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

Symptoms that led to neck surgery ?????

jellyhalljjellyhall Posts: 4,373
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:52 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery

I have been thinking about neck symptoms and wondering, for those that have had neck surgery, what were your symptoms that led to needing surgery?



  • Jelly,

    Both of mine were different. Even though the disk was on the cord at my C5/6 I kept putting off surgery. Pain started increasing day to day (especially base of the neck and outward). I basically got to the point that I could no longer control the pain, neck range of motion was way down, and my surgeon beat on me again the risks I was taking with that sucker on the cord. In retrospect, I wish I didn't hold out so long.

    My second one. The pain was through the roof again, but instant weakness and loss of a lot of my arm told me "no delay this time", and so 6 weeks later another fusion. The nerve issues turned out to be permanent damage, but the surgery stopped further damage, and most of the pain too was gone.

    Now working once again with my Neurologist as variable issues with my neck (within, above and below my fusions). I should have a good idea where the neck and back are next month - to which then I will decide if "here we go again" is happening. Internally, I am not "there" to say yes if surgery is offered this time. Shrug.

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Jelly, seeing my cervical issues are new and surgery was just thrown on my lap a week ago, I'm very interested to here from our neckies!

    Thanks Brenda for sharing!

  • My symptoms in the beginning were some annoying but mild shoulder blade pain, shoulder and neck pain. Over the years, the pain became more intense and the neck spasms lead to headaches. Around a year ago, the headaches started to give me blurred vision, but I just thought it was eye strain or I needed new glasses. I waited a few months for my vision to get better, but it never did. In the meantime, I went to see every specialist you can imagine.

    Last summer I was doing PT until symptoms got worse during strengthen exercises and ended up in ER with numbness going down the arm to the fingers and horrible pain in the back of the neck and head with dizziness. Once the dizziness started, symptoms lasted longer and longer and by the end of last year, the symptoms stayed and I never had any "good days".

    I was going to acupuncture and getting the epidural injections for 2 months prior to surgery to help with bringing down inflammation. Once I decided to stop all intervention the last 2 weeks before the operation, my feet were starting to feel numb, my left arm was getting weak and developed yet another UTI (had a few of these since the summer 2010 and never ever got them in the past). The worst symptoms for me were the headaches, dizziness and nausea.

    Things were just going downhill and I was spending half the day on the couch. My relationship with my family was suffering and that was the hardest part.

    Have you tried conservative treatments? How bad is the pain?
    2011 ACDF C5-6 for Spondylosis with Myleopathy
    2012 L4-5 herniated disc and hernated disc at C4/5 2013 Taking Amitriptyline for headaches
  • Hi Jelly.

    My symptoms began with strange arm stuff - I'd be sitting at my desk and suddenly I'd get painful goosebumps on both arms, then they'd get very cold and finally the muscles in them became extremely sore. I thought it too strange to go to the doctor for.

    About a week later, the middle of my upper back had such bad stabbing pain that I went to my PCP even though I was scheduled for a physical with her just a week later.

    Next came the tingling on my entire right arm, along with some numbness in my fingers. Then the left arm started to become very weak, I couldn't even pick up a glass of ice water. Finally came what I thought was tennis elbow in my left arm and bending it was extremely painful.

    During all of this, there were almost constant muscle spasms happening in the upper middle and left side of my back.

    All of these things increased until the ACDF, when they disappeared upon waking up from surgery.

  • My pain isn't nearly as bad as the pain I had before my lumbar fusion.

    My symptoms are neck pain and loss of range of movement, especially tilting my head sideways down towards my shoulder and twisting to the right. I do exercises everyday to try to keep my neck moving and my physio works on it every couple of weeks, doing facet joint mobilisation, which I call his 'jiggling' of my neck. Very little movements, but he seems to work on two different levels and he also stretches my head very gently away from my shoulders. I find that feels so good and it is something that I do to relieve the tension pain and headaches that I get.

    I get quite frequent headaches that start at the back of the base of my head and go up over my head and behind the left eye. Sometimes when these headaches are really bad and throbbing, I have severe pain in both ears.

