen 4 surgeons/specialists so far. Two, a spine and neuro, say surgery is a bad idea at this time. They want me to continue with PT, chiro, pain management, and acupuncture. I have been doing most of this for 2 years already. Two more spine surgeons want to perform an ACDF surgery. One wants only a 2 lvl, while the other wants to do a 3 lvl. And around I go again. The upper back pain is so bad at this time that I can barely be vertical for a couple of hours.
  • I can't advise you whether it is a good idea or not for YOU to go ahead with the surgery. But here is the process of thought I went through.

    It was pretty obvious my level of pain had escalated, especially when my shoulder range of motion was quite degraded and my biceps and hand became quite weak.

    So I tried physical therapy (not the first time over 20 years for neck issues). The failure of PT was another indicator for me. In fact this was the first time in many rounds of PT where certain treatments such as traction actually scared me, because they worsened my condition instantly (although temporarily).

    My final straw was that my condition interfered with my ability to exercise, even walking was becoming a chore. Exercise at a medical gym has been an important part of treating other issues I have, including fibromyalgia. So that was the final straw. The problem was now becoming a whole-health issue.

    So I gambled by having the surgery, and I won the gamble. It worked and I'm so grateful. BTW, one surgeon wanted to do a single-level fusion. I did not trust him and ended up with a second surgeon who did 2 level fusion. He was very good in setting my expectations. This may not be the last surgery, because the rest of my neck has issues and the fusion can put stress on adjoining joints. Still worth it.
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