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C6-C7 Discectomy and Fusion

travelngirl2000ttravelngirl2000 Posts: 1
edited 06/11/2012 - 9:01 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I have never been so scared in my life. I woke up one morning and stretched..after which I found out later that I herniated my C6-7. I couldn't sit or stand for 3 days. I finally got to the doctor by lying in the car. Lying down flat was the only way the pain would go away. The left side of my back, shoulder, left arm all the way down, were burning and painful every time I was vertical. My index, thumb, and half of my middle finger were numb and tingly like pins and needles. I received an epidural steroid injection on the third day. I was finally able to sit and stand after that was done. However, I have sharp pain in my left shoulder blade, left shoulder and sharp pain such as it feels when you hit your funny bone going down my left arm. It comes and goes about every 10-15 min. Sometimes its faster than that. My fingers are still numb and tingly just as it was. They feel colder than my other hand. So here I am, going to have this surgery and "make it all better". Im so scared that what has happened to people in this forum will happen to me...that the pain will remain. That I will be wearing my hard collar for 3 months and my soft collar for 3 months. Holy Moly!! I can't go that long without working!!! Will it really be this bad? Its such a roll of the dice. I am 45 yrs old. I want to make it better and I want to make it so I wont have this pain anymore. I am willing to work hard at making it a quick recovery. On top of all of this....I am getting married in 9 weeks after the surgery. Is 9 weeks going to be enough time to be off the collar?? Will the bruising be gone? please HELP!!!


  • Are you having an ACDF? Every person is unique, as well as every doctor, so I can only share my experience. I was 52 when I had my 4 level ACDF last year. A 4 level is much more complicated and invasive than a 1 level. I wore a hard collar for 4 weeks. Every day that passed showed a lot of improvement over the first couple of weeks. After that the progress was slower and I had to watch that I didn't push myself too hard, but I still progressed. About 5 weeks after my surgery I was able to go to my college reunion and was able to have fun! I did have to rest sometimes when I was walking a lot.

    Bruising was gone after a few weeks but the scar is there, but the surgeon did a good job of putting the incision where it would be less noticeable.

    Good luck and let us know how you're doing.

    4 level ACDF C4-C7 5-2-11, laminectomy & discectomy L4-L5 1/26/12, ALIF L4-5, L5-S1 12/10/12.
  • Hi there, it is scary to have the surgery and I am not pain free at this point, but some of the pain I was experiencing is completely gone. I have extremely tight muscles across my upper back but can do most daily activities and went back to work 4 hrs a day at week 4 and moved to 6 hrs a day at week 5. I did not have to wear a collar at all. I had a plate and screws so no need for a collar.

    Everyone seems to heal so differently. Age, physical condition prior to surgery, and so many other factors. If you are having ACDF, like I did, it is not as intrusive as going in through the back of neck. I never had pain at incision site. Had a sore throat for about three days due to moving the esophagus out of the way during surgery. If these pesky muscle spasms would go away, I would be pain free!
  • I am sure travelngirl2000 has had the surgery since this thread was started, but in case someone else finds this page by google, I thought I would pass along my story as I know how frightening it is to here from a doctor that you will need spinal fusion surgery.

    My symptoms were the same... I simply woke up one morning with severe pain radiating from the left side of my back, through my shoulder and all the way down my left arm to my fingers. I repeated going to my G.P. Dr. complaining of my symptoms and he would prescribe me a small amount of pain pills (darvocet around 12)... he diagnosed rotator cuff after a while and gave me a cortisone injection in my shoulder, bending the hypodermic needle when it hit the bone... needless to say, that did nothing except to cause me more misery. eventually (after a month) he sent me to have a nerve conduction study... that was just more misery, as it evidently didn't show anything... this went on and on... me having to miss work, and more dr's visits.. after 4 mo's, he referred me to a neurologist, he did nothing... showed me pictures of muscles in back and shoulder, but sent me for an MRI finally. A week later, he called me at work and said he had made me an appointment with a surgeon the next day!... I was in agony and was also in a state of extreme anxiety, as 4 mo's of the pain will make anyone.

    My ortho-surgeon met with me, and before looking at the MRI, he was suggesting steroid injections under a fluroscope, and I told him I was just about at my wits end with this unrelenting agony... So he asks me to wait, while he checked my MRI pictures. He then came back and took me to the dark room to look at my MRI under the light. My c6/c7 disc was ruptured, herniated into my spinal chord, with pieces of the fibrous outer disc floating in my spinal fluid... also the nerve canal was shaped like a triangle with the corners pointed instead of a smooth oval shape, pinching the nerve when ever I breathed. He looked stunned when I told him it had been 4 months since the day it started. He told me what needed to be done, and I took the option of using my hip bone instead of cadaver bone because I never wanted to give myself every chance I could of it being successful! He sympathized with my plight and scheduled my surgery for the next morning at 5 am to work me in!
    When I awoke, and recovered from the anesthesia, was one of the best days of my life! Oh sure, there was pain from where they chiseled the bone from my hip, and it was sore for several weeks, but the pain that had plagued me for 4 months in my arm and shoulder was GONE!
    I was off work for 10 days, wore a neck brace for maybe 5 days, and have had absolutely no problem since. That was 12 years ago.

    To anyone who reads this, please, if your doctor doesn't give you the answer you are looking for, don't place blind faith in him. I believe my dr must have thought I was looking for drugs or something, at any rate, he is fired and I am wiser!
    Good luck to all.
  • Oh my! Dan, I went through the same thing!!! Mine went on for a year with the doctors treating my shoulder!!!

    I had two rounds of steroid injections in my shoulder joint, which obviously didn't help because low and behold, after a year of the pain I finally was referred to an RA doc who was the smartest of the bunch. He immediately sent me down for an x-ray and MRI and put a rush on the results. He even stayed late that day, till like 7pm to get my results and go over them with me the same day. As soon as he saw how bad the herniation was, he was extremely sympathetic. I gave me a script for percocet, Ibuprophen, and Lyrica (which my insurance denied because they said they will only pay if I have a diagnosis of fibromyalgia). Needless to say, he immediately referred me to a surgeon, which insurance tried to fight. The RA doc sat on the phone, with me sitting in his office, and drilled them until they approved my visit to the surgeon. I had surgery a few weeks later. When all was said and done, it had been a total of a year and a half before I actually had surgery for what was really wrong.

    It is so frustrating to go through hell like that, and then to find out they weren't even treating the correct body part!!!

    It still amazes me how many people are treated for shoulder injuries, when it actually has nothing to do with your shoulder.
  • it has been a total of 5 years that they were treating my shoulder, steroid injections, manipulation under anasethetic, more injections then keyhole surgery with nerve block to scrape and clean, but eventually sent me to have mri, a week ago i had c4/5 5/6 6/7 discectomy and corpectomy, cage inserted and fusion. i was down to a shuffle and couldnt use my right hand, was in terrible pain, now a week later still have some problems but only on paracetamol for pain cos it is so much less than before the op.. then i didnt take painkillers cos they just didnt even touch the pain, but i dont think the doctors believed me til they saw the mri. i am now hoping that things settle and get better still and things are stopped from getting worse. i guess its easier and cheaper to treat shoulders?
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