It's been a while since I've been on the Spine-H forum and actually posted my status with DDD but not that I haven't logged on to know I am not alone in this devasting DDD disease. In two other posts(New Introductions and Spine DDD) I detailed the dilemma of needing a second and actually a third surgery for severely advanced DDD of my cervical spine, C-6/7 C-7/8, T-1/2 with kyphosis, stenosis, spondylosis and osteophytes bone spurs causing nerve impingement on 2 levels.
My first surgery was in 1995 three bone spurs encroaching spinal cord at C-3/4 C-4/5 C-5/6 and my first cervical spine surgery = ACDF.
As many of your know living with DDD and the painful symptoms of nerves, muscles, ligaments taking the heavy burden of movement of a dysfunctional spine, disc and fusion is ongoing.
After sustaining two motor vehicle accident injuries (a rear-end collision in 2004 and then a broadside t-bone in 2007 which miraculously did not cause direct injury to the spinal cord with narrowing and shifting of degenerative disc and bone spurs. It took me over a year to get over the "invisible" but nonetheless traumatic and chronic pain symptoms of spondylosis, nerve and muscle spasms in neck, shoulder, arms and lower back, but I amazingly with the help of physical therapy, pain meds, massage, neuromuscular electrical stimulation treatment I got to the place of having lesser pain and longer episodes.
And as the past two years and following the most severe mva in 2007 where I was hit directly broadside into my driver door, after a year and a half of therapy as before I was able to function better with less pain but the episodes didn't subside as before. The past year there were changes in the degeneration and impinging bone spurs on two levels with increasing symptoms of pain down middle of my back, shoulder blades, shoulder joint pain, aching down my arm and into my hands. With worsening and ever-increasing and intolerable pain and nerve spams into my hand I began losing the use of my arm, shoulder and especially my wrist and fingers.
With an MRI, CT Scan and flexion x-ray, the final verdict came in 5 months ago that levels C-6/7 C-7/8 T-1/2 which have been creating much havoc and pain is now moved from "advanced degeneration" to "severe / chronic degeneration" needing correction for the advanced and the no longer tolerable nerve pain resulting in chronic nerve impingement on two levels.
Unfortunately, it has been assessed by two surgeons, one out of state where I used to live and one local surgeon, that I am high risk to have another front approach (anterior) surgery for dysphagia/dysphonia damage (throat swallowing and voice nerves/muscles/ligaments compromised), as well with immediate 3 levels already fused and requiring junction plates and screws over cervical and thoracic areas.
I hope to get another opinion and see a neurologist who specializes in neuromuscular problems and especially thoracic outlet and brachial/cervical nerve problems which I have impinged and as well get another referral and opinion from a neurosurgeon. The surgeons who assessed as too high risk, not a good candidate for surgery were orthopedic surgeons.
In the meantime, I am experience severe nerve spasms down my arm and into my hands continuously, that goes from the severe electrical showering down outer arm with deep aching and tremendous burning pain into my hand. The nerve impingement affects one side for two or three months (left side right now) and then moves to the right side arm, hands. Told I have bi-lateral all nerve roots impinged on both sides at C-6/7 C-7/8.
Two weeks ago I had an anterior approach two level nerve block injections in hopes to get some relief from the chronic nerve pain and spasms. I was free of total pain for 3 days, shoulder, mid-back pain, and all the arm and hand nerve pain. Unfortunately, the arm and hand nerve pain, burning spasms have come back and much worse, if that could even be possible, much more intense and continuous now.
I am on a double dose of 7.5 mg hydrocodone which on a single dose barely took the edge off the severe pain. I have increased another medication seroquel from 50 mg to 75 mg in order to sleep better. My life revolves around the dosing of meds and breathing around each episode of severe spasms until the meds take affect ever 4 hours.
My quality of life has dwindled to zero. I have my beloved fur-babies, a ShihZhu and Lhasa, Gizmo and Brittany to keep my spirits up but they sure do miss the play times and my walks with them.
I am praying that next week I can contact a neuromuscular specialist and neurologist to see me and get evaluated for the level of nerve disorder and especially damage I am sustaining which clearly has been going on for over 5 months now and to see what they can suggest.
But, I know, the bottom-line is DDD three levels needing reconstruction and stabilization removal of the spurs and instrumentation of plates and screws to free up the nerve branch/nerve root outlet problems.....and I know I need a surgeon who is not only willing but confident it can be done without a high compromise of post-surgery dysfunction.