Problems with swallowing because of multiple cervical fusions

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Hi all, I have had all my cervical discs fused. Well for the six years I had issues with swallowing and last year an ENT doctor had me do a swallowing test and sure enough the rods and screws in my neck cause my flap in my throat to hit against the plates and well I can barely swallow and I choke on food. So I have to eat basically over cooked veggie and bean watered soup and liquids. I have lost tons weight and still losing. Also now pain is developed in the neck along with feeling like I am being waterboarded and drowning, it is the worst feeling all the time like I am being choked. I was told they cannot remove the rods and screws it is to dangerous. They pit me through a speech therapy and all of that too.

I am getting worse and I am at my wits end. Has anyone else gone through this where you can barely swallow and your throat hurts all the time and you feel like your drowning or feeling like you are being choked? If so did you get and help if so how? I am desperate for relief.

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6 Replies

  • Posted

    I do not know about the technical details of your problem, but it might be the case that it has become worse because of soreness and/or inflammation because of the impact of your swallowing against the rods and screws. So trying to reduce the stress on your throat / oesophagus by relaxing it as much as possible would be worth trying so that any swelling subsides. Sometimes alternative therapies like acupuncture might be able to relieve the discomfort a bit notwithstanding that there seems to be an obvious mechanical reasons for it. Likewise relaxation therapy might give a little bit of relief but I am not suggesting that it will cure the underlying issue.

    There may be some medication that will reduce the pain in your throat / oesophagus.

    There are all kinds of ideas for soft food / smoothies and other food that is easy to swallow, using which should be helpful for maintaining your nutrition levels.Try the website of the Oesophageal Patients Association under Recipes.

    Some of your sensations might be because of the nerve system, so the ultimate answer might only be from a specialist ENT / surgeon / neurologist possibly using your right to ask for a second opinion, which in this case sounds very sensible.What might be too dangerous for one surgeon might be possible for another top, experienced surgeon.

    • Posted

      Thanks I do smoothies and other things. However yes the choking and pain is not fun. cannot afford acupuncture. Yes I need to see an ENT. I have had seven surgeries c1 thru c7 are all fused. Five are in the front two from the back of the neck. So suffering is not fun.

  • Posted

    Hello. I am sorry to read about your problems swallowing. After having had two cervical discs fused, I too developed issues swallowing. Long story short, I was diagnosed with Achalasia (cardiospasm). It's a rare disorder making it difficult for food and liquids to pass into the stomach. I had the POEMS surgery done by Dr. Qiang Cai at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. It was life changing for me. A year later, I am able to eat and swallow whatever I want. I believe this surgery saved my life. You may need to research the disease and surgery. I hope you find some relief. You described some of the same symptoms I had and it was horrible.

    • Posted

      The tests for achalasia are to have an endoscopy in case of some kind of physical obstruction, a barium swallow test, and, sometimes manometry.

      There is 'A Patient's Guide to Achalasia' as a source of information, obtainable if you google this title and free e-books.

      It sounds different from what you describe, unless there is also some form of condition affecting the nerve endings driving the muscles affecting peristalsis, the process of food being passed through the oesophagus.

  • Posted

    Hi thanks. I had a swallow test that showed narrowing and that the flap in the back of my throat is hitting the all the five screws and plates narrowing my swallowing ability. However now my throat hurts and burns and I feel like I am being choked all the time it makes you panic like you cannot breath. I know it has to do with the screws and rods in my throat. I am tired of dealing with this. I have a barium swallow coming up and I have endoscopy at the end of next week for stomach issues. I will see a ENT on April 1st. I just wish they can take out these screws and stuff out of my neck. Man I am getting depressed about all this stuff.

  • Posted

    Sorry for the typos! On this image you can see the rods and the way the neck buldges forward. image

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