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  • Is Cervical Traction Unit Helpful for Pain? Is Surgery Needed?

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    Old 08-31-2009, 03:44 PM   #1
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    Is Cervical Traction Unit Helpful for Pain? Is Surgery Needed?

    I an in Constant severe neck/back/head/shoulder/arm pain for more than 2 years since head injury. Head has improved but severe cervical and related upper back/arms/shoulder stiffness with 24x7 pain. Some releif when I lie down otherwise severe pain in vertical position. Arms/Shoulder are weak, numb and painful (shoulder in particular)

    PT/Medication etc. dont help much- Never tried acupuncture or chiropractor.

    1) Is cervical traction (at home or with PT) useful? Can it harm?
    2) How about Acupuncture and Chiropractor?
    3) Do I need Cervical surgery- if I delay, Can I be Paralyzed? How long can I wait?

    MRI Cervical:

    -Reversal of normal lordosis. Small Hemangioma in T1 Vertebra. Mild Spondylosis in multiple levels in Cervical spine


    -C3-C4: Broad base disc/osteophyte complex which effaces anterior thecal sac but doesnt deform cord. Moderate narrowing of right neural foramen
    -C4-C5: Broad base disc/osteophyte complex which is INDENDTING the central cord. Moderate to severe left foraminal stenosis. Minimal narrowing on right
    -C5-C6: Small broad base disc/osteophyte complex which indents but does not efface anterior thecal sac. Mild Narrowing of left neural foramen
    -C6-C7: Left sided disc/osteophyte complex which moderately narrows left neural foramen. No significant spinal stenosis.

    Spinal cord signal is normal throughout.

    CT Cervical:

    Bilateral uncovertebral joint spurs at C3-C4. C4-C5 and very minimal at C5/C6 and C6/C7. Spurs are moderate on right and small on left.

    MRI Thoracic:
    Slight Right curvature to spine- Mild Scoliosis (mild Levoscoliosis of lower thoraic spine and mild dextroscoliosis of cerviothoracic junction)

    Otherwise normal.

    EMG

    Bilateral chronic cervical radiculopathy at C5/C6/C7



    NS wants to proceed with Surgery; Ortho surgeon wants to wait for sometime with conservative approach.

    Any feedback/help would be appreciated. Thanks so much

     
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    Old 08-31-2009, 05:05 PM   #2
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    Re: Is Cervical Traction Unit Helpful for Pain? Is Surgery Needed?

    What type of surgery are the recommending?
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    Old 08-31-2009, 05:51 PM   #3
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    Re: Is Cervical Traction Unit Helpful for Pain? Is Surgery Needed?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpineAZ View Post
    What type of surgery are the recommending?
    NS is recommending C3-C4 and C4-C5 decompression. Remove the disc and replace with cadaver bones. Does MRI report warrant it?

    Spine surgeon recommends ACDF at C4-C5 but is not 100% sure presently and notes weakness in thoracic spine and arms. Recommends sequential stimulator and cervical traction unit at this time.

    I have severe pain in entire upper body- neck and head are the epicenter and includes back and shoulders. Weakness in arms. Issues with eyes and ear too and weakness in right face (right shoulder//arm more weak).

    Vicodin/Lyrica/Zanaflex/Mobic/Soma/Flexeril/Savella/Cymbalata, PT etc. do not help much- temp relief that shoots back

    I have been completely submerged in pain and forgotton how to live without pain now-

    Is surgery warranted based on MRI/CT/EMG reports? Any alternatives? Will surgery lower pain level?

     
    Old 08-31-2009, 07:15 PM   #4
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    Re: Is Cervical Traction Unit Helpful for Pain? Is Surgery Needed?

    The most important thing, in my view, is the symptoms you have and how debilitating they are. Disc problems are very common and if you took 100 people without any symptoms and gave them an MRI - at least a few would end up finding out they had disc bulges or foraminal narrowing they knew nothing about. They'd be the lucky ones who did not have the nerves or cord being impinged at all.

    For someone who had your test findings but had improved dramatically and had no day-to-day symptoms or pain - then surgery might not be needed right now. But from what you've said you have every day symptoms that are impacting your quality of life. If so, then surgery is a good thing.

