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Old 08-14-2006, 01:17 PM   #1
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need to vent

injured my neck lifting. have 3 bulged disks, pinched nerve at C7, spinal stenosis and a very large bone spur that is indenting my cord with possible early myelopathy. saw an ortho for 3 mos. who basically did nothing for me except mention surgery somewhere down the road. switeched to a Pm dr and started PT last week. since the injury i have had a problem swallowing. not food or liquids just normal all also dx with an enlarged thyroid at the same time. not one dr. will answer me . they just keep pushing it off. Have been to the ENT 3 times in the past month. went again today for him to do another test and found that his girls scheduled it on the wrong day so home i came again with no answers. mentioned my neck and thyroid again to him and he finally said he would put his money on my neck causing the swallowing problem. Just great. now i can understand that I probably do need surgery to remove the bone spur but even the ortho is not taking a stand on this. now it will take another 2 months before all the tests are done and for someone to make a decision. when i see my pcp on the 25th i am telling him i WANT to see an ortho surgeon and a neurosurgeon. it's my body, my neck, my throat and i am soooooooo sick of all the game playing and passing of the buck. not one dr. has even told me what to expect with surgery. my disks don't seem to be a problem but this large bone spur is. i am soooooooo disgusted. back and forth with never an answer. God i am so glad you are all here. don't know what i would do.

 
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Old 08-14-2006, 02:25 PM   #2
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Re: need to vent

I saw an ortho for almost two years that kept telling me that one more test or one more therapy and we would do the surgery. This was after 18 years of alternate approaches, beginning with a visit to a surgeon who told me "You don't want to have this surgery unless you really, really need it."

One day, I was sitting in the ortho's outer office waiting for my appointment, and noticed that there were no people waiting that looked like they had surgery.

I go in for my appointment, and he brings another doc in and says "This is so and so, you don't mind if he sits in?" They discuss my advanced DDD and then he says I need to go to some neck strengthening specialist for 6 months before they can do the surgery. The whole visit last for all of 2 minutes. I go out totally PO'd. I check the website for this "specialist neck strengthening", and find my Ortho doctors name on the site. Here he is involved in the place he is sending me. Conflict of interest? A scam? Probably both.

So, I call my GP doc and tell him that he has two choices, send me to a doctor that will fix my problem, or they will be talking to my attorney.

Guess what? I got a referral to a real surgeon, who took one look at my films and said "It hurts me just to look at this." He schedule the surgery immediately, and I am now pain free and happy.

Remember, that if you are in an HMO or have insurance, they do not want you to have the surgery, unless it is so serious that you could die from the problem. They want to avoid the cost any way they can. If they can run you through the ringer, they will, especially if you will put up with it. I personally believed that they are trained to do just that. They don't really care about the fact that you are in pain. Pain doesn't cost them anything...

Now, I don't understand your particular situation, but you do. My advise is to get tough. Demand that they do something to help you. The squeeky wheel get's the oil.

Dennis

 
Old 08-14-2006, 02:57 PM   #3
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Re: need to vent

Oh God dennis thanks so much for answering. i am starting to feel like a nut case. tha's what the PM dr. said when he looked at mine. it hurt him to loook at it. i had enough today and am putting my foot down with all of them. my pcp and i have a good relationship so i'm sure he'll help. i could and probably should change my appt with hi from next friday to this friday. think i will. i need an answer. i have been told my neck can turn into a dangerous situation. i don't want that.

 
Old 08-15-2006, 07:24 AM   #4
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Re: need to vent

Good for you.

If you don't get the answers you need, then ask for a second opinion.

In a lot of cases, you can find the doc to do the second opinion. Look around on the web for spine specialists and clinic in your area. I did cross reference checking on docs that looked good. If you find one who is affiliated with a university, is teaching, that would be a good choice. Also, if you know someone who had a successful surgery, ask them for their doctors name.

Good luck.

