I was a very healthy 35 year old until just 2 months ago (01-2010). The pain started behind my my scapula. I thought it was a pinched nerve, but one doctor after another doctor (same clinic) said it was just a muscle spasm. I knew better and demanded a MRI. MRI of the T-spine is what they ordered. It came back normal. Then the docs wanted to send me to a pain management specialist. I SAID NO WAY. I asked to be referred to a specialist. I saw a spine and joint specialist that ordered me a rush MRI of the C-spine. Found out I have a little more then a sprained muscle. I have a very large bulging disc in my C-5-C-6. I am now waiting for a seconded opinion. I guess most people can work it out with not needing surgery, but in my case they say its not going to help me. If and when I have this surgery It will be the artificial disc replacement. I don't want to have the fusion. If you want more info on this disc replace go to http://www.spineuniverse.com/treatments/surgery/artificial-disc-replacement . I hope this helps someone out there.
I feel your pain, literally, and I'm so glad you didn't take no for an answer! I have been dealing with the same thing as you, only mine started when I was 24. I had taken a bad fall off of my horse, and as we all know, hindsight is 20/20! I was tough and didn't see a doctor for about 10 years after the fall. I had explained to my doctor at the time all about my fall, he ordered NOTHING! He gave me prescription strength Ibuprofen and a muscle relaxer(Flexeril), as he did not believe in narcotics. Needless to say, this didn't work for me. I kept going back, he treated me as if I was only looking for drugs, yet, he never sent me for an MRI, x-ray, CT Scan, NOTHING! Finally he diagnosed me with FIBRO MYALGIA!!! Why? Because he didn't have an answer nor the time or compassion to dig deeper to find out what was the actual problem...a severely herniated disc between C5/C6! I lived with this sometimes unbearable pain, being treated as if it were all "in my head," for another 6 years when I started having numbness and tingling in my extremities. By this time I had found another doctor, one who was compassionate, caring, and took pride in his work! He wasn't just looking for a paycheck! Yay! He thought possible mini strokes, so he admitted me to the hospital where I stayed for two nights. They did an MRI, two spinal taps, a CT Scan and concluded I was not having mini strokes at all, but I did have 3 lesions on my brain. I was referred to a neurologist who told me of the disc herniation. Over the years, through exercise and learning to cope with pain, I dealt with it, only taking narcotics at night time as needed for pain. Unfortunately, my profession made the situation MUCH worse! I drive dump truck for a living, so you can only imagine!! Well, consequently, I had a BAD day @ work and asked my doc if we could have another MRI to see if my condition had worsened. It did, and I was referred to a neurosurgeon. The first day I saw the neurosurgeon, he looked at my recent MRI and told me that I must have surgery. He was concerned because the disc was now pressing on my spinal cord, not just the nerves. He asked if I had trouble walking, trouble with incontinence (thankfully, I didn't), pins & needles, poor vision, etc. My answer was yes to all but the incontinence question. I had a severely herniated disc with myelopathy. I had no choice BUT to have surgery. He told me that about 50% of insurance companies pay for the artificial disc replacement as opposed to a vertebrae fusion. He also informed me that the State of Washington Dept of Labor & Industries will pay for the replacement BEFORE they will pay for the fusion. Luckily, both my husband and myself are Teamsters and our insurance paid for the disc replacement. However, I am going to try to open an L&I claim due to the fact that I wasn't aware that I could. Do that on a pre-existing condition if it was aggravated or worsened by my job.
SO...I had my surgery this past Thursday, April 15, 2010. I am doing fantastic! The pain is mostly gone. The pain I am experiencing is due to the nature of the surgery. He went in anterially so my throat is obviously sore and the muscles in the back of my neck are sore. All other symptoms I previously had are gone, so far! I spent one night in the hospital. The day of surgery, they tried me on soft foods (mashed potatoes, pudding, etc.), and I had no problems swallowing so I was allowed to order off of the regular menu, with no problems whatsoever!
