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Newly diagnosed severe spinal cord compression in neck

winnahwwinnah Posts: 36
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:58 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I am new to the forums, found them while I was googling..loL!
A few weeks ago after an MRI, I was diagnosed with severe spinal cord compression in my neck and herniated disks in my lower back (lucky me!) I actually do not have much pain in my neck. What made me finally go to the neurosurgeon was numbness and tingling in my left arm when I turn my head, headaches and ringing in my ears.
The surgeon wanted to do surgery quickly, until he found out my insurance wasnt very good. I have state insurance and do not have hospital coverage. They "may" approve the surgeon to do the surgery, but he will have to go to the hospital and ask them to write off hospital charges. its been a couple weeks since my appointment and here I sitting waiting for the insurance to reply. The Dr. told me any trama to my neck/back could be very dangerous and not to drive anymore than I had to and be careful not to slip or fall and if things got worse to go to the ER. My symptoms have gotten a bit worse, arm goes numb more often, funny tingling in my head and neck and a weird eye twitch every once in awhile. I am getting a little worried about what could happen while I wait for surgery. I was in shock, so I didnt really ask the doctor everything I should have.
What would usually be considered "bad enough" to go the the ER? Also, could I suddenly wake up paralized or not be able to breath on my own? I am trying to wait and not go into the ER, atleast for a few days. I am a single parent and need to have some papers drawn up for my sons care if something should happen during surgery, plus I am hoping to have someone come from another state to help me out, since I have full time care of my child and my 87 yr old mother.
Any advice, questions to ask my Dr, or comments would be appriciated. Its all very new and scary for me.


  • I have had neck pain for years and was told it wasn't operable (use meds and pain management). What I went to the orthopedic for was my lower back because of pain down my legs. I also told him about some of my increasing neck issues (including pain down the arms and some numbness). He walked me down to the spine surgeon who pretty much told me neck (cervical) beats low back (lumbar). I was encouraged to have surgery within the next few months, with was an anterior cervical discectomy with fusion.

    I advise you to call your doctor's office in the morning and ask to speak with someone about your questions - it might not be the doctor, but maybe a nurse (that's who my doctor used to talk to patients - very helpful). Explain about your concerns and your questions - especially around at what point you go to the ER. Also follow up with them on progress with insurance and/or the hospital. Ask when you can follow up, if you need to call someone to help move things around.

    Do look around the site, both in the forums and in the information areas.

    Let us know how things are going.


    4 level ACDF C4-C7 5-2-11, laminectomy & discectomy L4-L5 1/26/12, ALIF L4-5, L5-S1 12/10/12.
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