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    Old 04-15-2009, 03:32 PM   #1
    jshu43
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    Will walking help cervical disorders?

    I have a bunch of different problems in the C4-8 level, from spondylosthesis to spondylitis, DDD, stenosis, etc. I have been told that I have bone rubbing on bone and that two discs have practically fused themselves together. I have one surgeon who after looking at all I have done to relieve neck pain for years (chiro, PT, Botox inj., numerous RF of the fact joints, lidocaine inj, pain meds, accupuncture, neck brace, etc) said that surgery was the only thing left that offered any hope. I sought a second opinion and the surgeon told me that I should walk an hour a day and that would take care of things.

    Besides the fact that I have CFIDS with extreme exercise intolerance, I'm curious - will walking actually make a difference in one's cervical spine? I know how good it for one's overall health, one's heart & lungs, and even I would think one's lower back. I'm just curious exactly how walking effects your neck?

     
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    Old 04-16-2009, 06:58 AM   #2
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    Re: Will walking help cervical disorders?

    hello. walking helps none. in other words, i can tell you i walk about an hour every day and no change at all. you can try though before you go on surgery. so when it comes to neck health your doctor is wrong. it just has no effect on the neck period.

     
    Old 04-16-2009, 07:28 AM   #3
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    Re: Will walking help cervical disorders?

    nochange - Thanks for the input. I have CFIDS and if I do any little exercise - especially for a few days in a row - I get a fever and am so wiped out that I can barely get out of bed to go to the bathroom. But I wanted to know if there was any point in trying to kill myself walking. I've done all the PT stuff, stretching and neck exercises - I just had a hard time figuring out how walking would do something that the PT wouldn't.

    But the guy was really a jerk. He got really hostile to me - and I'm a nice person! I sincerely am trying to make a good decision. I would love to think that surgery might make a big difference in my life - but I don't want to have surgery if I'm going to be worse off. It's been a couple of months since the first surgeon said I needed surgery, but I've been going very cautiously.

    When I was asking about the walking and saying that I'm not able to do much exercise at all, he just interrupted and started talking over me and getting up to leave. He said that if I kept going to doctors I would find someone who would do surgery on me. I mentioned that I already had someone to do surgery, I wanted to know what was best. He had walked out of the room by then.

    I'm not sure what his problem was. I guess he obviously doesn't believe in CFIDS. Didn't like me getting a second opinion. (What was weird was that I talked with his assistant beforehand and she said that he wouldn't see me unless he felt he could help me, but based on my reports and film, he did think he could help me.)

    I had talked to my internist about the surgery and she was very positive. She said that she had several patients who had the surgery and it made a big difference in their life. She said the constant severe pain that I have every day wears away at my immune system, and any relief in pain would be positive.

    Now I'm in a dilemma - do I accept the disability and constant pain - or do keep on. I had made an appt with an orthopedic surgeon as everyone seemed to think that I shouldn't just go to neurosurgeon, but I canceled it after this last visit. I had read it was good to get second and even third opinions, but it seems like the doctors do resent it.

     
    Old 04-19-2009, 04:02 AM   #4
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    Re: Will walking help cervical disorders?

    jsh, I would have kept that appointment. Any doctor confident in his opinion would not resent that second opinion. Some will even encourage or recommed it. Its not their body & surgery is not something to take lightly. when the discs get that bad there really is not choice in my opinion.
    You need to do whats best for you & if a second or even third opinion would help you in making the right choice then do it.
    Doctors/surgeons at times seem to forget its about whats best for the patient not their egos. As far as an ortho & neuro I dont think it matters as long as he or she is a good surgeon. In fact I would get an opinion from one of each. As far as walking goes I dont see where it would help much other keeping you in better shape. I have heard people say their doctors encourage walking after surgery perhaps just to keep the circulation going which I am sure would help one heal. Good luck, Sammy

     
    Old 04-19-2009, 04:53 AM   #5
    jshu43
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    Re: Will walking help cervical disorders?

    Sammy - Thanks for the encouragement. It was a real setback to see that last surgeon. But it's just not helpful for me to be affected by this one doctor in a negative way. Who knows what he had running through his mind - I just have to deal with it and move on. I really don't think that walking would help my neck in any other way except raising my overall health. When I have two surgeons telling me that I have bone on bone, and that my discs have practically fused themselves together - it doesn't make sense to me that walking will help that. The surgeon certainly didn't take the time to explain how it would be helpful. My questioning it really set him off.

    At this point, I'm going to follow the second surgeon's advice - and that's to get this diagnostic testing with the steroid injections in the facet areas to see what areas would achieve relief. I kind of feel like Goldilocks and the Three Bears (except they're doctors!) - one's too soft, one's too hard and maybe one's just right. The first surgeon told me based on my history that their was 0% chance of any relief without surgery and that there was basically no risk that would actually happen as a result of the ACDF other than it might not work. He only mentioned doing a 2 disc fusion. The last surgeon told me to walk an hour a day and I would be fine. The second surgeon told me that I would need to have at least 3 discs done and he was concerned about adjacent discs' degeneration and losing mobility. He's the one that wants further testing. So, it seems like I should go with the one in the middle.

