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Spinal Cord Disorders Message Board


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Found this board a few days before my surgery. Board was great in calming a lot of fears I had.

I have had neck pain off and on for 2 years. I am a weight lifter and would get a bout of severe neck pain. The first time it happened I went to an orthopedist and the PA just dismissed it as a pulled muscle.

After each bout I would take a week or two of from lifting. About a year and a half later After a bout of bad pain requiring a trip to urgent care for some muscle relaxers I went to another orthopedist. She took an x-ray and said that I had a degenerating disc at c4-c5 but it was not that severe. She said that I should improve my posture and strengthen my neck muscle and gave me some lodine and sent me on my way. She told me to take 3-4 weeks off of lifting. I did not like her demeanor and so wanted to seek a second opinion. She took at attitude with me. She did really not even want to do an x-ray. I asked for one and she said OK but was sure she would not see anything wrong. Well, low and behold she found the degenerating disc.

I went to a 3rd orthopedist and he looked at the x-ray and said that the pain was do to the degenerating disc. I was 30 years old and this is when onset of DDD happens. He said that there was not much to do. With time it would get better and I would have to live with the bouts of pain.

After taking about a total of 6 weeks from weight lifting I went back and during the 2nd week while working shoulders I felt the pain in my neck come back. This time the pain was worse then before but I also had weakness and some tingling radiating into the top of my right arm.

I went to the neusurgeon on reccomendation of a doctor friend of the family. The neurosurgeon looked at my history at immediatley ordered an MRI. He wa surprised that in 2 years of neck pain no one else had ordered one. The MRI showed a herniated disc at c4-c5 which was protuding about 30% into the spinal cord canal. He reommneded surgery as soon as possible due to the large protrusion into the spinal cord canal. It was a hard descision for me because I was not in pain by the time the surgery came around.

Anyway had my surgery on Thursaday Feb. 26th it was ACDF with atlantis plating system using donor bone. Spent one night in the hospital. No real pain after surgery. It was uncomfortable to swallow for a day or two. I was given percocet for pain and valium for muscle spasms. I have only had to take half a dose of percocet since the surgery, the valium I have taken only at night. I am going to switch to tylenol only for pain and see how that goes. I was worried that I would be in a lot more pain. The worst part of the whole thing was having the catheter removed, yeow it burns!
I was sent home with a soft collar but have not needed to use it. I am glad I have the plates because I think the colllar would have made me much more uncomfortable post surgery.

I have gone on several short walks with out much pain. I am able to sleep at night laying on my side with my head supported. I know it is to early to tell how successfull the surgery was but I feel it went well.

A few things that have annoyed me through out the whole thing. The orthopedist were not thorough enough is trying to diagnos the problem. I wish I had seen a neurosurgeon right away.

Well, lastly just wanted to say thanks to everyone on the board, I wish I had found this site sooner. It has answered more questions I had then the various infomration only pages I have seen.
[QUOTE=hal3146]Found this board a few days before my surgery. Board was great in calming a lot of fears I had.

I have had neck pain off and on for 2 years. I am a weight lifter and would get a bout of severe neck pain. The first time it happened I went to an orthopedist and the PA just dismissed it as a pulled muscle.

After each bout I would take a week or two of from lifting. About a year and a half later After a bout of bad pain requiring a trip to urgent care for some muscle relaxers I went to another orthopedist. She took an x-ray and said that I had a degenerating disc at c4-c5 but it was not that severe. She said that I should improve my posture and strengthen my neck muscle and gave me some lodine and sent me on my way. She told me to take 3-4 weeks off of lifting. I did not like her demeanor and so wanted to seek a second opinion. She took at attitude with me. She did really not even want to do an x-ray. I asked for one and she said OK but was sure she would not see anything wrong. Well, low and behold she found the degenerating disc.

I went to a 3rd orthopedist and he looked at the x-ray and said that the pain was do to the degenerating disc. I was 30 years old and this is when onset of DDD happens. He said that there was not much to do. With time it would get better and I would have to live with the bouts of pain.

After taking about a total of 6 weeks from weight lifting I went back and during the 2nd week while working shoulders I felt the pain in my neck come back. This time the pain was worse then before but I also had weakness and some tingling radiating into the top of my right arm.

