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Spinal Cord Disorders Message Board

Spinal Cord Disorders Board Index

Hi folks,

I've been reading the posts here on and off for a couple of years but haven't felt like I had anything new to offer so I haven't posted. There is a wealth of info but not what I'm trying to find on docs for this area.

I had an ACDF 5/6 in August 2002 so I'm almost to the five year mark with the one level fusion. The guy that did it here in Nashville was a NS by the name of Jack Kruse. He did a good job I think considering what he had to work with. He also did a two level on a guy's dad I work with that is a 70 year old prior open heart patient. This guy has done great but is retired not active.

My case is as follows. I had a rupture that I had dealt with for three months before I got an MRI to know what was wrong. This happened in April 2002. I had steroids etc with no relief. Doc said I shouldn't have waited so long and he wanted to do emergency surgery next day. I wanted to get another opinion and he was against it. He said cord danger existed. I didn't bother to tell him that I had been lifting weights trying to work the pain out on and off during the injury time.

Anyway my primary doc called me on cell phone on the way home from NS office to tell me that if I trusted this guy at all to let him do the procedure the next day. I did. The NS wanted me intubated while awake because he didn't want me yanked around while asleep. This was fun. The surgery went good. The pain in right arm/hand/neck was gone when I awoke. The NS said that the level above or below, would need to be dealt with someday. This is all probably due to the fact that I've always been very physically active and am basically starting to wear out. The doc said I also have stenosis according to the MRI at levels 3-7 possibly congenital. I think just due to rough life. I could post more detail from MRI if neccessary but needless to say it is just tight in the neck area.

Anyhow, I did pretty good for a couple of years with minor flare ups. Last year I had a flair up and went back to Kruse. He wanted to get next level and do laminectomy on back side from 3-7 with rods etc. This still scares the crap out of me. I'm 45 with twin 6 yr old boys and I'm the only income. I write software. He said he thought it would be a good outcome after doing this. I can't imagine how well this would last in the years to come and what could be done next considering how yound I am.

So anyway this time I got two more opinions. One from a Dr. Arendall Nashville Neuro and the other from a Dr. Cheng at Vanderbilt. Both groups felt that there is enough room in my neck even though it is tight and that I should keep my discs and try the steroids giving things time to calm down. This worked again.

Well now it's a year later and after bad cold the week of March 9th including a horrible cough that lasted for a couple of weeks, it flared up again. I used Aleve this time for about three days and it sort of calmed down.

I started stretching again and walking this week and yesterday it began bothering me again. I got steroids from primary care doc a couple of weeks ago I just didn't want to use them but did start taking them this morning. It's amazing that almost immediately relief has already started. They seem to work well for me, I just hate taking a 12 day round of them.

Anyway I'm scheduled to go back to Vanderbilt on May 2nd. Last MRI was Dec 2005 this is what they used in reccommendation to be patient and wait last year.

Symptoms are mainly like alot of folks on here, slight weakness in left arm or right when flared. Sometimes left jaw tingle. Pain mostly on middle of back and left arm/shoulder blades. LOTS of crackling/popping in my neck ever since procedure even though x-ray shows good fusion, non-smoker. I know this is the neck because it begins to subside immediately with steroids.

Questions or opinions on the situation and any references on docs would be great.

Sorry for long first post but there is alot of detail in this stuff.


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