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arkcheri
03-31-2004, 01:35 PM
Hi, I am scheduled to have surgery in a month and I am scared to death. I had an injury and it has been over a year. Pain, tingling, sometimes feels like a toothache sort of pain and numbness in fingers and thumb. I was hoping and praying it would go away, get better. This injury happened at work and I was convientely "Let Go" so I have been out of work and looking for a job. HAHA!!! I cant type any more or lift??? What are you to do. That is one of my concerns. I am not receiving pay for any injury as compensation. How long are you down with a procedure like this? When would "looking" and being able to be employable in a "new job" be feasible? I also had some pain in my sholder blade area with spasm etc. How much does this really help your pain, numbness, spasm etc. I also have fibromyalgia and it has gotten as in the morning I have to take pain medicine to get out of bed. After so long with this pain and inactivity I'm wondering if it is worth the risk. Will I just get more pain on top of the pain I have now? Time wise, how long are you down, are you limited to what you do the rest of your life? I have also heard it can affect your vocal cords and voice? Will it or rather is it worth the risk? I dont heal very fast I do know that. I would appreciate any information you could share with me. Also anyone that has had this surgery, did it affect you VOICE?

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arkcheri
03-31-2004, 02:58 PM
Anyone with Neck Disection and Fushion Information Please give me a shout!!! Scheduled for surgery and scared to death. I wonder if this is the right thing??? Any Information would be greatly appreciated. C 5-6 6-7. I had MRI - Nerve Conduction Study - Therapy - Epidural Steriod Injections - Trigger Point Injections. Thanks Cheri :bouncing:

injured betty
03-31-2004, 07:52 PM
What did your MRI show? Disk damage? Pinched nerve? Facet damage?

Why do they have to do surgery? Have you exhausted ALL of your options?

Surgery should always be your LAST choice.

NGL
03-31-2004, 09:27 PM
Hi, I am scheduled to have surgery in a month and I am scared to death. I had an injury and it has been over a year. Pain, tingling, sometimes feels like a toothache sort of pain and numbness in fingers and thumb. I was hoping and praying it would go away, get better. This injury happened at work and I was convientely "Let Go" so I have been out of work and looking for a job. ((You were LET GO? After a work-related injury? Man, you better get an attorney, because they should be paying you your lost time.>>HAHA!!! I cant type any more or lift??? What are you to do. That is one of my concerns. I am not receiving pay for any injury as compensation. How long are you down with a procedure like this? <<my husband was out of work at total of 5 1/2 months, from time of injury to back to work light duty following fusion of 2 levels>>When would "looking" and being able to be employable in a "new job" be feasible? I also had some pain in my sholder blade area with spasm etc. How much does this really help your pain, numbness, spasm etc. <<for my hubby, his arm pain and spasms were gone immediately after surgery. The numbness in his index and middle fingers persist to this day, 2 1/2 yrs postop>>I also have fibromyalgia and it has gotten as in the morning I have to take pain medicine to get out of bed. After so long with this pain and inactivity I'm wondering if it is worth the risk. Will I just get more pain on top of the pain I have now? <<If your disc is truly herniated, and pushing on a disc, the risk of surgery is WELL worth it, to get rid of 90% of the pain>>Time wise, how long are you down, are you limited to what you do the rest of your life? <<my hubby is a auto mechanic. 2 1/2 yrs postop he is back doing the same job as before; same lifting, everything. The only thing he has trouble with is some loss of flexibility for when he crawls under someone's dash LOL>>I have also heard it can affect your vocal cords and voice? <<the anterior approach can afftect your vocal cords, but usually is only temporary - 2 to 6 weeks.>>Will it or rather is it worth the risk? I dont heal very fast I do know that. I would appreciate any information you could share with me. Also anyone that has had this surgery, did it affect you VOICE? <<my hubby had no voice for approximately 4-5 weeks. It came back on it's own, after the vocal cords had recovered from all the manipulation they received during the surgery>>

