My father has a condition causing the disks in his neck to deteriorate.
This causes extreme, cronic pain because the verterbrae are touching and
pinching nerves in his neck. He has shooting pains down his neck,
shoulder, arm and into his hands. He has talked to neurologists and
neurosurgeons. He has been told that the only solution to the problem
is to fuse his verterbrae together through surgery.
Doing this would restrict his mobility. My father is a very active man.
We would like to know if there are any alternatives to surgery.
And, if there are, what are they? He is 68 years old, but is in very
good health other than this problem. He is, as I said, very active.
He would like to stay active and we worry that this surgery would
greatly restrict his ability to function as he has been doing.
Degenerative disc disease is very common. The usual affected areas are cervical (neck) and lumbosacral (lower back). As you describe, the discs dry up, crack, and shrink. The vertebral bodies also undergo some changes and the net result is less room for nerve roots and/or the spinal cord in the region. Usually, there is pain involved. Sometimes also there may be weakness or numbness, depending on whether the nerve roots and/or spinal cord are actually damaged.
Vertebral fusion is certainly an approach to reducing the problem. It may be the right one, but you are wise to seek other alternatives first. What you want is someone with a lot of experience with this who can tell you if surgery is absolutely the only thing to do, or if there are other things to try first.
The issue, of course, is how much function your dad would have if surgery were not done versus how much he could have if surgery were done. Age is not really a big factor here. Sounds like he's pretty healthy so it's even more important to do the best we can to get him up and running again.
If CCF is close, you are certainly welcome to seek a second opinion at the Spine Center, which is a cooperative effort among neurologists and neurosurgeons here. They see some pretty complicated cases here, so even if your dad has something out of the ordinary, they have a reasonable chance of being able to help him. At the very least, you'd get more information to help you make up your mind what to do.
Feel free to call 800 223-2273 and ask for neurology appointments: 4-5559. Hope this helps. CCF MD mdf.
Copyright 1994-2017MedHelp International.All rights reserved. MedHelp is a division of Aptus Health.
The Content on this Site is presented in a summary fashion, and is intended to be used for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to be and should not be interpreted as medical advice or a diagnosis of any health or fitness problem, condition or disease; or a recommendation for a specific test, doctor, care provider, procedure, treatment plan, product, or course of action. Med Help International, Inc. is not a medical or healthcare provider and your use of this Site does not create a doctor / patient relationship. We disclaim all responsibility for the professional qualifications and licensing of, and services provided by, any physician or other health providers posting on or otherwise referred to on this Site and/or any Third Party Site. Never disregard the medical advice of your physician or health professional, or delay in seeking such advice, because of something you read on this Site. We offer this Site AS IS and without any warranties. By using this Site you agree to the following Terms and Conditions. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your physician or 911 immediately.