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Does anyone actually get better after surgery?

I am suffering from left arm pain and burning in my left foot, sometimes in my left leg as well. Problems are mostly on my left side. I'm am contemplating surgery but keep seeing how time after time people complain after surgery that they are worse off or that the pain is still happening, limiting their life activities. I am wondering now, is this because people come here who have problems and we don't hear about the successful surgeries? I need find out all my alternatives before I risk it all with a surgeon. Even then, there are different procedures, how does one know what is best?
60 year old male: See my Medical History tor full report on my condition, now diagnosed as Cervical Stenosis C5/C6 and C6/C7 moderate to severe.


  • jbnms99jjbnms99 Posts: 183
    edited 12/08/2013 - 6:23 AM
    My wife had to have back surgery a few years ago for just a herniated disc and she is better, she still has back pain but it is something she can deal with most of the time without meds. There is couple of people on here I have talked to that have had major surgery that are also doing very well. Sometimes surgery doesn't help but most of the time it does. Surgery is supposed to help. If you need any advise or just want to chat pm me I will try and give you all the help I can. Trick is not to settle with just any surgeon, look for a surgeon that you feel is going to help you and one that specializes in spines.
  • susabellssusabell Illinois Posts: 241
    I had a neck surgery in May of 2010 I had "Severe" pain and burning down my left arm and hand. It was nerve pain and it never let up. I had a decompression surgery and when I woke up the Nerve Pain was completely gone. I woke up with Surgery pain. I agree with the previous post you do need to find a Surgeon you are comfortable with and also They must specialize with the Spine. So very Important, good luck and please keep us posted.

    ACDF C4-C7 5/13/2010. Synthetic Bone Graft Failed Fusion.
    PCF C4-C7 8/13/13. Rods and Screws Fused in 3 Months with Autograft.
    C6-C7 Spineous process Surgically Shaved Off 3/11/14.
    Sciatica 3/11/16 Left Leg prescribed Medrol Pack 6 days also Physical Therapy.
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  • I had neck pain for many years which I just thought was stress and tension and never said anything about it to any doctor or chiropractor but earlier this year it was discovered that I had 3 discs that were compressing my spine and I needed surgery to prevent more serious damage. I also had numbness and tingling in my right arm and hand and that has all cleared up after my surgery in early June. I had 3 discs and 3 vertebrae removed and a cage and titanium plate and screws installed. I was out of work for 3 months but I would do it all over again if I had to. I had a great surgeon and a really positive experience with the whole thing. But do your research about your options, the procedure and your surgeon because once you have surgery you can't go back.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 13,584
    Without surgery, I would be confined to a wheelchair. Then there would have been all sorts of other negative impacts, permanent dead nerves, loss of flexibility, mobility issues, balance problems.... I could go on and on.

    And sure, you will read so many stories here how that after their surgery, they will never be able to return to the person that they were before, the life is through, all the woes you could think about. Those are the same people that almost weekly come up with a new alignment.

    Spinal surgery is no walk in the park. There are always risks associated with any surgery. I've always felt that there are 3 major factors in determining the success of spinal surgery.

    Surgeon who is going to perform the operation. Today, spinal surgeries are not easier, but more routine than they were 15, 20 years ago. In many regards, the surgeon has the easiest job when you look at the total picture. It is so very important that you have confidence and trust with the surgeon who is going to perform the procedure. Spend the time to research the surgeon, go on recommendations from people you trust. But there are still times, when its just a gut feeling that you know this person is going to do a great job.

    Supporting Staff Once the surgeon does their job, you might see them once or twice while you are in the hospital. But you have a good number of medical folks that you are placing your health to. The nursing staff, the nurses aid, the PAs, the therapists both physical and occupational the case managers and more. These are the folks that you will see most of the time during your stay. Do you know who they are before hand? You should! Make it a point to find out what group is on the 'floor' handling spine surgical patients. For my first lumbar surgery, we made a point of meeting with the nursing staff that would be covering my recovery. I got to personally meet some of them. I even met with one of the technicians and just had casual conversations with them, finding out that their ambition is to become a PA or a nurse practitioner. Those are the ones you want taking care of you!

    The Patient To me, this is the person who can make or break the surgery and a successful recovery. Number one and and so very crucial is the attitude and outlook. You must have a positive attitude towards this surgery and you know that you will do everything possible and then some to follow everything that you are told to do. That starts with your diet in the hospital, effort you put into physical therapy and then the hard work begins.

    Everyone has done their job. At that point, I am positive that the surgeons and staff know how successful the procedure was and what the recovery period should be and long term outlook. Now you are on your now, no staff to help you along the way. You have to do the exercises you were told to do, you must avoid all the things you were told to stay away from.
    Now, if you do everything 100% and you have the best outlook, you are so positive you are bursting with positive vibes.

    Does that guarantee everything will turn out fine? NO

    But if take it all half hearten, not putting much effort into it, forgetting about your restrictions, then for sure you are beginning to seal your fate.

    SO, back to your original question, Does anyone actually get better after surgery? Without a doubt, the answer is a big YES
    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences 
  • I agree - that there are a lot of people that get better from the surgery. However, often times the surgeon is operating to prevent any further damage, meaning paralysation etc. I Had a double ACDF on C5-C7 last Feb. The surgery itself was not as big a deal as I had made it out to be in my head. My symptoms still remain but I don't think it's from the surgery at all. I loved my surgeon. Very good bedside manner. Is your surgeon strongly encouraging you to do this? If so, get a second opinion to ease your mind but take it seriously. Being cured would be amazing and it can happen. However, surgery is usually done to take the pressure of the spinal chord. Being cured is a bonus. I am not cured, I still try everything for the neuropathic pain. My right arm and hand are affected. Plus major burning in my legs and hips. I now have other symptoms popping up. Stay positive. Do your research but listen to your doc!
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