I went to the neusurgeon on reccomendation of a doctor friend of the family. The neurosurgeon looked at my history at immediatley ordered an MRI. He wa surprised that in 2 years of neck pain no one else had ordered one. The MRI showed a herniated disc at c4-c5 which was protuding about 30% into the spinal cord canal. He reommneded surgery as soon as possible due to the large protrusion into the spinal cord canal. It was a hard descision for me because I was not in pain by the time the surgery came around.

Anyway had my surgery on Thursaday Feb. 26th it was ACDF with atlantis plating system using donor bone. Spent one night in the hospital. No real pain after surgery. It was uncomfortable to swallow for a day or two. I was given percocet for pain and valium for muscle spasms. I have only had to take half a dose of percocet since the surgery, the valium I have taken only at night. I am going to switch to tylenol only for pain and see how that goes. I was worried that I would be in a lot more pain. The worst part of the whole thing was having the catheter removed, yeow it burns!
I was sent home with a soft collar but have not needed to use it. I am glad I have the plates because I think the colllar would have made me much more uncomfortable post surgery.

I have gone on several short walks with out much pain. I am able to sleep at night laying on my side with my head supported. I know it is to early to tell how successfull the surgery was but I feel it went well.

A few things that have annoyed me through out the whole thing. The orthopedist were not thorough enough is trying to diagnos the problem. I wish I had seen a neurosurgeon right away.

Well, lastly just wanted to say thanks to everyone on the board, I wish I had found this site sooner. It has answered more questions I had then the various infomration only pages I have seen.[/QUOTE]



I'm glad your surgery went so well. Mine is scheduled for March 16. I'm having an ACDF with cages at c56 & c67. I hope it goes as smoothly. Try not to do to much even though you feel good, as I think that could really slow you down.
Hello There...

I am so thrilled to read that you are having a remarkable recovery.
(I pray mine will be equally remarkable)

I have just come across this message board today, of all the posts posted, I have enjoyed yours the most. I feel I can relate to your situation prior to surgery (doctor's rude bedside manners) Nevertheless, I was just wondering...

Did you get only ONE NeuroSurgeons opinion?

Bottomline with me is that my NeuroSurgeon recommends ACDF as well.
But he had me take additional XRAYs yesterday to see "JUST HOW MUCH INSTABILITY is in my neck?" But does recommend surgery once we get XRAYS back...

I was so depressed when I heard of his findings and news of the surgery.
But I can tell you that THESE MESSAGE Boards have really helped me to
relax a bit...

I wish you the best...please keep in touch with me...if you can...
I would like to see how you are doing in two months...if you dont mind...

God Bless...

Aloha...
Sounds like it will go well for you. With those vertebrae alone fused, The neck should have pretty good flexibility after the fusion is complete. I had much more of a fusion; 4 levels with a corpectamy at C-6. I only found that it caused slight to moderate stiffness in the neck and I can drive and I even ended up painting the ceiling on my bathroom (had to arch my back because the up-down motion is the most limited on my neck) once the fusion had healed. The key is ONCE THE FUSION had healed. Now that mine has, I'm considering some light weight exercises myself as I have completely fused. I am curious about the doner bone thing... it's o.k. if it takes, but I had all the bone taken from my hip. That was a little extra pain, but I guess it takes better. Even with that, walking was an early part of my rehab - but I had to wear a collar for 8 weeks. Just had to be careful to not trip over something. Stay off the NSAIDS and I personally believe in taking a calcium mineral supplement (don't know whether it helped, but who knows). I am optimistic for myself, but also know that with this large fusion other parts of my spine are likely to go out. As of now, I don't have to see the surgeon for another year and I hope that they make more advances on spinal surgery and that (god willing) it will be a while before anything else needs to be done! I hope you have good luck with it all!

Hank
Glad to hear you finally got the relief you needed. I have a total of 5 vertibre fused and don't have as much of a movement limitation that I thought I would. You should do fine. I must agree with your comment on the worst part of the procedure, getting the catheter removed...OUCH!!! :eek: I begged them not to put one in but they did anyway.

Frank





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