My name is Richard (Rich), I am 51 years old and about to head into surgery for a C6/7 ACDF. It's taken me 8 years of neurosurgeon visits, heavens knows how much I've spent on physio for neck and shoulder pain, and dry needling sessions etc etc. You know how it goes.
Before my current situation I managed to prolapse C5/6 and C6/7 about 5 years ago which put me off work for a month - but the NS wasn't convinced I needed surgery. Since that episode, I took up taekwondo, got my black belt, and spent so much time going to PT and GP visits in doing so I often wondered if I was just working my body too hard!
So I was working out with my free weights in my home gym end of January and I was doing some barbell rows...nothing heavy (about half my body weight) when I felt something "pull" in my armpit. It didn't hurt but it felt like I had stretched a muscle big time. I finished (stupidly.....doggedly) my weight session and figured it was just going to have a bit of muscular soreness afterwards. Thursday morning was an "ouch" moment and I booked in to see the physio as my neck muscles and shoulder muscles had seized up so badly I could hardly walk properly....needless to see the physio killed me. I was in so much pain and he was really going for it to loosen the muscles up...made a grown man cry !!
Later Thursday I booked in to see my GP and he requested an MRI the next Tuesday and gave me some ibuprofen and Lyrica until then. By Friday night I knew I had done a disc or two 9didnt know which exactly but figured it was c6/7 as my tricep, elbow, forearm and index and thumb were on fire. I was doubled over with the pain, but thought it would subside. My wife suggested I go to the hospital but I'm a really dumb person sometimes and thought it would go away. By 3 am Saturday morning I went upstairs, woke her up and told her to take me to ER, about 20 minutes drive away. Will never forget the road trip - I actually felt as if my left arm had been broken at the elbow it was that intense and couldn't straighten it at all.
ER doc took 5 minutes t figure out the issue and sent me for CT...yep....bulged C2/3, C3/4 and c4/5. Prolapsed C5/6 and major herniation at C6/7 with cord contact....and the MRI just made it that much clearer the next Tuesday.
My first NS (the one I had been seeing for years off and on) suggested a posterior cervical foraminotomy.......friends told me to get a second opinion. Second NS told me I had bone growing into my spinal canal, and whilst the first NS's advice would alleviate the nerve root compression at C6/7, it would not stop bone growing further into my spinal canal and would one day touch it and cause all sorts of problems. The time for single level ACDF surgery had come....and now I'm three days away from it......*****************************************
Link to Part 2http://www.spine-health.com/forum/treatment/recovering-surgery/c67-acdf-my-pre-and-post-surgery-journey-part-2
C6/7 ACDF 18th April 2015 after 8 years of mucking around pretending it was something else...