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Cervical disc herniations, stenosis,bone spurs and other

Joe241JJoe241 Posts: 185
edited 06/11/2012 - 9:01 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Sorry if I confused anybody in 2009 an ortho surgeon recommend a three disc replacement, I did not have surgery because I could not take three months off of work. I have since lost my job so time is not an issue. I am sending my medical records to a neurosurgeon and have to wait until he reviews files. I have four herniated disc C3-7 with stenosis, bone spurs and impingement of spinal cord and nerve roots, lordosis and scoliosis. My chiropractor recommended going to a neuro after reviewing recent MRI and because pain is non stop and I am having trouble sleeping. I have had epidural injections, acupuncture as well as going to my chiropractor in the past. The pain management DR recommended surgery in 2010 and I was on fentanyl patch but asked to be taken off due to liability with driving, I am taking vicodin now but it is not helping anymore. When I have my appt. with neuro I would like to know which questions to ask him and if surgery is recommended what can I expect. I am going to PCP on 3/19/12 to go over recent MRI and get referral and tell him that my pain has increased over last few weeks since I saw him and ask him for different meds. My neck feels like it is in a vice and being squeezed from inside, chiro said my stenosis is getting worse, I can also feel the bone spurs pressing on cord and nerve root and pain is going from neck to shoulder and left arm,my left shoulder is higher than right and neck looks uneven. My pain is literally 24/7 right now. I guess I am asking other people whom have had similar problems for advice. This is the first time I have "gone public" for advice, but I suppose that is evident. Please forgive me of beginners ignorance. Joe
ACDF C5-6 July 10, 2012 with plate and screws.


  • there's a few articles that may help when you meet your surgeon. https://www.spine-health.com/blog/surgery/38-questions-ask-your-surgeon-having-back-surgery


    you just use the blue search box on top of page to search what you need including "post op must have" after surgery.

    you may want to keep a pain journal and let him know how far you can walk before you have to rest, if you can stand in one spot for 10 minutes or less than a minute, anything that relieves the pain etc. that would be helpful to the dr. to know.

    just let the pm dr. know what meds you've tried before and could mention you were offered fentanyl but couldn't take it because you were working driving and see what he suggests. i had to see my dr. several times before i got some medication that brings my pain level down to 3-5 daily on the pain scale out of 10.

    keep using ice 15 minutes a few times a day and alternate heat also may help also. i hope you get some pain relief soon. take care. charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • I am thankful for your answers and will take notes to help me and neuro. I always keep the faith amd with all that is going on and has happened sometimes faith is all you have. God bless.
    ACDF C5-6 July 10, 2012 with plate and screws.
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  • Joe,

    Take a look around and you will find a few of us whom are fused at 3 levels or more. I myself am fused from c3-c7, so your surgery is not unheard of. One thing I think you should do is get more than one opinion regarding the surgery. Be sure it is completely independent of the first surgeon. You could even begin your search for the second opinion now. Some will even get 3 opinions. Sometimes the opinions are different and you have to weight the benefits and risk of each proposed surgery. But I would not just let the fist surgeon you see operate on you. It is said to often that most people will spend more time researching a toaster than do a surgeon. When fusing the spine, it does change the structure of the spine forever. You loose range of motion, so it is not the case of more is better always when it comes to the spine. Obvious the cord issue needs to be dealt with, as your risking another condition called myelopathy, which surgery is only done to stop the progression but not reverse the damage that has been done.

    Charry has given you a great link to use. I always highly recommend that link as well. You want to make a list of questions as if you were having surgery and one as if you were not having surgery, so your prepared for the appointment. Keep in mind when you see a surgeon their time is very limited so you want to be prepared, so your appointment will keep on schedule and you can make the most of the appointment. The surgeon will always be doing a series of clinical test, to look for certain neurologic issues that may or may not be going on. The surgeon will use both his/her clinical findings along with the MRI images to access your case.

