I had a ACDF with titanium plate, donor bone last June. I was fused at 6 months. This is a call for some of your wisdom on what questions I should ask my neurosurgeon this coming Wed. 6/17 when I have my year checkup from my surgery. I had spinal cord compression which caused quite a lot of paresthesia in both arms and legs, feet, balance, etc. I really didn't have much pain from my cervical issues. The cervical problems weren't diagnosed until I had them for a year. I have lumbar discs bulging which cause lower back pain. My hands were very weak before sugery, but have regained strength with PT and they are good. I still have a great deal of paresthesia in all extremities, which varies according to how much activity I engage in. Mostly slight burning in legs, more like stinging in elbows. Slight tingling and numb feeling in right ring and pinky fingers. My left hand is much better and stronger. I'm not taking any medication for it, since I can tolerate it, and don't want the side effects.
My balance and gait have improved, but not enough that I feel safe from falling. I use a cane when I go out. I try to do exercises in the warm therapy pool at least twice weekly.
My neck can get achy late in the evening, but really not having any pain. How long do these surgeries usually last before they could develop problems? I am nearly 62, but in great health other than my back. I want to make the most of my upcoming appointment, so I would really appreciate your input. Is there still hope for some of the parasthesia to decrease?
Thanks for your help. Kay
Hi Minstrel...I'm Jenny and we have a lot in commom. I also had cervical cord compression and almost no pain but had the stiff legs, ataxic gait at times, clumsy hand syndrome and widespread numbness. My first surgery failed due to complications and my neck lost it's curve and went outwards very suddenly 3 months after the surgery so I ended up with widespread paralysis that my NS thought would be permanent.
At 1 year, I was walking pretty well(slowly) but still had major problems with arm and shoulder strength. And I had tons of peripheral neuropathy. So my doc had me keep working. I kept going back to PT every time I felt some strength coming back or nerve damage clearing up to see if I could get the muscles going again. I did try neurontin for the peripheral neuropathy but it didn't help. However, Cymbalta did. It's advertised as an anti-depressant but it's also approved for peripheral neuropathy and for me, it worked. I stayed on for 9 months and when I came off, the pain stayed away.
So at check-up for year 2, I was almost completely back to where I had been. Almost all neuropathy gone, numbness gone except for toes(and that was there years ago and is probably from something else)and everything works with right side at 100% and left side at 95% strength. Neck does get tired and ache and since my fusion is so high, I get headaches as well but it's tolerable and beats paralysis.
So ask what you can do to get rid of the rest of your symptoms. My doc told me up front that it would take 2 years to know what was permanent and what wasn't so if I wanted to keep working, he'd support my efforts. It really paid off.
I am on a yearly check up for my neck as I'm fused from C3 to T1 from the back with 2 rods and a ton of screws. I've always had a "few loose screws" and my doc just wants to make sure none of them are from my neck:D
good luck and gentle hugs........Jenny