Dennis

 
Old 08-15-2006, 08:07 AM   #5
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Re: need to vent

Dear ICC, I am very new to this board but just wanted to encourage you and tell you the right doctor makes all the difference! I never got juggled around like that! My pcp immediately referred me to a great neurologist who in turn referred me to a neurosurgeon. My not getting anything done sooner was my own fault for putting it off, till this coming Friday that is! I am so glad to hear you want to get to the bottom of your problem before it gets worse! Talking to the other great people on this post has made me see the error of my way and I am thankful for their imput! Is there any way you can ask to see a neurologist or neurosurgeon next? The problem with your swallowing was one of the many questions my neurologist asked me. Even though I don't have this problem, he said it was one of many symptoms that could arise from a compressed spinal cord. Whatever you do stay on top of this and don't let it go on too long like I have! You could even look up a neurologist or neurosurgeon so you can have a name to give to your pcp when you go in and ask to be referred to whoever you've found. Take control and insist! It is your health thats on the line! Stay strong & best wishes! Ginger

 
Old 08-15-2006, 08:45 AM   #6
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Re: need to vent

hi dennis and ginger------ thanks for being there. that's exactly what i am doing. seeing my pcp and telling him i feel and the ENT actually agredd that the neck injury is causing the swalling problem. i will have him recommend an ortho and neurosurgeon. from what i have been told neuro's are the onces you want doing this not an ortho so maybe a referrel to 2 neuor's. will definitetly get 2 opinions. i actually went on a site for thyroids that gives all the different things that can cause your thyroid problems. OMG I think i have them all. neck injury, epstein barr, gall bladder surgery. that's all i can remember. the ENT didn't think the enlarged thyroid was causing the swallowing problem he put his money on the neck injury. So now it's my job to get my pcp to listen. i also see the rheumatologist on the 21st and he is great. i'm sure he'll listen also. here's hoping. will be back as soon as i know something definite. again thanks. i need all the support i can get from people who have been there. i don't want to be quick to jump on surgery but i can't imagine how PT or injections will shrink this large bone spur or move it or anything else. if that's the case why waste anymore time. i don't look forward to neck surgery, the thought makes me ill but if it will fix all of this pain and other problems i have then we need to "git 'er done"

 
Old 08-15-2006, 05:21 PM   #7
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Re: need to vent

Good luck and keep us posted! I like your "git r done" mentality! I can't wait to hear you've seen a neurosurgeon and have a real plan! Ginger

 
Old 08-15-2006, 05:55 PM   #8
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Re: need to vent

ICC:

I had seen a neurosurgeon in 2003 when my symptoms first arose. This year when things got bad my PCP (who I trust so much and who is very hiighly regarded in the medical community) personally and professionally recommended an orthopedic spine surgeon. So I would recommend finding the right doctor with the approach, reputation and practice you are comfortable with - be in a NS or an OSS. I think in either case it's imperative the NS or OSS specialize in cervical spine surgery. I've heard of some NS who do ACDF surgeries, but their main focus may be brain surgery or something else - so I made sure to ask "how many have you done and how often do you do this type of surgery?"



Karin
ACDF C5-C7
5/18/06.
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Rt&Lt thumb arthroplasty 2012 ; RT TKR & Bilat CTS 2011
Fusions: L5-S1 (87), L4-S1 (93), C5-C7 ('06), L3-S1 ('10)
C5-C7 foraminotomy 08

 
Old 08-16-2006, 05:18 AM   #9
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Re: need to vent

good morning all-------i'm so glad you are all here for me. couldn't change pcp appt. but will still see him on the 25th and get the ball rolling. for all of you who have had neck surgery i need to say you are my heroes. i am petrified. i have read alot about fusion failing, hardware having to be removed, second and third surgeries years down the road, lack of mobility.can you all speculate on your story? i've noticed through PT that my ankle within 2xs was 80% better but my neck is no better. i have not had injections yet and don't know if they would help this bone spur. i have always understoor they are good for disk problems and nerve problems. all i know is they mention surgery but never what kind or how intense it will be. even though i have a couple small bulges this bone spur seems to be the problem. i have read about arthroscopic surgery t oremove spurs and there is no fusion involved. can anyone specultate on this also.

i just had my first routine colonoscopy. they asked me if i was ready and i quite loudly said" git r done" it gave everyone a laugh.

 
Old 08-16-2006, 09:28 AM   #10
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Re: need to vent

My surgeon who did my 2 level ACDF surgery was an othrtho surgeon. I don't really think it makes a difference if they are experienced. He was connected with a leading spine clinic in my area, and teaching at a local university. He also is on the leading edge of new developments in spine surgery. I was part of a test group to get BMP paste prior to government approval. BMP is a bone growth hormone.

