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L-spine pain yet C-spine surgery

Started by Katie99 on 10/05/2011 9:04pm

Hi All,
I recently learned I'm a surgical candidate for my C-spine: bone spurs, stenosis, foraminal narrowing, hyper-mobility + symptoms... Since Doc #1 is considered top-notch and "conservative", I'm assuming I need the surgery - just one level. I'm about to have my second opinion and plan to get two more. For those of you asking where to start -- I'm looking at "fellowship trained" orthopedic spine surgeons and spine neurosurgeons. Although I've had cervical issues for 20 years the news was a shock because it was just an updated MRI and I don't have PAIN. I have 'pain' but nothing like the pain I have in my L-spine where apparently I'm not a surgical candidate. So I was wondering if anyone has a similar multi-region issue where the surgical need is in one area but yet after surgery, the body part which you pray somebody could do something for is still going to hurt like mad. I'm afraid to sneeze. I will bring all of this up of course with my doctors but it seems so unfair/ironic to have major surgery (with all the associated risks) and know you are going to still be in pain afterwards - and maybe even have new pain. So anybody out there with L-spine pain who underwent and/or needs C-spine surgery?

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3 Responses


Hi Katie,

When I was told I needed L4-5 fusions, I said If I needed back surgery, then the docs better look at my neck because it hurts much worse. After a quick x-ray, I was told my neck was fine & I needed lower spine surgery asap. When I wasn't healing properly, the doc found in an MRI it was because my cervical spine was so unstable, it was causing all the problems in my lower extremities.

My advice to you. Find a qualified neurosurgeon and nothing less. They are well versed in spinal nerves in addition to the spinal column. If you don't believe you need the surgery, then wait. Your body will tell you if you need surgery because the pain will be absolutely unbearable & you will do anything to be rid of it, including surgery. Always get an MRI or something similar.

I went to a spine surgeon Fellow, the best in our community. As a result from my cervical spine surgery, I also suffer with gastroparesis, which is a partial paralysis of my digestive system. There are so many nerves in the cervical area. If I ever have to have spine surgery again, I will find the best neurosurgeon available- At Stanford or UCSF!

Best of luck to you.



Hi There,

Mine started with a slipped disc on my L4 L5 area. I had a shot to fix that. With all 4 of my MRI's since May they found that My C4 and C5 area requires surgery. I had no pain in that area. My spinal cord has almost no fluid going down my right side. I just started having pain in my right shoulder with some tingling in my right arm. I am scheduled for a ACDF. I am so nervous to have surgery but I have the best neurosurgeon in our state performing surgery. Mine is scheduled for 8 November. I also have numbness in my left leg from my hip to my knee. Why do I have Lumbar pain and all of my problems are really cervical. Just wanted to share my story. I am so stressed out...


Hi Mo,
Thank you for replying. I'm sorry to hear about your digestive issues and that you needed two surgeries -- that's definitely tough! For your C-spine surgery -- how many levels and how long before you could drive? Were you able to go back to work? I had Spine Doc # 2 visit last week (a spine neurosurgeon) and he confirmed the diagnosis. I was mistaken -- apparently I need a two level C-spine fusion; however, we are now making sure there are no other neuro issues so I had a brain MRI. Fortunately all good there but I'm on to yet another blood test and another nerve test....and I'm now working on Spine Doc #3. It's all so very scary and there is so much to plan. Thank you again for sharing your story - yet another risk exposed. And how interesting -- I never thought about the inter-relation and how stabilizing the C-spine could help with the L-spine?! - but it makes total sense. I hope that's true in my case! I could use a little relief in that region.