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Thoughts, Advice, and Questions

Ok. 2 years ago I had C4,C5&C6 fusion. Went well. Recovery was fine. Fused fine. Fast forward 2years and I become symptomatic again. This time the thing that was noticeably different was the immense pain in my left arm in the tricep area. My god, it was at times like I got hit with a baseball bat. The numbness and tingling returned in the left arm and hand and being left handed, sucks. My left index finger itches so bad I have itched the skin right off to a scap.

Went to nuerosurgeons today, and I have a ruptured disk now at C7. Before I went to nuerosurgeons I went to family doc for pain management. They took me out of work and prescribed me a regiment of Percocet and neurontin. With the meds on board symptoms are minimal. When they wear off, I canfo back to,pain, to discomfort, to really nothing. Been on the meds over a week taken multiple times a day.

So back to today. I am no doctor but can see on my MRI where my C7 is ruptured. I agreed to have surgery the 1st week of March. Here is my reasoning. The meds are a short term fix only. They literally drug me up and make me stoned. It's is however not sustainable. I did a few PT appointments, but no one can say with any amount of certainty this is going to fix anything. My fear is if I don't have surgery it's only going to get worse. Granted I could go a day, a week, a month being non symptomatic, but I know it's only a matter of time before it rears its ugly head again.

The pain early last week was unbearable. I use a computer for work, am in graduate school, and also write for my local paper. When symptoms are bad writing stops on a computer or by holding a pen/pencil.

What I am think is with the meds on board my symptoms now are masked. Get the surgery and fix it right and move on. Thoughts?


  • Hi
    I just wanted to toss in my two cents and warn you not to wait. I went to the surgeon for a lower back issue He asked what was wrong with my neck. I was almost symptom free for a cervical problem. He did a full spine MRI and it showed a severe compression of my cord at C6 and 7. I had a ACDF of C5/6/7. I waited to long and now have cord damage at C6 and 7 which causes all kinds of problems. Because of my experience I advise not to wait on a cervical issue as you may put it off for awhile but the damage can and will most likely grow.

    Your issues may not get better from what damage is already done but it will stop the progression which means everything to me. I do not know if you have any pressure on your cord yet or even pressure on a nerve root that may get better or may cause damage that will never recover.
    Why wait and take a chance. Most of the neckies I talk with have very good luck and improvement.
    This is where we have to trust our surgeons.
    If you have any questions let me know.

  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,859
    edited 02/21/2013 - 4:25 AM
    I would go get a second opinion. If two doctors agree with your condition and the action plan to correct it, then I would go ahead and have the surgery done.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • I would get surgery done, but....check to see if you have a surgeon that can do it minimally invasive....I live in a rural area and found a surgeon that did it that way and your risks of complications and infection are lower. Also, recovery is quicker. It is worth looking into, plus you get a second opinion. Plus, you get the surgery and you are at least getting better, not worse. The other treatments are just bandaids!
    radtechtam MIS L4-5 Fusion
  • I agree with the above - get a second opinion - and if they both concur, then it is time to move forward.
    When I saw three different surgeons before I ultimately had my ACDF C3/4 and C4/5, I received three different recommendations - all were for surgery, but the levels of surgery went from fusing my entire neck to what I ultimately had done.

    I agree - pain meds are just a mask and it is not a real solution to your issues.

    One of the things I was told (and I am sure many others are told) is that once you start having things fused, the body has to make up for lack of movement in that area which adds additional use to the other vertebrae that are not fused, creating more wear and tear - creating the potential for new issues later.

    It sounds like you are in terrible pain and it sounds like you will ultimately need surgery, but take the time to get another opinion so that you can feel confident you have gotten consistent recommendations and so you can decide which surgeon you prefer.

    In the meantime, stress is going to exacerbate pain. Try doing some deep breathing to reduce some of the stress you are probably carrying with you. It will get more blood flowing and hopefully ease some of the emotional stress you are currently feeling.

    If you have other questions, let us know!
    10/26/2012 ACDF C3/4 C4/5 surgery
    No pain; no pain meds - thank goodness!
    04/01/2013 - 5 months + 1 week - FUSED
    Doing some physical therapy for even better range of motion
  • Sedona-trekkerSSedona-trekker Posts: 31
    edited 02/25/2013 - 5:38 PM
    I am new to this site and feel really encouraged reading the recent posts. Good advice--nothing the doctors haven't told me, but nice hearing from the personally experienced.
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