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Spinal Cord Disorders Message Board

Spinal Cord Disorders Board Index

NP - Thanks for the reply - you certainly sound like you know quite a bit - exactly what I really need in making this decision.

I do think that the first surgeon I saw was not one that I would have my surgery done by. He was kind of a strange one anyway - he told me that my problem was that God hated women - well, I gathered he meant women were more susceptible to certain kinds of problems - still a silly statement to make - especially on a first ov.

He did base his statement that I would not get any relief on my history. I have tried everything there is to try - except the steroid injections. So, if I can't get any real relief from the injections, there really isn't anything left to try that I know of.

My pain specialist said that one of the areas of pain that is causing me the most pain comes from C4 and the last surgeon I saw said that C4 was just as big a problem as my other discs. He said they would have to be done if I was going to have a fusion.

I don't know if you saw my CT myelogram report, but I'll include it here in case you have any insight to what it all means:

C3-4 Minimal spondylosis. Moderate degenerative hypertrophic changes in the facet joint on the left and minimal degenerative change on the right. There is minimal formaminal narrowing on the left.

C4-5 Minimal spondylolithesis of C4 in relation to C5. Moderate to marked degenerative hypertrophic changes in the facet joint on the right. Mild foraminal stenosis on the right. There is a small central dorsal disk protrusion w/ mild (9-mm) canal stenosis. There is slight indentation of the ventral surface of the spinal cord and slight spinal cord volume loss on the right although there is no cord compression. There is mild foraminal stenosis on the right.

C5-6 There is minimal spondylolisthesis of C5 in relation to C6. There is mild to moderate spondylosis, greater ventrally. There are moderate to marked degenerative and hypertrophic changes in the facet joint on the right. There is minimal foraminal narrowing on the right. There is no spinal stenosis.

C6-7 There is moderate spondylosis and degenerative change in the disk w/ spondylotic change, greater ventrally. There is minimal dorsal spondylosis w/o canal stenosis. There is a somewhat effaced appearance of the lateral recess of the thecal sac on the left and poor filling of the root sleeve on the left. I cannot exclude the possibility of a foraminal disk herniation on the left.

Impression: Cervical spondylosis and degenerative spondylolisthesis at C4-5 and C5-6. There is mild canal stenosis and spinal cord deformity w/o cord compression. There is foraminal stenosis which is greatest on the right at C4-5.

There was also a report that just said Myelogram Cervical:

Prominent dorsolateral defects, as well as root sleeve deformities on the right at C4-5 and C5-6. There is a small root sleeve deformity on the left at C3-4 and questionable minimal root sleeve deformities on the left at C5-6 and C6-7. There is a moderate-sized ventral defect at C6-7 w/ smaller ventral defects at C5-6 and C6-7. There is a moderate sized ventral defect at C6-7 w/ smaller ventral defects at C5-8, C4-5 and C7-T1. Mild canal stenosis at C4-5 and C5-6, but no definite cord compression demonstrated.

I had a Bone Scan that said:

Impression: Evidence of significant degenerative changes in the cervical vertebrae.

Comments: C4 level there was intense uptake involving the left transverse process and facet w/o significant involvement of the body of the vertebra or the right side. At approx. C5 & C6 levels, there was intense uptake in the right transverse processes and facets w/o sig involvement of the body of the vertebrae or the left sides. At approx the C7 level, there was intense uptake involving the body of the vertebra and the left transverse process and facet w/o sig involvement of the right side.

The last surgeon said that there were areas that were basically bone on bone and that in one area he said it looked like my bones had practically fused by themselves.

I've had pain in my neck for almost 20 years, but in 1992 I had a job with intense keyboarding and I started having shooting pains across my upper back. It was so bad that I took muscle relaxers on the weekend and pain pills during the week to be able to make it. I went to a chiropractor, but finally I could no longer work. I couldn't sit at the computer for any length of time without sharp shooting pains. I quit my job and went back to school to get my masters so I could do something else. I went to chiropractors, but was told basically that I was in the 5% of patients that only got short temporary help from chiropractors, but then my body would quickly go back to the way it was. I was diagnosed with Chronic Epstein Barr/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and between the pain and the fatigue I had to quit school and move back to the city where my parents lived. I could be wrong, but I always felt the pain from my neck and back perhaps had contributed to my immune system problems.

I had an MRI done and it showed damage in the C5-6 discs. I had Lidocaine injections, wore a cervical collar and had physical therapy. I went to a pain specialist who put me on a Tens Unit. I tried pain patches. I had Botox injections, and took pain medication such as Hydrocodone and Oromorph. After several years on this medication I finally decided to get off of most of it because I still was in such pain - I figured I would rather be in pain off of medication than in pain on medication.

I had about 5 or 6 Radiofrequency of the Facet nerves with some relief but then my nerves re-routed and I was told they would no longer work. I've had accupunture.

I am in constant severe pain from my upper back and neck. There is stiffness, burning, vise like grip feeling. I can not sit for any length of time, I must recline or I am miserable. I can't even go to the movies or such things. I would say that my pain levels would be around 8 most of the time - sometimes in the evening it can be higher.

I have occasional numbness in my left hand, but much more in my right hand. My had also gets ice cold.

I really don't have much expectation as to how I would feel after the surgery. I just don't want to be worse off. Lack of mobility doesn't seem that big of a problem as my neck is so stiff that I have lost probably 20% mobility already. I would like to just see if I might be able to get a bit of my life back.

I am going to have the diagnostic block - the doctor is supposed to be calling me in regards to setting it up. That's good advice on going to see an Orthopedic doctor. I have an appt w/ another Neuro that my cardiologist recommended , but I guess I could see a FOURTH! and make him an Ortho. I hate to be running all over to a million doctors - but I really do need to make the right decision.

I appreciate any input you have! Thanks so much!

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