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Hello all,

I have been wanting to come back in here and post the results of all of my experiences with my neck problems.. Hopefully, it will help someone. I have copied in all of my old postings on this event so you can follow the basic story. I have added notes in brackets within my previous posts just to clarify or add an up-to-date note. Each post is separated by a long line of asterisks.

My experiences are by no means done, there may be yet some long term effects of the surgery that I am yet to find out. But for now, until something else happens, I am in a long period of happiness that my problems have been solved.

Dr Sefter (St. Joseph Hospital, Towson Maryland) did my cervical fusion, and he did a great job. I had 2 level done. With a titanium plate installed. There are 6 screws in the plate, and the xray looks really cool. The plate does not cause security systems to go off. The bone was taken from my hip.

The plate and the bone taken from yourself is the route to take if you want the highest statistical success rate. You can get bone from outside sources as well.

One thing I would say to anyone who is getting ready for this surgery. Within reason, don't pay a lot of attention to the little aches and strange pains and things that go on for about 2 weeks after the surgery. I had a number of things go on and they all settled down and eventually disappeared. Of course, you need to tell your doc about anything you feel is not normal. Because you may have something that really isn't right and needs attention. But I am saying this so that you don't worry too much.

FIRST POST**********************************************
Well, I went to the gym on march 8. That's over a week and a half ago. I hurt something in my lower neck just below shoulder level. I think it was those military presses (about 50lbs.). I am 45 and slender build and in otherwise good shape (i think..).

I cant bend my head back. I can't even get back to where my head is neutral. It is a little forward and that causes my muscles all in the back of my neck and back to be always strained and burning. If I bend my head back and try to straighten up, I get SEVERE pointed pains on the left side of my back bone area at the lower neck.

Since this has happened, I have been popping 600-800mg advils to manage the pain. Even with these, sometimes I have to stop and rest. WHat i do is bend over and let my head and arms hang so I get some traction on my bones and let my muscles rest a little.

I have also noticed lately a lot of the nerve misfirings (muscle twitches) occuring on my left pectoral, under my arms, and out the clavical area on my back.

This one I'm not sure of: When I feel the little bumps on the vertabre on the back of my neck, it seems like the one near the pain is not quite in line with the others...?? It's shifted. I need someone to look at that more carefully since I can't really see the back of my neck.

I've had problems building up in this area for a number of years and am worried that my neck area is getting worse. Even normally, i don't think I can bend my head back to where regular people can anymore.
***
Thank you for your responses and info.

The injured area is 3-4 vertibrae below that big bump area where your neck meets your back. It's kind of where your clavicles meet (wing bones).
[NOTE!: This wasn not in fact the area of the injury. My doc told me that it is very common for the herniations right up at the base of the neck to show up as intense pains between your wing bones. The pain basically went from my neck down to the wing bones area, under my arm, through my triceps area, up on top to my forearms, back around and under to my pinky-ring-middle finger area. It was like a spiral path down my arm.]

I have been seeing a chiropractor for several years and when this happened, I called him. Now, it's been about 2 weeks of this and he is treating me. He mentioned that he thinks it is a muscle problem. I think something is broken in there.
[Note: Something was broken. I went too long with the chiropractor. He was the first one I told about my problems and he tried to treat me. He should have known when to put me in the elevator and push the up button... to the big docs. Anyway, I wasted a lot of valuable time letting him mess with me. I was hurting so bad, he couldn't really push on me anyway. Sometimes, I wonder if the chiropractic stuff hastened the onset of this, but I really don't know. I needed the chiro for a few years before the herniation to stop pain. I found that if i went once a month, this pain that I was getting would stay away.]

SECOND POST******************************************
Does anyone know the success rates for cervical fusions? (And, how success is defined.. )

I have a herniated disk in my neck. I have pain and loss of strength in my left arm (most weak in my triceps).

The doc (John Sefter, St. Joseph's Hospital, Baltimore) sez that with the weakness, we don't have the luxury of waiting very long. He says it can become permanent.

It has already been about 3 weeks since the onset. The pain is going down. Have my nerves already died? How long do you really have before the nerve damage is permanent?
[Note: It eventually became some months before I was operated on. A portion of my strength came back soon after the operation, but I am still waiting on the rest of my strength to come back. I am currently at about 50-60% strength. The doc says that it still may not be a permanent thing. He has had a number of patients that, all of a sudden, 6-8 months later, get all of their strength back. It's like the nerves are growing back and it doesn't really connect until that last nerve cell falls into place.]

A girl I work with has a dog with a spine problem just like what we humans get. The vet told her she had to decide in 3 days or the damage would be permanent.

THIRD POST ********************************************
How long can you go without treatment if you have a herniated cervical disk and it is causing arm paralysis? I mean before it becomes permanent. I have about 20% strength now. Especially weak in the tricep.

FOURTH POST ******************************************
For about 10-12 hours following my cervical disk fusions (ACDF), I had INTENSE nerve pains. They seemed to be the same nerve that was affected/pinched/abraided before the procedure.

This pain was worse than the initial herniation.
It was pain that took your breath away. A notch higher and I would have been openly weeping.

It was like the nerve that was pinched and muted, was now wide open and really pissed off! It was like it was waking back up. The next day it subsided and has not been a problem since.

Anyone ever heard of this before?
[Note: My doc said later that this may have been that your nerves and tissues and stuff become used to the compressed lenghths of things. Your spine compresses a bit when you have a herniation. During the surgery, your vertebrae are spread apart and the new bone pieces are inserted. This stretches all of the nerves. ... Sounds good to me!]
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