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Hello All!!

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:36 AM in New Member Introductions
Hi everyone! My name is Ginger, I am about 45mins. old to this site and have found it to be very informative. I was looking for a category for this post but could not find the selection, "all of the Above" I'm a 37 yr. old healthy female married with two young boys. I have 5 herniated disks with compression of the left side spinal cord, multi-level DDD with reversal of cervical lordosis.

I have been suffering mildly with this problem since 2003 with a re-injury on 1/08 that put me to my knees. It has been almost two years that I have lived with unmanageable chronic pain, numbness and headaches. I've come to the point where I can't put off surgery any longer. My disks effected are c4 & c5 on the right and disks c5, c6 & c7 on the left. I've been getting steroidal injections with spinal blocks for a couple years now, physical therapy has aggravated me, the pain medicine is not only vital to my being, but has made me lose a couple brain cells. I really can't manage life without them, and with them it takes me an hour or two to get moving and looser in the morning.

So I'm scheduling the surgery that I have been putting off for many reasons including:

[1] most post surgery relieves arm pain only.

[2] I was told by one doctor that their is a possibility I may feel even worse than prior to surgery.

[3] My children are still young and the recovry rate in 3 months.

[4] Oh yes, and that horrible scar in the front of my neck.

The Dr. was going to find that fold but had a very difficult time because I'm only 37 and I don't have a fold. I was told my neck mri was that of an 80yr old!

On the bright side and besides all the fears that I and probably half the population with this problem has, I must go ahead and move forward. Life with chronic pain is DIMto say the least, it's hard to find interest & joy in all of the wonderful things I should be enjoying in life. I have to say instead of beating this pain, I let it take the best of me :S :-S:worried:

However before I have Anterior Diskectomy with Fusion And Godiva Bone Surgery (or whatever it's called) I heard of this, "less invasive cold laser surgery. I don't know the name of it but I actually heard the recovery id overnight and you are free from pain and disk HERNIATION. Now I wonder if I am a candidate for this kind of surgery since my two levels of disks are degenerated so what is left to cold laser away??
I guess all this blibber blab all comes down to these questions. Has anyone on this site with my kind of conditions saw a Dr. that performed cold laser surgery? Has it worked for you to relieve pain? And most importantly how to find out if I'm a candidate for this kind of surgery. I'd like to hope that it's safe for me to try the less invasive surgery first before completely tearing my throat apart and getting artificial bone with screws and titanium plates!!

If anybody out here has some insight for me please share, I am so nervous about getting surgery but definitely cannot live under these circumstances anymore!

Thanks all for reading my book, lol!
Regards and Best of Luck to you all coping with disease and chronic pain


Ginger S.


  • Hi and welcome to spine-health. Sorry don't have any answers for you on cold laser surgery, in fact never heard of it. Google cervical laser surgery and I am sure you will find some facilities. In my state we don't have any spine laser surgery. They will more than likely want a copy of your films to see if you are a canidate. When is, or was your surgery scheduled for? It sounds as though your surgeon is wanting to do a three level fusion. The vertebra are numbered c1-c7 with each containing a disc in the middle. It looks as though the surgeon is doing ACDF c4-c7 which would involve 3 disc. I have the three level fusion from c3-c6 with c6-c7 herniated now. Keep in mind that the success ration goes down with multi-level fusions using cadaver bone. Also that adjacent disc disease is a complication of doing surgery as well.

    What meds are you currently using? How did you injure yourself or did you just wake and it was there. Take a look around a lot of great articles here besides the forums that are doctor written and per-reviewed. You might want to also check out the neck forum as there are many multi-level fusions posting there. Anyway just thought I would stop by and welcome you to spine-health. Take care and keep us posted on what you find out.
  • I have had laser surgery and endoscopic microdiscectomy on my L3/L4 discs and did get relief from the sciatica because it took the pressure off of the nerve. I don't know what cold laser surgery is but I would definitely suggest trying all of the less invasive things that are available before opting for the surgery. If the less invasive procedures fail then you always have the option of surgery. If surgery fails, it can't be undone so you are pretty much stuck with whatever results you get. I think that you would need to have a consult with a doc that performs the cold laser surgery in order to know if you are a candidate or not. Good luck and please keep us posted.
  • I do not think cold laser surgery is the right term. There is cold laser therapy that is used for pain relief, but I do not believe a cold laser is powerful enough to use for surgery.

