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cervical fusion
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cervical fusion

I had cervical fusion on C4-C5 & C5-C6 in 2001.  My plate now has flatten C6-C7 and is digging into
my spinal cord. Seen my NS in March says I need to have surgery remove plate and put bone in for C6 -C7 and replace plate.  My left arm now seems to be giving me more problems, like extending and lifting it.  It is extremely painful.

Has anyone had to go through this?  And could I avoid another surgery and live with the pain/disability?  OR would not having surgery cause more problems????????

Please advise-  All NS say something different.  NEED A GOOD NS.

wnc
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Avatar_n_tn
You are in the exact position I am now, and you are right every NS says something different!  I too am wondering if I should continue this "snowball" affect of one surgery causing the next!  When they put one plate/screws/cadavar bone in it stresses the next level (above and below) and because something that should move (your vertebrae) is now stable and fused the pressure blows those next levels!  I have C5/6 plate and now have above and below herniations/bone spurs...putting pressure on the spinal canal and I have pain between my shoulder blades and running down both arms.  I can hardly life anything over a jelly jar!  This has been going on for a YEAR and I have been tossed around between Neursurgeons and pain management dr's.  All the neuros want to rush me back into the operating room and fuse some more vertebrae, but then what?  In 2-3 years I will have yet more fusion to look forward to?  Soon we will not be able to turn our necks at all!  I lost range of motion with the first fusion and I know people that go through that pretty well, but I did not!  I was months in PT just to be able to look down and up, right and left.  I still can not turn my head fully to the right and sleeping is a nightmare.  If you find answers to your questions or a GOOD NS that has some reliable info. please post!

I have yet another appointment with a Cleveland Clinic NS in October so if he give me any decent information I will post here for you!  The last NS was looking at the new artificial disc replacement, however, if you have this right now it is made of stainless steel, which means you can never have another MRI of your neck.  For people like us that keep degenerating/herniating this would not be a good idea at all.  In 3,4,5 years if they make it out of something besides staineless it could be a great product!  My last NS went to a seminar to see if I would be a candadite, but because of the stainless and being such a new product in the US he said no.  I have NO idea why they made this out of stainless when it will prohibit any future MRI's of your neck.

What meds are you on?  My pain is so excruciating they had  me on diladud for a while.  I took myself off that one and they now have me on vicodin, Lyrica (for the nerve pain), soma, Ambien to sleep and they are trying a new nerve repair vitamin supplement.  You may want to ask you NS about that.

I am also trying some things by Dr. Jolie Bookspan that I saw on another thread.  I just ordered two of her books, she is suppose to have some postural things and stretches to help our condition.  You might want to check out her website, I figured it really couldn't hurt at this point.  I just wonder how much further permanent nerve damage I have done waiting a year!  My EMG already showed permanent nerve damage in my left arm.

Good luck and keep us posted on your progress!
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks, for your reply- I am taking hydrocodone, tramadol, Vaium,  Amitriptyline, Topmax, Imertrex
I think I am missing one or two others.
I didn't mention I also have herniated disc in my lower back L2-3 & L3-L4  I am trying PT for that,
I asked my NS if it's related and he doesn't seem to give a straight answer.  This is all from a repetativie
job. -years of it.  I don't know how much more I can take.  I don't get a descent nites sleep.  I always
have a migraine at night / neck hurting I think it's from the arm / neck.  I also get very shaky and it hurts to stand or even walk - that's only going to a food store.  My life is boring and painful right now.
But, I know there are people out there worst then me.

If you know of any GREAT NS / DOC'S please let me know I'll send them all my reports- maybe they have a body part store, i could return al  the broken pieces I have.
wnc
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Avatar_n_tn
Well thank you for the laugh on the body part store, I'm with you on that one lol!  I am so sorry you are in so much pain, but I could have written your story, so yes there are others like you.  We just need to find the right doctors to help us.  You are on a lot of meds, and I'm sure they knock you out like they do me during the day.  I too can not sleep at night and my "big day out" is going to the grocery store while my son or husband lift everything for me.  Life is boring and painful, I can only hope we both find relief soon!

I haven't even had the thoracic or lumbar checked out because everyone stays focused on my cervical.  I'm afrad to have the rest checked out!  It cracks and pops and my lumbar hurts when I stand for even a short period of time.