Hope this helps you! :angel:

arkcheri
04-01-2004, 08:53 AM
Thanks Nightengale. My only God given talent is singing. I dont sing for a living or anything but I sing to my cat and dog and in the car at church. Did it hurt his voice as far as a change in his normal voice or singing, etc. That is terrible, he had NO voice for 4-5 weeks. My husband would love that but not me. Thanks so much for responding as I am so scared. Would your husband do his surgery again and if I can ask what were his symptoms/ complaints. Thanks Cheri

arkcheri
04-01-2004, 09:09 AM
It was more my symtoms than the MRI - When it hit I had about 30 triger point injections, MRI, I had steriod injections several times, about 3 rounds of physical therapy, Nuerotin and other drugs like it made me brain dead. This was taken for all of the electricity like feeling down my arm. I also have numbness in my thumb and fingers on my left, weakness, sore (like toothache sometimes), no control also pain from left bottom to upper sholder blade around and under sholder and a bit over the sholder into the front of my body. The MRI reads: "There is loss of disc height, disc disiccation, and diffuse circumferential bulging of both the C5-6 and the C6-7 disc levels. This causes effacement of the anterior epidural space at both of these levels, but no cord or nerve root compression. There is no focal disc herniations. There degenerative changes of the end-plates of the C6-7 level with anterior osteophyte formation and end plate sclerosis. Cervical Sinal cord has normal signal and contour. There is no cord edema. There is no Compromise of the neural foramina. There is mild loss of the normal cervical lordosis. The cervical vertebral bodies demonstrate normal marrow signal. Visualized portions the brainstem and cerebellum are unremarkable.

If you can translate this please give me your knowledge. It is spooky when you are told that nerves must be compressed especially since I have this numbness but the MRI says otherwise. I have trusted the Doctor. I still have my doubts and am very scared about it. Thanks for your responce. Cheri

injured betty
04-01-2004, 10:21 AM
It was more my symtoms than the MRI - When it hit I had about 30 triger point injections, MRI, I had steriod injections several times, about 3 rounds of physical therapy, Nuerotin and other drugs like it made me brain dead.

Letting them talk you into steroid shots was a mistake but you could not have know without someone telling you. A lot of doctors are pushing those when they are for extreme cases where there is going to be nerve damage if the nerve is not calmed down right away. They detroy tissue. Please read The Burton Report before you go any further.

Physical therapy is to keep you flexible. If they did traction that can make it worse. It did for my husband. Right now he is doing PT for his neck, but he is only doing the electrical stimulation to get the nerve calmed down. They are not moving his neck around at all.

As for the Neurontin, we are both taking it. He is manic, which is not good and it did make me brain dead until I got used to it and now it doesn't effect me that way. It took awhile but was worth it for me. I had to ramp up to 3000mg which took awhile. I took all of it at night to lessen the effects. I would never take it during the day. That way, you are almost over the side effects by the time you wake up. I would wake up drunk and then eat two or three chocolate flavored coffee beans and be find in twenty minutes.

This was taken for all of the electricity like feeling down my arm. I also have numbness in my thumb and fingers on my left, weakness, sore (like toothache sometimes), no control also pain from left bottom to upper sholder blade around and under sholder and a bit over the sholder into the front of my body.

That is exactly what my husband is experiencing. It turned out that the facet joints in his neck C6/C7 were loose and jiggly/worn. That was causing a nerve to be trapped in there when he moved his head up or down. They took x-rays and and MRI. The MRI didn't show it. They had to do an EMG at the Neurologist to figure it out. I go to a Prolotherapist who cured my problem in my lower back that was the same thing, loose facet joints, and loose ligaments. It is all tied together. By tighening the ligaments, it is holding the facet joints in place so that no they are no longer jiggy and won't be wearing on each other, same as the disks as they were involved also. It won't undo what has been done and now I have arthritis, but hey, the pain is gone. As for my huband's neck he is going to do Prolotherapy also to tighten up the whole area so that nerve won't get trapped in there again, hopefully.

"There is loss of disc height, disc disiccation, and diffuse circumferential bulging of both the C5-6 and the C6-7 disc levels. This causes effacement of the anterior epidural space at both of these levels, but no cord or nerve root compression. There is no focal disc herniations.

Everyone past age thirty has this. The important part is, that there is no cord or nerve compression. The disks are not causing any problems with the nerve. The disk is bulging but not herniated. That is good, but eventually it will herniate, it does as we age. The only thing that you had to worry about is the nerve and it is not in any trouble from the disk. However, it doesn't mention the facets. If I were you I would ask for an EMG. It only hurts a little bit. It is over before you know it and a Neurologist does it. Quick and easy and you get results that day. They try to get you to do a cortizone shot, don't do it. They will offer you Prednisone to try to diagnose if it is a swollen nerve. It causes more damage than the shot and they are terrible to take, but my husband opted to take them. They are only for nine days. If it calms down the nerve, you may not have any further trouble. If it is the facet joints, then it is Prolotherapy or surgery. I would try the Prolotherapy first.