    The indenting of the cord and the foraminal narrowing would suggest that the surgery is a good option. I'm wondering why they wouldn't move forward with the ACDF at this time especially with any symptoms of weakness, numbness, tinging, etc. The reason I say this is I would not want you to go through a decompression to later need more surgery.

    I had my ACDF in 2006. I had my first symptoms about 2 years prior to that and conservative measures (pain meds, NSAID meds (advil/aleve/aspirin), and epidural steroid injections (ESI), held the symptoms to a "low roar" for 18 months. Tolerable and only a problem on occasion. Once the symptoms were present daily and starting to interfere with my qualify of life I knew the ACDF was needed. Two years later I needed some additional work due to significant stenosis. Again, I put it off but realized every day was a "pain day" so I went forward with that as well. (Keep in mind I am an orthopedic disaster so not everyone who has 1 neck surgery has to have another).
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    Old 09-01-2009, 08:16 AM   #5
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    Re: Is Cervical Traction Unit Helpful for Pain? Is Surgery Needed?

    Thanks SpineAZ.

    Whats the difference between decompression and ACDF?

    Is cervical traction helpful- can it harm? during the beginning of injury, my physiatrist indicated that it could harm and did not allow it.

    Do Acupuncture and/or Chiropact help- I havent tried them. I had few trigger point injections.

    Although my symptoms continue since the beginning of injury, they have worsened in past several months- my head has improved but neck/back have worsened.

    After the head injury, I used to feel like drunk for few months; however, head is better now. Although, my thoracic MRI appears normal, I feel compression in my mid-back both in front and back. The neck/back pain is constant and severe- there probably is also a need for arthoscopic shoulder surgery.

    My cervical MRI after few month of injury showed disc bulges only- there was no stenosis or cord indention- my recent MRI appears more severe and NS is asking for decompression at C3/C4 and C4/C5.

    Not sure why cervical condition deteriorated more rapidly in last one year. I am 46 and has continued working in high functioning brain environment inspite severe head/neck and several other issues after head injury (I took few months off work). All doctors want me on total disability and not work- however, I continue working and think that brain will heal and function- not sure if it is harming my cervical, back, eyes, ear, face etc.

    I have been to numerous neurologists/pain management/Physiatrists/neuropsche without any good solution. Recent visit to surgeons seem to indicate that surgery may or may not help.

    Curious on feedback on surgery, traction unit, sequential simulator, acupuncture and other help. Thanks.

     
    Old 09-02-2009, 04:59 AM   #6
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    Re: Is Cervical Traction Unit Helpful for Pain? Is Surgery Needed?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bgs View Post

    Do Acupuncture and/or Chiropact help- I havent tried them. I had few trigger point injections.

    my head has improved but neck/back have worsened.

    The neck/back pain is constant and severe- there probably is also a need for arthoscopic shoulder surgery.

    My cervical MRI after few month of injury showed disc bulges only- there was no stenosis or cord indention- my recent MRI appears more severe and NS is asking for decompression at C3/C4 and C4/C5.

    Not sure why cervical condition deteriorated more rapidly in last one year.
    Curious on feedback on surgery, traction unit, sequential simulator, acupuncture and other help. Thanks.
    All right, feedback. First of all, Chiropractors, stay away from them. They are NOT for treating neck pain. Neck has tendonds, ligaments, muscles, disks and NERVE INTERSECTION. You just don't want them to touch or manipulate your neck, period.
    There are some people in this board who had to go through neck SURGERY cause of chiropractors. I hope I'm clear on that one.

    As you see, doctors don't have a whole lot of answers to your questions about neck injuries cause they just cannot fix it. (they are not gonna tell you that you know?).

    I, myself, suffer from severe neck pain cause of a severe whiplash You also suffer from back pain, that's even more misery.

    I don't know if that gonna help you. I also have two minor bulging disks in my neck from the accident. So is that what you have? It's serious pain, brings me to tears.

    One last thing, you never told me if you've been through a whiplash. Reading your post that's what it sounds to me. So you will need to tell me.
    If that's the case you're probably suffering from muscle strains/spasms in your neck also.

    Neck surgery, I don't know much about it, you will need to ask here someone else.

    I'm pretty sure neck pain always get worst. I'm going through this for almost 4 years. It never got any better.