    Both of the last two doctors sneered at the name of the first surgeon. The first surgeon is out in my area which is just outside of Houston in a city nearby. The last two surgeons are in the Houston medical center. But the first surgeon seems to be respected by those in this area who have had surgery done by him.

    The orthopedic surgeon I canceled has a lot of credentials and invented several devices for fusions and specializes in botched fusions. But I hesitate to see another doctor as I don't want to get surgery if there is not a consensus.

    It is a very hard decision though, as the thought of perhaps living in a lot less pain for the rest of my life sounds wonderful. To get off of all my pain meds, to be able to go somewhere and sit for any length of time without agony. To perhaps reclaim a big chunk of my life that is gone. To be able to go out and date even! Then there's also the fact that I have insurance right now and I'm not so sure I will have it in the next year or two. It's like this is my window if I am ever going to do it.

    BUT then there's the thought of being worse off. Maybe I should be glad that I can walk, talk, etc. and leave it at that. The last surgeon seemed to think if I could dress myself and walk then I was doing really well. I am not able to work, (or play!) or clean my home by myself. Oh well, well being is based on my attitude and not my circumstances. (I believe that, but I do have to keep telling myself that!)

    Thanks again for your encouragement. It really helps to feel I'm not alone out here.

     
    Old 04-19-2009, 07:10 AM   #6
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    Re: Will walking help cervical disorders?

    Walking: Walking helps lower back pain with muscle involvement. Also, cardiovascular activity can increase the flow of endorphins to all parts of the body. Neither of these are going to cure a serious problem in your neck.

    One thought on consensus of surgeons: Before I had surgery on my ankle, I saw a total of 6 doctors, including 4 surgeons.

    They all had different ideas. The reasons I went with the last one were:

    He explained his theory as to the cause of my pain, and it didn't have holes in it. When I looked up the name of my condition and the outcomes for surgical treatment, I realized that, if doctor #6 was right, not having the surgery would be crazy.

    He performed a diagnostic cortisone injection, and told me, "If this works temporarily, surgery will probably have the same effect permanently." Relieved almost all my pain for a whole week.

    Now, if one doctor says, "I want to do this particular surgery," and 2 other experts in that area say "Oh, no, that surgery would be a terrible idea for you," and give reasons that make some kind of sense, that's another matter.

     
    Old 04-19-2009, 08:45 AM   #7
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    Re: Will walking help cervical disorders?

    janewhite - Good advice. I had a similar situation with my foot. I put off having foot surgery for four years because I was so worried I would do something worse. I went to several different doctors. I ended up going with one (he treats the Houston Astros) who seemed to know what he was talking about and told me it would be no problem. I had the surgery and boy did he mess up my foot. I found a podiatrist afterwards because I could barely walk. He sat down and was so methodical. I realized that the surgeon I had gone with had been too flippant. He quickly looked at my MRI and declared he knew what was wrong, it would be no problem and when do you want to have surgery? I felt rushed, but talked myself around it by thinking I had waited four years and it was silly to keep forestalling the surgery.

    The podiatrist talked to me and for the first time I really understood what in the world was wrong with my foot in the first place and what had gone wrong with the operation. He was so knowledgeable and patient and helpful in talking to me. I had to have another surgery and this time the surgery went as well as could be expected. I am walking and making progress.

    What I have to remember is that I need to make sure that the surgeon I go to I feel comfortable with. I don't feel rushed into something and the surgeon really explains exactly what is wrong and how he thinks he can help - or explain to me exactly why surgery would not be helpful.

    Thanks for the input on the walking. It didn't make sense to me. It's like telling someone who has cancer to walk an hour a day and they would be fine. It would help their mood and their endurance - but wouldn't do a thing for their cancer. It's hard to take someone seriously with that advice.

     
    Old 04-19-2009, 10:08 AM   #8
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    Re: Will walking help cervical disorders?

    It can help and it can hurt. My neck was unstable from the disc being gone at c 5-6. It hurt like [email protected] to walk on the treadmill. The pain came 2 days after and was the worst on day 3 and 4 then if I did next to nothing it would go away. I was taking Relefen daily for a few years. I developed severe spurring and the disc above it (c 3-4, 4-5 and 6-7 took the brunt and began to buldge too. If I had a do over button, I would of had surgery 4 years sooner. Everyone says to wait and see.... It hurt me in the long run. If you hurt after walking, don't.
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    Old 04-20-2009, 06:27 AM   #9
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    Re: Will walking help cervical disorders?

