Met with neurosurgeon yesterday. I have 3 herniated discs, C4/5, 5/6, 6/7. Going from memory from conversation combined with what I already know.
I've had stenosis for a while.
He said opening less that .8 now (?)
A little history. I broke my nose in HS, not the normal sideways break, but rather I was looking up and something fell from directly (a sports injury actually) above and pushed my head directly down on my spine, like opening a garlic press or something. They fixed my nose, which required 2 surgeries and no one ever addressed my neck. I think because I was young and elastic it didn't show itself.
Fast forward 15 years, I was showing my kids how to do a somersault (I had ALWAYS been athletic and fit and healthy) and in doing so hyper extended the ligaments in my neck causing my head to shift very much forward. I ended up in ICU for a couple days, physical therapy. At first in the ER the images looked like a fracture, later MRI's showed the arthritis that was most likely from the earlier sports injury. Treatment was NSAIDS and physical therapy, which I did.
About a year after this the fibromyalgia monster that has followed me since reared it's head. It started first with severe GI disturbances, went to all sorts of sensory disturbances and strange migrating pains and a roller coaster of pain and suffering that many people here are all too familiar with. So sorry to all of you.
Along the way I found some things that helped somewhat, controlled what I could, accepted what I couldn't and made the best of it when I could. Raised 2 great kids in the process so I'm grateful for that. Back the the issue.
9 years ago my neck had some "flares" with no triggering events. Ended up in ER., went on to surgery consult. Saw some bulging and stenosis, nothing severe at that time. Surgeon was ready to go. Wanted to fuse then and there. Got opinions on other options and tried epidurals. Had 2. The first one was a MIRACLE. At the two week point symptoms began to diminish significantly. It worked for years. 3 years ago some pain started again. Had another, no help at all. Just dealt with it.
This year. This year has been the WORST. This year has been the WORST year of my life. With that being said I recognize that I am still fortunate and it could always be worse, but my pain, suffering, fatigue, endurance, ability to cope, concentration, lightening zaps, and absolutely RIDICULOUS incessant unrelenting er quality MIGRAINES, have been off the charts. Then 3 month ago I couldn't do my hair. As silly as that sounds what I mean is overnight I lost motor function in my arm. What I hadn't paid attention to is that I had been already losing motor function in my leg, attributing it to fibromyalgia fatigue when I dragged it when walking our dog. This signaled that it was not fibromyalgia and I was not about to have a doctor tell me that it was. Saw GP. New MRI. Saw neuro put in referral for neurosurgeon, drugs for migraines, saw awesome ortho that really listens, he said this is different myelopathy is present, time for surgery and here we are.
Surgeon wants to do a ACDF. He will use cadaver bone and titanium. Is that the very very best? I've had enough CT scans for 3 people and after this will never be able to have MRI right? Is there any instrumentation that is newer, stronger, better, safer that does not subject someone to CT from here on out (for all my other issues) ?
THANK you all for the WEALTH of information here! I've been reading and reading and reading and send you prayers and support and gratitude for your information and will share my experience as well.
All the best and peace.