I was in a car accident last year and have gone to a chiropractor and spine specialist and both have concluded that my next step would be c4 c5 and c5 c6 fusion surgery and bone spur removal. My regular doctor who prescribes my pain meds says that many patients he sees see no improvement and many are worse after this type of surgery so unless it is unbearable, not to get the surgery. I am in constant pain and I usually start off good when I wake up, but gradually get worse as the day goes on. By night time, my neck and shoulders have constant burning and occasional shooting pain. I have had several steroid shots which got rid of the shooting pain that ran from my neck to my fingers, but was unsuccessful in getting rid of my neck and shoulder pain. 10 months of neck traction was unsuccessful in putting the proper curve back into my neck (my neck is currently straight from whiplash) because the bone spur growth is restricting movement.
I am 42 years old and can't imagine how bad I'll be feeling when I hit 60. I'd like to get off the pain meds, but I am debating about getting surgery. I can't imagine how I'd be if I feel worse after the surgery.
At least your Doctors are being honest with you, my Surgeon told me I'd be good as new. Your Doctors right, some people see no improvement and a few get worse. But there are also a lot of people that it helps. The important thing to know going into to this is that this procedure isn't going to take away all your pain, but it will help. The surgery is really good for the shooting radicular pain, it got rid of my arm and hand pain right away. The neck and upper back requires a lot of therapy after surgery and often that doesn't even help.
Like your Doctor said, If your pain is unbearable, you should seriously consider the procedure. If not just keep going to pain management. I don't regret having my ACDF, I just wish the Surgeon had been honest with me about how much it would help. I'm going to be having another one sometime this year because of problems at another level, and I'm sure it won't take away all my pain, but it will help. I don't have an understanding Doctor to prescribe for me, and I don't want to live that way anyway, I've been through it.
The pain is getting worse ever since I posted. My shoulders and neck have a burning sensation that never goes away even with pain meds. I either need stronger meds or I have to try something else like acupuncture. It's been so bad this past week, I'm really considering surgery now even though I really don't want to go that route. I was told by my chiropractor that there's a new surgery for disk replacement that might be better than inserting plates and screws in my neck. This has made me more depressed than ever. I'm not suicidal, but I don't think I want to live for more than 20 more years if this is how it's going to be for the rest of my life.
I should add that I am also feeling a lot more tingling in my biceps. The pain that I am feeling dominates my thoughts all day. I can't think of anything but what I can do to get rid or lessen the pain that I'm feeling.
The first thing you have to do, is get your pain under control or at least get it to a tolerable level. You'll be able to think a lot clearer. What are you taking anyway?
Artificial disc replacement is an option, they haven't been doing it in the U.S. that long so you would have to find a Surgeon that's familiar with it. Just like anything new, the reviews on it are mixed.
Personally, I think you need to get your pain under control before making any decisions. I don't know what you're taking, but there's always something stronger.
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