There degenerative changes of the end-plates of the C6-7 level with anterior osteophyte formation and end plate sclerosis.

You have DDD. Again, everyone has that after age 35. You have bone spurs. Everyone does not have that. Go to the net and look up what causes bone spurs. Bone spurs can cause a nerve to hang up on it and surgery removes them but unless it is hanging up a nerve there is no reason to remove them as they come back.


taken from a site on end plate sclerosis:
Our results suggest that the radiographic density of cervical vertebral end plates correlates neither with neck pain nor with increasing age. The radiological sign of "end plate sclerosis" may be over-reported, further limiting its value in the assessment of patients with cervical spondylosis.

All that I could find on a search engine on end plate sclerosis suggested that a discogram be done. Now those hurt. I looked up sclerosis and it is just a hardening of the tissue, which in this case is part of the whole bone spur thing.

Cervical Sinal cord has normal signal and contour. There is no cord edema. There is no Compromise of the neural foramina.

All of this a a GOOD thing!!!!!!

There is no Compromise of the neural foramina. There is mild loss of the normal cervical lordosis.

Lordosis just means sway back so it probley means that your neck does not have the same curve that it had before.

for some reason it won't let me cut and paste the last part but it is also GOOD.

So, you have bone spurs, lack of a curve, and some degenerative disk disease and bulging disk. My husband had that. But, he also had herniated disks. The disks were NOT causing the problem. If you read your MRI, yours should not be either. The bone spur may be causing it, but the best bet is, as I stated, before, an EMG. If it shows that the nerve is inflammed, then go from there. Ask about the facet joints. If they are loose and jiggly, then look into Prolotherapy before surgery. It will tighten everything up and you may not need surgery. A back doc who is not familiar with this won't offer this option to you. You have to call around for someone in your area to find it. Usually, they refer to non-surgical back care in the Yellow Pages. Or, you can find one in your area on the net. Make sure that they have been doing it a LONG time.

hope that this helps :)

NGL
04-01-2004, 06:50 PM
Thanks Nightengale. My only God given talent is singing. I dont sing for a living or anything but I sing to my cat and dog and in the car at church. Did it hurt his voice as far as a change in his normal voice or singing, etc. That is terrible, he had NO voice for 4-5 weeks. My husband would love that but not me. Thanks so much for responding as I am so scared. Would your husband do his surgery again and if I can ask what were his symptoms/ complaints. Thanks Cheri

He has had no lasting changes in his voice AT ALL! And I have not seen a permanent change in any of these surgeries. So dont worry there. You'll have to be a patient patient <grin> but it will come back. Just when you think it's never gonna get better, BAM! it's back. And confidentially, I enjoyed his no voice for the time frame, as he also loves to sing but CANNOT carry a tune! LOL

His only regret about surgery was that we didnt push for it to be done sooner. We played the game as we were expected to play: PT first, then injections (2), then was finally able to say that conservative treatment failed, lets do surgery!

He lifted an elderly neighbor who had fallen. She was kind of wobbly and tried to help him, but that made it worse. He almost dropped her, and thats when he felt the pop in his neck. The neck pain continued over the next fex days, then progressed with pain down the back of the right arm and into his index and middle fingers. The only way he could partially relieve his arm pain was to hold his arm over his head. The fingers eventually became numb, and unfortunately he has never resolved that numbness, 2 1/2 yrs later. But he feels good, infrequently has neck pain, has some loss of flexibility (like when he works under a car dash), but thats about it. You'll do fine, and keep us updated please!
:angel:

arkcheri
04-05-2004, 04:25 PM
He has had no lasting changes in his voice AT ALL! And I have not seen a permanent change in any of these surgeries. So dont worry there. You'll have to be a patient patient <grin> but it will come back. Just when you think it's never gonna get better, BAM! it's back. And confidentially, I enjoyed his no voice for the time frame, as he also loves to sing but CANNOT carry a tune! LOL

His only regret about surgery was that we didnt push for it to be done sooner. We played the game as we were expected to play: PT first, then injections (2), then was finally able to say that conservative treatment failed, lets do surgery!

