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jenapower
@jenapower

Posts: 204
Joined: Feb 21, 2017

Surgical solutions to chronic cervical/back pain

Posted by @jenapower, Aug 12, 2017

hi I’ve been on the chronic pain list for a little while now. I got off pain medication completely in an attempt to see where I stand without it. Without telling me my pain doctor then refused to put me back on any when they found out all the damage that I actually had and the meds were masking. It turns out they did MRIs after I was off medication, I found facet problems in my mid back, but much worse they found degenerated discs from C4-C7, bone spurs, and facet problems here also. For the last two months they been doing EMG, other X-ray studies and they now have the MRIs. One neurosurgeon immediately said I needed to fuse all three vertebrae levels in my neck which didn’t really appeal to me unless that was my only choice. I’m in a tremendous amount of pain, laying on ice in bed most of the time. I did go back to a small amount of pain medication after moving back to my previous pain doctor, just so I could tolerate the pain until they decide what to do. I also saw a second neurosurgeon who is the top neurosurgeon in our area, head of neurosciences at our hospital etc. I see him again after they try an cervical epidural this Monday. I am wanting to hear other people’s experiences with fusing multi levels of their neck, or disc replacements, or any other treatments that they have had. I’ve been trying to read as much as possible, but there’s a lot of information.

I also have a question for the moderators. I’ve emailed one moderator twice and I haven’t really gotten an answer. One of the topics that I have been reading and participating in for quite a while, started to just get over blown with tons of email. Lots and lots of responses some pertaining to the subject matter, and some just heartfelt communication with others about life. I realize many of us are very isolated by our pain and communicating here is a way of making friends. It just seemed like it got out of control, to where I was getting 30 to 40 email every time I open my inbox. I also saw a couple other people ask about this problem and how to solve it. Maybe there needs to be a form just for people to chat and get to know each other and talk about their lives. I put my settings on one daily digest but I only thought that for one day, now that’s not working and I seem to be not getting email at all. I have been through all the directions that were listed, because other people asked the same question, trying minimize the number of email coming through. I don’t know how to fix my settings because I think I have them set correctly but I’m not getting anything now. I would appreciate any direction on how to correct this as I really do want to read what’s going on, without so many email every time I open my inbox. I do have other email I need to read and they get lost in the shear volume.

I really do appreciate all of your input and look forward to anybody’s experience with neck fusion, neck disc replacement, or any other treatment. Thank you Jennifer

Liked by grandmaR, Lmnl09

REPLY

@JustinMcClanahan

Hello @jenapower,

I would like to invite @jrchicago to this conversation. @jrchicago has talked about having a disc replacement surgery in Barcelona in the past and may be able to answer some of your questions regarding disc replacements vs. fusions. @jenapower, while we wait for jrchicago to join, what questions in particular do you have about replacement vs. fusion for them?

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Re fusions and disc replacements. I would love to hear replies from those who had any of these procedure and are in good shape. My Ortho stopped doing back surgery because he was tired of so many failures. I have yet to meet one success story. Am told a year later a other dics goes bad, and all these patients I’ve talked to say they would not do again if they had to do it all over again. Any back surgery success stories out there? Signed victorious69.

Thanks @virtuous, that’s exactly what I wanted to know. There must be back surgery patients out there.

@jenapower

Thanks @virtuous, that’s exactly what I wanted to know. There must be back surgery patients out there.

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I had 3 discs fused thru the back of my neck with spacers two years ago. I regained control of my hands. It’s not perfect but I am able to function in normal duties and lifestyle. I do have pain when I sit too long or move too much. Life is a happy medium. I pay with pain if I don’t follow the rules. Pain is controlled with Advil. I am an 80 year old female who’s led an active life. My bones are considered in degeneration. Yes I would have surgery again.

