Chronic Pain Support Group

Physicians and professionalsdefine pain as chronic if it lasts longer than three to six months and is persistent. It's distinct from acute pain that is a direct result of injury or trauma. This support group is dedicated to those suffering from chronic pain. Discuss treatments that have worked for you, find advice for your specific experience, and find support. You're not alone in your pain.

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Anterior Cervical Disectomy w/ fusion

I was told by the Dr. I went to see for my 2nd opinion that I am a candidate for surgery. I have seen a neurosurgeon that prescribed therapy, and meds. Then I saw a pain mgmt specialist and had 3 epidural shots. Now it has been about 3 weeks since the last shot. My neck is very uncomfortable, but is it so uncomfortable that I want to have this surgery?, If anyone has had this surgery please respond as I have no idea if I am doing the right thing. When he did his exam he tapped on my right arm and there was no response. I don't think I squeezed, pushed or pulled my arms during the test as hard as I could have, I would like to do that over. I wonder how much that test plays into the idea of surgery. My mri was plain as day showing the indentation into the spinal cord. ARGH!!!!


Mary

Replies

deleted_user
deleted_user

Mary, I haven't had it, but I'm thinking of you and wishing you the best. I hope you get some positive feedback and ease your mind. Ask your doctor how important that particular test was. If you have a clear indentation on the spinal cord, the surgery may give you relief. Just try to keep an open dialogue with your doctor and he'll do right by you. You deserve to feel better. Hugs, my friend. Kathy
deleted_user
deleted_user

C5 to 6. What would I change if I knew now what I didn't know then? I had no choice, total loss of function. I would have had them get the bone from a bone bank as my pelvis still hurts. They made me fuctional but not pain free. It has bee 10+ and the artheritis is terrible. This is the least of my pain problems, but when I awake wrong or drive a lot don't ask me then.

Hope you are O.K. and keep me posted I care...praying for you.
deleted_user
deleted_user

I haven't had surgery, but just wanted to let you know that I am thinking about you. I'm scared to death of surgery, just because of the horror stories I've heard about people having surgery, back surgery, or neck surgery, or whatever, and coming out in worse pain than they went in with.
deleted_user
deleted_user

Deciding on surgery is a very personal thing. I will tell you about mine and how it is doing and the effects on my life. I will neither recommend or not recommend surgery. C-6,7 & C-6,5 that's the bump at the back of your neck, along with nerves to pinky, ring and thumb. Oh and your funny bone.

BTW, if you want the story, I have an anterior double cervical fusion with plating and six screws.

If you decide on surgery. I have a list of things you will need at home to prepare your house so that you can get around better, and heal quicker.

Doug/Ouch
deleted_user
deleted_user

Doug, I am leaning towards having the surgery so I would really appreciate any information you could give me. I am very scared, there are so many horrible side effects.


Thank you,

Mary
JohnK
JohnK

Mary,
I had anterior fusion surgery in 2001. If you have spinal cord compression I think you have strongly consider getting it done - I am not a doctor though I had cord compression and if I did not have the surgery I would be much worse off. The longer the spinal cord is compressed the better the chance of permanent damage. I had my own hip bone used for the fusion. My hip hurt for a week but I was told it is safer than using cadavior a bone. There are now artificial discs. Spine health .com has alot of information on this. Most importantly get a good surgeon at a good hospital. I was back to work 3 weeks after the surgery. I still have alot of neuropathic pain but that is because I probally had the disc compressing on my cord for about 1 to 2 years before I was diagnosed with a herniated disc. My problem is that I had no neck pain. God Bless...
deleted_user
deleted_user

Mary,

Ask away, all questions will be answered honestly.

Doug/Ouch
deleted_user
deleted_user

If you decide on surgery. I have a list of things you will need at home to prepare your house so that you can get around better, and heal quicker. (Doug), This is what I was interested in Thanks.
Also, thinking of cancelling the surgery due to the push/pull with your arms, and the squeeze the fingers test. I wish I knew how much this test means to the surgery. I held back on the pushing, pulling, and the squeezing his fingers.
deleted_user
deleted_user

The push pull, and the squeeze the fingers test is used to determine strength and loss of muscle and nerve reflex. I think the reason they do it, since it is really bull$*&% is to gauge your facial expressions and look for indications of pain.

A nerve conduction study is what will really tell the answer.

Since I will be having at least 12 injections with my epidurals and Pink demands that i take the whole day in bed, i will compose a prep and how to prepare letter similar to the one i did for epidurals. You will receive it via message system and this thread hopefully on Wednesday.

I stayed two nights in the hospital with my double fusion. The hard part was the sore throat since they have to use a breathing tube, then push your windpipe to the side. Chloraseptic helps and ice. But by the time you go home you should be much happier.

I promise that I will be there for you every step of the way, hold your hand, and help you through any moments of indecision and answer all your questions. You are not alone. Myself and everyone here will comfort you pray for you.

