Avatar universal

To do surgery or not to do surgery

I have 2 herniated disk, c 5-6 and c 6-7. The c 6-7 herniation is pinching the fire out of my nerves and causing chronic neck and right arm pain.
History: I have been in chronic pain for 2 years, and severe nerve pain for 2 months. I have been to chiropractors and had stem, ultrasound, heat , and massage therapy. I have had one epidural 2 cortizone shots, and am taking Loratib 10 500mg, Gabepentin, and tizanidine. Plus temazapan to sleep.
I have had 10 spinal decompression treatments a maximum of 18 lbs.
I have met with 3 nuerosurgens, all who want to operate with different types of surgery...but overall they want to perform anterior cervical disecomy with fusion. One says recovery is 4 weeks in a hard collar is imperative, the other 2 talk about soft collars and 7 to 10 days??? How can that be so extreemly different. I have had many people tell me it is imperative to follow the recovery instructions!
So, I would really like to avoid surgery, and my dr. performing the spinal decompressions, would really like me to do 10 more treatments, but insurance will not cover the very expensive treatments!
Surgery scares me because most likely it will not last for more than 10 yrs and I will be 48 at that point and they will most likely not want to perform more sugery??? But, at 38 now will I be more likely to recover well and have a better quality of life? I have nerve damage on both arms, and I feel like I am losing muscle tone every day. Oh by the way, my livelyhood is mural and faux painting and I have 3 kids under 8.
I would love any advice, and to hear from anyone who has had this surgery and been in recovery and how it is going.
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Avatar universal
ok here goes.  I have had the surgery both levels.  In all honesty if given the choice I'm not sure I would do it.  The doctors need to inform more about recovery and the %.  They told me I would be better and maybe that was all I heard them say.  It was worth a shot after almost 4 years of pain and extensive tests, therapy, and meds.  I had the first surgery at c6-7 in Aug 2007 6 weeks after surgery c4-5 (was bulging) herniated so I made it almost 2 more years before I just couldn't take it anymore.  I am post surgery 3 months and continue to have neck pain.  I've been told it could take up to a year but that is not what the doctors told me before the surgery.  Any surgery is major surgery and every body is different.
I'm scared now for my future and not ever being able to ski or do the things I love.  Make sure YOU have all the FACTS and ask lots of questions.
Try everything before you commit to surgery.
Surgeons are surgeons and unless you find the one who defeats his own purpose they are all "PRACTICING" based on previous people and procedures that may or may not be similar to your own body.  I don't want to frighten you but I am only 42 and have been healthy all my life and now I'm in this vicious circle of what to do now.  I had surgery to relieve pain and get back to my life, so far it hasn't worked out that way.  I wish you much luck in your decisions and make sure you have good family support, ask lots of questions and do the research I didn't do.
Take care
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Avatar universal
Hi neckpain4,

I truly understand your pain.  I was diagnosed with Fibomyalgia 9 years ago and then in 2008.  I just saw a different neurologist 2 weeks ago who says that I have cervical spondylosis.  I don't have the answer to your questions but they sure sound similar to mine.  I do not want surgery.  I don't know what to think at this point.  I also went to an orthopedic surgeon who I saw 9 years ago and he gave me a cortizone shot in my neck and I have had releif for 4 days now but I know that the pain is coming back strong again when this wears off.  The neurologist has given a diagnosis of osteoarthritis, arthritis, and myelopathy.  I am so confused.  I've been in pain for 3 years straight now with the pain getting worse as the time goes on.  I was ordered to get an mri of the cervical spine and the lumber spine.  The problem is that I don't know how I am going to lie there that long on hardness.  I just stopped working a year ago.  I am 47 and this should not be the end of my life but it sure feels like it.  I hope that you get everything figured out as now I am in the beginning of another diagnosis.  I don't know what to believe these days.  I have had 7 mri's in the last nine years and will be having two more because they are done seperately.

God Bless you
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Avatar universal
your information is not very good...you need surgery, if you delay nerve/muscle damage can be permanent..the good news is you'll get your life back...I'm 58, had ACDF c5-7
2 years ago..soft collar is all you will need...I was hitting golf balls 6 weeks post op..
your fusion will be strong..you will not need surgery in 10 years...BUT-
there is a 3% chance per year for 10 years of disease in adjoining discs...
you have tried all the conservative treatments, don't let fear make your decisions..I know 5 guys who have had the surgery and all are doing well...good luck
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