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Back Problems Message Board

Back Problems Board Index

Hi Judy, usually the neck issues are posted on the spinal site, but I'll answer it for you here. I had two neck fusions I had disk degeneration disease, with tears in my disks, stenosis, osteophytes, and narrowing of the ventral central canal. I had severe neck pain that would travel into my shoulder up my neck into my ear, down my arm, burning into my arm but only into the upper part of my arm that would just literally drive me crazy. Before my first fusion I fought with the pain for two years I tried everything from cortisone injections to acupuncture to medications and nothing worked, it got to the point that the pain and burning were 24/7 and affecting my quality of life so I went ahead with the surgery on C6-7 knowing that the outcome could not help me with my pain that it could possibly make me worse, or keep me the same, or help me, thank goodness that it helped me, I woke up from surgery and all my symptoms before surgery were gone, yes I had the surgery pain but that was it, I had difficulty with swallowing for about 3 weeks afterwards, the recovery is slow. I had donor bone with plates and scres. Now during this surgery I was told that my whole neck is degenerated and a complete mess and that sometime in my life I am looking at a completely fused neck.

So onward to two years later my other disk got so bad I was in the same position as the first time now I must tell you that this disk was bad at the time of my first surgery but we elected not to do that disk because it was to the degree as the first disk and we were hoping that it could hold off for a very long time, well it didn't and I was back under the knife, this surgery also was with donor bone, and to I was helped very much by the surgery, the only thing with this surgery was that by the time the surgeon got in there my disk was completely collapsed and he to pry my neck apart so with that I was so very sore for many months afterwards and I mean sore, and my swallowing issues were more severe the second time around I would say for about 6-8 months but they resolved.
My surgeon did donor bone because he said that if he took my own hip bone that, that surgery in itself is more painful then the neck surgery. Also with the second surgery he had to take off the first plate and scres from the first surgery and re-do everything, so now I only have one large plate and several screws.

I had no neck brace for either surgery, and I fused very quickly with both surgeries, and I'm happy to say that my fusions look, everything is straight, and my surgeon showed me on the x-ray and said that I couldn't ask for anything better. Yes from time to time I have burning in my arms and my neck get sore but like I said earlier my whole neck is a mess.

I do sleep with a very good pillow and I use a neck pillow when I travel long distances in the car for support for my neck of even sitting and watching tv, since the second surgery I have noticed a slight change in the degree of movement of my neck but I don't mind it at all. I'm thankful that I went through it, and I guess you could say I'm one of the lucky ones that was helped by the surgery, I do have a lot of faith in my neuro-surgeon he has heped me for many years through my neck surgeries, my ulnar nerve surgeries, and he still sees me every six months because of my issues.

So if this post gets moved onto the spinal area, look for me there.

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