I am a 40 year old female who had 3 spinal surgeries (had the first one at 20): 1 where a herniated disk was fixed, 1 anterior lumbar fusion and 1 cervical fusion. I am a healthy very active very strong minded person but have suffered from a degenerative disc disease. first two surgeries were a success. went back to normal life relatively quickly. however my last one: C5/6 anterior cervical fusion has been the toughest. I had it 2 years after my lumbar fusion and this was 2 years ago. i haven't been pain free for past 5 years. pre-op my pain was going down my left shoulder arm to my fingers. not until few weeks back that my arm pain has improved but since my surgery and this has gotten worse: a new pain has started. mainly around my neck giving me pain in my head, nausea, dizziness, mood swings...back of my neck is soar at the touch. my MRI a year ago didn't show anything abnormal. My fusion looks good. I did several periods of physical therapy. I tried meditation, acupuncture. I have tried running, walking, very little strength training to keep my body and mind going. last week I finally went and saw a new doctor. we did simple x-ray with my neck in different positions: bent backward, forward. when he saw the x-ray, he advised me that I had a structural problem, basically my fusion was affecting the level below C6/7. he recommended an injection but that eventually I would need a fusion of the level below my fusion.
my question is: how many level will i have to fuse to be pain free. after already 3 surgeries under my belt, you understand how frustrated/devastated I am. Not only this has ruined my life as I cannot really function normally with my constant pain but also my career. today I am lost, I do not really know what to do. I do not even think I have a clear mind from my pain to make a proper decision. I am scared to go through yet another surgery. I am loosing faith in my surgeons.
I just joined this forum today as I am trying to find similar stories, find comfort in survivors of similar surgeries, chronic pain but also to hear feedback from doctors, surgeons (understanding that without meeting the person, it is all assumptions). the frustrating part is when people see me: they see a normal healthy person when in reality my chronic pain is devastating me inside.
There are no medical professionals on the forum side of this site. Therefore everything you read is based on the personal experiences and/or research done by the individual member. Comments should never be taken as pure medical facts. You need to discuss this with your doctor. They are the only ones that can provide you with detailed information about you, the patient.
Liz, Spine-health Moderator