mmajorano--You might want to go over to the Spinal Cord Injuries and ask this question. There seems to be more people over there with cervical problems and I am sure there will be someone that can answer your question. I will tell you that I have had 3 cervical dics fused. First surgery was done in 2002 and the second was done Oct. 2006. I waited too long to have my surgeries thinking it would get better and I have permanent nerve damage. I put my job first and now I regret that decision.
Thanks for replying. I had 2 cervical disks (4/5 & 5/6 fused in 3/05. Level 4/5 did not fuse and I had scar tissue build up and have been having a lot of neck and back pain getting worse the last 6 months, probably due to inflamation. I am scheduled to have surgery on the 31st to remove scar tissue and to also fuse the level above it with bone from my hip and not the bone bank. I just hope that this takes away some of the pain. Was wondering how people do with a 3 level fusion.
Well I actually had 3 levels done. I had 4/5,5/6 done first and then in '06 had 3/4 done. They were all done with donor bone. I had a hard time recovering from the last surgery because I had a hematoma right out of the hospital which caused a lot of pain and a lot of my blood work got out of whack for some reason which caused me to pass out a couple of times. I also came down with pneumonia. I must admit that my neck is stiffer now and I have had problems turning my head but understand that everyone is different. I still have a lot of problems when on the computer for very long but I was diagnosed with permanent nerve damage on my left. I wish you the best.
Did you have your surgery done from the front both times. Did you have
any problems with swallowing or hoarsness?
When you had your surgery done the first time, what kind of problems were
you having? Sounds like it was really pressing on some nerves. I have stenosis. What problems were you having the before you had the second surgery. It is good to get some info on someone
who has had the surgery done a couple of years ago. My doctor told
me that their is no guarantee that I will be pain free but I guess it is a chance
that I have to take, I have pain and muscle spasms anyway. My first surgery
was done by an orthopedic surgeon and I am having it done by a neuosurgeon
this time. Are you working?
My whole cervical problems started with severe neck spasms and stabbing and burning pain in my left upper back(scapula area). When my GP took x-rays he showed them to me and he couldn't see any discs so they did an MRI and found Degenerative Disc Disease everywhere bone spurs and stenosis so he sent me to a neurosurgeon. I saw the neurosurgeon for a year and he treated mainly with pain medication and muscle relaxers and heat and then the burning in my left shoulder and scapular area become unbearable. I had had physical therapy before my GP did the MRI so he didn't feel like that should be repeated. EMG confirmed nerve compression. During this time he also did several myelograms. It finally interferred with my work which I was on the phone a lot and a lot of computer work, too. That is when he did the C4/5,C5/6 discs. He went through the front and I was out of work for 4 months because the nerves were inflammed really bad. I went back to work at that time but still had problems. I was seeing him continuously for medication and testing because I still had the burning in my scapula and my left hand started to get more numb and I started dropping things with my left hand. He was also watching my L5/S1 area also because of the degenerative disc disease and sciatic pain that I was having. My biggest problem with the cervical was the bone spurs and stenosis putting pressure on the nerves caused a terrible, aggravating and irritating burning all the time. Then I started having more problems at work again so that is when they did the C3/4 disc. They also went through the front but higher up on my throat. I had several problems after that surgery--hematoma (blood clot) in the incision which was really painful, throwing up blood (sorry about graphics) and terrible muscle spasms. I was sent to a gastro doctor to check my throat because of the bleeding and trouble swallowing. I still have trouble swallowing some foods and they confirmed that there is a problem but no answers to what to do because it just seems like I have a hesitation in my swallowing at a certain area in my throat. I have to watch eating bread and meats because can still get choked easily and it has been over 14 months. Due to the hematoma my incision is really tight and I sometimes have spasms in my incision. A new PA at my surgeon's office saw the incision and asked if it hurt and I just shrugged my shoulder and said "sometimes". It is just something I have gotten use to. The second surgery did take a lot out of me and he would not release me to go back to work because 6 months after my neck surgery my lower back started acting up really bad with weakness in my left leg and severe sciatic pain. My employer terminated my employment and I am now out on Long Term disability. I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid arthritis after my last neck surgery and hyperthroidism, too. I also still continued to have the pain in my left hand and shoulder so they did another EMG and doctor confirmed permanent nerve damage at C8 and I also had ulnar neuropathy in both elbows and left carpal tunnel syndrome. I had the right elbow operated on in October 07 and will wait until I have my back surgery to do my left arm and wrist. Unfortunately the pain that I have experienced in my left hand and arm and shoulder could have been caused by several things so I still have most of the pain that I had before surgery. I am now waiting for my surgery on my lower back on 1/29/08.
I am sorry I wrote a book on this subject and I do hope that you get relief from your surgery. If I didn't answer all your questions please ask again and I promise I will give you a shorter version.
Thanks for all the info on your neck and back problems and sharing the details. It was very informative. Sorry to hear that you are on total disability. I had a lot of problems like yours years ago with physical therapy, cervical injections and pain medications which did not help. I guess that they liketo try everything before surgery. I ended up having surgery 3/05 when I started to lose my balance a little when I walked and started to leak a little urine when I ran. After the surgery, the doctor told me that it was good that I had it because he could see that the bone spurs were pressing on the spinal columm. Luckily after the surgery, my symptoms that I had were gone but I never felt that great, I would constantly get shoulder spasms in my right side of my neck and shoulder. I was given medication for muscle spasms because the doctor said that it takes some people a lot longer to heal. Well as the months passed, I got a little better but had to stop taking the Flexeril because I found out that it was giving me inflamation of the liver. My doctor said that their was nothing more he could do
so he sent me to pain managment. The doctor gave me facet block injections
which did not help. He said that my last alternative was botox injection
into the neck/shoulder area. I chose not to have it done, expensive and insurance does not pay for it and their was no guarantee that it would work. So more months went by and my family doctor sent me to a rheumatologist because I was having pain down my spine..x-ray revealed that I had some
arthritis. So the doctor gave me medication for inflamation which did not help.