I will keep you posted and you do the same.  Hang in there!
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Avatar_n_tn
Yes, we need to have some laughs I say my body is like nestles crunch bar.  I think my meds are
kicking in.  Stay in touch.  
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Avatar_n_tn
PEOPLE THINK WE ARE CRAZY TO EVEN THINK THAT WE ARE STILL IN PAIN OR THAT PAIN IS RETURNING. IM 1 YEAR OUT FROM THE KNIFE TO FUSE C-3 C-4 C-5 . I HAD NO OTHER CHOICE BUT TO HAVE THIS DONE AFTER. BREAKING C-2 IN 2005.(YES IM ALIVE AND WALKING) THATS HOW THEY DISCOVERED THE DESTRUCTION THROUGHOUT 3, 4, AND 5.  3 YEARS ON DRUGS THAT WHERE EVENTUALLY KILL ME, NO SLEEP, AND I WAS GENERALLY TIERED OF MY OWN BODY DEW TO THE PINCHED NERVES THAT RUN DOWN THE RIGHT ARM. NOW TRY TO DISCRIBE THAT PAIN TO SOME ONE SO THEY COULD UNDERSTAND IT. THATS NONSENSE. NOBODY COULD EVEN UNDERSTAND WHAT THE PAIN MIGHT BE DOING TO OUR MINDS AND SPIRITS. ALL I KNOW IS THAT I DID WHAT I HAD TO DO. EVERYONE SAID THERE ARE OTHER WAYS TO TAKE CARE OF THIS PROBLEM  BUT NO ONE REALLY SAID WHAT OTHER ALTERNATIVVE WOULD ACTUALLY WORK.. ALL I KNOW IS THAT WITHOUT SOMETHING I WOULD NOT BE HEAR TODAY BUT I ALSO KNOW THAT DOCTORS A QUICK TO CUT US OPEN TO PLAY WITH A PERSONS LIFE WITHOUT REALLY KNOWING IF THE SURGERY IS EVEN GOING TO GIVE US EVEN THE SLIGHTEST BIT OF COMFORT. IT IS THE HEAD GAME THAT IS PLAYED TO CONVINCE US THAT SURGERY IS THE FIX AND ("WHY WOULD YOU HAVE PAIN? YOU HAD SURGERY . RIGHT? WOW THAT   72,462.00 $ SURGERY SHOULD HAVE DONE THE JOB.  WELL SORRY SIR. HERE ARE SOME PILLS THAT WILL TAKE AWAY THE PAIN. SEE YOU IN A MONTH")  I TRULY CANT BELIEVE WHAT DOCTORS HAVE COME TO.......................THANKS
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Avatar_m_tn
I feel and have sympathy for each of you.  99 percent of the doctors want to help, but with the spine comes uncertainty.  I am living the same problems some of you are writing about.  It makes life hard.  Especially when you have a family.  My suggestion to you is to find a really good PT program that uses strength training.  I went to a place called PRIDE in Dallas, Texas.  I got off of pain meds and was feeling so much better.  This was during the summer/.  It was a six or 8 week program.  It was super hard, but the outcome was so worth it.  The problem was that I started back to work teaching and the pain started all over again.  I continued teaching on pain meds  and finally had to give it up.  I must say, it has been the hardest 6/7 years of my life.  We lost our house, moved in the the in laws which didn't end well and I have two young boys.  The whole time I was fighting with workman's comp and finally years after the accident I took them to court.  I can't even tell you what it has done to our marriage.  The worst part was moving in with my sister in law.  It almost tore us a part and continues to affect our marriage in more ways then you can imagine.   If we survive what damage has been done it will be a miracle from God.  

Mu husband loves the house clean, can't stand clutter, and I used to be a decent house cleaner, but with pain comes lack of enthusiasm to bust your butt cleaning the house.  I know that he would be better off with someone else, but not my boys.  They need their mom.  I've had a few surgery's on my neck and back.  The last surgery he dropped me off and never came back to see me come out of surgery.  The finally called him to come get me.  I knew then that things would never be the same. He resents me for what has happened and that I'm not the same person he married.  
Who could blame him though.  

