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Avatar universal

to have or not to have neck surgery

I found out about 6 months ago that I have 3 bulged discs, bone spurs, and degen. arthritis in my neck. I have pain that shoots from my left temple all the way through my left shoulder, shoulder blade, elbow, wrist and fingers. It is diffucult to sleep, physical therapy has not worked, or somatics. I hurt day and night, and find it difficult to do everyday tasks. I cant take any pain meds because they make me very ill. I have had this pain for almost 6 months, and it seems to continue to worsen. I have even tried steroid shots in my neck. So, they are suggesting I have surgery before any nerve damage gets worse or becomes irreversible. I was wondering if anyone with a similiar condition has had surgery and if it worked. It will be quite expensive, but I would rather be in a lot of pain then do something that is so expensive and it not work. Anyone?
7 Responses
Avatar universal
Hi neg, I know exactly what you are talking about!  I have 3 herniated discs in my neck, as well, also DDD and spinal stenosis.  The pain you describe is identical to what I had.  In 2002, after almost 2 years of tests, physio, specialists and modified work.............I crashed.  I am a nurse and my neck issues were caused by years of wear and tear.  I saw 2 different neurosurgeons whom both said that I need surgery but not yet.  They both said that there wasn't a guarantee at that time that I would notice any improvement.  Until, if and when my symptoms worsened, then the odds of improvement were much higher, which made sense to me.  I chose not to have surgery at that time because it scared me.  They both told me that for the surgery to be most effective, I literally need to wait until I become more symtomatic.  That means other than the continuous and irritating tingling and numbess in my fingers, and the constant pain, if I continued my strenous lifesyle.........it would be inevitable that I would not be able to do the basic simple things.  I would not be able to grip, or write or even lift my arm.  I went on sick leave, did take pain meds (there is some pain med out there for you, maybe with a muscle relaxant combo) and after not working, unable to return to that present job, I HAD to change my ways.  I was very angry as well because I didn't choose this.  My body chose this for me.  If I had surgery, they would have to fuse a number of my vertebrae and then I couldn't drive and do alot of things.  I weighed the pros and cons.

Your decision should be based on what tests you had done, what is the prognosis, what the neurosurgeon says, and  alot of patience.  

I am still working full time and doing well.  I have chronic pain still now but about a quarter of what I experienced about 5 years ago.  There are somethings that I don't do anymore but also when I get stubborn and do stuff that I know I shouldn't do, I am punished.  I live with it.  I wake up stiff sore every morning but as my body warms up, I am ok.  I suggest to wait it out if you can, and get rid of the stressors.  Tension creates more pain.  Pain creates anger and vulnerablility and depression.

Let me know how it's going..........and best wishes.
82861 tn?1333457511
I am fused, plated and screwed from C5-C7 since 1996.  Long story short, had 2 years of H*ll with pain and finally realized I HAD to do the rehab or I was going to be forever disabled.  Actually, I had to go far beyond physical therapy and began serious weightlifting with a professional trainer.  Four days a week with the weights and 2 days of cardio.  Yeah, it hurt like crazy the first month, and almost like magic, the pain and numbness just melted away and hasn't come back.

One thing that's hard to understand is that rehab is supposed to hurt - a lot.  Our natural response to pain is to stop what's causing it, so we don't build up the muscles necessary to assist the spine in its job.
Avatar universal
Have you considered the Laser Spine Institute in Tampa, FL?  They cut through no muscle tissue and laser the bone spurs etc... with the lasers.  Check them out at laserspineinstitute.com they have helped alot of people including my son who had two herniated discs and extreme pain running down his leg to his foot.  You can send in your MRI's for a free review and they will let you know if they can help you, I know they are on the cutting edge of new technology and that is all they do there is work on the spinal column.  Please check them out; it is done outpatient and you are up and walking the day of the surgery! Leslie
Avatar universal
DO NOT GO TO LASER SPINE, I WENT LAST YEAR, THE PAIN LEFT FOR 3 WEEKS, THEN CAME BACK, YOU JAVE TO PAY $29,000 UP FRONT AND THEY TELL YOU THAT YOU WILL BE REIMBURSED BY YOUR INSURANCE BUT THEY GET YOUR MONEY AND THAT IS IT, THEY SEND IN TOTALLY DIFFERENT CPT CODES SO YOUR INSURANCE WONT PAY. ANY QUESTIONS CALL ME 812-849-4778
Avatar universal
I just read your story and it was like everything I have been through the last two years, workman's comp is really bad and my attorney seems to be wanting what is the worst for me, the Psych doctor ask me is this what I wanted and that hurt me, nobody seems to understand, people need to see your head hanging off to know if your in pain, but it is invisible pain and everyone says that I look fine or good, I thought I was alone but I am sad to think that others are going through the same thing, I learned to be very patient and have changed doctors 3 times, attorneys 2 times and made need to look for a 3rd attorney because I really feel that my current one is for the money and not my health, I worked for a fire agency and they feel that I wimped out on them or staged a retirement but at 53 years old I am concerned for my future.

Johnny
Avatar universal
i have the same problem, c5-c7, plus L3-s1, i work in the oil field, the house is worth 100k less than we paid for it, the pain is terrible down the back, shoulder blade, arm and fingers and legs, in fact my wife is typing this as i cant anymore, the pain pills are terriblel, they dont work after a while, then you got to have them, the doctors seem not to care, just want the money, one more year for me, if it doesnt quit, 44 mag to the head, im feed up with it, and the games doctors, dea, and non hurt people play on us who have worked hard labor, hell i started paying social security at 14 years old. 47 now and that bullets cant come soon enough, we are all screwed, there is no fix, this is your thanks, for working your butt off
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