If PT is giving you relief, then avoid surgery to the last level. Few life style modification will be required, but would surely be helpful.
Please let me know the present scenario so that i can give advice as per the present condition.
Hi. I can't interpret your MRI. I have a one level c-5-c6 and was misdiagnosed as carple tunnell by two orthopedic md. I've read that fusion surgery is quite major and the recovery time is very long. It may be your only choice, but I think you should seek a different opinion first. I would not accept a maybe from the doctor. I've heard there are test that can be done to track pain such as a "discogram" on another adr support group forum. Perhaps there is a large university hospital where you live that can refer you to a neurologist with up to date infomation and who may be able to give you information on artificial disc replacment. I don't think multiple disc replacement surgeries are performed in the U.S routinely, but some people travel to Germany or other countries to have this done. You may want to research this a little more. When I first was injured my pain was severe and I could barely function, but now it's five years later and the pain is more tolerable. Perhaps this will happen to you also. Still, I'm thinking about artificial disc replacement surgery because I wan't to be able to function a little better. The fact that I was misdiagnosed with carpel tunnel for five years by two orthopedic md without proper testing just shows you how valuble a second and third opinion can be. Fusion is major surgery,it's worth getting a second opinion.
I hope this helps. Good luck. Marisette
I had an ACDF to C4, C5 and C6 in September 2010. Three discs were removed and replaced with titanium cages and fusion. Great difficulty was experienced in swallowing solid food for several months. I seemed to be recovering quite well but now the pain to my neck and shoulders has returned with a vengeance. My Surgeon has ordered me to have a MRI and CT scans on 4th March 2011 then I return to see him on 11th March. I hope that the problem is not further herniated discs. A lot of the problem has been caused by a PLIF operation to the lower spine I had in December 2008. Apparently it creates undue stress to the top area of the spine. Despite taking pain relief the pain is most severe.
If you pay money for an opinion do you just put it on a list that never really gets answered?
Not a doctor. I faced the same questions you are now and lived through 14 years of pain before submitting and getting cervical fusion of C-5 through C-7. I did PT (little to no help) cervical traction (weekly for 2 years) was good for a while but became useless. I took every kind of medication that you could imagine, from motrin to narcotics with little benefit from the numbness pain and spasms. The surgery gave me 10 wonerful years that were relatively symptom free but the symtoms are now coming back. The good news is that the cervical fusion is still stable (multiple MRIs) and what I am now dealing with is residual peripherla nerve damage that becomes acute when the muscles get too tight. I am now seeing a neurologist that is managing my symptoms with Botox (for the muscle tightness) and pain modulators (non narcotic). I had tried the cortical-steroid injections into my spinal cord and they helped for about a month but scared the death out of me (sticking a catheter in your spine once a month). Bottom line...if you have the fusion, your rehab will be a couple of dark months, but should give you long term relief.