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    Old 08-28-2007, 12:03 PM   #1
    avglenn
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    Cervical Disc Fusion Questions ;

    I have had neck pain from a work accident since 2003. Mri showed 2mm disc bulge c5/c6 and osteophyte formation. Dr. said it was get better in time/ therapy. Its slowly gotten worse over time where now the Mri shows it 4mm disc bulge c5/c6. My symptoms are pain on flextion & extension, and especially between the shoulder blades. Left thumb pad soreness. The worse being , that repetitive activity with my arms such as walking ( my arms swing alot) that my neck goes into a spasm and goes into both arms & hands. Its like being hit by a stun gun between the shoulder blades and then my arms and hands go into spasms.

    My workers comp. Neuro has told me if the injections dont help than its time for a fusion. Well i had my first injection a month ago , it did alleviate my thumb pain, but thats it. In fact I just got over 3 days of these type spasms from dusting my house. I wanted to see if I could tolerate activity. I guess not.

    I see my Neuro again in 2-1/2 weeks. I have a feeling he's going to want to move forward with the fusion. I am on the fence about it, because I do have intermittent arm pain too, but I have no numbness in my fingers. I'm afraid of my neck surgery going bad, like constant arm pain with numbness on top of my ever lasting spasms. I've had a L5/S1 micro-d also in 2004 in which scar tissue has encased my s1 nerve. Whats the probability of it happening to my neck too ? My main question for my Dr. at this point , if he suggests fusion, is how certain is he that it will stop these spasms that keep me in seclusion/pain for 3 days and of course % of a successful fusion. I want to be prepared if I go this route, and am looking for any questions I should ask the Dr. regarding my neck , and or fusion ? I do have some questions, but unfortunately with the worker comp Dr.s you have 2 to 3 minutes before he walks out. I all ready deal with chronic back pain & affecting both legs and turned down a 2 level back fusion last year...Was hoping my neck pain would subside ....Thanks in advance !

     
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    Old 08-28-2007, 06:58 PM   #2
    chatterboxsd
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    Re: Cervical Disc Fusion Questions ;

    I think you're right to ask these questions. I'd also ask what alternatives there are. If you're not ready to jump into surgery, maybe ask for some referrals to pain management and PT (if you're interested) to see if you can get yourself better that way. It sounds like if you don't have surgery, you may always have to "manage" your neck, but that might have a better outcome than a fusion. As you know from your lower back, it's really up to you. I would try EVERYTHING under the sun (I did before my thoracic fusion) before doing that. (acupuncture, yoga, water PT, land PT, chiro, injections, RFA, meds, etc.) Turns out, my surgery was unsuccessful and my pain is worse than before. I have to deal with that, but I also know I tried everything before that. If only we had a crystal ball, eh?

    Best of luck making your decision,
    Margaret

     
    Old 08-28-2007, 07:38 PM   #3
    SpineAZ
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    Re: Cervical Disc Fusion Questions ;

    I can tell you that if you have nerve pain the sooner you act the better. If you put off necessary surgery you could end up with more permanent pain and problems. However, I agree that you need to have him address your prior experiences.

    If it helps, cervical fusion from the front (anterior) is vastly different from posterior back surgery. Back surgery is known for it's level of scar tissue (making subsequen surgeries harder and hardware removal a big deal). The cervical fusion done anterior doesn't involve the same type of muscle/spine interaction so scarring (even internally) is often less of an issue.

    My ACDF was much easier and less painful than my lumbar fusion surgery. I was worried, given my past experience with back surgery, but am glad I had the neck surgery. I'll never be 100% again, I know that, but I have far less pain and problems than I did before the surgery.
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    Rt thumb fusion '13. R&L thumb arthroplasty '12 ; RT TKR & Bilat CTS' 11. Fusions: L5-S1('87), L4-S1('93), C5-C7('06), L3-S1('10), C4-C5('13). C5-C7 foraminotomy '08

     
    Old 08-28-2007, 08:02 PM   #4
    avglenn
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    Re: Cervical Disc Fusion Questions ;

    Thanks for the responses. I've had p/t before but I asked this Dr. if I could have pain management referal for my back. He said No, he said it wouldnt do me any good ? Then told me "we" need to get you back to work asap. Believe me, I want to go back to work, but I cant physically manage a full time job right now. My company does not offer p/t. I was hoping a cervical injection would help relieve the pain so I could try & go back to work. Maybe I should try a second one, but I'd hate to wait another year for the approval. Maybe they wouldnt take as long this time since I've already had one...thx again

     
    Old 08-31-2007, 09:37 AM   #5
    nugeme
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    Re: Cervical Disc Fusion Questions ;

    I had acdf c6/7 nine years ago - very successful. It was a few weeks for full recovery, but IMMEDIATE cessation of pain from my blown out disk! My chiropractor says my fused area is the strongest part of my back!LOL. The neuro put my incision in a wrinkle on my nck so my small scar is not even noticable.

