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Spinal Cord Disorders Message Board


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I went to see one of the best neurosurgeons in the area and he seems to think that an ACDF is the only thing that will help me. I have a herniated disk at c5 c6 that is compressing the cord. I have a lot of other little things going on but this is the big one.

I had neck pain and shoulder blade pain on the right side and a lot of tingling/numbness down my right arm/hand when I sat in certain positions. I went to 3 weeks of PT and the numbness is much better. The pain is still there. I have NO arm pain. I read on several other boards that an ACDF will not help my neck pain but to only have it to help the arm pain. If so, and I don't have arm pain, do I need this surgery? The neuro did not tell me I am one whiplash or car wreck away from being paralyzed.... I asked him. He gave me the option of doing nothing and adjusting my lifestlye to the pain, PT which he doesn't think will work, or epidural injections which he thinks won't help in the long term.

Help.. I am scared to death of this surgery and if my neck pain isn't going to go away then what is the point except to possibly make it worse?!
Hi Jez,
Boy are you getting some great advice here! I can sympathize with your fear of making the incorrect decision. I lost so much additional sleep (was already sleep deprived due to the neck and arm pain) when trying to figure out what to do that it was a relief when the decision was finally made.

All the suggestions that have been listed previously are great and I wish that maybe I'd have found this Healthboard before my surgery. But, I just want to give you a positive outcome to see as you mentioned that you've mostly only seen negative outcomes.

I couldn't sleep due to the arm pain being so severe. There was not one place that I could rest my arm and it not be excruciating. I had pain from my neck down to my left shoulder blade and then down the back of my arm and around the outside of my elbow and then down into my index finger. I was numb from the inside of the middle finger to the index finger and inside of my thumb. I had no reflex in my left arm. Don't know how much of that is similar to what you are experiencing.

Anyway the NS told me that only surgery would take care of the issue at C5-C6 because I had bone built up that on the MRI made it look completely black. (I am not an expert in terminology about all of this that the others are.) My NS kept my MRI report and I only read it once and I don't remember how it was exactly stated. I also had a very large herniation between C6 - C7 and he said he'd have to make a decision when he got in there about whether he would do something about it then.

I ended up with an ACDF C5 - C7 and a plate. When I woke up from surgery my numbness was gone and so was the arm and shoulder pain. My neck was sore just from the surgery, but that pain was gone within a day or so. I am now 11 weeks post surgery and am wanting to go wakeboarding and ride go-carts with my kids!!! Hold on........ :) I know I can't and I won't, but I just said that to let you know how good I'm feeling now!!! I haven't been on the Healthboards very long and so I am not all that up on what my future could possible hold, but I do know that I don't have to take any drugs, have great range of motion, and all the pain and numbness if gone.

After reading several of the threads here on the neck/spine board I do know that many people do not have these results. I will say that it was only about 2.5 months from the time I hit severe pain level to my surgery date. I do think that this had alot to do with the success of my surgery. (Plus a fantastic NS and lots of prayer for both him and me!)

Oh, one other thing I thought that I would mention as I think I remember that you mentioned your shoulders hurting too. I truly believed that I had rotator cuff injuries as I had played softball for years. I finally gave it up at 46 years old. I realized about four weeks after surgery when I didn't have to wear my neck brace anymore that the pain in my shoulders was completely gone too!!! What an added benefit. I used to sleep on my arm with it raised above my head and hadn't been able to do that for about 8 years. Guess what.........I can do it now. :)

Well.......I wish you a peace about your decision and all the best recovery for whatever treatment you decide.

Stonepile





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