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Driving myself CrAzY

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:23 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Yep that sums it up, driving myself crazy over ACDF of C5&6. Do it, yes, no, maybe so? Its been only 6 months, did all the tests, have a great NS who is letting me try what I want to (Chiro). Well I was sick over the weekend, just some stomach bug so I couldnt even take my anti inflamitories, but hey didnt really hurt. But then oh yeah more tingles, more pain got back up to about a 5 on the good ol pain scale, couldnt get into a "safe position" that usually stops everything in its tracks, decided the heck with it cut these damned things out of my neck, but then wake up no pain minor tingles, go to work, come home and have pain again bad enough last night that I was ready to go for the surgery, this AM no pain minor tingles. Its all driving me insane!! The other part of all this is the fact that currently I have fantastic insurance coverage, but this is set to change in January. So I have the argument in my head, get it now with the good insurance wont have to pay much if anything, then I go to... the heck with money were talking about my cervical spine here, again another argument in my head that drives me nuts. All I want is to feel good, no pain, no tingles, and move on with life. Im not conviced after about 6 months of chiropracty that this is doing anything for me, the drugs seem to help most of the time, but I hate pills especially NSAIDs !! Scary stuff! My MRI shows Im 2mm away from not having a choice anyway so maybe I should just do it, and of course just typing that has thoughts of NO dont do it running through my head. Although Ive never had an operation ever in my 39 years, I just want to do whatever Im supposed to do to make life better, but am going nuts trying to figure that out! I know 2 people that have had this done, they say "what are you waiting for?" they healed fine, no issues, quick back to work and they moved on with life. Thats all I want to do. Thanks for letting me VENT!!


  • Wow, your mind sounds just like mine a few months ago! Although I didn't have much choice about wether or not to have surgery I played that game too.

    In the end it's all about quality of life. Make a 2 sides list and write down all the pro's and con's of doing surgery. This could help you make that choice.

    Good luck in making your decision. I wish there was more I could do to help!

  • Sorry things are driving you crazy..It happens to the best of us.
    With my neck I did not hold off. Plus I had no choice.
    I had the numbness/tingling and a bigger herniation then yourself. But I refused to put up with the pain of it.
    I had surgery within 3 months the pain started. 4 weeks after the MRI was done. I just read to many horror stories of perm nerve damage.
    I will say I am VERY HAPPY with the outcome of my cerivcal fusion. I can turn my head all the way. Movement is awesome. And very rare do I get tingling in my hands or arms. Only if I lay the wrong way. Or type the wrong way.
    But I also have some slight herniations in all the way down my spine so take that into consideration.

    BUT in the end its all up to you. Do weigh your pro's and con's.
    Not telling you to stay away from the chiro. BUT if your not feeling anybetter. Then there is one sign right there.

    Your not alone in this "spine" world of ours. And so many others have questions just like yourself.

    Discuss this with your surgeon and way your options.
    You will know in the end what is right.

    Hang in there!!!!!!!! O:) >:D< >:D< >:D< >:D< >:D<
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  • Thanks to both posters for the kind words on my ranting lol...

    Terri I was wondering if you recall what size your herniation was and why that prompted you to surgery. Mine is noted on my MRI report as a large herniation at C6-7 level transverse dimention of 12mm/ and 6mm into the spinal canal. Im begining to wonder if my NS is humoring me with trying out alternatives lol... dont they call that paranoia? lol j/k I actually work for a County Mental Health clinic so I KNOW its paranoia LOL... anyway I have to have a sense of humor about all this, or I would have to talk to one of our psychiatrists!
  • I wish I could remember the size I really do.
    All I know is he said its "all the way out" so either try the injections and hold off "but he did not think they would work seriously" or "have surgery" BINGO I will have surgery thank you very much.
    I was not going to put myself through the thought of treatments. Plus I could not turn my head at all. It hurt so bad.

    As with my back well yeah that we waited on a bit. I fell down the stairs 2x's. NOT ONE DANG E.R. took xrays. My ortho did finally and I had a very severe bruise on my tailbone. I knew the pain was something.
    HELLLOOOOO 40 yr old falling down the stairs TAKE XRAYS.
    So I ended up in Pain managment for 8 months. The PM says I really do not know how to read MRI"s OK????!!!! So he took xrays and said I see alot of arthritis. OK DUH already knew that.
    Thats when we did all types of meds and the ESI injection.
    Finally I said enough is enough. Went back to my ortho he did a MRI and more xrays. Gotta love him. He found the slight herniation at L5 and spondylolthesis at S1 through the xrays of me bending forward and backwards.
    I could of waited again or held off. The spondy was the most painful out of my symptoms. So those symptoms are gone, the low/deep burning pain.
    But ok did not fuse it happens.
    Will I fuse from the revison??? Who knows. I am a risk taker and If someone gives me even a 40 percent chance of feeling better IM TAKING IT <:P :D <br />
    But enough about that.