    I will say I developed acid reflux after the surgery. Not sure if it's from moving everything around, damage from intubation, or unrelated. But, the surgery relieved the pain and was worth it!

    I wish you the best.

     
    Old 08-31-2007, 12:15 PM   #6
    NoDo
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    Re: Cervical Disc Fusion Questions ;

    sounds like you and i are going thru a lot of the same problems. ive done pretty much everything over the past year including spinal injection blocks and a number of trigger point injections. i have disk buldging from c3-4 c6-t7. ive actually oppted to have acdf fusion of c5-6 on sept 11th. hopefully everything works out ok for you and hopefully it does for me. im pretty scared about the operation but nothing has helped at all and its only gotten worst.

     
    Old 09-02-2007, 05:39 PM   #7
    avglenn
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    Re: Cervical Disc Fusion Questions ;

    NoDo I wish you the best with your surgery. I have an appt. with my NS on the 12th. Im apprehensive on whats going to happen next. Did you have a discogram done, confirming the problem disc ? G/L

     
    Old 09-03-2007, 03:30 PM   #8
    ladyliberty42
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    Re: Cervical Disc Fusion Questions ;

    My surgery was ten days ago. I had a tri-level cervical fusion between C-4, C-5, C-6, and C-7. When I woke up in the hospital, I could feel my arms, fingers, legs and toes without burning, numbness or tingling for the first time in twenty years. I'm 40. I am wondering though, even though I feel good, have really no pain and want to be semi active, should I? I am tired of not driving, my neck collar is driving me crazy, and I want to pick up and play with my 25 pound puppies. I like to cook and garden too. My husband won't let me do any of these things as per doctor's orders. Even though I feel fine, can I really harm my fusion? I have a plate, I am wearing my collar and I am very careful. I really want the fusion to work and never have the pain I was living with again. I am so bored, though. Does anyone have advice or experience to share?

     
    Old 09-04-2007, 12:06 PM   #9
    avglenn
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    Re: Cervical Disc Fusion Questions ;

    Im sure others on here have experience with this and would have better answers. But if it were me, I would find some thing to read or to do, to help w/ the boredem. The last thing you want to do is over due it ! Glad you are doing so well.

     
    Old 09-04-2007, 12:07 PM   #10
    avglenn
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    Re: Cervical Disc Fusion Questions ;

    Can anyone tell me if a discogram is mandatory or part of the protocal prior to cervical fusion ? Thx

     
    Old 09-04-2007, 12:19 PM   #11
    SKZ
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    Re: Cervical Disc Fusion Questions ;

    I had a discogram before my fusion in Jan. I am pretty sure its standard to do it because I research it a lot before I had one. It wasnt bad at all, by the way.

     
    Old 09-04-2007, 08:18 PM   #12
    avglenn
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    Re: Cervical Disc Fusion Questions ;

    Thanks SKZ.

     
    Old 09-05-2007, 12:03 AM   #13
    ladyliberty42
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    Re: Cervical Disc Fusion Questions ;

    I had a great check up today. The bone is beginning to fuse nicely. I will on the vertebrae above and below the fusion. Am I likely to need additional surgery, or does the fusion actually strengthen the entire spinal column?

     
    Old 09-07-2007, 06:27 PM   #14
    bw67
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    Re: Cervical Disc Fusion Questions ;

    discograms are no big deal, you'll be out of it for half a day...

    I would encourage getting 2nd or 3rd opinions before going under the knife...

    depending on where you live and what kind of insurance you have, there are other minimally invasive surgical options other than fusion out there. I had disc herniations at C5/6 and C6/7 and chose an endoscopic procedure that didn't involve fusion with a doctor down in Florida. One year later I am still doing great.

    I've posted several times on this board over the last year about options other than fusion. It disappoints me that more people don't explore this approach.

    best of luck

    bw

     
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