Did my PN return after cervical spine fusion?

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Any input would be helpful. I'm 50. Is it possible for PN to return years after shingles due to surgery?

I had shingles in 2012. It affected my RIGHT breast, shoulder, arm and upper back. The PN lasted for about 6 months. It greatly decreased to not needing any Neurotin for it. In 2015 I had a bulging disc in my neck that paralyzed my LEFT side. (Woke up one morning and the entire left side of my body was numb). I had nerve root damage. I had cervical spine fusion surgery. From the moment I woke up from surgery til today, 15 months later. My RIGHT shoulder and arm is in pain. Nothing shows up on CT, X-rays or MRI's. I've had Nerve Conduction Study w/ needle test, (2 weeks ago) on both arms which shows nerve damage and weakness.

Now understand, my pain has not been to the level as it was during Shingles, but it is constant.

Could the spinal surgery have triggered my PN again?

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  • Posted

    I'm not a doctor, I'm a fellow sufferer. At the moment no pain because of a Nerve Block injection in the occipital nerve. I've spoken with 3 neurologists and 1 anaesthetist. The frustration was I couldn't get them to understand my condition in the way I understand it. They all seemed to include PHN in the category of nerve pain. Whatever, it's all neuralgia, maybe they're right. Maybe there isn't any further you can go with it, nerve pain is the result and they can treat the cause sometimes, not often. Mostly they can only offer pain relief. The Nerve Block injection I had was very effective and I can go back and have the injection maybe 3 times. After that, which would be in the long term, last resort, Nerve Ablation.

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    • Posted

      So sorry you are a suffering also. I haven't been offered any treatments other than pain medication. Physical therapy left me bedridden for days.

      Because of moving to a new state, I'm now seeing my 3rd neurosurgeon in 18 months. The first was the one who did the surgery on my neck. His response to my pain on my right side was "lets watch it and see how it goes. You're going to have pain. Here's a prescription". The second one was just after I moved. His response was "I didn't do the surgery. I don't see anything on your last MRI. I don't see anything I can do for you. You need to contact pain management". My neurosurgeon now ordered an X-ray, new MRI's and the nerve Conduction study. She is saying it is very possible it could be from the surgery "awakening" the Shingles virus or the PostHepathic Nuropathy again. She's saying that it would be very interesting if it had and a very possible link. She can't remember ever hearing about this before. I came on here to see if I'm the only one

      I'm on oxycodone, Neurotin, ibuprofen and Tegretol. I'm seeing pain management. I fully believe I'll be on pain meds the rest of my life. I hate it!!!

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    • Posted

      Hi there, reading your mail now I notice something I hadn't thought of before; the neurologists really don't know what to do about pain, the experience of pain. They refer to it as pain management, it's not their speciality. Another example is the neurosurgeon who said it would be very interesting if there was a possible link with PostHerpetic Neuralgia and the condition you had before. This sounds to me like she's thinking of an academic study she could start on, and she doesn't really have anything helpful to say about the pain. It's possible that asking neuorlogists and neurosurgeons what to do about pain will never lead to very much. Sad to say, we have to go on helping each other, sharing experiences etc. That's the only way.

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    • Posted

      Definitely agree with you about that. Hadn't thought of it like that. After she got the results of the new MRI and NCS she did say "I can't see anything structurely wrong. There's nothing related to your spine that I can fix with a knife. I'll have to send you to an orthopedic dr. Continue seeing pain management". I'm glad to have someone who understands about how frustrating it is to have pain EVERY day. This is a great foram to exchange ideas and to not feel alone.

      I'm glad the shots have helped you. I sorry to hear they only last a few months and eventually you'll be forced to deal with pain again.

      I was a single parent of three and worked over 20 years in manufacturing. I wasn't a wimpy housewife who was fragile. Now I'm on federal disability and can't hardly drive a car.

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    • Posted

      (2nd reply)

      You may be right about her thinking about it for a new academic study. She is affiliated with a semi-major medical university. I would be a willing participant.

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    • Posted

      Yes, this is it exactly. I discussed the same thing with one of my neurologists; if he wanted to do a study I'd be the guinea pig. We need to build up a knowledge base to share with all PHN sufferers. Learn fro everything, become experts in the subject. This what this forum is for...

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    • Posted

      It's a life-changer. Just getting used to that is a struggle in itself. But it's just doing it bit by bit, try to find the most comfortable way to get around. Two neurologists said that in their experience, the pain changes after a year, something about body/mind getting used to it. It's not much by way of an optomistic view, but it is something. It can ease the struggle a bit maybe.  

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