He lifted an elderly neighbor who had fallen. She was kind of wobbly and tried to help him, but that made it worse. He almost dropped her, and thats when he felt the pop in his neck. The neck pain continued over the next fex days, then progressed with pain down the back of the right arm and into his index and middle fingers. The only way he could partially relieve his arm pain was to hold his arm over his head. The fingers eventually became numb, and unfortunately he has never resolved that numbness, 2 1/2 yrs later. But he feels good, infrequently has neck pain, has some loss of flexibility (like when he works under a car dash), but thats about it. You'll do fine, and keep us updated please!
:angel:
I appreciate your information. Holding the hand over your head I can definitely relate with. I have done that alot. I had a horrible cold and then phneumonia and had to take steroids Dec, Jan, Feb and it when I had an appointment with my neurosurgen I told him I feel better, he said it was because I was full of steroids. I now have that toothach again and spasm down the arm. The numbness has always stayed. Sometimes when my pain flutuates I get to thinking that it might get better but its been a year and a half so I dont think it is going to without help. My doctor said I could probably get by but I would end up somewhere getting this operation as it was only going to get worse and the longer you wait the less chance of getting your feeling back in your fingers. Also this was a work related injury - I did not receive pay for my lost wages. Arkansas is a no fault state and even though I know why I was let go, thats not the reasons my exemployer said. When I faxed in my "Release" to their Workers Comp Ins. carrier I was terminated. They have been paying my medical bills and are pushing me to get this surgery or settle with them. I have to trust what the Doctor tells me that I need this. It still scares me to death.

PS Am I sending these messages correctly? I'm new to the board and I'm trying to get the jist of it all.

Thanks so much!!
Cheri

arkcheri
04-05-2004, 04:51 PM
It was more my symtoms than the MRI - When it hit I had about 30 triger point injections, MRI, I had steriod injections several times, about 3 rounds of physical therapy, Nuerotin and other drugs like it made me brain dead.

Letting them talk you into steroid shots was a mistake but you could not have know without someone telling you. A lot of doctors are pushing those when they are for extreme cases where there is going to be nerve damage if the nerve is not calmed down right away. They detroy tissue. Please read The Burton Report before you go any further.

Physical therapy is to keep you flexible. If they did traction that can make it worse. It did for my husband. Right now he is doing PT for his neck, but he is only doing the electrical stimulation to get the nerve calmed down. They are not moving his neck around at all.

As for the Neurontin, we are both taking it. He is manic, which is not good and it did make me brain dead until I got used to it and now it doesn't effect me that way. It took awhile but was worth it for me. I had to ramp up to 3000mg which took awhile. I took all of it at night to lessen the effects. I would never take it during the day. That way, you are almost over the side effects by the time you wake up. I would wake up drunk and then eat two or three chocolate flavored coffee beans and be find in twenty minutes.

This was taken for all of the electricity like feeling down my arm. I also have numbness in my thumb and fingers on my left, weakness, sore (like toothache sometimes), no control also pain from left bottom to upper sholder blade around and under sholder and a bit over the sholder into the front of my body.

That is exactly what my husband is experiencing. It turned out that the facet joints in his neck C6/C7 were loose and jiggly/worn. That was causing a nerve to be trapped in there when he moved his head up or down. They took x-rays and and MRI. The MRI didn't show it. They had to do an EMG at the Neurologist to figure it out. I go to a Prolotherapist who cured my problem in my lower back that was the same thing, loose facet joints, and loose ligaments. It is all tied together. By tighening the ligaments, it is holding the facet joints in place so that no they are no longer jiggy and won't be wearing on each other, same as the disks as they were involved also. It won't undo what has been done and now I have arthritis, but hey, the pain is gone. As for my huband's neck he is going to do Prolotherapy also to tighten up the whole area so that nerve won't get trapped in there again, hopefully.

"There is loss of disc height, disc disiccation, and diffuse circumferential bulging of both the C5-6 and the C6-7 disc levels. This causes effacement of the anterior epidural space at both of these levels, but no cord or nerve root compression. There is no focal disc herniations.