wow, I need to write a country song.  I wish for better for him and peace for me.  I don't always want to feel like I can't do enough, not good enough and that he can do no wrong.  I don't know what to do.  I'm just trying to hold it together for my boys.  
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi, I am new to this blog.  My name is Isabel, I am from Ontario, Canada and I been surfing the internet looking for such a blog as this and I intend to continue surfing the internet to find others like me that are living with excruciating pain and research to see if I can find a way to releave my pain, maybe even others I will keep reading and posting any info I may find.  I have "Spinal Stenosis" plus 2 cysts pushing against the spinal cord, and Osteoarthritis also on the same area, lower back, Fibromyalgia, Diabetes, and I am overweight (weighed at birth almost 14 lbs. my mom was 5' big baby for a small woman) so I always was a big person, the Neurosurgeon I saw told me he could not understand the symptoms I had, that he would just go in remove the cysts and fuse the spine in a couple of places, they told me that nothing else could be done because the L damaged discs were too far apart to fix!!!!    I am sorry but I was not impressed.  His dad is also a Neurosurgeon he did the same surgery on my friend 5 years ago she's still fine.  Yeah! I know we are not all the same, but having said that, just because you are a specialty doctor, you do not know everything, then for our sake I wish they would not be ashamed/embarrassed to say hey, you know what I don't know what you have because (in my case) your symptoms are confusing me, I am going to send you to someone to see what happens.  Will we ever hear those confounded words?  I doubt it.
I took a little bit from each of your writings and compared it to me, it gives me comfort to know that there are people suffering like me, and feeling like Kitara02, although I do not have children, I understand her frustration about not being able to do things that brought joy to her and her family before, I understand the wanting to give up because you compare what you would be able to do before, to what you can now and say: "Damn I am 51, I was very active, loved to cook, walk (3hrs. daily, only in 2003) swim, and now I am almost a sedentary veggie because I don't care what the future may hold, I am only getting worse, I cannot walk properly because my legs give out or the pain is too much, I married (2nd marriage) a wonderful man in 2007 (when I could still do fun things) I worry for him, he does so much for me, I say you need some one that can do fun stuff, you did not sign up for this, he kisses me or walks away angry because I want to give up.  Yet, maybe it is hope after all, that is keeping me hanging on, maybe it is a flicker of a light I see, maybe there are Angels after all and they do listen to me, because I am still here and fighting mad, even though I get so damn angry, I am glad for whatever it is that's keeping me here, and last but not least my sexy hubby.  Our technology is the best in the world, yet they can't do anything?  Mind boggling.  My neurosurgeon wanted to operate on me, I said no thank you, but it is getting worse now I have to use my wheelchair when I go out.  I felt he looked at me with disdain because I am fat and decided not to help, I have been a diabetic for 34 years, every 6 months I go for blood tests and get praise for those tests because they have been really good compared to any other time in my life, I look forward to that praise, as a testimonial that I am indeed doing something right with my life,  no matter how small it is.  I really believe that, that praise helps me keep going.  The people at and Dr. Harris are wonderful, I also consulted with my family Doctor and my also my diabetic Specialist Doctor and it makes me feel good to say that they both are in agreement that it is not "Retinopathy" which can occur if you have bad diabetes, then why could the neurosurgeon not help me.  I think these doctors want everyone skinny, when they aren't the feeling I get from them is that we are not worth treating.  Smarten up Doctors, this is our lives we want to heal them not be cut up or drugged up.  I had stomach stapling done in 2000 to loose weight, did not help, and because of it I get really bad, stubbing pains on my stomach every time I take any pill that contains codeine or that releases codeine in the stomach,I cannot take: I was on morphine, (the long and the short-release one), delaudid, oxycontin (did nothing but give me terrible headaches), percocets don't work anymore, so my doctor put me on cesamet (synthetic marijuana but without the feeling groovy effect) sometimes it works sometimes it doesn't.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hey girl hung tough and smile, if you cannot do it for you, because of your pain, do it for your boys, and pay attention because I bet that at that moment you will see or feel a joy and a lightness in your heart, soul and being.  Capture those moments, those feelings they'll come in handy.  I know.
You sound like you have gone through so much and will have to be stronger for the future, I could fee when I read your blog how much you are hurting both mentally and physically, and don't get mad, but your husband is acting like a selfish jerk, I understand you love him and there are outside influences that probably did not help your situation, but girl marriage is for better or worse, start thinking about your sons and mom, YOU.
It is going to be hard, but you will make it.  I just read a story I believe it was in Woman's World and it covers everyone's pain in this blog and your situation, I would love to e-mail it to you or download it here but I don't know how, I cried through out the read, it was very inspirational.
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Avatar_f_tn
I have fusing in my neck with a slight bulge to the left of the spine. My doctor has not really addressed this problem, but I believe it occurred when I fell at work back in 2001 or so...

I also have degenerative disc disease. So with both I'm in constant unbearable pain.
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