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Ideas for Pain Relief without Surgery?

barefoot14bbarefoot14 Posts: 4
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:58 AM in Alternative Treatments
I saw the neurosurgeon last week and based on my MRI, she recommended fusion of C5/6 and C3/4 and a plate. I then had Xrays and my neurologist called today and said the Xrays show my spine is stable and he does not recommend the surgery (at this time). I am 61, both doctors believe I had a ruptured disk about 25 years ago which was untreated. I elevated my computer monitor to standing height so I will no longer hunch over my keyboard at work. I start acupuncture treatments for the first time in a couple of days. I am trying to find ways to alleviate the pain in my upper back and arm (compressed nerve). Any advice from others trying to avoid surgery would be most appreciated! I sure hope acupuncture is not a waste of money....


  • I would go to another Orthopedic Surgeon or Neurosurgeon for their opinion. Are you taking any nerve pain medications? I find Cymbalta and an anti-inflammatory helpful as well as seeing the Physiotherapist for treatment.

    A Neurologist can do an EMG/nerve test to see if you have any nerve compression from your neck. I would try all conservative measures first before surgery but most important is the second opinion from an Orthopedic Surgeon or Neurosurgeon. Best wishes. 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
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,476
    ..when docs looking at same thing have different opinion.
    I am not a canidate for surgery, so can't speak to that.

    And everyone so different. I tried acupuncture and left very sick and nauseated. That was also how I felt with epidurals for thoracic area from pain management doc.

    But the epidurals for lower back and pain down leg and foot..that mostly effective to pain being less and no nausea.

    Sounds like good idea withyour computer. For me, sometimes cant turn in bed..and I have little netbook with keyboard on screen so I don't move but an inch. It makes me happy to stay connected to life when I so stuck in my body.

    My pain doc best thing I ever did for myself and the EMG he gave me surprised even him and gave him new plan to help me. Some people say test hurts. I don't remember any pain with mine...but I am very forgerful...a blessing and a curse. :)

    Please let us know how you are doing!
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • Accupuncture along with deep massage with tropical cream to help the inflammarion ,

    If they cant agree that surgery is needed then you probably doing the right thing by trying all alternative treatment posible, Only thing you can do is make do especialy if surgery is no walk in the park and risk is always there where they can make it worse in some cases or create more issues,

    You will know when you need surgery when you no longer can manage with either pain pills accupuncture, posibly injections could help from a pain specialist,

    Hopefully some creams and deep massage can break up the pain with accupuncture and some good sex, At least thats what dr ruth says sex can cure everything, lol

    Best of luck.
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,

  • I have tried just about every pain mgmt. technique I could in 25 years of RA,DDD, Spondy and acupuncture acted like aspirin for a headache for me. I had a session and felt great but in about 8 hours I was back to square one. Now that is me and I know it helps some folks a lot. One thought on your neck,like a rock in your shoe the longer the rock is in your shoe the longer you will feel like you still have it there.
    I realize that a double fusion is a horrendous event but if the pain is getting worse you might get another opinion. The use of stem cells in spine surgery is helping with the healing curve, and producing some great results. Best of luck !
  • You should absolutely try all conservative methods before having surgery. Physical therapy, medications, injections, acupuncture, massage therapy, to name a few.

    Find a good Physiatrist and they will guide you through conservative treatments.

    Also see another surgeon for a second opinion.

    My disc was so fragmented that there was no way it would ever heal. It did not respond to any conservative treatment. So I had the surgery. Surgery is not a quick fix either.... I am doing well but it takes time.
    ACDF C4-5 June 23rd, 2011

    Another surgery in the near future. I am 26 years old.

    Current Meds- Norco 7.5/325, Cymbalta 60mg, Gabapentin, Adderall 20mg
  • acupuncture treatments is really very effective and helpful treatment for any type of pain. Many times I had heard about this. This is really good and your can treat without any surgery.
  • For three weeks now I have been having light chiropractic manipulation, acupuncture and massage therapy. Also have purchased a desktop attachment to raise and lower my computer's keyboard and monitor so I am standing more. This is helping my neck as well as my lower back.
  • I have found accupuncture a great help. Basically the number of treatments you need depends on how long you have been suffering. Each treatment consisted of accupuncture accompanied by a Chinese medical massage . By the third session the relief was noticeable.

    I felt as though I was flying afterwards..brilliant.
    I had 12 sessions initially & then go back about once every 4 months.

    There is a difference in the severity of the massage with the more traditional practioners using more pressure. An Indian head massage also worked very well for persistant headaches,

  • We all want a positive outcome and with differing opinions that decision is now up to you, if it worked you perhaps you would have a chance of getting better, and if you did nothing it may deteriorate with the same timescale as your initial injury, who knows only time will tell.

    Nobody here wants pain or even more pain as a consequence of doing something or nothing at all. Sometimes our condition itself dictates the next step, you have to give each potential remedy time to become effective, be that PT PM CBT or any of the myriad of ideas that could eventually help.

    If you believe at the moment that invasive surgery is not for you and have clinical evidence to support that idea, then surgery could be possible when you have exhausted all possible non-invasive ideas. According to Melzack and Wall in The Challenge of Pain 1988, the eminent PM practitioners, a “collective use of simultaneous treatments” is the most effective way of managing pain, and that is what the PM ethos is trying to provide.

    Nothing is wasted money if it works, the cost of it overall would be far greater if nothing helps. You are an individual and need to find what works for you and nobody else, it is along and sometime painful lonely road, for me surgery was the very very last option.

    Stay as mobile as possible, pace under the pain if you can, do more of what works and less of what does not help, keep positive and be kind to yourself.
    We all need a bit of luck... John

    Have a look at the Chronic Pain Handbook in CP and use some of these ideas as a lifestyle.
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