@jenapower

Thank you porterhouse and Marie, a little more information. I’m 63, was very active, then neck is from injuries from a horseback riding accident, and a skiing accident that broke my right rib cage, my left shoulder, and twisted my pelvis on the right side. The right SI joint gives me problems, as does the mid back but I could live with those, the problem has my neck. I have gone from an extremely active person, ballet, yoga, tennis, etc. to lying on my back in bed on ice almost all the time. I know I have a really good doctor but I’m terrified of the surgeries. We are going to do an epidural on this Monday, the problem is this is been an ongoing issue that’s been deteriorating. I’ve known about it since about 2010 at which point it wasn’t bad enough to do anything. Now I had multiple surgeries to get my shoulder back together, five, and it’s OK it hurts a little bit but it’s all right. The only problem I have that is intolerable as my neck. Nothing really helps except opiates which I don’t want to take for the rest of my life. I have every kind of physical therapy machine, tens machine, I go to physical therapy I go to chiropractic you name it I’ve done it. I’m kind of at the end of my rope but I don’t want to make a mistake. Maybe that helps fill in a few blank’s. I don’t want to make this worse, but at this point I go to sleep with medicine and my head and neck on ice, when the ice melts I wake up two hours later and have to go get more. This is repeated all night long and all day long, not much of a life. I think I’ve handled it pretty well, but I’m hoping to be a grandma soon and I’d like to be able to participate in those type of activities which I couldn’t do right now. Thanks for all your help, Jennifer

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Jen, this is Marie (Marield65). Have you tried a physiatrist (NOT PSYCHIATRIST)?? Go to http://www.hss.edu/what-is-phsysiatry (spelling phsysiatry or physiatrist). Get back to me if this spelling is incorrect.

Liked by grandmaR

Thank you for your answers and experiences. My understanding is that when a disc is fused there is a spacer put in to open it back up, then they put in some type of bone marrow either your own or cadaver or synthetic. Eventually the disks and that bone marrow will fuse together forming a solid piece of bone. Disc replacements are different, they are actual artificial discs that take the place of your degenerated one. They will turn and function as a separate unit, like a shock absorber just like your real disc does. I do believe there are problems with them slipping out of place on occasion and if that happens they have to be removed and the fusion surgery has to happen. If I’m wrong and someone understands this better than me, please correct me.
Jennifer

@jenapower

Thank you porterhouse and Marie, a little more information. I’m 63, was very active, then neck is from injuries from a horseback riding accident, and a skiing accident that broke my right rib cage, my left shoulder, and twisted my pelvis on the right side. The right SI joint gives me problems, as does the mid back but I could live with those, the problem has my neck. I have gone from an extremely active person, ballet, yoga, tennis, etc. to lying on my back in bed on ice almost all the time. I know I have a really good doctor but I’m terrified of the surgeries. We are going to do an epidural on this Monday, the problem is this is been an ongoing issue that’s been deteriorating. I’ve known about it since about 2010 at which point it wasn’t bad enough to do anything. Now I had multiple surgeries to get my shoulder back together, five, and it’s OK it hurts a little bit but it’s all right. The only problem I have that is intolerable as my neck. Nothing really helps except opiates which I don’t want to take for the rest of my life. I have every kind of physical therapy machine, tens machine, I go to physical therapy I go to chiropractic you name it I’ve done it. I’m kind of at the end of my rope but I don’t want to make a mistake. Maybe that helps fill in a few blank’s. I don’t want to make this worse, but at this point I go to sleep with medicine and my head and neck on ice, when the ice melts I wake up two hours later and have to go get more. This is repeated all night long and all day long, not much of a life. I think I’ve handled it pretty well, but I’m hoping to be a grandma soon and I’d like to be able to participate in those type of activities which I couldn’t do right now. Thanks for all your help, Jennifer

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Do you mean psychologist as in someone you go talk to once a week, or a psychiatrist which is a doctor M.D. that can prescribe medication and deals with mental illness? I have seen psychologist to talk about my pain and how it affects my life, but after a while you’ve gotten all you can get out of that. I am not going to anyone at this point. As far as a psychiatrist is concerned, I’ve never had any reason to see one. Anything I’ve needed my pain management doctors have handled or my internal medicine doctor. Now neurosurgeons are in the picture. Jennifer

