Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

Going in for C-6 discectomy in 2 weeks

Prissy2PPrissy2 Posts: 7
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:51 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Hi everyone I'm hoping to find out what's in store for me after this surgery.
I have a herniated disc at the C-6 levelalong with arthritis in C-4 & C-5 on both the right & left sides. I've been in physical therapy, epidural injections since my injury in Dec. of 2009. I have constant pain in left arm, neck,& shoulder. They tell me after the surgery all the pain will go away. But that I will never be able to deliver the mail again, which really sucks for me. Were any of you able to do all or almost all of the things you did before your injury. I'm also trying to see what to expect after the surgery they are going to use an prosthestic disc.
Worried sick about this.


  • Hi can anyone help me out with advice or comments. Surgery is less than 2 weeks away and am very scared & worried about the whole thing
  • First off, Welcome to Spine Health!! There is a search box at the top of the web page that can help with lots of questions - the articles are written by doctors and endorsed by the owners of this site. They are very good. Okay, with all that said...

    My apologies for not replying. I was reading your post earlier, and as I started to respond my hubby distracted me on one of his projects. So I apologize for that.

    I've had two fusion surgeries, but none for a prosthetic disc. Or is that just a different word for a bone graph (yours or donor)? Before my first fusion, I was in 'freak out' mode for months! Like you I underwent all kinds of conservative treatment (medications, PT, shots, chiro etc.) which either didn't work, or made things worse. If you are getting an ACDF (Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion), here is a link from here that 'shows' you what they will do:


    As to whether you will be able to go back to your career, that may be true, but I wouldn't cancel my career or quit my job until the 'fat lady sings' as they say. After my first fusion, I did awake with almost zero pain! I was so happy I actually cried "happy tears" in the recovery room!

    As for recovery and such. You just need to follow your surgeon's orders to the "T". You will probably be told to walk as soon as you can (works all that junk they pumped into you from surgery out faster), rest when tired, eat properly, no loading (bending) on your neck, restrictive lifting - no heavier than a gallon of milk many of us are told. No sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, laundry etc. Let your body heal.

    Many of us find that after we wake after surgery, much of our stress, worry, anxiety etc., was worse than the surgery itself! I've added a link from here of "Post surgery must haves" that might be of help. It is more geared for lumbar, but there's lots in there for cervical. Hope it helps.


    Please don't feel we didn't want to help, but sometimes things get slow, other times gang buster answers result. Again welcome aboard!! If you have more questions, please ask away!!

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Thank you for the links, and thank you for telling me it's not so scary afterwards.
    As to the prosthetic disc no not my bone or a donor it's made of plastic that they fill with my disc when they remove it. No I wouldn't quit my job I would just look for something else there to do.
    Thank you again you were so helpful
  • You will have a lot of prayers coming your way for a positive outcome to your surgery.
    laminectomy c4/c5 2008, ACDF c4-c7 Jan 20 2014 sched
  • You're very Welcome! That prosthetic disk sounds rather interesting. Please let us know how it all goes. I'll send you positive energy and thoughts that all will be fine.

    As for looking for different work, not a bad 'pre-strike', hopefully it won't be needed. Fingers staying crossed for ya!

