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New UK member

countyfanccountyfan Posts: 61
edited 02/02/2013 - 2:49 AM in New Member Introductions
Just joined the forum and thought I'd introduce myself. I am a 53 yr old mother of 3. The 2 oldest have left home and daughter is married witrh 2 children. My youngest son is in his final year at school and has important exams next year. Unfortunately, after suffering from arthritis and DDD for the past 10 years, I have finally realised that having surgery on my neck is the only option. I really don't want my son to be under undue stress but I am at the stage where I can hardly hold anything for more than a few seconds. I have also experienced pain and numbness to the side of my face/head and the final straw was when I had an attack of acute sciatica. Doctor said that this might have been caused by the herniated disc pressing on the actual spinal cord, rather than the nerves so I don't want to risk anything getting worse. I am not sure how long the NHS waiting list is but I can't sfford to be treated privately, so the sooner I get referred the better. Am seeing the spinal surgeon next Thursday, so hopefully can get things rolling.
Would be interested to hear from anyone who has had ACDF surgery and find out how they got on and how long they took to recover.
Thanks in anticipation of your replies.


  • i am also in the UK{ bury } near manchester .i have recently had ALIF on my lower spine .L4/L5/S1 and i am still in agony ! sleeping is a major problem .and keeping the lid of the pain is a daily grind too .anyway i hope you find new friends and get answers to you questions .they are a fab bunch here even though many have come and gone in the 4 years i have been on here ..a few pointers .no mention of doctor or hospitals by name they will be edited by the mods .and no links to anything that will also be cut .that way the site is kept free of rubbish .take care
    tony {UK}
    1997 laminectomy
    2007 repeat laminectomy and discectomy L4/L5
    2011 ALIF {L4/L5/S1}
    2012 ? bowel problems .still under investigation
    2014 bladder operation may 19th 2014

  • I am also in the UK, in Sussex.
    I haven't had cervical surgery, but am facing a 2 level ACDF some time.
    I had a lumbar fusion with decompression nearly 2 and a half years ago, which really improved my lower back pain and the bilateral sciatica I would get daily.

    I am slightly older than you, but also have 3 children and 2 grandchildren. My youngest is doing a PhD, but I can totally understand that feeling of not wanting to put them under undue stress when they have exams. I felt like that earlier this year while my middle son was taking exams at uni.

    I suggest that you take a list of questions to your appointment with the surgeon on Thursday. There are lots of stories of people's experiences of ACDF on here. Please remember that those that stay once the initial recovery is over, are those that have not had quite the relief that they hoped for. Bear in mind that can appear to give a less hopeful picture of this surgery than is actually the case. Those who had a great experience and were able to get back to their busy lives, are no longer here posting.

    The NHS waiting list tends to be long. Have you been on it for a while, or just joined it?

    I wish you luck for Thursday and please come back and tell us how you get on.
    Ask any other questions that you may have. There are lots of 'veterans' of spinal surgery here who
    are willing to share their story.
  • Hi again,
    Didn't realise that I'd already joined this forum but when put my user name in was informed that I had.
    Just a quick update on the situation. I am scheduled to have ACDF on 02/22/2013 and have been reading up on people's tips for coping. Luckily, I didn't have to wait the full NHS waiting time and am having op done at the local private hospital but through the NHS.
    Thanks for all your comments and will keep you updated.

  • Well I beat you to it!
    I had my 2 level ACDF in November and am pretty much recovered from that.
    Rather disappointing that I am left with most of my symptoms, but my surgeon says there is still time for me to get relief.
    You are very lucky that you are not having to wait the long time on the NHS, and even luckier that you will be having your surgery in a private hospital.

    Have you viewed the thread with useful items for after surgery? Let me know if you can't find it and I'll post a link to it.
    I have posted some useful things on your other post. :-)
    Do ask any other questions that you may have.
    I am starting physio next week to try to get back more mobility in my neck.
  • Hi again Jellyhall,
    Have replied to your post on surgery thread too but just wanted to ask you how long was it that you suffered with your symptoms, before having the op? I feel now that I put it off for too long. I have been starting to get numbness in both my legs and face, in addition to that I already had in my arms! I am willing to try the op, even if there is not that much of an improvement in symptoms, as I will always wonder if it could have helped and I never gave it a chance, if I hadn't decided to go for it...
    Anyway, managed to find the thread with useful items for after surgery and have made a summary of all the good tips!
    Catch up soon
  • jellyhalljjellyhall Posts: 4,372
    edited 02/03/2013 - 10:45 AM
    I had some symptoms in my arms for almost 3 years. They came and went and I didn't take too much notice of them. At the time I had lots of pain from my lumbar back and ended up having a fusion for that. At the time, the surgeon told me that surgery wasn't going to help the symptoms in my arms and that was being caused by my neck, and we would sort that out next.

    After my lumbar fusion, my neck symptoms seemed to get worse. My physio said that it was probably because my lumbar pain had been dealt with so now I was noticing the neck and arm problems. I was referred to a neurosurgeon 5 months after that surgery. It took over 8 months to actually see the neurosurgeon! Actually I saw his registrar and was told that I had two discs compressing my cord and to be careful and they would see me in 6 months. At my next visit, the registrar said it was time for surgery because I had signs of cord damage (myelopathy). He went to talk to the consultant and came back 15 minutes later and said that the consultant said we should wait another 6 months. 6 months after that, the registrar (a different one each time) said that I should be referred to a neurologist as she wasn't even sure that all my symptoms were coming from my neck!

    At that point I asked for a second opinion! After months of numerous tests and waiting for results, the neurologist said that in his opinion, my symptoms COULD be coming from the lesion in my neck. My second opinion neurosurgeon said that he recommended a 2 level ACDF to get the pressure off the cord. He did say that he may need to do another surgery from the back afterwards. I think this is because I have more problems below the levels fused.

    After my surgery, he said that things 'were very tight in there'. I still have most of my symptoms and hope that it isn't because I waited for so long. My surgeon says there is still time to get relief. I was told that surgery was being done to stop the damage to my cord and I may be left with my symptoms.

    Glad to hear that you have found the list of useful items.

    Take care and keep in touch :-)

    I also have symptoms in my legs, and tingling on my face in front of my ears occasionally.
  • Hi All,
    Was trying to post a reply onto the Back and Neck surgery forum but it seems to not register me as being logged on, even though I am as I can post on any of the other forums! Anybody know why this might be?
  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    edited 02/07/2013 - 12:47 AM
    I am sorry you are having problems posting, I have just made a test post on that forum and it posted, maybe it was a glitch that prevented you creating a post, maybe try again and if it happens next time then we will have to check it out

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • Tried again Liz but it doesn't seem to register on that board that I'm online but must be as I have posted this!
  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    Ok sorry, I will look into it,

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • Started a new thread in the end as it was just that thread that it wouldn't let me answer..
  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    I am glad you managed to post now

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • Since I logged of after previously posting on the surgery forum it's done the same again. It's only on that one, as after logging back in I have posted things on 2 or 3 other forums no probs???
  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    I sent you a pm

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
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