Everyone past age thirty has this. The important part is, that there is no cord or nerve compression. The disks are not causing any problems with the nerve. The disk is bulging but not herniated. That is good, but eventually it will herniate, it does as we age. The only thing that you had to worry about is the nerve and it is not in any trouble from the disk. However, it doesn't mention the facets. If I were you I would ask for an EMG. It only hurts a little bit. It is over before you know it and a Neurologist does it. Quick and easy and you get results that day. They try to get you to do a cortizone shot, don't do it. They will offer you Prednisone to try to diagnose if it is a swollen nerve. It causes more damage than the shot and they are terrible to take, but my husband opted to take them. They are only for nine days. If it calms down the nerve, you may not have any further trouble. If it is the facet joints, then it is Prolotherapy or surgery. I would try the Prolotherapy first.

There degenerative changes of the end-plates of the C6-7 level with anterior osteophyte formation and end plate sclerosis.

You have DDD. Again, everyone has that after age 35. You have bone spurs. Everyone does not have that. Go to the net and look up what causes bone spurs. Bone spurs can cause a nerve to hang up on it and surgery removes them but unless it is hanging up a nerve there is no reason to remove them as they come back.


taken from a site on end plate sclerosis:
Our results suggest that the radiographic density of cervical vertebral end plates correlates neither with neck pain nor with increasing age. The radiological sign of "end plate sclerosis" may be over-reported, further limiting its value in the assessment of patients with cervical spondylosis.

All that I could find on a search engine on end plate sclerosis suggested that a discogram be done. Now those hurt. I looked up sclerosis and it is just a hardening of the tissue, which in this case is part of the whole bone spur thing.

Cervical Sinal cord has normal signal and contour. There is no cord edema. There is no Compromise of the neural foramina.

All of this a a GOOD thing!!!!!!

There is no Compromise of the neural foramina. There is mild loss of the normal cervical lordosis.

Lordosis just means sway back so it probley means that your neck does not have the same curve that it had before.

for some reason it won't let me cut and paste the last part but it is also GOOD.

So, you have bone spurs, lack of a curve, and some degenerative disk disease and bulging disk. My husband had that. But, he also had herniated disks. The disks were NOT causing the problem. If you read your MRI, yours should not be either. The bone spur may be causing it, but the best bet is, as I stated, before, an EMG. If it shows that the nerve is inflammed, then go from there. Ask about the facet joints. If they are loose and jiggly, then look into Prolotherapy before surgery. It will tighten everything up and you may not need surgery. A back doc who is not familiar with this won't offer this option to you. You have to call around for someone in your area to find it. Usually, they refer to non-surgical back care in the Yellow Pages. Or, you can find one in your area on the net. Make sure that they have been doing it a LONG time.

hope that this helps :)
Thanks so much for your reply. You are definitely more informed than myself. The Doctor that I was referred to is a neurosurgeon. Supposedly the best in town from most all that I have asked but I still question this surgery. I know when this happened that it was the most horrific pain it was unbearable and as I wrote in the paragraph below has changed somewhat. It is still a very agrivating and unnerving, bothersome pain and numbness. I question as you say in you note about the MRI reading saying there was no never impengment. The Dr. still circled C5-6 6-7 and said that is your problem. Bone Spurs can also constrict these nerves? Do they always come back? I am not familiar with Prolotherapy I went through 3 rounds of therapy this past year and it really did not help a whole lot. It helped with my range of motion some. Tracktion only hurt me I asked them to not do that. It is so hard these days really trusting what Doctors tell you. From your own experiences and things you hear from others. This surgery has me worried about it being a quessing game. When they do surgery can they tell if a nerve is impenged by looking? I had never heard that about steriod injections either. I needed to get on this board long before the threat of surgery.

Holding the hand over your head I can definitely relate with. I have done that alot. I had a horrible cold and then phneumonia and had to take steroids Dec, Jan, Feb and it when I had an appointment with my neurosurgen I told him I feel better, he said it was because I was full of steroids. I now have that toothach again and spasm down the arm. The numbness has always stayed. Sometimes when my pain flutuates I get to thinking that it might get better but its been a year and a half so I dont think it is going to without help. My doctor said I could probably get by but I would end up somewhere getting this operation as it was only going to get worse and the longer you wait the less chance of getting your feeling back in your fingers. Also this was a work related injury - I did not receive pay for my lost wages. Arkansas is a no fault state and even though I know why I was let go, thats not the reasons my exemployer said. When I faxed in my "Release" to their Workers Comp Ins. carrier I was terminated. They have been paying my medical bills and are pushing me to get this surgery or settle with them. Should I have to trust what the Doctor tells me that I need this. It still scares me to death.