    I get pain in my shoulders, over the shoulder blades, top of my chest and in both arms. At night the pain in my arms keeps me awake and I don't know what to do with my arms to relieve the pain. Up and over my head seems to help a bit.

    I have tingling and pins and needles in my hands and often wake with numbness in the small and ring finger of my left hand when I have been sleeping on my back.

    I now find that if I try to grip anything for more than 30 seconds or so I have bad muscle type pain in my hands. Trying to mix a cake the other day was so painful, and had to keep stopping and shake my hand to try to get rid of the pain. I also had this pain trying to write a letter this week.

    Trying to raise my arms to do anything like hanging up washing or dry my hair causes my arms and shoulders to really ache.

    I don't have any of the pains and symptoms all the time, but do have them every day for a short while.

    As I type this I am reminded of another symptom, tingling in the back of my head under my hair at about ear level. I also get tingling in the side of my face just in front of my ears.

    I get twitching in the muscles of my shoulders at the back and at the back of the top of my arms.

    My neck is very noisy (rice krispie sounds) and occassionally I get a one off loud crack, that sounds rather alarming, but no pain with it.

    I get burning in my wrists and holding them in a bent position for very long causes pain. Standing with my hands on my hips feels comfortable for my back, but after 30 seconds or so, it really hurts the top of my wrists.

    I am also experiencing tightening and muscle spasms in my thoracic area.

    I have all sorts of neurological symptoms in my legs and feet as well; electric shock type pains in my toes, burning and tingling in my feet and legs, twitches, spasms and cramping in my toes, feet and legs. Pain in my hips and top of my thighs.

    Over the last month or so, I now also get a sort of 'wet' feeling in my arms and legs that feels like I have been splashed with water.

    The pain is not severe and generally I don't take pain meds, unless I get a headache. I can't function with those because the pain is there for hours at a time, or until I do take some medication. The other pains come and go, which I can live with without pain meds.

    On my neck, I haven't received a diagnosis yet, so not tried any treatment other than Physiotherapy and a couple of years ago my chiro, who was treating my lumbar spine, did say that I had very tight muscles in my neck and was surprised that I wasn't really having pain, other than headaches, from it. He used to adjust it using an activator which was gentle. I now feel rather nervous about having it adjusted because I feel that I have something pressing some nerves somewhere, which is causing the tingles and pains in my arms and hands.

    So Lili, are you glad that you asked?!!!

    Wow! What a tale of woes this post is. It sounds awful when you write it all down! :S

    Hope everyone is having a good day.
    It is Mother's Day here in the UK and my daughter, husband and granddaughter have just arrived, so I must dash.

    >:D< >:D< >:D<
  • I guess in the end.... It comes down to WHAT you can handle?? Unless you (like me) were told that "it is on the cord" and... it is going to come down to what YOU can handle. It gets bad in the pain department, but ....what can you deal with? That is part of the end game I guess?

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Yes, I'm glad I asked! You listed some that I forgot I had, too! At least now you have all your symptoms written down as a reference. I never suspected my pain to be related to my spine until this past summer. I wish I was more sensitive towards my body, since it's been trying to tell me all these years, "Hello! You need to take care of yourself".

    I agree with Brenda - you will know when the pain is just too much. :)
    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 have found that everyone has a little bit different symptoms. For myself on the first surgery, I really could have cared or less wether I kept my arm or not and then the falling. But the biggest fear was what a simple fall could do to me. The last surgery, the pain was there, but the tell all was the bladder retention and I didn't want to be on a leg cath and risk my kidneys. But, surgery should be the last resort when all conservative measures have failed, unless paralysis is a risk. Now if someone has myeloapthy then surgery is the only option as the damaged needs to be stopped, but the symptoms won't go away.

  • Having my symptoms written down will help me tomorrow when I finally get to see the neurosurgeon.
    I hope that I will get a diagnosis at last.

    I think that having ignored various symptoms from my lumbar spondylolisthesis and stenosis for a very long time, I recognise so many of the pains and symptoms as coming from compressed nerves, and so I wonder what the future will hold this time.