@jenapower

Thank you porterhouse and Marie, a little more information. I’m 63, was very active, then neck is from injuries from a horseback riding accident, and a skiing accident that broke my right rib cage, my left shoulder, and twisted my pelvis on the right side. The right SI joint gives me problems, as does the mid back but I could live with those, the problem has my neck. I have gone from an extremely active person, ballet, yoga, tennis, etc. to lying on my back in bed on ice almost all the time. I know I have a really good doctor but I’m terrified of the surgeries. We are going to do an epidural on this Monday, the problem is this is been an ongoing issue that’s been deteriorating. I’ve known about it since about 2010 at which point it wasn’t bad enough to do anything. Now I had multiple surgeries to get my shoulder back together, five, and it’s OK it hurts a little bit but it’s all right. The only problem I have that is intolerable as my neck. Nothing really helps except opiates which I don’t want to take for the rest of my life. I have every kind of physical therapy machine, tens machine, I go to physical therapy I go to chiropractic you name it I’ve done it. I’m kind of at the end of my rope but I don’t want to make a mistake. Maybe that helps fill in a few blank’s. I don’t want to make this worse, but at this point I go to sleep with medicine and my head and neck on ice, when the ice melts I wake up two hours later and have to go get more. This is repeated all night long and all day long, not much of a life. I think I’ve handled it pretty well, but I’m hoping to be a grandma soon and I’d like to be able to participate in those type of activities which I couldn’t do right now. Thanks for all your help, Jennifer

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Jen, this is Marie again. You can always google this word. PHYSIATRIST
They are trained in Physical Medicine & Rehab (PM&R), also known as Physiatrist. And certified by the board of PM&R after completing their residency and other requirements. There are about 6700 in the states and I am lucky enough to have one about 7 miles from me. I am waiting to get an appointment with the physical therapist that work under him. I already had my appointment with the Dr. who is the PHYSIATRIST and he will send the order to the PT of what he thinks will work for my spine besides my going for the epidurals for 2 pinched nerves at L-5. I will be learning how to strengthen my spine (core) and multiple problems with my spine. Arthritis,discs, fusion that I had and other things they found about my discs. What my goal is, is to put off spine surgery for as long as I can and get back some quality of my life. This they help you to do. I am not trying to set myself up to a goal I cannot reach, but am trying to be positive and make sure I am covering all my bases because when it comes down to it, I will have done everything that I could to have the knowledge to myself to make the best decision.
Whew. Now I am tired. This was hard to explain and I hope I haven’t confused you.
The best to you,
Marield65 (Marie)

@jenapower

Thank you porterhouse and Marie, a little more information. I’m 63, was very active, then neck is from injuries from a horseback riding accident, and a skiing accident that broke my right rib cage, my left shoulder, and twisted my pelvis on the right side. The right SI joint gives me problems, as does the mid back but I could live with those, the problem has my neck. I have gone from an extremely active person, ballet, yoga, tennis, etc. to lying on my back in bed on ice almost all the time. I know I have a really good doctor but I’m terrified of the surgeries. We are going to do an epidural on this Monday, the problem is this is been an ongoing issue that’s been deteriorating. I’ve known about it since about 2010 at which point it wasn’t bad enough to do anything. Now I had multiple surgeries to get my shoulder back together, five, and it’s OK it hurts a little bit but it’s all right. The only problem I have that is intolerable as my neck. Nothing really helps except opiates which I don’t want to take for the rest of my life. I have every kind of physical therapy machine, tens machine, I go to physical therapy I go to chiropractic you name it I’ve done it. I’m kind of at the end of my rope but I don’t want to make a mistake. Maybe that helps fill in a few blank’s. I don’t want to make this worse, but at this point I go to sleep with medicine and my head and neck on ice, when the ice melts I wake up two hours later and have to go get more. This is repeated all night long and all day long, not much of a life. I think I’ve handled it pretty well, but I’m hoping to be a grandma soon and I’d like to be able to participate in those type of activities which I couldn’t do right now. Thanks for all your help, Jennifer