Thanks so much
Cheri

arkcheri
04-05-2004, 05:02 PM
Betty, Also you said that these bulging disk will rupture? You know so much about all the terminology and the problem itself. I thank you for helping me understand. Please share all you know. Does the curve of your neck or rather can that also be some cause of pain. I also have some pain in the upper sholder blade and over my sholder a bit to the front of my body. Does that symptom fall into my MRI reading?

Thanks
Cheri

injured betty
04-05-2004, 06:15 PM
Arkcheri:
I typed out a reply but it got lost.

Prolotherapy: It worked for me. It tightened up my ligaments in my lower back. My pelvis no longer is sloppy and doesn't need any adjustments. I was getting adjusted regularly. I even had to do it two times in one day. I am good to go for another 50 years :)

My husband will have it done to stop the slop in his neck. The facet joints are moving around.

The EMG determined that he had nerve pain.

He is going to do a discogram next. There is also a lazer thingie that he is checking into or another treatment that kills the nerve and it eventually grows back.

You went to see a Neurosurgeon. That is what they do, surgery. You want to see someone who is not surgery happy.

I am not a doctor nor am I in the health profession, but I do know a lot about this subject now as I read a lot of stuff on the net while researching my back and my husband's neck nerve problems. There is a lot out there to read.

Did you read The Burton Report? Lot of info there.
You are in a hard spot. You are seeing a surgeon. Ask to see a Neurologist, ask for Neurontin, and ask for lots of opinions.

Bone spurs can cause your nerve to get hung up and cause inflammation. If you have them taken out, they grow back so if it is a bone spur, you might have to have it removed.

Don't settle. Don't accept surgery as an only option. I read that there are only three reasons for surgery, one is cancer, two is a broken back or neck and I forget the other but I am sure that this is not it.

If you have surgery you will regret it. Then you will have to deal with a possible failure, scar tissue, and maybe it won't work. Don't put money in the pockets of the doc. OWCP docs want the money. Alternative therapy doesn't pay them. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES<SETTLE. SEE AN ATTORNEY. :nono:

good luck,

:)

arkcheri
04-08-2004, 09:46 AM
I am having trouble reading my last posts - New to board - Is anyone else having this problem - I had gotten more replys but cant retreive them. Thanks Cheri

PsychLea
04-08-2004, 11:22 AM
Cheri :wave:

I'm from Arkansas too. Who is your neurosurgeon? If you have been having numbness and loss of function in your extremeties, then it is time for surgery. Sounds like this has been going on for too long and you are risking permanent damage. It's good you don't have any spinal cord compression(myelopathy), but the bone spurs definitely can compress the nerves and don't always show the degree of impingement on the MRI.

As for the voice, I never had any problem with my voice at all after my fusion and I am a singer too, so I understand your concern over that. If you do have some problems, it rarely is permanent and the voice comes back.

Obviously, the quality of your life is the issue, plus the risk of more damage down the road. I returned to work after 6 weeks.

ALWAYS TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR ABOUT YOUR CONCERNS AND BE FULLY INFORMED ABOUT YOUR OPTIONS.

And even though Arkansas is a right to work state, you can still probably take legal action for them firing you. There is such a thing as FMLA. This covers any employer who has 50 or over employees.

Hope that helps. Remember, all we can offer here are opinions. Only you and your doctor can decide what is the best course of treatment for you.

injured betty
04-08-2004, 03:30 PM
I'm from Arkansas too. Who is your neurosurgeon? If you have been having numbness and loss of function in your extremeties, then it is time for surgery. Sounds like this has been going on for too long and you are risking permanent damage. It's good you don't have any spinal cord compression(myelopathy), but the bone spurs definitely can compress the nerves and don't always show the degree of impingement on the MRI. <psychlea>

I respectfully disagree with you here. My husband has numbness in his fingers and arm and shooting pain in across his shoulder. His MRI shows a herniated disk and a bulging disk in C-6 and C-7. There was no impingment on a nerve shown on the MRI. However, his facet joints are sloppy and the nerve is somehow involved according to the Neurosurgeon. That was no on the MRI, he came to that conclusion after an EMG. He said that it is a coincidence that the disks are herniated and bulging, although that is what led to the problem. But, there is no need for surgery at this point.

