Radio clips from Living Pain Free with Dr. Marc Darrow, MD, JD.

Today’s clips –

  • Pain after cervical disc replacement surgery
  • Poor shoulder surgery outcome

Pain after cervical disc replacement surgery

In this radio clip, an emailer asks Dr. Darrow about her husband’s pain after cervical disc replacement surgery. Dr. Darrow reads the email which begins with how much pain her husband is in.

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Dr. Darrow: This woman writes about her husband: “He is now in so much pain. The the worst is waking up. The pain is horrible but he gets up and goes to work. He gets no help with his pain. Please is there anything that can be done to assist him, he has been living with this for years and is getting worse since the surgery. Can you please help?”

So this is a cry for help because of a failed surgery.

I think the key points here are that number one:

  • This gentleman had cervical degenerative disc disease and this poor guy had a neck surgery for it and had a disc removed from his neck. I’m not sure what good that did because he’s in worse pain now. I see this all the time where people come in and have discectomy is and they’re worse. Sometimes the surgeon will put in what’s called a spacer or some type of plastic or metal device between the vertebrae to take the place of the disc they removed. Now some of these surgeries must work very well or they couldn’t keep doing them but I get cases where the surgery didn’t work. Should there ever be a surgery done for degenerative disc disease. In my position, here in the patients I see and the work that I do of regenerating the body, regrowing tissue by doing injections of platelets or stem cells or mixed together that we seem to get people better who have degenerative disc disease.

Not relying on MRI

  • I see many people with degenerative disc disease that don’t have any pain. So I’m not going to trust an x-ray or MRI to decide for me if the person has pain. I know this is a mind-bender for a lot of people because we grew up thinking that if we see something on an MRI or an x-ray that must be the truth of who we are and it just is not the case. It is difficult sometimes to  explain to new patients who come in that what they see on MRI and what they really have can be two different things. Studies show that people that have no pain at all can have terrible things in their MRIs and X-rays and vice versa, they can have terrible pain and their MRI or x-ray shows nothing. We have to be very careful, as doctors to remember to use our hands so as doctors we need to touch the area, move the person around, find out where the pain is being generated from.

The failed surgery

  • It is possible in this case that we discectomy in this man’s neck which was a surgery that in my book should never have been done.
  • Discectomy is a drastic surgery. It removes a disc to get rid of neck pain or back pain and in this case it didn’t work. I get patients like this all the time. They come in after these failed surgeries, failed meaning surgery was done and it didn’t work, now with a diagnosis of failed shoulder surgery, failed hip surgery, failed neck or back surgery. What do these recognized diagnosis tags tell you? That way too many of these surgeries are being done and they are failing people. These failed surgeries should have never been done in the first place.

How can this person be helped?

  • Regenerative medicine using platelets and stem cells are typically the answer for how to heal these areas. These treatments do not work all the time, but I am saying is that the landscape of medicine in musculoskeletal and orthopedics is totally changing from doing surgery to regenerating the body. The easy part about doing regenerative medicine is it’s a very simple injection process we don’t have to open up the body with a scalpel of the side effects are very minimal if any very rare to have side effects if possible that’s very rare wear a surgery there are many side effects.

In a person with failed neck surgery, we would have to examine the neck and as mentioned above, physically find the spots in the neck that is causing this person’s pain. Then we could develop a program to help alleviate the pain and restore function.

Poor shoulder surgery outcome

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This is an excerpt from Dr. Darrow’s radio show. Here Dr. Darrow discusses an email that was sent in from a person who had a poor shoulder surgery outcome.

The person says: “I agreed to have the surgery and immediately had issues with movement. The doctor said it was a frozen shoulder.” That happened to me too (to Dr. Darrow). I had shoulder surgery done when I was in medical school on my right shoulder because I was very enamored with surgery. I was doing orthopedic surgery at the time. After surgery my shoulder blew up like a balloon and I had a high fever and it took me several years to get that shoulder healed and guess how I healed it? I did it by injecting my shoulder with regenerative medicine injections.

The other shoulder needed surgery because of overcompensation

The person went on to say: “that the doctor said there was nothing he could do but wait and see. I complained to the doctor, he said I would be fine. I eventually hurt my left shoulder from all the overcompensating. The doctor now says I need surgery on that shoulder as well.”

“The doctor did that surgery and said that he couldn’t find anything more (damage that needed repair).”

Dr. Darrow comments: “Maybe because he wasn’t looking at the right things.”

The patient “finally went to well-known surgeon downtown he said I needed a Weaver-Dunn surgery done and he opened me up and decided that it wasn’t damaged like he thought so he didn’t complete the surgery.”

Dr. Darrow comments: “I hear this from patients. They had a surgery and afterwards the surgeon said that there was really nothing there and they closed them back up.”

The person says: “I still have the pain after both surgeries, so you can imagine that I was done with surgery. I was so upset. I ended up finding a pain doctor who treated my left shoulder with trigger point injections which helped somewhat. That doctor also told me that my other doctors didn’t do me any good started. I started working out with my arms for the first time in years. I did elevated push-ups and my arms were burning the next day. So I went to another orthopedic and he did imaging and said my biceps tendon was torn and the other issues he found would require arthroscopic surgery 

I’m 8 weeks out of surgery and in constant pain. The only time i get pain relief is if I do nothing. I’m scared and desperate for some help. When I try to talk to the doctor they immediately talk over me and get me out of there as quick as they can.

I hope that stem cells and platelets can help me. Can you help me please?”

Dr. Darrow answers: Probably I’d have to examine you and see what’s going on. You know how I examine people? I touch them to I find out, with my fingers, what’s going on and find where the pain generator is.

Do you have questions? Ask Dr. Darrow

 

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