Hi folks...first post here after lurking and reading up a bunch...I've found the site to be very helpful so far.
My situation with my cervical spine:
- 5+ years of "issues" that I can directly connect to my neck, and a shoulder injury over 15 years ago that may be contributing.
- DDD at all levels of my cervical spine
- Results from recent MRI: 3 herniated discs (C3/4, C5/6, C6/7) and one bulge at C4/5; plenty of bone spurs
- 2006 MRI showed DDD and one herniated disc, so looks like I've progressed (not in a good way)
- Primary symptoms: chronic and unrelenting neck pain, right shoulder and arm weakness (extreme), pain (constant but tolerable, although I have a high pain threshold), numbness and tingling in my right hand and fingers
Here are my questions for those of you in the know and with experience:
- My ortho is suggesting ACDF at C5-6. Does this make sense based on the high level summary of my symptoms?
- I asked my ortho about ARD as an option...I know he does this procedure (he highlights it on his website), but he seemed unenthusiastic about discussing this as an option. We didn't talk in much detail about it, but he mentioned issues with insurance coverage, hospital approval of the procedure, and lack of long term studies. I'm obviously concerned about what I've read about adjacent level issues after ACDF, especially since I have established problems at several other levels. Any thoughts on this?
- I've read various articles and studies on outcomes, but are folks finding relief from the neck pain after ACDF? I'd also hope that the arm weakness would improve.
- I realize everyone heals differently, but on average could I return to my knowledge worker job (from home, at minimum) within a week or two of surgery?
- Would I be able to handle a 10+ hour flight and week long vacation 3 months after surgery, as long as I used common sense and took it easy?
Thanks in advance for the insights...I'll be posting more in the coming weeks...