He is on Neurontin and lots of supplements. The inflammation has gone down without anti-inflammatories, although they were prescribed two months ago, the da@@ mail order company that our insurance company uses says that we *fell though the cracks and that they are in the mail*. That was as of today.

The main concern is to get the nerve inflammation down. That means no moving it in a manner that inflames it. If you keep the inflammation down there should be no nerve damage.

Surgery should be the LAST option. Also, SAY no to steroids. EPI's.

There is a protocal that they have to follow. I forgot the name of it but it can be found on the net. You, as a patient are in control and are allowed to skip some of the steps. The best avenue is to educate yourself on all of this. Later tomorrow, if I can find it, I will post those steps.

First and X-Ray,
anit-inflammatory meds, pain meds, muscle relaxers
Next an MRI,
PT,
manipulation
Neurosurgeon, complete work up
EMG
NO SHOTS!!!! :bouncing:
back to PT
stretch, move, anything gentle to keep your flexability
then research non-invasive treatment
DO NOT ACCEPT SURGERY UNLESS IT IS THE VERY LAST OPTION :bouncing:

PsychLea
04-08-2004, 07:32 PM
Betty,

Of course you are free to disagree, but I am trying to give Cheri the benefit of my experience and opinions as well. I'm not here to debate anything.

That is ALL we have to offer, our opinions,support, and personal experiences, nothing more.

Cheri,

My left arm was becoming totally useless due to the numbness, pain, and tingling from the nerve impingement. It ALL went away after my surgery. I can actually use my left hand without dropping everything I pick up. SO for me personally, surgery was the answer. I am a health professional and avoided surgery as long as I could too, but sometimes that is the action you have to take.

Talk to your doctor about what types of conservative treatments you can try, and if they fail, like mine did, than surgery may be the only option left.

Again, this is not a debate between me and Betty, but an effort to answer your questions and allow you to have some feedback from those who have been there.

Now, did surgery solve all my problems, No. I had other problems that surgery just can't fix like degenerative disc disease, spondylosis,facet joint disease, and residual nerve damage. I was also unfortunately rear-ended by a drunk driver, causing a whole different story now with herniated lumbar discs. I am again doing conservative therapy with PT and pain management, because again, I want to avoid any further surgery and so does my neurosurgeon.

The spine is a complex thing and once you go in and perform surgery, it can get better or can get worse. It is a crap shoot, but if you have clear neurological deficits, then surgery becomes something that surgeons have to closely monitor.

CTmom
04-08-2004, 08:11 PM
I had ACDF with hardward on 2/2/94. My symptoms were very similar - severe pain, numbness and tingling down one arm. My MRI showed bone spurs as well as a herniated disk pressing on the C5-C6 nerve. I had surgery one month after my first symptoms. I tried physical therapy, but the pain of just sitting up was terrible. There was no way I could drive a car, much less perform the exercises they asked me to. I had a tough time tolerating the narcotic pain meds - they made me sick to my stomach. For me surgery was the only option to possibly get my life back. With three small children, one month of lying flat on my back in pain was enough.

My surgery went very well. I have not had any pain in the arm since surgery but do occasionally have pain in my other arm along with back spasms on that side. My strength in the arm has come back to normal (no longer dropping things) and I can work and care for my family again. I'm not pain free at this point - the muscle spasms continue to be a problem - but I can control it with over-the-counter medication and physical therapy. I'll take muscle pain over that pinched nerve pain any day. I never had any problems with my voice - a sore throat for a few days and a few days of reflux from having my throat manipulated. I'm also a singer and have noticed no change in voice quality.

For me it was definitely a quality of life issue and surgery was the best option. Check out the spinal disorders board. There are lots of people there who have had this surgery and who can share their experiences.

CTMom

injured betty
04-09-2004, 07:41 AM
PsychLea,

I apologize if you felt that I was being argumentative :)

I agree with you whole heartedly, surgery is a crap shoot. I have spoken to so many people who have had surgery and are doing great for right now and some who never have to undergo surgery again.

Again, I am not being argumentative, I just wanted to state that there are such high percentages of failed surgeries, people who have had surgery and are now on meds for life and those who have to have it done again as scar tissue is such an issue. I hope that the day comes soon when scar tissue is no longer an issue.