It's very normal to be afraid of any surgery. Reading about problems on the web is pretty normal too. Remember that most people searching the web are looking for answers to problems. The success stories are usually not heard, because people go on with their lives once they are fixed. I am one of the success stories that has stayed around. ACDF is a very well known and successful surgical technique. You will find that the success ratio is in the high 90%.

As far as PT, you won't get much relief, if there is a mechanical problem. I went through it all, and had limited success. I found chiropractic to be the best for a while. My chiro was able to move the bones off of the nerves, and actually taught me how to do it myself. Eventually, this didn't work anymore either.

PT after surgery has been very important for me. Once you are fixed, it's importand to strengthen the neck muscles and keep them strong. It also keeps spasms to a minimum.

 
Old 08-16-2006, 12:18 PM   #11
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Re: need to vent

thanks dennis you are right. i haven't read too many successful stories especially with the neck. i have been on several spine websites and they make it all sound so promising. read something today about the ROM after a fusion. well i don't have good ROM now. i actually saw a spine specialist (ortho) first since he just happened to be one of the WC panel dr.s that i was allowed to see and we have history from my presvious back injuries. surgery was one of the first things he mentioned after looking at my MRI. said i have severe stenosis and of course this huge bone spur indenting my spine. PM dr. said exactly the same thing. everyday i get a little less scared because i have been told this can get worse and cause alot of other problems. that's kind of defeating the purpose so i will talk to my pcp and PM dr. i see them both within about 10 days and ask them all the questions. if this is not fixable without surgery and i will be looking at now or years down the road i would rather get it done than have it worse for putting it off. i'm glad yours was a success. here's hoping i will be as lucky.

 
Old 08-18-2006, 07:53 AM   #12
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Re: need to vent

The range of motion isn't as bad as it sounds.

When I first recovered from my surgery and was able to drive, is when I noticed a difference. When backing up, or entering a freeway, it was difficult to turn far enough to see well. I put those little dome mirror on my side mirrors, the ones that just stick on the corner of your mirror. This helped a lot. Eventually I found that I needed to see better when backing a trailer. I started to turn my torso to get my head around. Now, I just do that naturally, and don't notice the limitation.

It's really not that much with a two level fusion.

 
Old 08-18-2006, 10:04 AM   #13
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Re: need to vent

you know what dennis? i can't turn my head now to back up. driving is very difficult. you said you went to a chiro. i went shortly before i re-injured and she said she couldn't do anything with my neck becasue it felt like it had fused together. make any sense? it didn't to me at the time.

 
Old 08-18-2006, 12:09 PM   #14
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Re: need to vent

Well, when I was referred to the Chiro, my doc said "no neck manipulation". After a few sessions, with just hot packs and electrical stimulation, the Chiro doc says, "I've looked at your MRI's and X-ray, and I think I can do something to help you. It requires manipulation, so you have to agree that it's okay." He said that if I feel the slightest pain to tell him. Then he moved my neck and got the vertabrae off the nerves. It felt great, and lasted for a month or more. Gradually over the years (I went to him for 8 years), it would last for shorter and shorter periods. This chiro doc saved my life when he found a different problem in my back. I totally change my opinion about Chiropractic, after having this guy help me. He was a very smart Doc. He understood what he could and couldn't do. He also knew when to get a regular doctor involved. I'm not sure they are all this good tho.

It is possible that you have vertabrae that have fused. The question is, do you have advanced DDD (degenerative disc desease). If one or more of your disks are gone (two of mine were), then it's possible that the vertabrae have touched together. Now, what it would take for them to fuse...it would seem that they would have had to lock up, and stay that way for a long time. Did anything like that show up on your films? Have you had any docs tell you this?

They do get locked. Sometimes the Chiro had to work pretty hard to get them free on me. Maybe she just was afraid that she could hurt you, which is a good thing.

 
Old 08-18-2006, 12:14 PM   #15
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Re: need to vent

no dennis no one has told me the DDD is bad. typical of my age. i've read the MRI report over and over and all i see and have been told by the 2 dr. is i have this large bone spur indenting my cord. possible myelopathy? spinal stenosis. all of this is from the C5-C7. i'm wondering if the chiro was feleling th ebone spur or she couldn't do an adjustment becasue of it. i had MRI results with me that didn't show it . they were done in nov. i like chiro's i had one fixed me up real good when i hurt my back years ago. acts up once in a while but nothing i can't live with.

 
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