    Last edited by nochange; 09-02-2009 at 05:04 AM.

     
    Old 09-02-2009, 01:05 PM   #7
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    Re: Is Cervical Traction Unit Helpful for Pain? Is Surgery Needed?

    Thanks NoChange.

    I had a serious head injury (Plane went down, I flew up, hit my head to celings, violently thrown off and knocked down -Unconscious. Attendent was paralyzed). I felt like "drunk" for several months. Head improved but Severe cervical, upper back, shoulders, arms etc. took over. This was more than 2 years ago.

    Recent cervical MRI showing several issues; Thoracic seems not too bad. I am wondering on other options besides PT/Medications that are of no help. Pain is constant and severe (8-10) and guess I am completely submerged into it- the family life is completely destroyed (have 2 small kids and cant help them much).

    I was looking into feedback- if Traction or Acupuncture or sequence stimulation or other technique help- I havent tried them. Also Epidural/Facet injections- Do they help.

    If any technique can help, it may be worth exploring prior to opening the neck. Thanks

     
    Old 09-02-2009, 02:01 PM   #8
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    Re: Is Cervical Traction Unit Helpful for Pain? Is Surgery Needed?

    Epidural and Facet injections are definitely worth a try. For both my neck and my back both helped (at least for a period of time before I needed surgery on my neck). Are you seeing a Pain Management doctor?
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    Old 09-03-2009, 02:24 AM   #9
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    Re: Is Cervical Traction Unit Helpful for Pain? Is Surgery Needed?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bgs View Post

    Vicodin/Lyrica/Zanaflex/Mobic/Soma/Flexeril/Savella/Cymbalata, PT etc. do not help much- temp relief that shoots back

    I have been completely submerged in pain and forgotton how to live without pain now. Will surgery lower pain level?
    My orthophedic surgeon told me when it comes to neck surgery there is no guarantee when it comes to pain levels.

    I also forgot what it means to "live" without pain. You know, there used to be somebody in this board who called this type of living a mere "existence", we better not think that way...

    As I said before, I'm not sure about neck surgery cause I've been told nobody will do a surgery on my neck cause I have bulging disks and it's not herniated(but I haven't done the discogram yet). Therefore I recommend you to do the discogram, all right?. but you need to ask some people in this board who have done that. There are lot's of WISE people in this board.

    One last thing before I forget, medication. Nothing really helps 100% for neck pain I know. Well, look, the only medication that helps this horrible neck pain I have and helps me go on living is percocet 5/325. have you tried it?. It took me quite a while to convince my doctor to let me use 3 a day. It's narcotic, you know. But when it comes to neck pain, you just can't go on like this. From what I understand it's a little bit stronger than vicodin. If it helps me it will probably help you. Try it and let us know?

    All the best, and keep posting here letting us know how you doing?.

    Last edited by nochange; 09-03-2009 at 02:26 AM.

     
    Old 09-03-2009, 04:13 AM   #10
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    Re: Is Cervical Traction Unit Helpful for Pain? Is Surgery Needed?

    I have had some luck with Opana ER since it's a long acting med.
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    Old 09-03-2009, 01:47 PM   #11
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    Re: Is Cervical Traction Unit Helpful for Pain? Is Surgery Needed?

    I am on Vicodin 7.5/750 ES- had tried 5/325 and 5/500. In addition, Lyrica, Zanaflex and many others. Temp relief that shoots back. PT also same- recently some traction but all the same. Trigger point injections never helped.

    Physiatrists wants to try facet and nerve blocks at C3/C4 and C4/C5; Anesthesiologist wants Epidural Steroid and Facet in surgical settings.

    What are the differences between Epidural and Nerve blocks? Physiatrists indicated that he can burn the nerves after facet/nerve block etc.- Struggling with WC approvals etc.

    How about Acupuncture- is it worth?

     
    Old 09-03-2009, 03:14 PM   #12
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    Re: Is Cervical Traction Unit Helpful for Pain? Is Surgery Needed?

