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Bad numbness in legs now while deciding on cervical acdf. Please help

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,622
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:34 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I am so sorry to bother everyone, but I havent slept all night. I am currently seeing surgeons to decide about this ACDF 2 level surgery for two herniated discs c5-6 & c6-7. The last few days, as soon as I lay down, both of my arms are extremely numb (this started coming on slowly), but my left leg is also extremely numb and losing all of its feeling. I am very scared and cant get to the surgeon fast enough. I never heard of cervical spine issues causing leg problems. Can this be the anxiety from the surgery? Has anyone ever had this happen? I never had lower back or leg problems. Please help. Thanks, Maria
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Comments

  • Cervical issues can definitely effect your legs. Before my last cervical fusion my surgeon said have surgery ASAP, don't wait until you have to come here in a wheelchair. I now have the feeling back in all my fingers and I can use my R arm again. And the pain in my shoulder is no longer a 9 or 10, more like a 3 or 4 now. This surgery really helped me, I hope it helps you too.
    Faith M
  • RangerRRanger on da rangePosts: 805
    Hi Maria,
    Assuming you have had MRI's, EMG's, and the other proper testing for your symptoms I would say your Dr's are on the right track. I am 2 years post-op
    of a corpectomy, discectomy, 3 level fusion of C3 thru C6 with a cage, strut,
    plates, rods, and screws installed both from the anterior and posterior side.
    Due to other circumstances I had waited too long and have permanent nerve
    damage to my left hand. I did have numbness to my left thigh two years prior but that was resolved with a laminectomy to L4 thru L6.
    Wish you the best, let me know if I can help you with any questions.
    Take care,
    Ranger
  • I had pain and numbness in my left leg and also left arm numbness from disc herniations at C5 - C7. I had had arm pain for years but the leg involvement was what made me consider surgery.

    I had a two level ACDF last Monday. I spent about four months meeting with doctors before deciding to have surgery and my leg actually was mostly better even before the surgery. Now that the surgery is over it feels even better. I'm just waiting for some nerve pain in my shoulder to go away.
  • Pain in your legs can definetly come from your cervical spine. I am having a fusion of C5-6 on Aug 24, my first symtom that things had changed was tingling of my rt foot and leg below the knee when I tilted my head down. The tingling soon went into my rt arm and hand, and then it was pain in my arm and hand too. My neurologist told me it was all from my neck and sent me directly to a neurosurgeon. Surgeon 1,and 2 said that my leg symptoms were not from my C spine. I new in my heart that all of this was connected. I have had lumbar surgery and this felt completely different. I then went to surgeon 3 who is doing my surgey. He agreed that the leg symptoms are coming from my C spine. Unfortuately after seeing him my leg and food started to get stiff, mostly in the morning. When I spoke to him, he said it's from nerve compresion, and the surgery should help it. I sure hope it does, so hard to walk in the morning.

    ilene
    Ilene
  • Thank you all. I am seeing the dr. later today and hope that I like him. I am in NY and it takes forever to get an appt with anyone, so if I am not comfortable with him, I have to wait all over again. I am so scared to have this done, even though it is not my personality. For some reason, this problem has brought on extreme anxiety and hit me like a brick. I am sure I will be so much better off after the surgery and all of the uncertainty is gone. I have read alot of people like you who have gotten help and I am trying to focus on all of you, instead of the horror stories. Meanwhile the wait is almost killing me. lol. I am thinking of stupid things like my sensitivity to meds and what if I am nauseous and throw up and do damage, my getting nauseous on pain meds (that I will undoubtedly need), my getting worse and having to be on pain meds the rest of my life, etc. The list goes on. I am really driving myself crazy. Thanks for all of your encouragement. Maria
  • You have to quit "putting the cart before the horse". You may be surprised and be one of the ones who goes into surgery and comes out of it with a very smooth recovery. Don't get all worked up about something you have no certainty of. It's like refusing to get into a car, because some people have bad accidents.

