I am new to this forum, I was told to talk to other forums about disc replacement. Here is my story.
I am a 36 year old male, I woke up one day with a stiff neck and the following few days it started radiating down my arm and my fingers started tingling. I waited a few weeks for this pain to go away and it just kept getting worse and worse so my wife insisted I go see a dr about it. He did a few tests on me (pushed down on my head ) "OUCH" and told me that he thought I had a slipped disc, gave me a round of steroids and some anti-inflammatories said to call in 3 days if I wasn't better. I waited the 3 days and it was just as bad he sent me in for x-rays. They were normal...I guess no bone spurs. I was instructed to go to pt. I did 2 sessions and was released because they couldn't help me. They tried traction, made me worse, deep tissue masage, worked for 6 hours, estim with heat, made me worse. I self referred myself to a spine doctor (non-surgical). He ordered an mri and told me (sorry my results aren't in front of me) I had degenerative discs from c1 to t2 except for c4\5 it was normal, I had bulging discs at c2\3 c3\4 c6\7 and c7\t1 and at c5\6 I had a herniation-much larger bulge. It was in my thecal sac but didn't show that it was touching my spinal cord. I had foraminal narrowing in multiple areas (I can't remember exactly where) and I mild stenosis in multiple areas can't remember exactly where either). He wanted to try injections but said he didn't know if they would help. I found out his office where he did injections was 50 miles from my house so I found a pm doctor that would give me the injections.
To date I have had 2 cervical esi's, and 2 rounds of facet blocks. I have not had any relief from them. I have done nothing but gotten worse. I go in 2 days back to my pm doctor for a follow up about my last facet injections. She told me before I had those injections that she didn't think she could do anything else but these and I was looking at surgery.
I have made up my mind that I have no other choice and I have to have surgery. My symptoms now are I have constant tingling and numbness in my left arm, I have tons on muscle loss in my left arm, my neck kills me and my tricep area and my left shoulder blade area. I get migraines like no other and muscle cramps in my legs and feet more my left side than my right.
I haven't talked to my surgeon yet but I am hoping that I am a candidate for artificial disc replacement rather than fusion. I don't think multiple disc replacement has been approved in the neck (cervical) area yet but maybe since it is supposedly just 1 disc that is bothering me.
Has anyone here had disc replacement instead of fusion and what is your outcome, how long should I expect to be off of work? How long is the recovery? I am just worried about being off of work for to long. My job isn't very demanding, not exactly a desk job but very close to that. I run an automation cell which basically means I just supervise a few robots that do the majority of my job. I am hoping to have the surgery in March and be on the home stretch this summer. I know it takes time to heal but I would like to atleast have a pretty descent summer.
Someone on another forum told me that since I had facet blocks done that I may not be a candidate for adr anymore.