Share this:
jenapower
@jenapower

Posts: 199
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 Lmnl09

REPLY

aaaporterhouse
@aaaporterhouse

Posts: 4
Joined: Aug 03, 2017
Posted by @aaaporterhouse, Aug 12, 2017

Totally agree with you. My first fusion was as you described and gave me 15 years of basically pain free time..,the later surgeries are what became problematic…for Jenapower…

jenapower
@jenapower

Posts: 199
Joined: Feb 21, 2017
Posted by @jenapower, Aug 12, 2017

Thank you all for your experiences, and advise. It’s very much appreciated.

jenapower
@jenapower

Posts: 199
Joined: Feb 21, 2017
Posted by @jenapower, Aug 12, 2017

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

Posted by @predictable, Aug 17, 2017

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.

Liked by jenapower

Chris
@artscaping

Posts: 85
Joined: Jul 11, 2017
Posted by @artscaping, Aug 13, 2017

I don’t think I had disc replacement. See attached photo. They just lifted the vertebrae off the nerves and put in titanium boxes. That fixed the constant falling because my feet never got the right messages and it took a lot of the pain away but not all because one nerve was so damaged and bruised that it will take longer than my lifetime to heal. I was told that unlike bones that heal rather quickly….nerves heal in micrometers and sooooo slowly. So…I am left with SFN and CMPS. I need for the nerves to heal a bit more so that they don’t just send pain signals because they can’t do that job they were designed to do for us. Surgery is not always the answer…i have had 13 orthopedic surgeries including a Delta Reverse (one of 5 shoulder surgeries), neck and back, knee, hip, toes, wrist, thumb etc. etc. I was reckless…falling off horses and down mountains and had too many concussions. Being rear ended 3 times with long recoveries didn’t help. Got dive bombed in the water and lived in a body cast for 6 months. Walked thousands of miles all over the world with my walking group. I miss the walking and camaraderie the most because now I am confined pretty much to my yoga mat and meditation notes and of course MM. I try to stay in the present moment and make it a wonderful moment. I am grateful and want to send loving kindness to all who suffer.

Liked by jenapower

fiveonred
@fiveonred

Posts: 3
Joined: Jul 06, 2016
Posted by @fiveonred, Nov 8, 2017

I had surgery on my cervical spine several years ago. I didn’t have any pain which probably contributed to the worsening of my condition over time. I finally sought help after repeated falling. I was scheduled for surgery within 4 days. I received spacers to lift pressure off the nerves. It worked well however I never regained full range of motion. It has been 4 years and I have had no new problems.
.

jenapower
@jenapower

Posts: 199
Joined: Feb 21, 2017
Posted by @jenapower, Aug 13, 2017

Artscaping, Thank you for the reply, photo and explanation. I’m no expert, I’m trying to learn as much as I can, but that doesn’t look like you had a disc replacement, more like fusion. That is one of my options, but I’m curious to hear from people that have had disc replacements. I do you have a lot of symptoms, and like you horses and various other activities were involved. It sounds like you had more than I did. But, injuries are injuries, and mine are getting worse not better. As many people have said the nerves don’t get better until the pressure on them is released, and I do have nerve damage. I’m afraid to move forward with surgery, but I’m also afraid to wait. I’m concerned that not only will the nerves get worse, but my bones will become less sturdy and stable. I really appreciate all of the input that everybody has given me.
Thank you, Jennifer

Posted by @JustinMcClanahan, Aug 13, 2017

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?

jenapower
@jenapower

Posts: 199
Joined: Feb 21, 2017
Posted by @jenapower, Aug 13, 2017

Thanks, one of my questions is if a replacement disc fails, is removal and fusion what is done as a repair? Also, my Dr does do disc replacement, but I’m wondering about multi-level disc replacements. If they are done I’ve read and been told that they can replace 2 levels and possibly fuse the third. How successful would this be and is it done often? What type of results?
Thanks, Jennifer

virtuous69
@virtuous69

Posts: 88
Joined: Mar 09, 2017
Posted by @virtuous69, Aug 15, 2017

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.

leh09
@leh09

Posts: 40
Joined: Mar 23, 2016
Posted by @leh09, Aug 13, 2017

I’m fairly certain that if you have a disc replacement that in several weeks those replacement discs fuse with the vertebrae above and below. I don’t think you can have just a disc replacement.

jenapower
@jenapower

Posts: 199
Joined: Feb 21, 2017
Posted by @jenapower, Aug 15, 2017

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

jo54
@jo54

Posts: 23
Joined: Aug 02, 2017
Posted by @jo54, Aug 16, 2017

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
@jenapower

Posts: 199
Joined: Feb 21, 2017
Posted by @jenapower, Aug 16, 2017

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
@jenapower

Posts: 199
Joined: Feb 21, 2017
Posted by @jenapower, Aug 17, 2017

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

Please login or register to post a reply.