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Thank you brenda & davrunner. I asked My NS's office to have my husbands FMLA papers filled out so he can take leave to help me after surgery they said not until after the surgery. I also asked them then how much care would I need afterwards the assistant told me that I would be able to do all everyday things after I get home. The other secretary told me yeah you should be able to go on to a regular life after my surgery. Then after arguing with me they proceeded to tell me well your restrictions will come after surgery. So I told them what I had been reading on this site about other patients. They then proceeded to tell me that everything I read on here was for lumbar patients. I'm just wondering if anyone else on here has dealt with this. I know everyone is different in healing but can anyone please tell me or give me an idea of what I am in for after this surgery. I really need an idea so I know how long my husband should possibly be looking at.
    Thank you in advance
  • My husband did not take any time off after my surgery. He did take the day off of my surgery and the day after because he had to drive me home, but went to work the following Monday. My surgery was done on a Thursday and I came home on Friday. He really didn't have a choice, but I was fine at home alone, resting and just letting my dogs in and out. I had two levels done (C5-C7). I really just wanted to be alone and quiet anyway. I didn't care to watch tv or read at that point, just rested. I stayed home for a week, working from my laptop and cell phone as I felt like it, then started going back to the office for a few hours every day during the second week.
    We just made sure that I had everything I needed close by the bed where I was most comfortable and I could easily get to the kitchen for food and drinks when I needed them. I walked a bit in the driveway and took longer walks when he was at home to walk with me.
    I'm sure you're going to be fine. I think the anticipation and worry is much worse prior to the surgery and then you can come home and allow yourself time to heal afterward.
  • I guess I should clarify that I had disk replacement (with donor bone) and titanium plate and screws at the two levels.
    Later had an SCS implanted and for me that recovery was much more restrictive than the first surgery.
  • I am 6 wks post op c-5, c-6 fusion with cadaver bones used to replace the discs. It was 3 to 4 weeks before I started feeling halfway decent. I still have trouble swallowing (smoothies for the first 2 wks). There was a LOT of pain at first. I had to stay an extra night because of it. If I did it over again, I would ask specifically what medication they are going to use post-op and I would make sure it is something strong like morphine or dilaudid. They gave me vicodin which did nothing. I was up and about after 4 days, walking and being active around the house. I sleep on my back with two pillows under my knees. I use a foam pillow for support. Early on it's hard to sleep. The doctor gave me xanax when i left the hospital which helped in conjunction with muscle relaxers and percocet. I find that herbal packs heated in the microwave that wrap around my neck and shoulders to give some relief - in the beginning I used ice too. Most of my pain at first was actually in my shoulders. It takes time to heal. I will be off of work (office) for another 3 to 4 wks. I tried going in to the office today for a couple of hours and was in a lot of pain. I feel MUCH better now than I did prior to the surgery, I am just not 100% yet. The last 20% seems to be taking the longest. My doc says it can take longer to heal afterwards if you are in a lot of pain prior to surgery. My husband stayed home with me the first three weeks which was awesome. Good luck to you - give yourself time to heal!

  • I guess that staff should *read* what is on here, because obviously they don't know this site is the trifecta!! Cervical, thoracic and Lumbar, plus other nerve related issues! Lumbar patients (for) Lol!!!

    I too like the other posters, my hubby took 2 days off for me sort of. He took me in for surgery, and once they took me away, he went back to work for a few hours, then came back when I was out of recovery. He then went to work in the morning as I wasn't going to be released until 1pm, so he did a half day there. He then took the full next day off to be sure me and my medications got along - I've had a few pretty severe reactions. Then I recovered, took my time getting around in the house, resting etc. You should find that you are pretty self sufficient when you come home. :)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I want to thank you guys for posting these comments and feedback. I too am facing C6-C7 discectomy in 2 weeks. My doctor has urged me to try all other measures and I worry if I've given it enough time. I've been dealing with the pain for a month now. Prior to the diagnosis I saw an osteopath regularly, started yoga, quit running, and started swimming too. Since the diagnosis I'm doing PT and home traction. All this an not really any better. Plus I'v slipped into a bit of depression, and I'm also having panic attacks almost nightly now--a result of my hydrocodone I think. I just want this to be over and it's nice to know there is light at the end of the tunnel. Sounds like recovery is not too bad. But I am a wimp with this pain so the initial pain after surgery does worry me.
  • Hi! I am 2 weeks post -op tomorrow & am definately glad I had the surgery. I had a level 2 fusion-they removed the discs atc5-c6 & c6-c7 and fused w/a titanium plate & 3 screws. I am doing fairly well. Needed a little help but only for someone to lift things or help me the 1st day or 2 with general things. I did end up back in the er w/an impacted bowel a week and 1/2 after surgery bc I was dehydrated-it was hard to swallow water or food the 1st few days & I still have to break my pain meds in 1/2 but I am doing well on that front now. I had taken colace but it wasn't enough. I was suggested to take senna-s once in am & once in pm while taking pain meds every 4 hrs & to drink a lot of water & that has helped tremendously! Worrying about the surgery was worse than the surgery itself! I felt instant relief when I woke up. I was in am accident-fot rear-ended almost 2 years ago-I tried traction w/the chiro, massage therapy, accupuncture, physical thereapy, etc & only got temp relief from a few things so you are prob making the right choice! I wish I would've listened to my Dr to have the surgery last August when he said the pain would prob get worse since the discs were compressing my spinal chord pretty bad & by the time I had the surgery I could hardly grip at all w/my right hand and my daily pain level was at least a 8-9 at all times even w/the meds. Good luck with your surgery-lots of prayers! ~Autumn
  • Honestly, the recovery isn't so bad. I didn't even have to wear a collar and was released the next day after surgery. There was noticeable pain relief immediately after surgery. Then I was warned by the nurses at the hospital to expect things to get worse before they get better. I noticed that the pain would move and change from stabbing to tingling sensations. Expect a lot of ups and downs in terms of pain levels, especially on days you do more than you should. The worst part for me the first 2 weeks was the swallowing problems. Your trachea and esophagus will be swollen from surgery. Keep plenty of yogurt, soup and other soft foods around and stay away from breads. I am so glad I had the surgery and I hope your surgery will give you relief! :)
    2011 ACDF C5-6 for Spondylosis with Myleopathy
    2012 L4-5 herniated disc and hernated disc at C4/5 2013 Taking Amitriptyline for headaches
  • I would like to say thank you to everyone for your comments and your advice it is truly helpful & appreciated. I am now 3 days before surgery and getting very scared & nervous. I know it will be alright but my pain is getting worse the closer it gets I know it's caused by my nervousness and aggrivation. Hopefully I can have the relief most of you have had afterwards. I will keep you updated.
    Thanks again,
    deeply appreciative,
  • Ginnie,

