I'm slated for the above surgery on 8/5. My spine has been degenerating due to radiation therapy in 1983, along with a few exacerbating events. I have had chronic neck pain for at least ten years, along with numbness and tingling in my arms and severe pain in my right shoulder. I've had three ortho surgeons recommend cervical surgery--one emphatically suggesting that I have it right away (almost ten years ago) and another only recently adopting a sense of urgency. The third was solicited only for an additional opinion, and he has maintained that I will eventually have to have surgery, though he has been weighing my pain and symptoms against the risk and recovery of surgery. Another factor is that my neck has curved forward noticeably, with C7 protruding significantly on my back.
My neck pain has gotten to the point where I cannot stand or walk for more than a few minutes before it forces me to lay down. The doctors all agree that without surgery, I my neck will continue to deform until I'm permanently staring at my feet. My MRIs show moderate stenosis and some significant bulging disks. Right now I'm taking oxycodone as needed. I have a couple of episodes a week that aren't handled by my pain meds, but I don't want to ask for stronger painkillers.
Over the last week or so, I have been avidly reading these forums and pondering what I consider to be "pain."
I would appreciate hearing how others describe their pain. I'm thinking that I'm going to trade a known pain for the unknown pain of recovery, which spineys on this site tend to describe as severe. Please let me know how your pre-surgery pain felt as best you can, and how you treated it. I'm also interested in your post-surgery pain, primarily how it compares with your pre-surgery pain.
Thank you for your help!
Radiation therapy 1983 to mantle, chest and lower spine
Cervical issues since 2000
Whiplash on boat in 2003
Cervical surgery scheduled for August, 2015