Then in July 07, I had an MRI of my neck and spine. Doctor sent me to a
neurosurgeon. He then sent me for a CT scan which he said shows that the
4/5 level never fused and that a lot of scar tissue build up. I also have stenosis and a bone spur in level 3/4. He sent me to pain managment for a cervical pain block to see which level was giving me the muscle spasms. The
conclusion was the C4/5 where their was scar tissue. So my choices were do nothing, try injections again (which did not help previously) or surgery.
My option was to have the surgery after a lot of thought. My neck and spine have been in so much pain probably due to the inflamation from the scar tissue. It is like arthritis, feels somewhat better when I move and exercise, worse in the morning when I wake up. The neurosurgeon said that the surgery
would take longer than normal because he had to remove the scar tissure and he would not use doner bone again since it did not fuse the last time. So he will take bone from my hip which will be more painful and fuse 4/5 again and also fuse 3/4. I mentioned to you before that he said that their is no guarantee that I will be pain free but I am not pain free now and at least he will correct the problems that are their now.....but it could create more new problems. If I am 50 percent better, I will be happy. My surgery is 1/31/08.
Thanks again for sharing your history....it helps to know the details and that other people still have problems after surgery.
What type of surgery are you having done on your lower back....hope you have better luck with this surgery than you did with your neck.
Keep me updated after the surgery and let me know how you are doing.
Gosh Marla it sounds like we have had a lot of the same problems. I am having the 360 procedure fusion on the L5/S1 and possible on L4/L5. I have my first surgery on 1/29/08 were he will go through the abdomen and remove disc and put in cage. Then I go back on Feb.12th and he will go through the back and put in the rods and screws. He has told me several times how hard this surgery will be on me. I still have to go in to my final pre-op appt. where they will go over everything else again and I will talk with the anesthesiologist and the hospital.
I have been really concerned about how my osteoporosis will effect the outcome of this surgery and his nurse talked to me last week and said that he would check things over once he gets in there and the procedure could change or he could just sew me back up and not do anything if the osteoporosis is too bad. They have my results from the Dexa scan but said he can tell more when he gets in there and sees for himself. He has also told me that there is no guarantee but I have also this past summer started having problems with my bladder and I have done PT and and also the spinal shots and nothing helped. They gave me so much predisone after my last surgery I finally started refusing because I told them they were making my osteoporosis worse. I also started having problems with the Thoracic spine and the PA said that is also due to the L5/S1 problems. That comes and goes but when it comes it is bad and I even have trouble breathing.
My physical therapist was quite concerned and thought something should have been done right away and said I was throwing my money away on PT. I took PT for 6 weeks 3 times a week. I was on a low dose of chemo therapy drugs for my rheumatoid arthritis for 4 months but it knocked my immune system down so bad I ended up in the hospital for a week in July with a severe kidney infection and sepsis. They can't treat my RA until I have my surgeries because of all the side effects of the medicine. So now my RA is acting up.
It sounds like you have a lot to go through also and I will be thinking of you and my prayers will be with you also. Let's keep in touch since it seems like we have so much in common. I am like you that any relief has got to be better then what I have now because the past 5 months my lower back has gotten so bad that I have a slight limp on my left and cannot stand for very long so it really limits going out with my family. I don't sleep well at night anymore either.
You take care and my thoughts are with you. Do you mind telling me your age? I am 59 but feel 80 and just want to try and get some of my life back.
Wow Linda, you really are having a lot done to your back....sounds scary.
What is the prognosis of your back that they are having this surgery? Is it from the osteoporosis. I also have osteoporosis. I told my doctor that and
he said that it shouldn't be a problem using bone from my hip for my surgery.
Here is a little bio on myself.
I am 57 years old and have two grown married boys. I have one grandson that is 3 1/2. I have been working as an instructional assistant at a high
school for 23 years. I only work 3 1/2 hours a day and I get off all the
day that the students are off and the whole summer. I am hoping that
I will be well enough to go back to work after my 6 weeks of collar wearing(ugh)! Good Luck with your surgery and I will also keep you in my prayers and
hope your surgery helps.
Hey Marla a little bio on me also. I am married (will be 39 years on Feb.2nd), 59 years old, daughter who is 36 years old, married and my one grandson (my life) who is 13 years old. Our son is 35 years old (yes they were 11 months apart) and he is married and has given me 2 beautiful granddaughters(also my life), 6 & 2. I had worked as a supervisor in a shipping dept. for 20 years and loved my job but I did a lot of work on the computer and phone alll day long and it tore my neck and shoulder up.
I am scared about this surgery but glad to hear that your doctor said there would be no problem using your bone even with the osteoporosis. I have dealt with this back problem since 1986 after a car accident. My spine is bone on bone and it is now causing so many problems with walking and standing that I have decided I must do something. I just hope I haven't waited too long to have a good result because I know they can't guarantee anything and I had permanent nerve damage on my left arm because I waited too long.
I also wish you the best of luck with your surgery and sorry about wearing the neck brace for 6 weeks. He put me in a brace with my first neck surgery but didn't with the second---go figure.