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Options for long lasting neck pain

I've been seeing a chiropractor for 3 months and though I've seen a good improvement, I now have lost my job and I'm looking for new insurance to help with the cost of recovery. The doctor said I have degenerative disorder in c3-c7. 3 months ago my right arm went numb and I couldn't stand the pain. Now three months later I have recovered a lot but thinking I should've had surgery before now. My question today is do I keep doing what the chiropractor says or do I see a surgeon to speed things up? The doctor said that I may wind up paralyzed if I have surgery. Can that happen?  I'm only 45 years old and I'm looking to get back to work. I still have difficulty doing nothing but even if do housework (I.e vacuuming, dishes, cleaning) I find myself sore for a couple days. Looking for advice on what to do as the depression of not working and having to think of a career change at this point in my life is getting worse.


  • LizLiz Posts: 9,652
    Hello  Edward 
    There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.

    Please click on link for information about Spine-health
    Welcome to Spine-Health

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • Which doctor told you that you could be paralyzed if you had surgery?  The chiropractor who has a vested interest in you not doing surgery so you can keep paying him for treatments?  I regret every cent I wasted on chiropractors before having what I truly needed -- surgery.  That, of course, doesn't mean that you need surgery -- your neck and mine could be completely different and not everyone will benefit greatly from surgery.  But I have an extremely low opinion of chiropractors (as a doctor friend describes them, personable people -- because they need to be able to bamboozle people into buying their services -- who weren't smart enough to get into medical school), and I would rely on the opinion of a spine surgeon as to whether you would benefit from surgery, not on the opinion from a chiropractor.

    And yes, if you have an incompetent surgeon, you could be paralyzed as a result of surgery. It's very rare, but it happens.  Did your chiropractor also mention that you could be paralyzed if you don't have surgery?  If you have severe spinal cord compression -- and you didn't say whether or not you have that and it isn't even clear if you have had a MRI which would determine that -- you are at serious risk of paralysis from a fall or mild fender bender that would not so affect a normal person.  That is not so uncommon.  A doctor I know who worked trauma said he saw that not infrequently.
    C6-C7 ACDF - January 20, 2016
    Shoulder surgery - August 2, 2016
    Interlaminar laminotomy, mesial facetectomy and foraminotomy bilateral at C5-C6 and unilateral left at C6-C7 and bilateral C6-C7 facet fusion - December 7, 2016

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  • nutcase007nnutcase007 United StatesPosts: 864
    Edward - you deserve an opinion from a qualified spine surgeon.  Generally for neck issues, I recommend a neurosurgeon.  Do your research on the doctor.  If possible, find a patient that had good results.  Like everything else,  there are good ones, great ones and those that are not so good.

  • Thanks for replying. I'm planning on doing more research for sure
  • First step is probably to get a MRI done.  That's the best way to find out what's really going on.
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  • Edward

    Think long and hard before having surgery.  I thought I did the right thing by having two level acdf.  Now not so sure.  I hurt everyday worse than before.  I went back to work and it sucks.  Pain is horrible and I am tired.  Have surgery as a last and I mean LAST resort. 

  • I 2nd what  DMO said, I had a 4 level spinal fusion done posterior, today Im regretting having the surgery done, 9 months later I'm in worse condition now than I was before, however I did not have a choice because of my condition.
    if you have a choice make sure there are no other options, if you get any relief from epidural, excercise, pils etc. stick with it, keep reading here some  people do not get better, we trade one pain for another, some do get get better, it's a gamble.
    good luck.
  • Keep in mind that sometimes if you have nerve damage starting to get worse, surgery may be the only option or you will permanently damage your nerves.  As above, get your family doctor to send you for an MRI for your spinal problem area and then get a referral to a neurologist or neurosurgeon....My opinion, stay away from Chiro, I think mine was the cause of all my issues.
  • cmiragliaccmiraglia Posts: 30
    edited 01/25/2017 - 9:17 PM
    I would definitely seek out a neurosurgeon and get an MRI. I had excruciating arm pain and issues with my neck that was treated by my chiropractor until it got to point that nothing worked. She was able to order an MRI and now I am seeing a neurosurgeon. Pain subsided with high dosage of motrin, muscle relaxants, and steroid treatment for inflammation. Be proactive and educate yourself on all options.  Since I am an endurance cyclist and extremely active being restricted ( I am limited to walking) can  lead to  depression. Seek out people who are supportive if you can. I found that at my work at least three others dealt with similar issues. This is great place to learn alternatives to whatever you are facing.  Good luck and stay positive.  
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