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Marie, you are so sweet, thank you. I honestly have never heard of that type of doctor. But I now have learned about it from you and I will definitely look it up around where I live. It sounds like somebody that could definitely help me and I am so grateful to you for taking the time to explain to me what it is. There is so much I’m learning about what’s happening to me, I greatly appreciate you sharing that with me. Maybe they’ll help both of us, we can always hope, wish, and pray, right. Thank you, Jennifer

@jenapower

Thank you porterhouse and Marie, a little more information. I’m 63, was very active, then neck is from injuries from a horseback riding accident, and a skiing accident that broke my right rib cage, my left shoulder, and twisted my pelvis on the right side. The right SI joint gives me problems, as does the mid back but I could live with those, the problem has my neck. I have gone from an extremely active person, ballet, yoga, tennis, etc. to lying on my back in bed on ice almost all the time. I know I have a really good doctor but I’m terrified of the surgeries. We are going to do an epidural on this Monday, the problem is this is been an ongoing issue that’s been deteriorating. I’ve known about it since about 2010 at which point it wasn’t bad enough to do anything. Now I had multiple surgeries to get my shoulder back together, five, and it’s OK it hurts a little bit but it’s all right. The only problem I have that is intolerable as my neck. Nothing really helps except opiates which I don’t want to take for the rest of my life. I have every kind of physical therapy machine, tens machine, I go to physical therapy I go to chiropractic you name it I’ve done it. I’m kind of at the end of my rope but I don’t want to make a mistake. Maybe that helps fill in a few blank’s. I don’t want to make this worse, but at this point I go to sleep with medicine and my head and neck on ice, when the ice melts I wake up two hours later and have to go get more. This is repeated all night long and all day long, not much of a life. I think I’ve handled it pretty well, but I’m hoping to be a grandma soon and I’d like to be able to participate in those type of activities which I couldn’t do right now. Thanks for all your help, Jennifer

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Jen, that is right, and my best wishes to you. I will let you know how I make out, and vice-versa. Marie

@jenapower

I’d still love to hear from anyone who’s had disc replacement surgery.

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Hi, Jennifer. I have not had disc replacement, but a good friend has — 10 years ago. She had two badly disintegrated discs midway down her neck, and after study and consultation, decided against vertebral fusions. She chose instead to replace the damaged discs with artificial discs, but could not find an American surgeon to install more than one when she needed two. So she went to Germany, paid for by her insurance company. The operation was sensitive — entry from the front along her airpipe and past the nerves that served her voice (crucial to her, a professional singer). The operation also was a success — phenomenally. She was home in the US in two weeks, and back in the church choir after another three weeks. A month later, she was back on the golf course, fully recovered, energetic, and painless. She’ll have her 60th birthday this month.

I just got back from one neurosurgeon that I’m considering. They now have all of my test results in, EMG, x-rays, MRIs etc. The neurosurgeon today said he could replace two discs and fuse the third. You know longer have to go to Germany for these procedures and if explained right, insurance will pay for it. They will only pay for two levels of replacement discs, and the third level they may or may not do anything with or they may be forced to fuse it depending upon what they see when I get in there. I think that’s probably going to be my best case scenario.

