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Contemplating Surgery in March ACDF C-4 through C-7

Started by StaceB on 01/19/2016 8:24pm

So, I have had mild to moderate neck pain for years and just attributed it to a gym injury. Then several months ago I started having numbness and tingling in my fingers as well as pain in my right arm. Fast forward to an MRI and was Dx with degenerative disc disease. I had 6 weeks of PT twice a week with no improvement. I could live with my symptoms, but do not want to have this progress. I am very active and in otherwise good shape. Any thoughts? They would like to do a two level fusion . I did get a second opinion. Any advise is appreciated.

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I'm in the same state but the pain in my right shoulder and arm is unbearable when I' m active. It has been going on for two weeks or more and I've had 3 chiropractic adjustments with no improvement. I'm thinking of trying a steroid injection.

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Are you considering surgery? Which discs are involved?

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I also have degenerative disc disease, and had an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion of C5-C7 in Sept. of 2014. I had tried many non-surgical treatments over several years: Heat, ice chiropractic, physical therapy (several times), facet injection, traction, pain management doc, etc., etc. but DDD is progressive, so eventually my discs degenerated so much that I was suffering from bone on bone pain. My surgery was very successful, and my pain has been reduced by about 95%. Everyone's situation, pain, and recovery are different. But I am glad to have found relief from surgery! That said, this is a major surgery that requires many months of recovery. My advise to you would be: try everything non-surgical first, find the best neurosurgeon you can, stop smoking (it reduces success in bone fusion!), and commit to recovery and finding a new "normal" in your lifestyle. Surgery does not cure DDD, but it can reduce your pain and make life MUCH better. Best wishes for your recovery!

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So Surgery set for March 17. Two level fusion C4-5 and C6-7. I keep watching the utube videos and scaring myself. I also don't understand why so many people video their recovery - do the physicians ask them to do that for other patients? I do a Les Mills weight lifting class 3 times a week and I am concerned I won't be able to do that for a long time. Have any of you had experience with that?

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Good luck with your surgery! Please remember that degenerative disc disease is progressive ... Surgery doesn't cure it, and you may have addl issues down the road. But it can reduce the risk of permanent nerve damage in those areas and relieve your pain.

You need to talk to your neurosurgeon about the weight training classes. The titanium plates they insert to hold your vertebrae in place while your bones fuse together are strong, but brittle ... They can and do break from stress! You will likely need to realistically establish a new "normal" in terms of activity ... One that will protect your spine and reduce your risk of further damage.

As for YouTube videos -- I suspect people make them because recovery from this surgery can be very, very boring!! It's major surgery, even though the scars are small -- and it will totally exhaust you for some months. Take your pain meds regularly at first to stay ahead of the pain, and definitely ask for muscle relaxants because you will have some severe spasms for quite a while as your body recovers. Heat or ice can be a big help, too.

Best wishes!

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I am so in the same place as you StaceB. Not planning any surgery yet. My sister calls it osteoarthritis of the spine. I haven't heard it called degenerative disc disease. Same thing? I have endured osteoarthritis in my hip for many years, experiencing it as attack episodes that would then back off and be mostly pain free for months and even years. I got a hip replacement 5 years ago when I was under such stress and teaching full time. I'm hoping this pain in my neck will subside with my own efforts at reducing stress and changing expectations of my capacity for strenuous activity. I am 70 so it is good to slow down, pay attention, and dwell in harmony with my reality. Today I am most grateful that I feel no pain as I type this message! E.

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Hi everyone, I'm currently on the waiting list for surgery for a single level acdf at the c6c7 .i have also watched the YouTube videos and yes the surgery does scare me but because the hernia tion is causing my spinal cord to be crushed and also the level 7 nerves my ns has told me that surgery is my best shot of some kind of normal life. I have done all the reading and research and second and third opinions while the whole thing scares me I have finally become comfortable with the idea of having the surgery.

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So I am 4 weeks out from my surgery today! The first 2 weeks were tough, but everyday I am stronger. I would like to think that because I took care of myself before surgery, it has helped with my recovery. I quit the pain medicine (except at bedtime) on day 6. I starting walking on day two outside a few houses down and increasing to 3 miles by day 7. I now try to walk 4-5 miles everyday. This may be way too much for some, but I was very active before surgery. It also helps with sleeping. I still take a nap or lay down most days in the afternoon. Sleeping at night in this hard brace is the worst. I wake up several times and so the quality of sleep is not too good (hence the naps). The first two weeks were also difficult in terms of eating/swallowing, but that has pretty much resolved. It does still feel like I have something stuck in my throat, but I am able to eat anything I want. I do still have some nerve pain, but was told that may take a while to resolve. Post Op visit is next week and I will see what the Doc has to say. Be patient and do not overdue.

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I am waiting to see a surgeon. I have tried the conservative route but it didn't work. I am active, too, normally so just want it fixed.

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