    You hang in there. Go forward and let your heart guide you..
    You will know what is right in the long run...
    O:) O:) O:) O:) O:) O:) O:) O:) O:) O:)
  • I thought I would just see if your Doc threw any of these words at you. From what I have been told there are 4 levels of herniation.
    1)bulge 2)protrusion 3)extrusion and 4)sequestered. That may give you an idea of how bad it is. Just thought I would throw that in for you, but in the end it all has to be your choice to have surgery or not.
    Jeanette :D
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  • They're so big! Stuff like that makes me crazy too. I can relate. I can't tell you what to do. Good insurance is a pro. How would you rate your typical pain on that 1-10 scale? My feeling is if I'm around 7-8 most of the time I can't really function.
  • My typical pain has decreased since all this started in June. I was definatley at a 10 for most of June/July, then saw a new M.D. who put me on an anti-inflamitory, pain dropped to a 2 (exept for when I missed 3 doses oh boy right back up the scale I went). Been working with a chiropractor, doing my extention exercises, now doing some work with weights (only 5 pounders so far) still taking the drugs and for the majority of the time my pain is down to ZERO! I still have a numb index finger, move in the right way I can send those tingles right down my left arm, so bad that it takes my breath away, but Im so much better than I was over the summer, and my chiro keeps pointing that out to me when I have my doubts in his office. For now I will keep working on the conservative treatments and see where I end up. Have to see the NS again Nov 6. Last weekend (before the stomach bug) I actually went out on a hike only about 3 miles, some small aches but they subsided and I kept on moving! Sleeping seems to be the tricky part, but I have about 10-15 different kinds of pillows and build myself a pillow fort for my head, once I find the right combination the tingles stop/no pain and I can sleep (still on the couch but I sleep!) my bed just seems to make me achey and tingly too much.
  • No one here will tell you what's right or wrong but I've found them to be some of the most supportive people around. My surgery was do or die and I had very little time to make up my mind because my herniation was touching my Spine and causing Neurological deficits. My doc offered to let me go for a little while and see how it works out but it would never go away and could only get worse. I barely had time to think about it before I was in surgery. You're lucky you've found a place full of good info. I just suggest that no one knows you better than you. Listen to you and we will all share our stories and you can ask questions. I'm still recovering from my ACDF surgery so I don't know about my future but I find some real inspiration from here. Just educate yourself about your condition and make sure you are completely comfortable with any doctor performing any surgery on you.
    P.S. I had never had any pain and was in a car accident causing my disc problem. So I can't imagine how you all get through it every day.
  • I had a similar decision this summer. In June I started having severe neck pain radiating down into my left shoulder and numbness in my left forearm and fingers. MRI and X-rays showed some spinal stenosis and bone spurs impeding the neural foramen on the left at C5C6. The neural foramen space was so narrowed they couldn't even give me an epidural injection to help with the inflammation. I was given the option of conservative treatment or surgical fusion, but the surgery didn't have to be done "right now". They got the pain under control with 2 courses of steroids and then NSAIDS. I also received cervical decompression therapy from my chiropractor which brought my pain down to nearly nothing, the numbness disappeared and I was even able to stop the NSAIDS. However, the bone spurs and stenosis were still there and I knew it would only take a small trauma to induce inflammation in that area and bring back all the pain. I am a veterinary technician (very physical job) and I didn't want to have to restrict my recreational activities for fear of hurting myself, so I opted to go through with the fusion after all. Even without pain and symptoms, my chiropracter even urged me to have the surgery because his treatments were only a temporary fix. I also talked to a couple people that had cervical fusions, but they had waited too long and now have permanent nerve damage and some muscle atrophy in their affected arm. They now regret postponing their surgeries.

    I had my C5C6 ACF with cadaver bone graft 13 days ago at the University of Utah. My neurosurgeon doesn't like cervical collars post-op. He explained that the instrumentation will stabilize my neck better than any external fixation anyways. He believes long term recovery is easier if you are not immobilized with a collar. If your neck muscles stiffen up and become atrophied due to immobility in a collar, PT later will be much more difficult. I was sent home the day after surgery and told to rotate, flex and extend my neck (slowly and carefully) in all directions. I had a lot of muscle spasm pain in my neck and shoulders for the first 5 days which was managed with lortab, valium, heat, ice and massage. I found that the more I moved my neck (especially under a hot shower or warm rice bag) the less muscle pain I had.

    In less than two weeks I have almost as much ROM as I did before surgery and no pain or numbness in my arm. Right now I only take one lortab in the AM and 1 valium in the evening and I am already back at work part time. I'm not taking any NSAIDS as they can impede bone healing. Of course I'm taking it easy, getting plenty of sleep, not lifting anything over 10 pounds, and I'm taking omega 3, glucosamine, MSM and multi-vitamins. I also threw in Citrical plus Bone Density Builder in hopes of speeding up my fusion. I've read a lot of horror stories of post-op pain lasting months and months, so I consider myself very lucky. My experience with the neurosurgery department and whole hospital at the University of Utah has been great. If you're anywhere near Salt Lake City I suggest you check them out. I live 280 miles away and it has been well worth the travel time. (Well, actually the 5 hour drive home the day after surgery wasn't exactly fun, but worth it in the long run)

    My surgeon told me I should be able to return to all of my normal activity after 6 months, which includes lifting at work, ATV riding, skiing, horseback riding and whitewater rafting (which, BTW, caused the injury in the first place)

    Good Luck to you! Oh, and I would take advantage of your good insurance. This surgery will not be cheap!
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