C5/6 - 6/7 Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion with instrumentation
I am at my wit's end...in 2005 while preparing to go to Iraq, I started noticing some odd things. Every time I would put my body armor on, my left arm would go numb. Well since I couldn't do anything about it at the time, I just sucked it up and moved on. Soon my right scapula became very painful. It got to the point where I couldnt sleep at night unless my right arm was on my hip slightly behind me while I was on my left side. Nothing relieved the pain...When I returned to the US in 2006, I went to the doctor who diagnosed a possible winging scapula and prescribed physical therapy. After 3 months of PT and no relief, I finally was ordered an MRI. My right arm and hand by now constantly felt asleep and tingly. The MRI showed degenerative changes at 5-6/6-7 with most significant at the 6-7. I was sent to a Neurosurgeon who felt I did not need surgery. I continued PT that now included traction for the CSPINE. That was a nightmare...In 2007 I had to move to PA and start all over again with a new doctor. This doctor also referred me to a Neurosurgeon who basically told me there was nothing wrong with me but the only test he gave me was to ask me to squeeze his hand. Needless to say, I headed off to Iraq again in 2008 and suffered through the same pains for another year(40-50 lbs of body armor with full load of ammo, radio, etc). Upon my return, the docs at Ft Dix did not want to be bothered with me and sent me on my way. I headed to Ft Benning GA to spend the summer with my then fiance (now my husband). I found an awesome doc there who sent me to an Orthopedic Surgeon who also ordered another MRI. This time there was spinal cord compression leaving me 5-6 mm of spinal cord opening(my normal is 12mm) He told me that I was at a risk for paralysis especially if I were to take a hit from behind. He then scheduled me for surgery. The same night of the surgery, I was actually able to feel my right arm and hand for the first time in 2 years. I healed up well from the surgery except for two minor incidences of whiplash within 2 months of the surgery. I was sent on my way home to PA. The pain has never really left my neck, I still have difficulty with ROM especially while driving. I have to turn practically my whole body to watch for traffic. I have a lot of grinding and popping in my neck and now my left arm has started the whole numb, falling asleep routine. I am seeing a pain management doc who is doing trigger point injections. They work for about 3 hours and then the pain is back and worse. Takes me 2 days to get over one visit. Also, since I am in the Army, I am required to either run 2 miles or walk 2 1/2 miles as part of our fitness test. If I run , it's takes me over 2 weeks for recovery from increased pain. If I do the walk, which is practically a race walk, its still another 2 weeks. I dread the thought of putting a helmet on or body armor and I doubly dread the thought of firing a rifle while in the prone position. I just don't think I can hold my head in that position for that long. Basically at this point, I don't feel that the military docs take me seriously about the pain. I have been in the Army for 23 years so it's not like I am trying to get out of work! I have done my fair share! I just want to have good days more often than the bad. Sorry to vent... I am miserable... :( Any advice?