Degenerative disc disease can wreck havoc in our lives and given your current status of large disc bulges and severe spinal stenosis with nerve compression, the surgeon is offering a reasonable treatment option.
The longer the nerves are compromised the greater the risk for permanent damage that can not be repaired even with surgical intervention. DDD is progressive and continued degenerative changes can cause additional neurological changes. Spinal cord compression is generally a surgical situation to avoid significant damage such as paralysis. Even bruising of the cord is damage that can not be undone.
All of that being said, it is possible that chiropractic care is giving you some temporary relief with some decompression of the affected areas through his manipulation.
Chiropractic care cannot alter the extent of the spinal stenosis if it is related to other structural changes such as osteophytes (bone spurs) which are a usual component of DDD.
I have had severe osteoarthritis and DDD resulting in a similar set of symptoms.
My neurosurgeon gave me the same advice of surgery now or later, but surgery eventually. I elected to have anterior cervical discectomy and fusion C4-C7 with allograft and titanium plating. The surgery was a great success, and most of my preop symptoms were gone within 3 hours of the surgery. Minor problems with muscle spasms related to the way I was positioned on the OR table, but physical therapy is helping resolve those problems. I have maintained good ROM of my neck and most people would be unaware of my having had this surgery without being informed.
As a nurse you are more aware of the risks involved in postponing surgery and that is a very personal decision only you can make. The fact that you are having muscle weakness and significant problems with your trapezius muscle must be affecting your ability to perform your duties as an ER nurse. (I was an RN for 27 years prior to retiring).
I did not have chiropractic treatment at any time so I can not relate any personal experiences with this form of treatment. I can personally state that the surgery was not a difficult process and the results have been gratefully appreciated.
Did you discuss chiro as an option with the neurosurgeon? It could cause more problems that are not reversible with subsequent surgery.
If you have specific questions regarding the ACDF procedure, I would be happy to assist you further.
Best wishes and may you continue in good health.
I have the same problem at the cervical 6 and 7 its bulging and causes all kinds of pain.I have had epidural shot and they help but dont last long,about two weeks if I am lucky!Not sure what else my pain doctor is going to do I might end up with surgery. I hope not but I will do what ever it takes to get out of pain! when you have this kind of pain its bad enough to scare you,without a doubt you will do what ever helps.Well good luck to everyone,and God bless! Rily
I have disc issues in my lumbar spine due to a mva (rear ended at a stop sign; guy was going about 40 mph). Unfortunately, I also have a fractured vertabrae at L4 (a Pars fracture) and spinal stenosis. I was originally going to seek Chiropractic help until a friend of mine, who is an RN, warned me not to before getting xrays. I am so grateful that I waited as I have been told by everyone involved in my care that I could have caused permanent nerve damage with spinal manipulation (I have been told that due to the Pars fracture I should never have any manipulation of my lower back). I am still at a huge risk for permanent damage as my discs are herniating inward and putting tremendous pressure on the nerve roots. I am also a huge fall risk due to "dead" leg from the nerve pressure.
I would just urge you to use great caution in continuing with Chiropractic care. I understand your need for pain relief, but ultimately, you want to preserve as much of your original structures and ROM as possible doing the least amount of damage. I could be facing surgery as well at some point. Right now, my Neuro guy wants to try the passive route with PT, bracing and 90% bed rest. I have also been adivsed to use a cane...LOL That is going a bit far for me! But, again, PLEASE just use caution. I think that Chiropractors certainly have their place and can bring about great relief...but under the right circumstances.
All my wishes for better days!!
as always, Kitty is right..continued pain and numbness can lead to lasting muscle loss..most of us have had good results with acdf..don't let fear guide you..good luck