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Wondering if I should back out of surgery...new to forum

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,670
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:30 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Hi All :),
I've had neck pain in the past, an epidural steroid helped then (3 years ago) but this time, beginning in Feb, I had new symptom, burning arm/shoulder pain and some weakness in left arm. Saw the ortho and had an MRI. I have a herniated disc and disc degeneration, he recommended fusion surgery (my insurance won't pay for artificial disc) because of weakness and compression. I chose physical therapy first and had 5 weeks without much improvement, the arm pain decreased though it moved into my elbow and forearm, but the weakness in my tricep and wrist did not improve. I saw ortho two weeks ago and my surgery is scheduled for June. That said, suddenly in the last 2 weeks, after I stopped PT, my symptoms are improving a lot. I have little pain, just usually at night or unless I look up a lot. The only think I'm noticing now is I'm getting some tingling into my fingertips now. Has anyone had this type of progression before? I'm planning to contact my doctor but I'm just wondering if anyone's had similar symptoms. Thanks for any info you can share!!


  • RangerRRanger on da rangePosts: 805
    Hey lopi7,

    Don't be too quick to cancel your surgery. You said you notice tingling in your fingertips now, could be a sign of nerve damage starting. I had the same symptoms as you have but my neck and shoulder pain did not get any less.
    I may have waited too long to have my symptoms checked out due to other
    issues and now I have permanent nerve damage as I am almost two years
    post-op of a major c-spine overhaul. Still I am very satisfied with my results as what could have happened if I elected not to have the surgery may have been catastrophic. Ask lots of questions and weigh the options. Whatever you decide do what is best for you and never look back.
    Take care,
  • I have my surgery scheduled for late June and I'm a nervous wreck. It's been three years and I hope I haven't had any permanent nerve damage. Good Luck and do what is best for you.

  • Cindyx3 if you got money from the accident you should get an ADR that way you wont have your life ruined from fusion surgery like most of the people on this forum...
  • Hey there Lopi,
    I would have to agree, don;t cancel your surgery.I just had a PLIF L2-L3. About a week before , I started to think the same thing,until I was planting a few spring bulbs(wanted to have them in before my surgery) I thought, you know, maybe I just need some better drugs to help me cope,(I had just quit my job too)then my daughter took a picture of me while I was planting the bulbs. When I saw it I could not believe how much pain my face reflected.I had just spent 20 minutes laying on the sidewalk, waiting for a spasm to subside.Get the surgery...follow your Dr's orders to a tee.
    Both of my cervical fusions were successful,but after I had the 2nd one,My Drs did discover I also had some issues in my shoulder. So maybe that's what's going on with you too.
    You maybe have 2 issues.I hope it goes well for you...it's scary, but you'll be ok. Have a good day....Sagehen
  • I had your exact same symptoms and even though your feeling better, trust your surgeon when he says it's time for surgery because it could spare you permanent nerve damage. After the onset of my symptoms (severe muscle spasms in my back, 24/7 tingling and numbness in right arm, and losing the use of my left arm along with tennis-elbow-type pain) it was only five months until I had surgery. All those symptoms (except muscle spasms) were gone immediately afterwards and I'm glad I had it done. What I feel now is not great, but better than it was pre-surgery.

  • Hey if you are having doubts, a second opinion wouldn't hurt! I'm a firm believer in only having spine surgery if it is absolutely necessary. You and your doctor should have this discussion about what you are risking if you wait. Are the nerves compressed or the cord? Is your pain coming from bone spurs? Do you have stenosis? Find out the whys he wants you to do surgery and if there are any other courses of treatment. I think it is wonderful that your symptoms are improving.

    One thing to remember is that often surgeons will recommend having an ESI before they will do surgery. The steroid they inject can help reduce the inflammation causing the nerve root compression. It doesn't fix the herniation, but if it relieves the symptoms, often surgeons will not operate. So my suggestion would be to ask if the tingling in your fingertips is something to worry about and if waiting for surgery will be detrimental in the long run.

    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
  • JKDE302 said:
    Cindyx3 if you got money from the accident you should get an ADR that way you wont have your life ruined from fusion surgery like most of the people on this forum...
    I keep seeing your posts everywhere supporting ADRs and I'm just wondering if you have had one. Your list of symptoms seems seems long but doesn't say what kind of treatment you are/have received.

    Please keep in mind that the ADR is not possible for everyone. Fusion is still the gold standard in the US, and for someone who may only have a herniated disc, the ADR sounds like a viable option. But not sure if it will help those with bony osteophytes, face problems, foraminal stenosis, etc. If an ADR is possible, that is wonderful. Fritz, a former member here, has had great success with hers. But again, it isn't for everyone.

    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
  • I had pain off and on before my suregery it would get better and then it would get worse. Speaking for myself my 3 level fusion is the best thing I have done I just wish I had done it sooner. I am more than 3 months post op and can say for the first time in a long time I am pain free. I am starting PT this week and hopefully I will get back some of the strength I have lost in my left arm. I may not get it back but you never know.
  • sorry hit enter twice.
  • I agree you should get a 2nd opinion for your surgery if you're feeling uncomfortable. Take care and good luck. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • I can only say this to you. When it comes to nerve damage time is of the essence. Just keep that in mind before cancelling surgery. It's a very difficult balancing act I know. Surgery is a tough decision to make but the sooner the better if you want to save the nerves. But with that said I agree with the second opinion. I got one this time before having a second surgery and I'm glad I did.
  • Tonya is right, don't waste too much time. You've had problems for over 3 years. It was 4 yrs before I had surgery, and I tried EVERYTHING conservative-no results. Now I haven't healed the way I wanted to, and have other issues/along with nerve damage! I would get a second opinion and do it fast, and then make your decision.
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