I have someone in my own family whose back surgery failed.

All that I am saying, is *be informed*, know the risks, the statistics, and talk to someone who has had surgery for at least ten years and whose surgery went well and they had no complications and went on with a normal life.

My husband is facing surgery. Luckily he is in the early stages of facet problems and can try to get by with tightening up the ligaments with Prolotherapy. If this fails then his last option would be the least invasive sugery that he can find to help alleviate the pressure on the nerve in his neck. His MRI did not show any impingement, but the Neurologist said that it was inflammed. He is much better now that he is not moving his arm above his shoulder or looking up. But, that is not an option in his life as his job entails those activities. For now it is light duty for him.

thanks so much for your interaction and your psotive views on your surgery experience.

:)

PsychLea
04-09-2004, 10:30 AM
Betty,

No need to apologize ;)

Cheri,

Dr. Richard Jordan is an excellent neurosurgeon and has a good surgical track record. His office staff are butts though. I am the one from Arkansas. Live just down the street from you ,I bet.

Dr. Jordan did several brain surgeries on my sister over the past 30 years, so I can vouch for his skills. I was going to see him originally, but his office staff was so rude, I went to someone else and was quite happy with the care I got. unfortunately, my neurosurgeon is being deployed to Iraq and is closing his practice, so I am seeing a new NS who is taking over his practice.

It truly sounds like you are in need of surgery. Dr. Jordan doesn't recommend that lightly. He is not a knife happy doc and if that is his opinion of what you need, you can be confident that you are getting good care. Especially with the fact that you obviously have some neuro damage going on.

Good luck sweetie. I know it is scary, but really, it was a piece of cake for me. I was so surprised at how well it went after the surgery and my recovery. Unfortunately, I had over fish frying in my spine and an MVA to complicate my mix, so now I am on medical leave. But after my original surgery, I returned to work in 6 weeks and worked 60 hour weeks.

Your chances of a full recovery are excellent.

arkcheri
04-09-2004, 11:36 AM
Hi, I am scheduled to have surgery in a month and I am scared to death. I had an injury and it has been over a year. Pain, tingling, sometimes feels like a toothache sort of pain and numbness in fingers and thumb. I was hoping and praying it would go away, get better. This injury happened at work and I was convientely "Let Go" so I have been out of work and looking for a job. HAHA!!! I cant type any more or lift??? What are you to do. That is one of my concerns. I am not receiving pay for any injury as compensation. How long are you down with a procedure like this? When would "looking" and being able to be employable in a "new job" be feasible? I also had some pain in my sholder blade area with spasm etc. How much does this really help your pain, numbness, spasm etc. I also have fibromyalgia and it has gotten as in the morning I have to take pain medicine to get out of bed. After so long with this pain and inactivity I'm wondering if it is worth the risk. Will I just get more pain on top of the pain I have now? Time wise, how long are you down, are you limited to what you do the rest of your life? I have also heard it can affect your vocal cords and voice? Will it or rather is it worth the risk? I dont heal very fast I do know that. I would appreciate any information you could share with me. Also anyone that has had this surgery, did it affect you VOICE?

arkcheri
04-09-2004, 11:38 AM
hi, psychic lea It is so hard to get the doctors to talk to you. I understand what you mean about the problems with staff sometimes. I had questions and it took over 1.5 week to get a phone call and they were in a hurry. Looking forward to your reply. Thanks

tuxedo
04-14-2004, 05:53 PM
Had a disco gram today. HURT!!! (C3,4,5,6,7). I will get results tomorrow. I am sooooo sore! That has to be the worst pain I have EVER been through!

Can anyone give any insight on why it is soooo painful. My neck is soooo sore and I feel like I have a sore throat when I swallow.

PsychLea
04-14-2004, 06:46 PM
Tuxedo,

The pain is caused by the fact that the offending disc is torn and/or leaking. When the dye is injected, it causes increased pressure, which if the disc is not damaged, it won't be painful.

Pain, indicates that the disc that was being tested may be torn or "interrupted"

Did they give you any sedation or pain meds during? My PM plans to do a discogram on my lumbar area, but will use sedation and fentanyl to decrease the discomfort. He doen't believe in letting people suffer through tests.



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