    Good luck with your appointments and keep us posted on what happens. If you have more questions don't hesitate to ask.
  • Thanks for the heads up about the myelopathy I was also told I have spondylitis or something like that severe DDD severe DJD arthritis back in 2009. My recent MRI states : C3-4 moderate disc bulging effaces the anterior thecal sac and moderately narrows the neural foraminal bilaterally more pronounced on left side. C4-5 central disc herniation effaces the anterior thecal sac. C5-6 Disc space narrowing is seen with mild disc bulging mildly narrowing the right neural foramen. There is also left disc herniation impinging upon cervical spinal cord and nerve root. C6-7 Moderate disc bulging effaces the anterior thecal sac and moderately narrows the neural foramina bilaterally, more pronounced on the left side. I also have two herniated disc in lumbar and my L5 is fused with S1, was told it is a birth defect. I have been told the cervical issues are far more serious. Thank you again for the advice. It really does help knowing other people are in constant pain and have had to make changes in lifestyle, I wish it weren't so because I know the suffering all of you are going through. God Bless. Joe
    ACDF C5-6 July 10, 2012 with plate and screws.
  • I saw my pm dr and he gave me a stronger dose of Vicodin but said that he could not give me anything else. Here it is after midnight and I'm sitting in recliner, have not had a good night sleep in awhile. The last three nights were so bad all I did was toss and turn, I kept waking up from pain in my neck no matter how I layed down. I have a feeling the recliner and myself are going to be close, not fair that I keep wife up all night also. I guess it is time for the waiting game, hopefully neuro will call soon. The pain I am having now is by far the worst I have felt in four years. Joe
    ACDF C5-6 July 10, 2012 with plate and screws.
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  • Hi all went to PCP last night and figured it would be at least a few weeks before I heard anything from neuro, but to my surprise I received a phone call and now have appt with neurosurgeon on April 12, 2012. After my appt. I will update with the latest news. God Bless. Joe
    ACDF C5-6 July 10, 2012 with plate and screws.
  • Just wanted to say hi and let you know that I'm hoping and praying that all turns out well for you. Keep us updated on what is happening.
  • Just seeing 1 new post on my thread brought me a smile, I will update as soon as I have more info. I know how much it has helped knowing I am not alone and hope my post along with other peoples can help someone. God Bless. Joe
    ACDF C5-6 July 10, 2012 with plate and screws.
  • Joe,
    I have the exact symptoms you are experiencing on the left side , including a raised shoulder . I believe the muscle spasms have pulled up the shoulder , due to the bone spur /nerve impingement. I had a one level fusion, and was informed that this may not take care of the problem, after a year and a half the pain has returned worse than before the surgery.

    I am wishing you the best in your medical appointment and if you choose to have surgery.

    Until then, please keep us posted.

  • ACDF C-5-6 recommended
    Hi all, thanks Missy and Lili for the reply, the neurosurgeon recommends C5-6 Anterior Cervical Discectomy with fusion using cadaver bone with plate and screws. Basically an ACDF C-5-6 level one, C5-6 is the main problem area causing pain, he disagreed with ortho re: three level replacement. He feels doing only one fusion now is best option, if other disc causes problems down the road to deal with it then, he said another fusion might be needed 5-10 years later or never. I had my notebook with questions and doctor answered most before I even asked, I talked with nurse and she said he has perform this surgery many times. I am probably going to go ahead with surgery because my pain and rom now is bad, I know there is a risk involved and doctor even said I have exhausted all other non surgical options. I will definitely talk with my chiropractor before I make final decision, after all he has been my chiro for 25 yrs, and we talked before I went to neuro. In 2008 his recommendation was hold out as long as possible, which he said I have definitely done and surgery is probably best option with cervical issues. I have had an orthopedic surgeon, pain management dr, chiropractor and now a neurosurgeon recommend surgery. This is a decision I have been thinking about for four years now, every medical opinion I have sought all agree surgery at this point is best option. Missy you and I are in same boat now so don't push me overboard when I'm not looking, LOL, and Lili don't run me over next time I go to New York City. Thanks again to all here, I went to my appt with more questions then when I left. God Bless, Joe
    ACDF C5-6 July 10, 2012 with plate and screws.
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