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Spinal Cord Disorders Message Board

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It's 4 weeks since my wife had an Anterior Cervical Disection and Fusion (level C4/C5) OP to relieve arm pain after an RTA in Oct 2001. She now has balance problems, i.e she cant stand with her feet together without falling over, and can't walk in a straight line putting one foot infront of the other (tightrope style). The surgeon has ordered an MRI as he thinks there may be pressure on the spine. She also has alot of neck pain, shoulder pain and pain in the back of the neck, although another doctor said that it's early days and this can be expected. Any thoughts on this or similar experiences ?

Hi Paul,

I had ACDF on 2 levels (C5 - C7) with a plate on April 23, 2002. I was in the hospital one night and I was only lightheaded the first day home. I was up and walking a few days after surgery. After 4 weeks, your wife should be feeling much better. I think it would be a good idea to have another MRI, it would show if there was any pressure on the spinal cord. Keep us posted.

I wish you wife the best care.
Hi Paul,

I had ACDF on June 7 at C6-7. You don't mention if your wife is wearing a hard collar, soft collar or no collar. If a hard collar, I can really relate to shoulderblade pain. I'm now in the soft collar (after 6 weeks in the hard one) and my shoulders are much happier.

My neck still is sore in the back. I guess some folks heal faster than others. I still get some pain down the arms. Compressed nerves take a long time to heal, and I must admit there are days where I've wondered if full function will return. It is better than pre-surgery so I keep hoping for continued improvement.

I'm still quite swollen on the left shoulder, and others have also mentioned this lasting for several months post-op.

What concerns me is your comments re: your wife's balance. It's good they are going to do an MRI and hopefully find out what might be causing the difficulty. Keep us posted and I hope our information helps.
Hi Paul,

Would have to agree with everyone - balance problems would indicate pressure on the cord itself - I'm no MD, but that is exactly what I had which was caused by pressure on the spinal cord.

Your wife should definitely get another MRI.

Good luck,

Hi Paul and Welcome.

Balance problems are indeed an indication of spinal cord compression, I know I have them! You mentioned the tightrope walk,this I also find difficult.

Not only that, if I turn suddenly, it also afects my balance.I get the feeling sometimes as if I am drunk, and I dont drink.

ACDF 2 or 3 levels 6/7th August.

Hope this helps, advise you get your wife an MRI soonest!!!

to ALL
To reply to some of the comments. My wife wears a hard collar but doesn't feels this contributes to any shoulder or neck pain. Those who mentioned that the balance problem is related to spinal pressure, what is the cure ?? Will it mean more surgery or is there something else they can do to relieve it or will they not bother ?
Hi Paul,

If the cord compression isn't too severe( The compression is my opinion only) they most probably will try PT and stretching exercises, surgery is always a last resort!!!

On the other hand, it sometimes rectifys itself but only rarely...

Hope this helps

to ALL

Whats PT ??
Sorry Paul,

Physical Therapy...

to ALL

Paul, I was in a car accident, ended up with severe whiplash, and had horrible balance problems, and was very light headed. I had no broken bones, and no herniated disks etc. I ended up going to physical therapy and this finally took care of the balance problems. It could just be in the muscles, which mine was. If your muscles tighten up, they can put pressure on the blood supply to the brain, and cause a whole host of problems. In physical therapy, they knead the knots out of the muscles. Tension can cause this problem, stress, or the surgery itself. I have had to go back to get treated when it came back just from my muscles tightening up because of stress, the lightheadedness came back, dizzy spells etc. If your wife has a muscle problem { which she very well may from having the cervical problem, then the surgery } a good therapist will be able to tell by seeing her in person, her symptoms, and an examination. Please try this if no other problem is found. Good luck
just an update, a CT scan was performed today and the surgeon is going to ring us tommorow with the result. He thinks (without seeing the scan results) that surgery is not required, but a halo brace or more likely a SOMI brace may be required. For those who are scheduled for a ACDF, the surgeon says this is a very uncommon problem and most patients never have any problems at all.

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