Hello everyone... I have read through the Forum Rules and the FAQ. Hopefully, I can manage not to make any newbie mistakes.
Back in 2007, I had some neck pain and stiffness and PCP sent me for MRI. I was diagnosed with DDD, spondylosis, and a herniated C6/7. I think there was some mild spinal stenosis as well. I was referred to a spine doc. He said that since I wasn't having any neurological symptoms, surgery was not yet needed; however in 5-10 years I would likely need my neck fused. It took four weeks to get in to see him the first time, but he said when I started losing "fine motor control", he would get me right in. When I called last week, I found that he has retired.
On 27 Feb, I went to my PCP with pain mid-back and got an adjustment from a PA that is trained as a chiropractor. A few hours later, the pain was unbearable. The next morning, I tried to get worked in at an ortho office I have used in the past. I saw my knee ortho's PA and she ordered an MRI for me, but it took many days to get an appt. My current diagnosis is herniated C7-T1. Got referred for epidural steroid injections. I have had two shots and I am scheduled for a third this Wednesday.
I have been taking hydrocodone 5/325 every 6 hours. It mostly keeps the pain at about a "2", but I am not back to work, which would involve sitting at a computer all day. Sitting is the most painful position for me. When I asked my doc about returning to work, he said "sure if you want to risk permanent damage".
I have not had any surgeries, but it sounds like I will need to before I can return to work. The question is -- what surgery and which surgeon. So, I have two appointments to consult with two different orthopedic surgeons tomorrow. I have been trying to get in to see a neuro spine surgeon, but the one I have been trying to get in to see is pretty backed up. They won't even make an appt for me until they have all my files and review. Even though, I saw a doctor in that office in 2007.
Since I last investigated my condition in 2007, it seems like there have been alot of advancements in micro-surgery as well as artificial disc replacements. From what I can tell, the orthopedic spine surgeons do the artificial disc replacements. I don't even know if I am a candidate for that. It sure does sound like a better option than fusion.
I have a vacation planned for early summer. I think that there are no surgical options that would allow me time to recover prior to the trip. My best option would be if I can manage pain well enough to go back to work then go on my vacation. I am not seeing that with the hydrocodone.
I guess that's about it... gonna go read all I can find about others that have similar condition to me.
ACDF on 24 April 2013.