UPDATE: Ventral cord deformity... among other things
I started a new thread to follow up on a previous post regarding my cervical spine/neurological issues and vague MRI impressions that were not easily deciphered. I know surgery is the next option and would like to hear of your experiences, especially if you underwent surgery to relieve "neuropathic" pain and symptoms, e.g. nerve damage, paresthesia (tingling, weakness), stenosis, etc, rather than the more common "physical" pain, such as sciatica. I'm sure you know what I mean...
Here is a brief recap:
My neck pain, which can best be described as "very uncomfortable," like a severe crick in my neck causing stiffness and mobility issues, seems to occur in "flares," which have been increasing in frequency and intensity over the last 3-4 years. It began in 2009 and lasted for one month, at which time I saw an orthopedic surgeon. An MRI showed multiple bulges and bone spurs, disc degeneration, and impression into the CSF, specifically at C5-C6. No cord compression or stenosis observed. After physical therapy didn't help (actually hurt a LOT worse), I was told there was really nothing I could do except have surgery to correct the issue. In fact, the surgeon was very surprised that I wasn't in more pain. Well the pain, in my opinion, didn't warrant such extensive surgery; I could deal with the "cricks." And in 2010 I didn't have much pain at all. it was almost like I went into remission. (Strange)
However, since 2011 the pain came back; this time the neck pain "flare up" was accompanied by these recurrent, painless "electrical shock-like" sensations of tingling in the right side of my face through my right arm to my finger tips. It became clear that the pain and neuropathic pain were related, and I was afraid that the issues in the neck were starting to impinge upon my nerves and cord. From then until now the flares of physical neck pain and neuropathic pain have increased in frequency and intensity. Before the orthopedic spinal surgeon would move forward, he wanted me to see a neurologist to determine the source of the face involvement to rule out something other than my neck that may be causing it.
And here we are: after consulting with my orthopedic surgeon as well as a neurologist, who was convinced that my facial involvement was associated with some type of nerve damage from my neck, both agree that surgery is warranted. A new MRI showed some stenosis and moderate cord compression, nerve root compression, and the same old issues noted before among other things.
Has anyone had similar experiences and surgery? I meet with my orthopedic spinal surgeon tomorrow to discuss. I've been reading about all kinds of different spinal surgeries; does anyone know what type they'll probably recommend for this type of issue, disc replacement, fusion, etc? I know the anterior approach is most common; however, I have severely protruding discs anteriorly almost touching my esophagus. Will this interfere with an anterior approach? Any ideas?
Anyone have spinal surgery not for pain but to relieve and prevent nerve damage? I had a nerve root block a couple of months ago and it did absolutely nothing. :-/
Finally, can anyone give an approximate recovery/return to work time? I have a fairly sedentary job as a financial analyst; however, I have a 100 mile round trip to/from work. Not sure what to expect.
Last edited by gav_73; 09-18-2012 at 12:14 PM.