    I know lots of us on here will be sending you positive thoughts and energy for a successful outcome. I treat myself before surgery. The hubby and I go out for dinner most times, or we go to the small "large cat" sanctuary a few miles away, or get a shake made out of real strawberries! Something to take a break from your nerves and anxiety. :)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I was told by my surgeon that it will take me a little longer to recover and that I should expect a rough start. He could not give me an estimated recovery schedule, not even averages, even on my FMLA leave paperwork. The reason he told me it would be a rough start is because I already had a chronic pain condition prior to the herniation of my disks. So adding the disc condition to my other pain condition and my pain meds will take me longer and require more meds/anesthesia. My pain recepters are now in overload and my threshold is low. I'm a red head too! I think my weight probably is a factor too and he was being polite not to mention it. I am appreciative of the honesty and have seen others post similar stories too. Now my second visit to the surgeon's scheduling and nurse educator was confusing as she said all the textbook things and I think now my hubby has some un-realistic expectations. Such as I will definitely be home the next day, the doctor will give me pain meds that can be called in??? (Duhhh I'm on Dilaudid now!) and that as long as I don't take pain meds I can drive with my miami j collar on! WHAT??? But that I can't do laundry, bending, lifting, dishes, vacuuming for atleast three months... Makes no sense. I beleive my doctor since the last time I was put out for a biopsy, they had a hard time controlling my pain in recovery. My surgery is set for 4/13 and he thinks I will be ready for a 2 hour car ride on Easter 24th. I have told him the nurses speech was a bit more rosey than the doc. He keeps ribbing me that I'm just milking it.
    I am ok, and whatever happens happens! I just want to be better.
  • For a lot of us, as we come out of our surgery funk actually "feel" sooooo much better than before surgery!!

    Now for the house keeping chores, sweeping, vacuuming, laundry, dishes, yes, those will (should) be off the list for a number of months. Lifting things more than say....5 pounds too will be on the no-no list as well. I'm pending lumbar surgery, but have yet another cervical coming, and I am religious on doing what I am told by my doctor/surgeon.

