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Choosing to have surgery when..or not at all

littlerobllittlerob Posts: 7
edited 12/12/2015 - 4:11 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Hello. I am new to the forum. I have posted before back in 2007 when I had a two level acdf 4-5 and 5-6. I have been pretty good up until mid Oct. of this year. After a couple of days with a little soreness I woke up with what felt like a lightning bolt going through my neck and shoulder and down my arm to the tips of my fingers. I was in so much pain that after a week or so after I had to take off work.....which is another long story. I have found out that I have a central herniated disc 3-4, and a smaller herniation at c7. C7 is giving me all the symptoms that seem to be bothering me. I have nerve damage that has weakened my triceps and wrist. I finally got an appointment with surgeon and he recommended fusion for both areas.
I am having a hard time deciding what to do because I am feeling much better. My arm is still weak and I still have pain which is not too bad some days. We all know how one fusion seems to lead to another. I am worried about the one above 3-4 and 8 -T1.

I am planning on waiting at least until next week to make a surgery date. He said it will most likely be 4 weeks out. I thought that I will start doing everything that I want to do and not hold back and see if the pain gets worse or stays the same. This will tell me if I should go forth and have it done and just move on. I just don't want to go through it if I will continue to improve. I keep on reading about not letting it go beyond 12 weeks because of permanent nerve damage.

Any advice?

Welcome to Spine-Health

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So many times we read about members who have different tests and they all come back negative. The more clues and information you provide, the better chances in finding out what is wrong, The fact that your test results are negative does not mean that you are fine and without any concerns. Many times it takes several diagnostic tests and procedures to isolate a specific condition.

Here are some questions that you should answer:

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I’ve had this for years, it hurts, I cant move my shoulder – what could this be, what treatment should I get?

Diagnosing spinal problems can be very difficult. In many ways it’s like a game of clue. Especially, when the diagnostic tests come back negative – no trouble found! Then it’s up to the patient and the doctor to start digging deeper. The doctor is like a detective. They need clues to help them move along. So, you as the patient need to provide the doctor with all sorts of clues. That is like it is here. Without having information about a condition, its impossible for anyone here to try to help.

Specific comments :

Personal Opinion, not medical advice :

--- Ron DiLauro, Spine-Health System Moderator : 12/12/15 10:11 est



  • Hi Littlerob

    I don't have any advice because that is a decision only you can make.

    If you aren't in too much pain then have a discussion with your doctor about the potential for permanent nerve damage. If you have reservations about the surgery, then talk to him about those too. Don't leave any question unanswered. Whatever your decision, you should feel good about it.

    If you feel like a second opinion would help, then do that. Having already been through this once, I understand your ambivalence.

    I wish you well and keep us posted.
    Scoliosis and other problems at every level.

    2013: C-5 to C-6 ADR
    2014: C-5 to C-6 fusion/revision of failed ADR
    2014: Total hip replacement, right

    Cancelled multi-level fusion - fear being more crippled and in more pain.
  • PlumbTuckeredOutPlumbTuckeredOut Philadelphia, PAPosts: 325
    I've had neck issues for 8 years now. I'd gotten more and more difficult to turn my head. My left arm is showing the complications of nerve damage. I asked my pain doc today, "What do I do about my neck?" I asked a few things that I thought would help and he kept saying, "For the rest of your life,"... "For the rest of your life..." So he sent a request to a surgeon he likes to give me some things to think about.

    If I knew nothing would progress beyond this I could hang out here for the rest of my life but things tend to worsen. I'm 49 now and will remain 49 for the next 50 years! (This is only my first year being 49!) I have zero family but I have wonderful friends. Argh but to have to ask friends to help with groceries and meals! To not be independent!

    And I do notice the loss of using my left arm. I think I'm probably going to need both my arms for the future! And if I have surgery now there are no promises that I'll improve. Or I could get worse.

    Or maybe I shouldn't get on the computer late at night after taking my pain meds and just rant! But it helps so much to rant with others who are in a similar place! Keep us updated Rob!

    Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by...... (Robert Frost)
    I still don't know if I should have taken the one that said, "Caution! Dead End" (Me)
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