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Not sure what to do!!

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,731
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:24 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
4 years ago I was diagnosed with 4 herniated cervical discs. The Neuro Dr. didn't think I was ready for surgery. for 4 years I've suffered with daily stress/tension and with migraines everytime I travel for long periods, mow the yard, sleep wrong, get major stressed...the migraines get so bad they are unbearable. I've been able to treat them with Ibuprofen and heat/cold, until about 6-9 months ago. Since then this treatment has stopped working, and I've had nothing to combat them. I got an MRI and 3 of the discs have improved, the 4th is a slightly worse and I have compression on the spinal cord, however the flexion/extension xrays show that my c-spine is shifting and subluxating backwards causing straightening of my neck and a slight "hump" at c-7/t-1. My Neuro feels that I need to have my c-4 &c-5 fused to give stability to my neck. My problem is for a month and a half I haven't had a single Migraine, I still have daily stress/tension in my neck and it feels like my neck will snap in two, but it is tolerable. I have family and coworkers tell me I should wait to have surgery until I can't bear it anymore. When I have the migraines, I really don't feel like I can bear another migraine, but I haven't had a migraine since I made my Dr's appointment. I feel like I need a migraine to justify having this surgery. When I had my last migraine I had made up my mind to seek treatment, even if it meant surgery, now that he wants to do surgery, I'm so confused as to what to do, does anyone have any insight to my dilemma? :SS
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Comments

  • can really make that decision but I would tend to agree with your family. Surgery should always be a very last resort because it holds no guarantees that it will improve the pain. Some people that have fusion actually have worse pain afterwards. This is just my opinion. You are the only one that knows how bad it really is and if it is worth the risk. Good luck and please keep us posted.
  • other methods of treatment besides meds, such as regular massage to ease the muscles, accupuncture, osteo or even injections.
    It sounds as if when you get the pain you are desperate :''( but when it is OK you are not too worried about it. The good thing is that most the original herniations have improved and that is wonderful. =D>
    I honestly would try everything else before surgery.
    I know massage can sound lame but you want to be strengthening your muscles that support your neck and if they are all knotted up with tension then they cant do their job.
    Blessings Sara O:)
  • :H Hi there, I only just found this site and I am thrilled about it.
    I did want to let you know how my surgery on my c5-6 went. I hurt myself at work, suffered for almost 4 years while fighting work comp for approval ( :W big red tape headache, btw ). Could not move my neck, zilcho quality of life, could not sleep, walk, drive, clean, play with my kids (I THINK THE WORST PART), had the standard migraines and debilitating headaches that you describe and sooo much more. Though I did not have a neuro, I did have a phenomanal spine specialist highly recommended by my moms brother in law who is a fellow at the hospital and retired chief of ortho surgery. I was at my wits end and I DID have a diskectomy with fusion. IT WAS HEAVEN and well worth it. I do have to say, that I was terrified of the thought of the way the surgery is done (they go in through your throat, my scar is minimal and looks fantastic, however, and the worst pain for me in the long run (after the initial few weeks of misery to get to the HEAVEN part, lol) was in my hip where the bone graft was taken from. I personally was terrified of the cadaver bone, though I haven't yet figured out why. Would I do it again? ABSOLUTELY! A thousand times over. I am right now trying to get through all of the stupid steps that you have to take (i.e. injections, pt, etc) to get this same dr. to do a lumbar discectomy and fusion on my L4-5, L5-S1 from the same workplace injury from 2001...hence my screen name...sick of the pain!
    With that said...it absolutely is a tough decision to make, and taking the advice from everyone from your family and friends, who do NOT PHYSICALLY feel your pain, and the drs who make a living off of your pain and trying to make you feel better, is a helpful thing, but you are the only one who can decide if you are in enough pain and at the absolute end of your rope in going for the surgery. Lots of luck to you and in the end..you will make the right decision for you!
  • I received 3 responses and yours was the most helpful. In my first blog I mentioned the migraines (debilitating) but the rest of the time my neck is tolerable, with that being said, that doesn't mean that just because it is tolerable doesn't mean it doesn't get to you sometimes. I definitely have daily pain, just not to the degree that I pace the floor with a wild look on my face trying to think of anything that will stop the insane throbbing inside my head, looking through drawers for just one single lortab that I may have saved from a prescription from 3 years ago. Daily I feel like my neck will snap in two and have a low level headache that never goes away. Sometimes my head is so heavy, it feels good to hold my chin up with my hands to relieve the stress on my neck. For 4 years I have dealt with the whole neck thing, but it seems there comes a time when you grow sick of the daily headaches and for fear of bringing on another migraine you avoid doing most things that could potentially bring about one. Then something as simple as reading a book puts your neck in the wrong position and adds even more stress/ tension to your neck and if you don't stop and treat the pain starting to creep up the back of your neck into your head, you know you're going to have a full blown migraine and sometimes the migraine comes even though you've done everything you could to prevent it.
    Could I wait longer to have surgery until I can no longer stand the pain and have to start missing days of work and risk doing more damage to my neck...yes, but let me ask you this...if you could do it all over again and had known that you could have had the heavenly feeling you have post surgery, before it got as out of control as it was, would you have waited so long to have the surgery, or do you wish you would have done it long before now??
    I can wait longer until my migraines are a weekly thing, but do I want to, not really...but I don't want to rush into something just for the sake of rushing in. I know that my neck will not get fixed without surgery, it's only a matter of time. The question is when is that time. Did you have these same worries before your surgery?
    What I have failed to disclose is that I'm an X'ray/Ultrasound technologist. I've been on the otherside of neck surgery. I used to do the X-rays during the surgeries, so I'm definitely fully aware of what goes on and how the surgery in done. When I first saw my Dr. 4 years ago he was in no rush to push me into surgery. When I saw him a couple of weeks ago, I didn't feel like he was pushing me to do surgery to fill his bank account. He said I could wait a couple/few months, but in the whole skeem of things I'm not sure a couple or few months is really going to matter. The funny thing is this...I used to do xrays for him during his neck/back surgeries...the good thing is, I know from experience that he's a great surgeon.
    Sorry this is so long, but it feels good to get some of my fears out there and face them. It also relieves me to talk to someone who has gone through the surgery and to get to see the otherside of the abyss. Thanks for listening.
  • When I read your initial post, I could feel the frustration, the "fed upness" and the fear. When you are in horrible pain, you just want it gone no matter how, when you aren't in as bad of pain you wonder if it really was that bad of pain and then of course you wonder if delaying it may be okay because you are scared. You know that there are no "do-over's" or "take it back" or "please undo it" once you've had a fusion. That's a frightening thing. Rightly so.

    What I found was that once the pain was removed, I didn't realize how much pain I was actually dealing with on a daily basis and just not acknowledging or "feeling" because I had stuffed it for so long and gotten used to it.

    I have not had a fusion, but have had many other surgeries and procedures. It is never easy to face my fears, but one thing I had to face, was that if I didn't do something about it, my life was going to flush itself down the tube. When I all did was push through work every day, to come home to try and manage and make it through till I could go to bed and pray I could sleep through the pain and dread the waking up part because I knew it was going to hurt like heck, them moment I was awake. No one can be a "real person" when they have to deal with that sort of thing. I was offered opportunities to "fix" the problem and one by one I took them until the only thing left was surgery. When that created problems of its own, many thought I would be bitter and regret my decision. Not at all. Even though I have new issues, they are nothing like what I suffered before surgery and so I have no regrets.

    Sorry to ramble on, but for some reason I just got that "gut" feel from reading your words.

    "C"
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