Doug/Ouch
deleted_user
deleted_user

How Best to Prepare Yourself and Your Home Prior to Surgery of the Spine

Cervical Guide

When the time comes to set your date for surgery, you should ask your surgeon about all of you options. Knowing your options, and understanding completely what is going to happen is paramount. It is important that you feel well informed and comfortable with your choice.

One of the most important questions you can ask prior to any hardware being installed is if it will hold. A simple bone density test can be scheduled at this time. Many doctors fail to tell patients, that despite how dense your bone is that screws can shift with time. They shift like a windshield washer blade. This is rare, but you should be informed of this. Note; after surgery, CT Scans show hardware very well.

You will be required to go for a pre-op physical, during this exam an EKG, chest x-ray, and blood work will be done. Make sure that one of the blood tests is a bleed rate. The exam is most often performed within 7 days of surgery.

I want to discuss a touchy subject, a medical directive or living will along with a proxy to make medical decisions for you. When you are pre registering with the hospital, they will ask you if you have one. You must bring copies of them with you when you go to the hospital. A copy should also be on file with your primary care physician as well.

Preparing your home for your return

You will need a few things to help your neck and throat heal quicker and provide you less pain. Several small gel packs should be frozen to help reduce swelling in your throat. Cloraseptic spray will come in handy to numb the throat as well. A thermometer to check for post-operative infections and tintature of arnica. Tintiture of Arnica can be purchased from any good health food store, and is an excellent aid in the promotion of healing. It is a must have if you are a smoker, and a bonus if you are not.

Place all the toiletries you will need on the bathroom counters. Do not forget towels, toilet paper (although you can bend you do not want to strain your neck looking for things). Have two cups next to the sink, one to rinse and one to spit into.

In the kitchen, place all your items again on the counters. All boxed and canned goods, along with pots and pans you may want. It is a good idea to pre make and freeze several meals with bite sized pieces (it will hurt to swallow solid food for a few days). Eat plenty of dark leafy vegetables.

In the bedroom, pajamas clothes DVDs (pre rent from a service like NetFlix) books, etc should all be within reach on a dresser. Do not forget your meds. You never want to have to hunt for anything. Buy yourself something new and comfortable, even if it is only socks. Make your bed with new linen prior to leaving for the hospital; clean fresh crisp sheets make us feel better. Do your best to surround yourself with luxury (it helps the spirit, and promotes a fast recovery).

Keep a pain journal; log your pain scale meds and times. If you run a fever, call the doctor immediately. Drink cold drinks with a bendable straw for a few days. Heat expands, and you need to reduce the swelling.

The reason I keep mentioning swelling of the throat, is that once in the operating room you will be given a breathing tube, an incision will be made on the side of your throat at about the collar line. Your windpipe will be moved out of the way so that the surgeon may visualize the cervical spine. Swelling and a sore throat is inevitable, but not any worse than a regular sore throat.

There are probably so many things, I could come up with, or others who have had this procedure. However, this covers all the highlights. Remember once home, walk often, rest well, surround yourself with comfortable things and you will heal just fine.

Good luck,

Doug/Ouch
deleted_user
deleted_user

Nerve conduction study? What is that?
To be blunt. Should I cancel the surgery since I did not pull or push my arms as hard as I could with the test or the squeezing of his finger. I know I didn't squeeze as hard as I should have.
What would ya'll do?
Thanks in advance.

Mary
starflower
starflower

Mary, since your MIR showed spinal cord compression, I would NOT cancel the surgery. It sounds like regardless of the tests the neurosurgeon did that you need the surgery. I know it is nerve wracking and scary to have surgery, but you will feel so much better afterwards and the more positive you are going into it the better the outcome!
deleted_user
deleted_user

It is where they stick you with little needles hooked up to a machine to measure the nerves signal strength. Not painful, but a good indicator. Since you have one done by the same person say 6 months after surgery and see if things are better, same or worse.

Second thoughts about surgery and surgery in general is a scary thing. Learn all you can about what is being done specifically and have confidence in the doctor, you will be fine.

Doug/Ouch

Doug/Ouch
JohnK
JohnK

Mary,
I have to agree with Starflower. If you have spinal cord compression you are risking paralysis, bladder problems, chronic nerve pain, etc...This is not meant to scare you but to help you. I had a nerve conduction test before and after my c5-6 fusion and both tests told me I was normal (or atlease within a normal range). A friend just had c6-7 surgery 3 weeks ago. Last Friday he was coaching first base on our little league team. He also had an artificial disc installed. Ask you neurologist and or surgeon about these things. You are getting excellent advise on this forum ...God Bless
SnappySam
SnappySam

Ten years have passed since these posts. Anyone with more recent surgery? Mine is scheduled in ten days and i would appreciate any home recovery tips.
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