    I hope that I don't get cancelled again.

  • Left arm/hand numbness and tingling. NO pain
  • Tomorrow Jelly at your appointment I hope you get some answers!
  • Good luck with your appointment. I'm going to a ortho today for my law case. I've been having neck pain aswell these days. I think It's from clenching my jaw at night, I do have a mouth gard but I can't sleep with it in.

    I hope you wrote down lots of questions!

    Keep us posted,

  • I had my appointment yesterday and it wasn't good news!

    My neck looked a mess in the MRI, compared with the upper thoracic that showed up in the scan too.
    All the discs looked like they were bulging, but the thing that worried them (and me!) the most was that C3/C4 and C4/C5 were bulging so much that they are compressing the cord. The consultant showed me that there was no spinal fluid at that part of the neck, and that the actual cord was being compressed.

    That was just what I DIDN'T want to hear!!

    The compression is mild to moderate, so at the moment they don't plan to do surgery (how things are different in the UK to the USA!).

    I have to have a flexion and extension x-ray and they are going to refer me to Pain Management. I think that is for ESIs. I don't like that idea either! The neurosurgeon want to see me again in 6 months to see how things have progressed. The MRI scan that they were looking at was 6 months old, so it may be worse than seen already.

    I am feeling rather stressed about all this! I am trying to tell myself that things are just the same as they were last week, but I was in blissful ignorance then, so it doesn't help much.

    Is there anyone else who is living with discs compressing their cord, and has been left for quite a while. How are you getting on?

    Trying to stay positive. We are off on holiday on Friday, with a long haul flights. I am going to try to put all this to the back of my mind and enjoy this holiday. Then I can worry again once we get back home. :S

  • I'm so saddened to read your post.

    We are in similar situations right now.
    I've had my 1st Cervical ESI & going next week for 2nd.
    I too have bulging disks at several levels and stenosis with cord impingement. NS actually said it's a cord injury & yes rocked my world.

    I am awfully concerned about the statement of NO spinal fluid at the C 3-5 area. I am NEW to the neck game too. Hopefully some of the experienced neckies will respond shortly with some opinions and advice.

    Like you when I got my bad news I too decided not to freak out that day was no different to prior, and that is a healthy attitude but not easy to stick too. I'm scared to fall to God forbid have a fender bender. ... but I'm rolling with punches.

    Did doc give you any restrictions?

    How soon can you get epidural in UK? I had mine 1 business day after NS A
    read films. Its important to stop inflammation process and relieve cord compression.

    I'm praying for you Jelly and I am sorry you have to go through this.

  • sorry to hear you have 2 bulging discs, but to try help you alleviate some worry, the discs are mild to mod bulge, not severe

    so that would be why theres no rush for surgery , as i also have that ,(along with other stuff which does need surgical intervention) and allthough its a big concern, they dont do surgery unless theres risk of permant damage or to stop further damage

    as to the consultant saying no CSF in those 2 levels, i would clarify this with him, as you would need to have severe stenosis posteriolery, anteriorly and laterally for that to happen

    i have no CSF in 2 levels , posteriolary and anteriolatery , but i obviously must have some latereally
    my osteophytes are flattening my cord , posterior and anterior, which needs surgical intervention as otherwise the consequenses are severe and permanant

    i also have probs from C1- T1 , most severe on 4 consecutive levels, and of course the lumbar needs fusion

    its just awfull to have thses probs and its good your surgeon is going to keep an eye on it in a 6 month review
    please let me no if you talk with your surgeon
    and i hope you can enjoy your holiday

    so i think there has been some miscommunication about that, from my experience with this

    i hope that helps and i would ring him to go over that with you
  • It is reassuring to hear that others are in the same position. There is security in numbers! :S

    My consultation was not ideal, to say the least.
    Instead of the neurosurgeon that I had waited 8 months to see, I saw his registrar and there were 2 medical students present. The appointment felt that it was for the purpose of educating the students. He even seemed to home in on what had led to me my lumbar fusion and the symptoms I was getting before than, rather than the reason for my referral for my neck.

