Surgery is scheduled for next week to fuse C4/5/6. I have been reading many of the posts here and the information has been very helpful. A little history on me. I was a passenger in a car accident many years ago with injuries to my neck and lower back. Was able to do many years of chiropractic and physical therapy thus avoiding surgery for over 30 years. Did suffer with pain for most of those years. Had a L3/4/5 laminectomy in 2002 that helped with the low back and leg pain for a few years. Then a discectomy in 2011 at L4 that resulted in a hematoma in the spinal cord with a ruptured disc that required re-surgery 2 days later. The disc ruptured again and there wasn't enough disc material to do another discectomy so had to have a fusion at L3 to S1, but had to wait 7 months to heal from the two surgeries. Had to learn to walk again on my left leg as it was kind of non working after the hematoma and ruptured disc. Using a walker also damaged my right hand and I had to have carpal tunnel release along with two trigger finger release surgeries. Was left with some permanent nerve damage and resultant pain in the low back, buttock, hip, and leg. After being on narcotic pain medication for 3 years decided to wean myself off gradually to see if I could tolerate without the meds. Initially the pain levels increased but after some time the pain has decreased to no more than it was while taking pain meds, but I feel better off the narcotics, although I still take gabapentin for the nerve pain which helps somewhat. Have also been doing an arthritis water exercise class 3 times a week, regular massage therapy and acupuncture/acupressure which I feel also has helped.
Recently began experiencing severe pain in my neck into the shoulder blade, shoulder and part of my arm. Recent MRI shows severe spinal cord and foramen stenosis with CSF effacement, lordosis, type 2 and 3 endplate changes and multiple large broad based disc bulges. Neurosurgeon is going to fuse only C4/5/6 and said he would not be using any plates or screws. Has anyone else had a cervical fusion without plates and screws? Does this mean it will be an inter body cage that will go into the space where the disc will be removed?
I am trying very hard to remain calm but my mind keeps going back to what the lower spine fusion was like and that was pure agony! The surgeon keeps telling me that a cervical fusion is not the same as a lower spine fusion but I imagine it will still be very painful. Sorry for this post being so lengthy. Best wishes to everyone suffering through neck and back pain. Only others who have or are experiencing this know what it's like.