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Heading Down The Road Towards ACDF

Hello and thank you for allowing me to join this forum!

A little about myself first. I am 55 years old and have been otherwise healthy for my adult life. I unfortunately had two car accidents within two months early this year. I have over the years had some minor low back issues that were very quickly straightened out by chiropractic treatment. Like most, I have had aches and pains, but nothing like I am in now!

I knew immediately after the car accident that something was very wrong. I had a complete tear of my rotator cuff on my left shoulder which was repaired. At that time I was already starting to feel some tightness and trigger points in my upper right back. MRI Impression: Multilevel degenerative disc disease. There is cord flattening and spinal stenosis at C5-6 which is slightly greate in addition to bilateral foraminal compromise with associated nerve root impingement. There is mild spinal stenosis at C6-7 and C7-T1.

I have constant pain that never stops in the scapular region which radiates down under my armpit into my arm, elbow and sometimes intermittent hand cramping/spasms.

At first when I started PT for my rotator cuff repair, my therapist was working on the right side also because we were thinking I was overcompensating for the left side surgery.

Nothing has relieved my pain. I went back to chiropractic and they did some active muscle release therapy. That has not helped either.

The pain is consistently getting worse and worse requiring more and more medication now just to function and that scares me. When I wake up and stand up out of bed the pain and shooting electric shocks are so intense that I am reduced to tears. I am not a whiner or a complainer, this pain is non stop all day, it is just a matter of whether it is a 7 or a 10. It is now wrapping itself in a spasm around my chest too and causing me to be tilted to the left when it is really bad.

I am scheduled for an injection on August 16th. I am not sure it will work as the Medrol dose pack did nothing last week. I've been to both my orthopedic surgeon who performed surgery on my shoulder, as well as a spine surgeon. Both have said that the nerve root compression is so extensive that I will need ACDF surgery.

I am scared and nervous about this prospect for many reasons. Two of which are, my job and my grandchild. I am a paralegal in a small office. If I am not there, the office comes to a screeching halt. I also take care of my 6 month old granddaugter on Wednesdays to help my daughter.

This will be the third surgery for me this year as also had a hysterectomy in November (sorry TMI). I am a strong woman and a quick healer. I am otherwise healthy and in pretty good shape, not overweight. My orthopedist has told me that this surgery is "easier" than the shoulder surgery I had 10 weeks ago.....I guess I will soon find out.

I appreciate any words and thoughts as I go forward on this journey. Right now my pain is so intense that I am welcoming the prospect of some relief, even if it means another surgery.


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    I am sure that you will find your time on Spine-Health very rewarding. This site is a powerful and integrated system that is dynamic and continues to grow.
    Here are just some of the highlights:

    - Detailed medical libraries of Articles and Videos that address almost every Spinal Conditions and Treatment

    - The Wellness section contains articles, tips and videos to help patients after surgery and also to help people avoid surgery.

    - Under the Resource tab, there is a section Doctor Advice Health Center which can be invaluable.

    - As a bonus, Spine-Health provides these patient forums. Here is where you can meet thousands of other people who understand and can relate to your situation. You will soon become part of the Spiney family who provide comfort and the advantages of a Support System. You are now part of this family that is approximately 20,600 International members and growing daily.

    - It is very important to understand the Forum Rules to make sure all of your posts do not violate any of the rules.

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    Here are some you should take a look at:
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    All of this will help make your threads better and improve the times and quality of responses you will receive.

    If you have any questions or need assistance, you can use the Private Message facility to contact any one of the Moderators on my team:






    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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