    JSH, I did have to laugh at the Goldilocks comment. Really I dont know whether to recommend surgery or not, everyone is so different, even with somewhat of the same problems. I feel better in some ways & do have some new pain. I will say I feel more hopeful having the fusion done & know I am still recovering.
    I wish the doctors would have found this long ago, when it first started, over 3yrs ago. I would have had the surgery then.
    Really its about quality of life & I was loosing it fast. I put off my surgery for a month or so due to the holdays. At the end there I could not take it & counted the days till surgery. I will say I did not care or worry by the end, just wanted out of pain.
    You are smart thinking about insurance, you just never know.

    I honestly believe not every surgeon is going to agree on everything.
    You could wait forever there. This last one sounds worth looking into. I would look at that as a huge plus if the surgeon deals in botched fusions & has such an interest in what he does. I am not saying you you should see him if you dont want to but I really think I would. You have 2 opinions there, I would not count the other. You can only gain knowledge by seeking his opinion.
    I have read some different things about fusing, nothing bad just different or course this was after my surgery. If I had read it before I would have probably went for some other opinions just to see what was recommended. Wish I would have, so your on the right track there. Cant really hurt.

    You just never know & no matter what I dont regret this. I would never know if I did not try & I was tired of worrying & only living half my life.

    Your smart in doing it the way you are, with any luck they will find what areas are causing you the most pain.
    Whatever you decide good luck, as I know its tough not knowing whats the best thing to do. Sammy

     
    Old 04-20-2009, 07:46 AM   #10
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    Re: Will walking help cervical disorders?

    sammy01 - Thanks for your input and encouragement. It really makes me not want to give up without really knowing for sure. I think I will go for this testing and see what the neuro has to say. If there is more confusion, I will go to the ortho. I think I need to work through the doctors one at a time. I have a feeling that seeing two doctors at the same time seems to put them off a bit. I do believe though that the right doctor for me will not be irritated that I am getting several opinions.

     
    Old 04-20-2009, 07:48 AM   #11
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    Re: Will walking help cervical disorders?

    good out - I'm curious what your symptoms were before your surgery. Your problems sound very much like mine. What were your worst symptoms and did the surgery make a big difference?

     
    Old 04-20-2009, 09:23 AM   #12
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    Re: Will walking help cervical disorders?

    Hi JSHU.......You got "blown off" by the doc who told you to walk an hour a day. Docs who don't want to work with specific patients for one reason or another will come up with obviously stupid diagnoses or treatments meant to make you go away. I had a neurosurgeon do that to me when I went looking for someone to help me with my neck. Spent a whole 15 minutes examining me then told me I was fine after 2 other docs has said I needed either aggressive treatment or immediate surgery. My neurologist said he was "blowing me off" because he didn't want to deal with a patient who had multiple medical problems and was VERY conservative in his treatment of patients. She later told me the hospital who had recruited him was letting him go. He had mis-represented his stance on surgery and was turning down almost everyone sent to him. The neurologists hated him.

    So it's not you...it's him. Some docs just don't like some people or doing some types of surgery. And some are lazy.

    Besides all of that, walking an hour a day will not help your neck in any way. In fact, if you have cord compression in those areas it may very well make walking impossible. It affects gait. You lose balance and start walking with you feet apart in order to keep your balance. I found I was struggling not to fall. So walking an hour a day could hurt more than help.

    Go see the ortho who specializes in bad spines. Don't look for a consensus. Look for someone you feel you can trust, who seems genuinely interested in fixing what is wrong. They do a thorough exam, they give you alternatives, they ask the questions no one else has asked(like how many dishes have you dropped) and they do lots of prep work to make sure your other medical problems are taken care of. They take an interest in ALL of you, not just your neck. My doc called in a diabetologist even though I was type 2 with almost no symptoms. Glad he did because he warned me about taking Avandia a full year before the bad reports and withdrawal of the drug came about. Last surgery he brought in a psychologist to help me deal with PTSD problems I was having following surgery even though I only mentioned to him just prior to surgery that my neck problems were the result of child abuse. I have a feeling I'll be seeing lots of extra docs if he has to operate again with the most recent injury.

    That's a doc who cares about the WHOLE person. If that doc cared about ALL of you, he would have respected your problem with exercise and not gone there. He "blew you off"....doesn't want to care for you...too lazy to care about your whole body and mind. HE has a problem, not you.

    So keep looking until you find someone who wants to care for ALL of you. My neurologist warned me it might take 6-7 tries to find someone I liked and who would work with me. Luckily it only took 2 but even then, he and I had our problems and I wrote him a long letter. On my next appointment we talked about that letter and now I trust him and he knows where I'm coming from. He needed to know I was being emotionally abused and neglected(primarily by my daughter-in-law, the RN) at home and I needed HIM to help protect me....and the psychologist..as I couldn't get out. They needed to play a much more aggressive part in my recovery and he has. If I have the 3rd surgery as expected, the psychologist will be involved before and after surgery.

    So that is what you look for. Not a consensus, or 3 out of 5 but someone who cares about the whole you, your quality of life, you medical problems as well as your surgical problems. They're out there...it's just finding them as they are different for everyone. The doc who blew you off might be great for someone else. Keep trying until you find your Dr. Right.

    Jenny

     
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