    From my personal experience, I was in an accident 02/2009, rear ended by a tractor-trailer, luckily I was in SUV. Small herniated disc in l5-s1, whiplash injury, 1 herniated disc and 2 bulging discs in cervical spine. Had the epidural shots for my neck and lumbar, has not helped. Had PT for 4 months, has not helped. During the PT, the Therapist tried traction on my neck and that sent me instantly into a migraine, gave me slurred speech and made me totally disoriented. We tried it a second time a month later and had the same awful results. I said, no way, not doing that again.

    I am currently on Neurontin, Flexeril and Vicoprofen. The Neurontin does not help me very much. I try to go to work (without taking the Vic and Flexeril) and by the time I get home from work, I am in complete misery. I have a TENS unit that I use twice a week on my neck or low back and that works great, but it only a temporary treatment. Went to see the doctor on 8/25 and we decided on the ACDF for the C3-C4 and a Facet block for the L5-S1 on 9/14/09.

    There are many days that I have to leave work early because I am in so much pain. I am very very thankful that I have a great boss who understands what I am going through and who allows me to work from home when I need to. Unfortunately, I am learning to live with certain levels of pain on a daily basis and that just sucks. I used to be a volunteer EMT/FF which I am not able to do any more, nor am I able to work in my flower beds or wash my car like I used to LOVE to do. Simple tasks such as cleaning the bathroom is dreadful, so is vacuuming.

    I just realized how much I am just rambling here. Sometimes I don't think my family really understands how much pain I really am in and of course this makes me feel pretty sad, I end up giving myself a pity party. LOL Thanks for listening, those of you out there that have read this.

     
    Old 09-04-2009, 11:29 AM   #13
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    Re: Is Cervical Traction Unit Helpful for Pain? Is Surgery Needed?

    Questions:

    1) Whats the difference between nerve block versus epidural steroid injections- is one better than other for cervical issues

    2) Besides PT/Medications, what are some of the alternatives that can be done at home and/or at therapy office for severe cervical and/or back pains- Things such as traction unit, sequential stimulator- are there others for massage or something else that can provide some relief even if temporary- how are TENS or is there a Pillow or bed or chair that provides good relief etc.

    3) Besides surgery, what other options for some pain releifs

     
    Old 09-05-2009, 11:37 AM   #14
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    Re: Is Cervical Traction Unit Helpful for Pain? Is Surgery Needed?

    Hi

    When I was in severe pain 24/7, prior to an MRI being done or my subsequent surgery, I attended A&E in desperation as none of the medicines prescribed by my family doctor (strong painkillers, Tramadol, antiepileptics etc) were doing anything for the pain. A kind doctor there seemed to be the first person to be concerned about my suffering and he prescribed me morphine patches (I am not sure what they are called in the US). I will be forever grateful to him not just for the relief the patches offered but also for his compassion. Although the patches were the only medication to look at my pain they had drawbacks. I felt nauseous often and had to also take anti-emetics. My sleeping patterns were deeply disturbed and I hallucinated as well. However, it was worth it to get away even for a few days from the agony.

    I did try a TENS unit (for my problem I attached the stickys to each side of my spine at the pain level, one on my shoulder, just above the crease at the back of the painful arm and one just to right of my funny bone. I was trying to patch along the nerve pain route but it is not easy to exactly pinpoint. It may have helped a bit but when you are in a sea of pain it is hard to say how much. You could try it in combination with medication - I don't think it could do any harm but you would need to check this.

    Hope you get some relief soon as I can truly empathise with anyone suffering from spinal nerve pain.

    Bobbyboo x
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    Old 09-06-2009, 12:52 AM   #15
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    Re: Is Cervical Traction Unit Helpful for Pain? Is Surgery Needed?

    bgs, my neurologist recommended swimming. I doubt that will help. some people here think hydropherapy helps but that's only while you are in the water. perhaps you can try it. Some people here think massage helps, but those things are only temporary.
    Tens unit was temporary relief for me, and stopped working.

    I understand you are afraid of doing surgery. Perhaps you can WAIT with it if you are not in DANGER of being paralyzed? doctors usually recommend to wait if there is no danger of being paralyzed. Have you done the DISCOGRAM yet?.

    I'm not sure about nerve blocks and other injections. I've never tried it. Be really CAREFUL who's doing this also, so it won't cause further damaging. Only qualifed nurses/doctors can do it.

    Did the doctors say you can WAIT with the surgery or you need to rush? let me know.

     
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