    Make sure you write down ALL of your concerns and take that with you to see the doc today. That way you won't forget something and then fret unnecessarily over that.

    "C"
  • Do your homework and understand the procedure the surgeons are suggesting and why. Here is a list of questions that may help with the appointment today. Hope it helps, let us know how you make out.

    http://www.spine-health.com/blog/surgery/38-questions-ask-your-surgeon-having-back-surgery
  • Thanks guys. I went to the neurosurgeon yesterday and he said although I have protrusion of two discs they are only hitting the spinal fluid and not the cord, so the surgery wouldnt help (2nd opinion that said the same thing). As relieved as I am, I am also disappointed b/c I have complete tingling in both arms and one leg when laying down and all day numbness and weakness in my arm. How can they expect you to live like this? Once again, I woke up with anxiety (this time not from the surgery) but from the same underlying problem of this numbness. It is very scary. Does anyone take anything that helps with this? I am scared that since it has gotten worse in the last few weeks, it only has to keep getting worse. I mean, who gets better on their own? I was thinking of an antidepressant just to stop thinking about it so much. Well, hope you are all feeling well (relatively speaking) today. Thanks again. Maybe I will write into the pain mgmt and see who takes what for the numbness.

    Maria
  • Sorry you are having problems with ur arms and legs.

    I have two herniations in C5-C7, with other things. All is mild to moderate. Herniations 2 to 3 mm, not touching the cord.

    I have had pain for almost two years. Anyhow most all my pain is down the left side and back of my neck. When my neck pain gets bad and the muscles go into spasm my left shoulder pain increases and it goes into my left arm. Right now I only get numbness or falling asleep in my pinkie and ring finger. I get pain on the tri-cep area ... Then the pain goes into my left hip, knee, buttock, ankle, foot, behind my thigh. And the leg pain only comes really when the left arm etc is really bad.

    I think I asked my neurologist one time why, and he said it was from my neck. That it sorta affects the whole spine. Or some reasoning like that. I think I'll ask him again on Friday.