    Hopefully you will be like many of us, and have a very happy sigh of relief when you wake from your surgery. :)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I do remember that I attended a volleyball tournament my daughter was playing in two weeks after my surgery. And yes, I got hit in the head with a volleyball (from behind) about 2 minutes after my husband left to get to a business meeting scheduled for the next day. I was very protected otherwise, but felt like being there. We stayed with his mother in her home and my heating pad and pillows were my friend in our down time between volleyball games.
  • I had the surgery on my c5-c6 on april 1st. came home on Sat. april 2nd surgeons assistant says she couldn't believe that I was still having the same pain before the sugery, They had me on a morphene pump from recovery until I was released. I asked her what type of pain meds she was sending me home on she said vicodin and valium. I tried to explain to her that I had built up a tolerance to vicodin, so she gave me percocet. I asked for dilaudid but she said it was to strong. The percocets(oxycodone) is not working at all. I still have the same pain before the surgery and now even more now that I've let them slice, remove, and insert metal in me. I am so not happy with ths. No lifting over 2 pounds, no bending,twisting, reaching,& pretty much nothing else. If i go upstairs have to wait an hour to come back down. This is absolutely terrible kinda wishing I wouldn't have done it.
  • Hang in there. If you are not getting sufficient pain relief you have the right to call your doctor. Even if it is the weekend there has to be somebody on call. I don't think they should be sending anyone home without good pain control. If they have you on the pump until you walk out of the place, that does not seem right. They should be testing the oral meds.

    I hope you feel better soon. Hugs.
  • Hi, I'm 41, worked out 5-6 days week, very in shape, toned
    4/18 I was hit in a car accident, pcp diagnosed whiplash
    Went to chiro, he said he felt bulging disc, a few days later I began
    To get pain in neck, shoulder, upper chest and down arm
    Numbness in pointer and middle finger. Next MRI, MRI WAS Misread and
    Report faxed to my pcp showed no findings
    Pain became worse to the point I got the pain
    And numbness 90% of the day. Pcp gotme an appt
    With neurosurgeon, they had me pick up CD
    of MRI. herniated disc c6-c7, they explained
    The "jelly" inside of disc was pushed out and
    Hardened compressing root nerve. As the numbness
    Illustrated it was completely compressing nerve
    And the pain was unbearable at that point they
    Scheduled surgery for 4 days later out of fear
    For possibility of permanent nerve damage.
    The surgery was through back of my neck and
    Was to only shave the disc to release pressure of nerve
    When I woke up I had pain at incision site but
    All of the other pain/numbness was 95% gone
    I was up walking around hospital and released the
    Next morning, after a few days I was getting around well. Saw
    Pcp a week after surgery and she removed steri strips
    And checked incision for infection. All good. I felt
    Better everyday, maybe over did it. On day17
    Post surgery I woke up with all the same pain I had
    Before surgery, maybe worse, after crying I called
    Neuro office, I was told it could be swelling, scar
    Tissue could be compressing nerve, and that it is not
    Uncommon for pain to dissapear immediately after
    Surgery and come back within 4-6 weeks. They
    Added flexural to the percocet I was already taken
    And told me to ice it (neck) and take motrin 3-4. Hoursafter
    Percocet. I'm now at day 20 post surgery and pain
    Comes and goes down arm not getting the finger numbness
    Days 17, 18 & 19 the pain was horrible and continuous, day 20
    Today it came and went. I stopped everything I
    Was doing and stuck close to bed couch and short
    Walks. I've tried completely relaxing myself and also
    Keeping positive thoughts.called neuro and left message today.
    I've NEVER had any surgeries for any spinal injuries
    Never had any problems before car accident, I just
    Want my life back and when I think of the prospect
    Of having more surgery or that more stuff came out of disc
    and Hardened, i want to cry, any suggestions or insight
    Would be greatly appreciated.
  • I am 4 weeks removed from mine. I can tell you that I no longer have the nero pain however the post surgical pain is just as bad but its a better feeling because its healing pain. I can tell you that I feel like a million bucks 5 mins after waking up from surgery. Yes I am still dealing with post surgery pain but its a better pain than before.

    Prissy2 said:
    Hi everyone I'm hoping to find out what's in store for me after this surgery.
    I have a herniated disc at the C-6 levelalong with arthritis in C-4 & C-5 on both the right & left sides. I've been in physical therapy, epidural injections since my injury in Dec. of 2009. I have constant pain in left arm, neck,& shoulder. They tell me after the surgery all the pain will go away. But that I will never be able to deliver the mail again, which really sucks for me. Were any of you able to do all or almost all of the things you did before your injury. I'm also trying to see what to expect after the surgery they are going to use an prosthestic disc.
    Worried sick about this.
Sign In or Register to comment.