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Cervical Myelopathy

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,321
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:25 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I am a 40 year old man and I have had neck/spine problems for many years (various herniations, disk and bone degeneration, arthritis, small fractures)due to sports and work.
I have typically seen a chiropractor for my pain and along with massage therpy it has worked well(or at least has kept me relatively pain free).
About 6 months ago I was in a minor traffic accident where I was rear ended. Since that time I have had excruciating pain in my left arm, severe pain in my right arm, headaches, neck pain, and my left eyelid has a slight twitch.
I went to a physiatrist and and Orthopedic surgeon both of whom diagnosed me with myelopathy due to a severe herniation. Both (along with the insurance company doc) have said I need surgery/fusion or this will get much worse.
I have thus far been adamant in my refusal to have the operation done and am looking for alternatives. There seem to not be any coming from these surgeons and I believe it is simply a "when all you have is a hammer everything is a nail" syndrome. Are there any less radical approaches to this or less invasive surgeries? I have no confidence in spinal surgery as out of the 15 or so people I know who have had spinal surgery not one was happy wth it.
Also no one can seem to concretely tell me how long recovery from this type of surgery is. I would rather risk complications than be out of work for 4 or 5 or 9 months (estimates I have been given). My office is 2 hours from my house but is a management job.


  • I suffered from many of the same symptoms as you after a very recent car accident. It was me vs a semi. He won. Ran me into a rock wall and rolled my car over and over. When I saw the Orthopaedic surgeon I was stunned at what I saw on my MRI. He gave me two options. I could sit the rest of my life at home and pray that I was not in another car accident or any other situation that caused me any neck injury because it was entirely possible that I could become paralyzed.Myelopthy was happening quickly. Well standing there looking at my MRI it wasn't a tough decision to make. I had surgery 3 weeks after my accident. I do not regret it for a minute. Though I still now 7 weeks later have some pain but it's manageable and I know it will go away. Many people are back at their normal lives within 2 weeks. Just depends on the individual. I can hold my 8 month old grandson. I'm back at work. Doing ok. I and my doctor really believe that I will have NO symptoms after 6 months. I can already hold a cup and have the feelings back in my left side.
    I know it's not an easy decision to make but you have something that I didn't have time to do your homework. I didn't even know what ACDF surgery was. You can ask us specific questions and we will all be glad to answer anything we can for you. You've found a great group of people. I couldn't have made it through my recovery without them. I only wish I had known these people first. As for alternative therapies I wouldn't have even attempted them because time is of the essence. I wanted my life back as quickly as possible. Read around here and you will find many more stories like mine who don't regret having the surgery. Hope this helps and feel free to Private Message me anytime you want. I'm here to help.
  • Not every one has this surgery for the same reason. If you've heard of stories of failure just remember that you are not them. You are you. You're diagnosis is different. Your recovery will be different and your outcome will be different. Don't listen to all of the negative stories. You really HAVE to have a positive outlook about this surgery to be able to get to it much less through it. Weigh the pros and cons and decide what kind of life you want for yourself. That is the best thing you can do.
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  • ullvin,
    Welcome to spine-health. I am not a Doctor, the information I have to share is my own experiance. In my case my Myelopathy was getting worse over time, both of my Doctors recomended surgery, usually with Myelopathy the damage to the spinal cord is permanent, that is my case. If the symptoms are progressing I would go with the surgery, once the damage is done it may be to late to prevent it. I am glad that I had surgery, I will never be 100 per cent, but where I am at now is way better than being in a wheel chair. It has been a year since my first fusion, I have to say that it worked in preventing more damge to my spine. Only you and your Doctor can make the choice about having surgery or not. Good luck and hope that things work out for you.
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