    Good luck!
    BFP
  • kkuylen said:
    I am so sorry to bother everyone, but I havent slept all night. I am currently seeing surgeons to decide about this ACDF 2 level surgery for two herniated discs c5-6 & c6-7. The last few days, as soon as I lay down, both of my arms are extremely numb (this started coming on slowly), but my left leg is also extremely numb and losing all of its feeling. I am very scared and cant get to the surgeon fast enough. I never heard of cervical spine issues causing leg problems. Can this be the anxiety from the surgery? Has anyone ever had this happen? I never had lower back or leg problems. Please help. Thanks, Maria
    Hi Maria, I would guess you have lumbar problems too. When I had my cervical fusion while I was recovering I bent over (which was a NO NO) the wrong way without thinking and I herniated 2 lumbar discs. 6 months later had to have a 2 level diskectomy in my back. When is your doctors appointment hun????
    2005-ACDF with Corpectomy at C3-C-5.
    2006-L4-L5 diskectomy.
    2009-Cervical laminectomy at C3.
    Steroid injections series x 4.
  • Thanks so much for your replies. It does help, as I am very confused right now. Currently, my right arm still feels funny, but the neurosurgeon said the discs are only touching the spinal fluid and not the spinal cord, so surgery wouldnt alleviate the problem. I think my problem is that when my arm gets numb and tingly, I get scared and it causes alot of anxiety and that makes the tingling get worse. As a matter of fact, when I lay down now in bed, both of my arms and legs gets very numb and tingly and I have read many people with anxiety get that. I claim anxiety is to blame b/c I have lost 15 pounds (wasnt heavy before) from this and also have that very edgy feeling going on all day. I had anxiety a few years back after a number of miscarriages and still havent solved the problem, so it is problem a conglomerate of everything now. Anyway, all doctors said (3 opinions) that I should have nerve damage signs before doing a surgery like this and not just numbness. They said I do not have any muscle weakness and when I do, then should come back and consider surgery. I hope it is all in my head and I dont seriously have a disc problem. I just started taking anti-depressants to get rid of this horrible anxiety and hopefully, when they kick in, I can stop obssessing over my arm and the way it feels. Anyway, thanks for writing and I hope everyone is feeling good today. Maria
  • kkuylen said:
    Thanks so much for your replies. It does help, as I am very confused right now. Currently, my right arm still feels funny, but the neurosurgeon said the discs are only touching the spinal fluid and not the spinal cord, so surgery wouldnt alleviate the problem. I think my problem is that when my arm gets numb and tingly, I get scared and it causes alot of anxiety and that makes the tingling get worse. As a matter of fact, when I lay down now in bed, both of my arms and legs gets very numb and tingly and I have read many people with anxiety get that. I claim anxiety is to blame b/c I have lost 15 pounds (wasnt heavy before) from this and also have that very edgy feeling going on all day. I had anxiety a few years back after a number of miscarriages and still havent solved the problem, so it is problem a conglomerate of everything now. Anyway, all doctors said (3 opinions) that I should have nerve damage signs before doing a surgery like this and not just numbness. They said I do not have any muscle weakness and when I do, then should come back and consider surgery. I hope it is all in my head and I dont seriously have a disc problem. I just started taking anti-depressants to get rid of this horrible anxiety and hopefully, when they kick in, I can stop obssessing over my arm and the way it feels. Anyway, thanks for writing and I hope everyone is feeling good today. Maria
    So you've had the mri to confirm these disc problems? While most people never get symptoms from disc stuff , there are the few "lucky" ones that do (Us :( ). If they think you have one based on you test results, than you more likely do. Anxiety and depression can make the pain worse , and of course anxiety can cause a lot of different vague things.
    I might suggest if it last long enough, to maybe get something like klonopin or valium to relax your anxiety...If that isn't enough perhaps consider seeing a psychatrist for anti depressants. I got severly depressed with bad anxiety after suffering with pain and pains I didn't know where they came from for months, until I went on an anti-depressant. I don't suggest waiting till mentally it becomes so severe you can't function before looking into these types of medications. They also can help some of the pain , like cymbalta.

    I am curious do you have neck pain, shoulder pain ? What other symptoms do you have? Mine started off with hand falling asleep , then went to headache, neck pain, shoulder pain, arm pain, and leg pain in the course of 6 months.
    I don't mean to scare you, but it can progress, for you I hope it doesn't.

    I wouldn't consider surgery until you've tried medications, PT, and other conservative measures.

    I too was worried about sensitivity to medications, but have found several are no problem. Codiene is one of the milder opiates... Neurontin works for nerve pain...Soma is a strong muscle relaxer but can be cut in half and your body will get used to it in a week or two...

    Well good luck
    J
  • Ive read some of your posts and am sorry that you (and all of us) are going through this, as well. You look so young to be dealing with this. I am only 39 and say that about myself too. Anyway, Ive learned the hard way that this can cause anxiety. Mine was kind of the opposite of yours. It started with neck pain, became daily and now the pain has subsided , but I have the arm numbness. At night, when I lay down, both arms and legs get numb, but I am almost 100% convinced that is the anxiety b/c I wake up shaking and no desire to eat, very anxious, etc. that I didnt have before. Also, I found that the last few nights when I realized it was anxiety and dismissed it as such, it didnt happen as bad. Too much of a coincidence, I think. Once again, I am only thinking its anxiety b/c I have all of the other symptoms too.