    When we get back from our holiday I intend to go to see my GP and ask if I can see another lady doctor who is very knowledgeable and a great communicator. If not, I don't know what I will do.

    Emotionally, I need to have an opportunity to talk with someone who knows what they are talking about, and I need the chance to ask questions.

    Take care all my spiney friends. I am likely to be missing for a couple of weeks while I am cruising in the Caribbean. Wow! That sounds wonderful. :D

  • Are the ESIs helping you?

    What are they like?

    I don't like needles, so not too keen on the idea!!

    Mind you, I have had spinal surgery, so I can do anything! ;)
  • how lovely , the carribean

    just a couple of weeks ago i had to cancell my cruise as theres no way i could physically do it, lost my deposit too
    i was looking foreward to it

    RE the ESI, my father , who is 88 actually had one 2 days ago, drove himself there and back home, he said it was fine , no probs, just a feeling of pressure

    yes that consult sure doesnt sound ideal, is it possible to call the surgeon?, if not , good idea seek out that GP, i no how you feel about needing to emotionally process this stuff and get a proper consult
  • Jelly,

    Sorry to hear the news of your appointment. I am a bit concerned though. For my C5/6 - when my disk was on the cord (moderate) my surgeon pushed the surgery button. The side views of the MRI didn't show CSF at that level either.

    My surgery was to prevent paralysis. Granted they are the experts, but just wanted to express my concerns. I know if I got that result as stated by you, I would be fast tracking for a new MRI, and another opinion. Just my thoughts...*HUGZ*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Are the ESI"s helping? ??? Not 100% sure. I had mine under sedation when I woke I was in a bit of pain. I've had countless epidurals in lumbar region.
    3 days of more stiffness but after that ROM is a little better. Headache is sort of different more in base of skull ache not getting to my forehead so that's good. Now, my wrist weakness seems more apparent and my thumb pain is new. I feel as if I sprained my wrist & thumb, this is new, but I can't say its from esi. I am going forward with 2nd as my NS put a good scare in me!

    I just know I have to try & stop this from progressing!

    Hope this helps Jelly

  • Thanks for your prayers Virginia :-)

    No, my doctor didn't tell me anything that I shouldn't do. Now, I expect that there are some things, and wish that he had enlightened me.

    As I left he told me to be careful and look after myself. What does that mean?

    Can anyone share any restrictions that they have been given?
    I wonder about avoiding lifting heavy things.
    I did tell him that I have physiotherapy for my neck, and he just said 'good'. He did say that I shouldn't go to a Chiropractor.

    The only symptom that he told me would need me to let someone know is if I keep dropping things. Now I am sure that there are other 'red flag' symptoms. He was definately so focussed on talking to these 2 medical students, that I felt he was concentrating more on them than me!

    Must go and pack.
    Will talk again when I return. :-)
  • jelly, have a great time and do take it easy! I am tired of the way doctors talk about limitations with such "vagueness". I was told to "not do too much". What does that mean? When I had PT last year, I was in more pain suddenly and the therapist said that I shouldn't have carried and folded so much laundry. She never told me before the incident and all of a sudden it's my fault and I'm the one who has to suffer.

    So, why am I telling you all this? You have to question these specialists and hopefully get a better answer. Also, don't lift anything heavy and give yourself breaks throughout the day. Bon voyage! :)
    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'm sorry your doc was too busy trying to impress Med students to provide with an in depth consultation.
    My NS told me "I need you to know, even though due your back issues, you are not doing these things, I have to tell you, no bike riding,no jet skiing, no roller skating, etc. DO NOT let any one touch your neck" he knows I can't do these things, he knew I wanted his opinion on the chiro who wanted to do Vax D & posture pump on cervical spine - which he said absolutely NO! He said don't do any new physical activity in other words don't start new things, did not suggest p/t. He said swimming & neuro muscular massage would be okay.

    He suggested that I proceed with the epidural injections ASAP.

    Jelly I really hope you can relax and enjoy your cruise! You deserve some R&R.