He did say that since I just had an epidural with steroids, I would have to wait 2 to 3 months before they can do the surgery because the steroids interfere with healing. I have one more neurosurgeon to see next week and I’ll be curious to see if he has the same assessment. I know both of these doctors do a lot of disc replacements in addition to fusions. Jennifer

@jenapower

Thank you porterhouse and Marie, a little more information. I’m 63, was very active, then neck is from injuries from a horseback riding accident, and a skiing accident that broke my right rib cage, my left shoulder, and twisted my pelvis on the right side. The right SI joint gives me problems, as does the mid back but I could live with those, the problem has my neck. I have gone from an extremely active person, ballet, yoga, tennis, etc. to lying on my back in bed on ice almost all the time. I know I have a really good doctor but I’m terrified of the surgeries. We are going to do an epidural on this Monday, the problem is this is been an ongoing issue that’s been deteriorating. I’ve known about it since about 2010 at which point it wasn’t bad enough to do anything. Now I had multiple surgeries to get my shoulder back together, five, and it’s OK it hurts a little bit but it’s all right. The only problem I have that is intolerable as my neck. Nothing really helps except opiates which I don’t want to take for the rest of my life. I have every kind of physical therapy machine, tens machine, I go to physical therapy I go to chiropractic you name it I’ve done it. I’m kind of at the end of my rope but I don’t want to make a mistake. Maybe that helps fill in a few blank’s. I don’t want to make this worse, but at this point I go to sleep with medicine and my head and neck on ice, when the ice melts I wake up two hours later and have to go get more. This is repeated all night long and all day long, not much of a life. I think I’ve handled it pretty well, but I’m hoping to be a grandma soon and I’d like to be able to participate in those type of activities which I couldn’t do right now. Thanks for all your help, Jennifer

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I want to unsubscribe and I'm not even signed up…. It won't let me do it!!!!!!!

@jenapower

Thank you porterhouse and Marie, a little more information. I’m 63, was very active, then neck is from injuries from a horseback riding accident, and a skiing accident that broke my right rib cage, my left shoulder, and twisted my pelvis on the right side. The right SI joint gives me problems, as does the mid back but I could live with those, the problem has my neck. I have gone from an extremely active person, ballet, yoga, tennis, etc. to lying on my back in bed on ice almost all the time. I know I have a really good doctor but I’m terrified of the surgeries. We are going to do an epidural on this Monday, the problem is this is been an ongoing issue that’s been deteriorating. I’ve known about it since about 2010 at which point it wasn’t bad enough to do anything. Now I had multiple surgeries to get my shoulder back together, five, and it’s OK it hurts a little bit but it’s all right. The only problem I have that is intolerable as my neck. Nothing really helps except opiates which I don’t want to take for the rest of my life. I have every kind of physical therapy machine, tens machine, I go to physical therapy I go to chiropractic you name it I’ve done it. I’m kind of at the end of my rope but I don’t want to make a mistake. Maybe that helps fill in a few blank’s. I don’t want to make this worse, but at this point I go to sleep with medicine and my head and neck on ice, when the ice melts I wake up two hours later and have to go get more. This is repeated all night long and all day long, not much of a life. I think I’ve handled it pretty well, but I’m hoping to be a grandma soon and I’d like to be able to participate in those type of activities which I couldn’t do right now. Thanks for all your help, Jennifer

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“Unsubscribe” buttons apply only to the page you are on and other pages in that discussion group. To stop all emails from Mayo Connect, click on your portrait/icon on the upper right, then select “Account Settings.” Check under each “Edit” button on that page and set the instruction to suit you. Most of them involve removing a check mark. But to stop all emails, you need to ENTER a check mark in that box. Let me know if this doesn’t work.

Liked by Parus

I have one more question about cervical issues. Does anyone know whether stem cells and PRP can be used to repair cervical disc problems either bulging disc’s, arthritis or generated disc’s? Does mayo have a program for this type of treatment for cervical? Can anyone tell me any doctors in California that to this? I really want to look into all avenues that are open to me before I make a final decision . Thank you Jennifer

@jenapower,

In regards to your specific question in regards to stem cells at Mayo Clinic, I suggest calling the center for regenerative medicine’s consult service at 844-276-2003. They may be better equipped to answer your question and provide insight on whether or not that is a valid treatment for your back and can also help refer patients if necessary.

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