    I had decided to start on the lexapro, since I took it a few years ago and tolerated it very well. (I had a number of miscarriages and surgeries). I went up sooo slowly beginning at 2.5 and weaned up, b/c I had a horrible experience with paxil at the full dose. But today, I saw a neurologist and he said to hold off on that, gave me flexeril and said that may help the inflammation and I may not need it. Since its only been two days at 2.5, I dont think Im set back that much, so Im gonna stop and try the flexeril a few nights. I may end up taking the lex regardless, b/c like I said when my arm gets numb, I get so nervous and scared. And the xanax is only a temp fix, so if I cant stop obssessing over this, I will try the lex to conquer it once and for all.

    I am doing a EMG to see if theres nerve damage, but he said my muscle strength is good. So hopefully, I can stop thinking it will get worse and start thinking it may get better instead. They say if you pray to God, you should expect and be confident that He will answer your prayers, and not just hope He will. I need to start doing that.

    Well, thanks for writing. Ill keep you guys posted.

    Maria
  • kkuylen said:
    Ive read some of your posts and am sorry that you (and all of us) are going through this, as well. You look so young to be dealing with this. I am only 39 and say that about myself too. Anyway, Ive learned the hard way that this can cause anxiety. Mine was kind of the opposite of yours. It started with neck pain, became daily and now the pain has subsided , but I have the arm numbness. At night, when I lay down, both arms and legs get numb, but I am almost 100% convinced that is the anxiety b/c I wake up shaking and no desire to eat, very anxious, etc. that I didnt have before. Also, I found that the last few nights when I realized it was anxiety and dismissed it as such, it didnt happen as bad. Too much of a coincidence, I think. Once again, I am only thinking its anxiety b/c I have all of the other symptoms too.

    I had decided to start on the lexapro, since I took it a few years ago and tolerated it very well. (I had a number of miscarriages and surgeries). I went up sooo slowly beginning at 2.5 and weaned up, b/c I had a horrible experience with paxil at the full dose. But today, I saw a neurologist and he said to hold off on that, gave me flexeril and said that may help the inflammation and I may not need it. Since its only been two days at 2.5, I dont think Im set back that much, so Im gonna stop and try the flexeril a few nights. I may end up taking the lex regardless, b/c like I said when my arm gets numb, I get so nervous and scared. And the xanax is only a temp fix, so if I cant stop obssessing over this, I will try the lex to conquer it once and for all.

    I am doing a EMG to see if theres nerve damage, but he said my muscle strength is good. So hopefully, I can stop thinking it will get worse and start thinking it may get better instead. They say if you pray to God, you should expect and be confident that He will answer your prayers, and not just hope He will. I need to start doing that.

    Well, thanks for writing. Ill keep you guys posted.

    Maria
    Flexeril is a muscle relaxer, I've never heard of it relieving inflammation though. I tried that and it just made me too off balance and sleepy, and a bit paranoid lol. Lexapro is good I'm o n 10 mg. I've tried to get off it, but after awhile the crying and pain increases and I have to get back on. It is disappointing, because of the weight gain.

    Yeah, (well that's an old pic) I am 27. I first started with problems in the last months of being 25.

    I had an emg but I don't think it showed more than tension and maybe a little carpal tunnel on my left wrist. Which is weird since I don't use the mouse with that hand and type equally. Weird. I'm right handed too.

    Get the anxiety under control and then you'll probably be left with what is really going on and then it is easier to treat.

    :)
  • Thats exactly what I am going to do. Thanks. I have to start very slowly though, my anxiety gets worse when I first take it. How long did it take to help you? And did you wean up? Hope youre feeling good today, Maria
  • kkuylen said:
    Thats exactly what I am going to do. Thanks. I have to start very slowly though, my anxiety gets worse when I first take it. How long did it take to help you? And did you wean up? Hope youre feeling good today, Maria
    Yeah. Well I started on 5mg and I think I did that for a few days and went to 10mg, since I didn't have any problems with 5mg.

    It took about four weeks, but I felt a bit better by two weeks.

    Yeah, it is best to get the anxiety under control, but if you have to take any other pain meds etc then of course take those too.

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