  • Well, my back and neck don't like packing.

    Nevery mind, nearly finished.

    Will be in touch when we get home again, just before Easter.

    Be good everyone! :H

  • Sadly, aside from being restricted from lifting (a gallon of milk), I was told "let your body be your guide!!" I.e... does that mean I could run the iron man? I guess what I am getting at is it seems that all doctors (most to be fair) are vague in their "descriptions" of what we can do? Bites.

    I so hope your trip goes well. :)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • So glad to hear that you were able to enjoy your holiday and that neck & back allowed you to have this great Caribbean trip!
    I'm sure you are exhausted and perhaps that is also part of the flare up.
    Hopefully it passes quickly.

    WOW 6 month wait, but I guess this is typical in UK even for a Queen in waiting ?? If I recall your next step is physio & epidural??

  • Hi everyone!

    We are back after a wonderful holiday.
    My back and neck stood up to the long flights to get there, and we had a great time.

    The journey home seems to have taken its toll though.
    I am having more pain in my neck, over my right shoulder blade and all down my right side to my waist. Also have a headache. Hopefully it is just a flare and will go in a day or two.

    All in all, I would say the great holiday was worth it. :-)

    PS A letter was waiting for me when I got home with my next appointment to see the neurosurgeon about my neck. 18th October!!!

    I am the Queen in Waiting!!
    (You've heard of ladies in waiting, well I am the queen!) :W

  • I will continue my physiotherapy. (I have been having this since last May/June when it was started as part of the rehab for my lumbar fusion. Some time ago we switched to exercises for my neck and thoracic spine.)

    I am waiting for an MRI scan on my lumbar and thoracic spine which was ordered in January this year.

    Once I have the results of that, I will book the 12 month follow up with my original surgeon. I have explained to him why I am late seeing him. I hope that he will be able to tell me that I am fully fused. I was a late starter! A month ago I found out that I have very low levels of Vitamin D and Calcium, so I wonder if that is what delayed fusion. I wish he had thought to check that.

    I am waiting for flexion and extension x-rays on my neck.

    I am waiting to have an appointment with Pain Management. Not sure I like the sound of ESIs!! I want to be more informed before I decide.

    I am waiting for this appointment in October to find out if things are getting worse with my cord compression in my neck.

    I am waiting for an appointment to see my GP to ask to see a lovely lady, who is a great communicator and very knowledgeable spine specialist. I really need to talk to someone after being told about the cord compression. That appointment wasn't very informative. I think the doctor was more interested in talking to the 2 medical students present than listen to my symptoms and give me a chance to ask questions!

    Being on holiday in the Caribbean was a great distraction from all my problems, but now I am back, I feel that I need to get more information.

    How are you getting on Virginia?

  • Wow Jelly seems like you are indeed a Queen in Waiting!
    God bless your patience. I complain about wait times in the States. When I lived in Europe I often used private doctors as the socialized health system wait times where horrid.

    Yes you should do your research on the ESI's, get your facts and see if its right for you. For me Its going to buy me time. I've had two and feel about 30% better. I haven't had the energy to post the outcome of my consultation (2nd) opinion, but I will do so soon.

    I've been pretty consumed with what is going on with my lumbar issues. NOR GOOD! I have a thread from the other day, "fibrous non union & micro motion". So not to take over your thread, see if you can find it for my update.

    Hang in there Jelly. Gotta be ready for the royal nuptials....

  • So good to hear you had a wonderful holiday away. Where abouts did you go? I've been to Barbados and hope to go to St. Kitt's next year to stay with my Aunt for a weeks or so.

    Also that was an awful experience with that Neurosurgeon and I had a similar experience only with The Orthsurgeon's Fellow Dr. and never got examined by the Surgeon I waited and wanted to see who is the same one who did LisaRachel's 4 level surgery. I felt like something was missed. Maybe you can call and see if you can get on the cancellation list for the female Surgeon you want to see. I hope PT can help in the meanwhile they helped with my neck with gentle manual traction and ultrasound. Take care. 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
Sign In or Register to comment.