Today it is 3 days post-op, I spent the day doing light yard work. I'm not to lift over 5 lbs for the first week and no more than 10 the second. I am still taking pain meds and icing my neck and incision site. I am not driving (obviously, I'm on pain meds...) yet, but I will be soon enough! I FEEL GREAT! BETTER THAN I HAVE IN 18 YEARS! I'm so happy to have had the disc replacement! However, what I've read is that if you need multiple levels in the c-spine, you are not a candidate for the replacement. If you only need ONE disc herniation repaired, I STONGLY SUGGEST HAVING THIS SURGERY! I have a close friend who recently had C6/C7 fused and he was down and out for a month!! My recovery is completely amazing!! I'm VERY satisfied with my decision.
The prosthesis that my surgeon used on me is called a "ProDisc-C Total Disc Replacement.". It is manufactured by Synthes. For more information their website is www.synthesprodisc.com. Good luck to any and all who can benefit from this information!!
i had a disc replacement surgery 3 yrs ago. it was a new proceedure i was only the 3rd patient my dr. had performed this on. DONT DO IT! i have been in more pain since the surgery than before it. the disc is too large for my frame. iv been battling trying to get it removed for over 2 yrs now. no other dr. wants to touuch me and i wont go back to the surgeon that did the proceedure. she came out right after surgery and told my family that after much manipulation they finally got it to go into place. i feel she manipulated it in because i agreed to go public for her if it worked out. she wanted publicity. the news crew came in 1 week after proceedure was done so at that point i didnt know what was pain ffrom surgery or pain from device. my neck and shoulders hurt everyday. i have to live on pain killers on a daily basis. this surgeon sold me on the proceedure saying quicker recovery, i wouldnt need a neck brace after proceedure, id be able to turn my neck right after surgery, and i wouldnt need any surgery after this one. this device has made my life a living hell..anyone looking to have it done get a second opinion! try traction, pain management, physicl therapy, massage therapy firtst! good lck and Godd blees
I had an L5/S1 disc replacement in 2007 in the UK and choosing this surgery was the best decision I have ever made. It has totally resolved my right leg sciatica which was so bad I could barely walk down stairs because my leg would give out. It has resolved 99.99% of my low back pain which forced me to stop Karate when I was about to get my black belt and pretty much every other sporting interest I had. I now only suffer the odd twinge or ache which is probably hormonal and is totally insignificant in comparison with the daily agony I suffered for 12 years from the age of 18. It took about 2 weeks to heal enough to be able to look after myself properly after surgery - mainly due to the abdominal wound and I was back at work in 5 weeks.
My father had a 3 level fusion when I was a teenager and I watched the ordeal he went through, and still is suffering again 15 years later because the disc below and above the fusion site have badly deteriorated. There was no way I was going to go down that track unless there was no other option and until I was only able to move about on my hands and knees. I was very fortunate to be offered this surgery which was in trial in the UK when I lived over there.
To: bmfultz - I'm so sorry that you have had such a dreadful result from yours, the only thing I would say though is that I believe they have to be pretty brutal to get the disc in place - even using a mallet to hammer it in place. This is because that disc has to stay there and take a huge amount of force from your body and spine moving around while you go about your day to day activities - even sports etc. It would be a very bad thing to have it move out of place. I hope that you find a way to get it sorted out, I know too well how awful it is to live with pain as it effects every part of you life.
Your stuation sounds exactly what my Doctor told me. I'm 39 yrs old and was very active, I just had C5-C-6 Disc replacement by a Doctor who only did it 3 times before, I'm her 4th. I just had it done 10 days ago, but fortunately for me it's been good so far!? I was told not to wear a brace, which I haven't. Also was told to move my neck left to right and up and down, which I have been. I have pain from the Surgery, being opened and all, but I don't feel any direct pain in the area the device, ProDisc, was placed. Now it's only been 10 days but I hope it works the way it was designed to. My procedure was about 2 1/2 long. I wonder if the area has something to do with the time of the procedure or not, where was your's replaced at, which disc? Also, not sure how long your Doc has been doing fusions before the new fake Disc came out, but mine has been doing fusions for over 20 years. Just want to give all the info so you can have a good picture, not saying this is the best procedure to have, because, again, it's only been 10 days, but my pain in my left arm is completely gone. I haven't done any exersice though, except walking, so we will see? I hope and pray for the best. My doctor also said if the disc doesn't work out she could always fuse it after all if i wanted.
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