    In cold laser treatment, the lasers that produce heat also destroy tissue. The cold laser uses a different wavelength of light, so it is able to penetrate deep into tissue without destroying it.

    There are several commercial surgical centers that have the word "laser" in their name. They advertise quite a bit on websites about back care. There is laser surgery, but, it is not done with a cold laser.
  • I understand what a difficult decision it can be regarding surgery. I have never heard of the cold laser surgery you are referring to. However, I wanted to comment on some of the points you made.

    You mentioned that surgery relieves arm pain only. This may or may not be true, depending on your own circumstances. You may also have the benefit of relieving your headaches, because these are likely caused by the tension in your shoulders from your neck problems. If you get your neck fixed, the tension could get better and then the headaches could diminish.

    Recovery does take a while for a typical ACDF, but I think you'll be surprised at how quickly you are up and around post op. The first few days you will need help with your young boys, but after that you should be able to care for them.

    Scarring is an issue. However, within a year it will fade to a thin white line that is barely noticable. No one ever comments about my scar in the front, and it is not hidden by a fold, but I do get comments about the incision on the back of my neck. If the scar is what is stopping you, it really doesn't take long for it to fade away. Until then, it makes a good story.

    I was a little confused at your reference of 5 herniated discs, and then the separation of left and right. Could you explain that more?

    I was almost 41 when I had my ACDF. It seems like 35 to 45 is a very common age for these things to happen.

    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
  • hi and welcome to the forum! :H we are here to offer you support and answer what questions we can. i am sorry you are suffering so and are in so much pain. ~X( you have come to a big conclusion if surgery is your option. have you gotten a second opinion? :? that is so important! good luck! keep doing your homework till you get all the answers you need!! :D Jenny :)
  • and welcome!!! There are less invasive procedures out there, I can't comment on laser surgery, but I had an anterior foraminotomy in April. With that, they trim and remove the protruding/herniated disc matter. With mine, he had to remove some of the vertebrae, as I also had bone spurs, which they removed as well. I had excruciating radicular pain in my shoulder, arm and hand, and it was numb with tingling as well. For the 2.5 months prior to surgery, I couldn't sit upright, let alone stand. I woke up in recovery with no radicular pain, numbness or tingling whatsoever!! It was such a relief. But with the DDD and arthritis, I do still have pain in my neck, and I also still have terrible spasms in my neck/traps. I also have stenosis still at one level. Anyways, my point being that there are less invasive procedures out there, and to keep in mind that surgery of any kind will probably not cure the problem in totality. Oh yes, and the scar really isn't that bad, lol!!! I'm 36, the surgeon cut right in the natural crease, and it's already faded so much. He also used internal stitches, so the incision closed very tight, and you barely notice it now (however, I do still get the double takes by people I don't know, but the people I see every day don't notice it anymore). It kinda grows on you, and as I like to say adds a little character and mystery!!! lol
    Anyways, whatever you decide, I hope you find relief, and good luck!!!
    APROUD CANADIANveteranButNOTa doctor, my thoughts are my own
  • welcome to spine health .as for spine recovery forget 3 months .try 12 !! and like your surgeon has said you may feel worse after {that's why there are forums like this one full of people in pain! anyway hope that you will make some good friends here and get answers to questions
  • Hi Gwennie17,
    Thanks for the welcome. It seems the surgery name, "cold Laser" is not correct in fact, this is why I am having problems finding a Dr. that does such a treatment. I saw a brief part of a MD discussing this topic on t.v. What they did was remove some bone to relieve the sciatica.
    I'm not sure if I have enough bone to do such a procedure. This took place by a MD in Manhattan which is about 40 mins. from my house. I will have to do more research. Thanks for the feedback!
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