Any advice much appreciated

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I have had a bad back for almost 10 yrs ( used to be a carer ) Mri showed a prolapse disc few years ago but now after new Mri have spinal cord compression C4/5 to C5/6 consultant hasn't explained the operation cervical decompression well all he said was what could go wrong ! Though apparently the op won't clear my pain in lower back very confused and worried as don't do operations easily but lack of knowledge not helping thank you

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  • Posted

    Just had spinal decompression & fusion to L4 L5 ...My advice is find the very best surgeon.  I had no hesitation b/c I was down to 10% mobility.  So far so good.
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    • Posted

      Thanks for answering seeing him again on Thursday so hoping he will be more informative this time ! The thing I don't understand at the moment majority of my Pain is in lower back which he days he can't do ar the moment my doc days it's because of the spinal is more serious so concentrating on that !
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  • Posted

    Hi Mary,

    Please try not to worry, though I understand that is easier said than done. I have had a bad lower back for many years, and then shoulder - eventually the shoulder and arm went completely and MRI showed prolapsed disc at C6/7 in my neck. All my other issues are related to this as you'd be surprised how the body overcompensates to protect what it knows is a problem, before maybe even we do. An injury caused mine to go completely. I still have lower back problems, but physio, pilates and massage helps. HOWEVER, I had an ACDF (anterior cervical discectomy and fusion) last April, during which they also decompressed by removing osteophytes (bits of stuff affecting the nerve root and spinal canal). They inserted a carbon fibre cage into my neck where the disc used to be, with the idea being that will fuse over time and stabilise. It has. They were very clear with me that it may not clear up all my pain (though my arm is a LOT better), but it will prevent further damage and it getting worse. 

    Long story short, I was petrified - there are risks and they are very scary. However, they are rare. I can now use my arm and hand, which I wouldn't have been able to eventually, and although I have some residual nerve damage and musculo-skeletal issues just through being 'out of sync' for so long, I am a lot better than I was. It was entirely the right thing to do.

    It is a difficult operation to recover from simply because it is quite traumatic for your body - be prepared for discomfort and extreme tiredness. Don't let anyone push you too hard - listen to your body. There are guidelines on recovery, but everyone is different. Follow ALL advice from your surgeon but also your physio - they are the ones that really help with post op recovery and I couldnt have managed without mine - she is a star. No lifting etc, walk daily, STAY POSITIVE (can't emphasise what a difference this one makes).

    Lastly, please don't be afraid to ask your surgeon questions. They are there to answer them, not just perform the surgery. I found mine very abrupt and almost rude to start with, but i persevered and eventually found a link with him. I then made a list of every single question I had and he answered them all. This is a big deal so don't be scared to ask.

    I don't know whether you will have an ACDF, but spinal decompression is part of that and it's likely that you will. However, rather than make assumptions you must talk to the experts. Ask them exactly what the operation is and how it will work. Don't over-read though. Remember, people only tend to post their frustrations and bad experiences - we don't often talk about the good things.

    I hope this has helped, even just a tiny bit. Wishing you all the best.

    x

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    • Posted

      Thank you so much for your input much appreciated hoping he will explain more on Thursday all he basically said last time was what could go wrong " you could lose your life be paralysed etc etc so guess just been mellowing over it ! In so much pain just want it to be over only been married 6 weeks and can't even be proper wife as he had to do most of what I should be doing !
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  • Posted

    First thing I will tell you, when dealing with cervical spine issues do not deal with an orthopedic surgeon. Consult a nourosurgoen. There is a huge difference. If compression is the only problem you have options. However if you are have sharp pain into your shoulder and a lot of numbness in the left arm there is a bulging disc pressing on the spinal nerve. Your age also plays a huge factor. Generally people under 45 are not the ideal candidates for cervical spine surgery unless absolutely needed due to the changes the spine goes through from 30 to 45 such as natural stynosis or narrowing of the spinal collum and degeneration of disc. When I first showed problems in 2012 I was sent to an orthopedicsurgeon. I was told from c2-c7 showed heavy degenerative disc disease at 33. But a fusion of my c5&c6 should hold me for 8 to 10 yrs. By 2014 I was still in extream pain and sent to a nourosergeon who was astonished that more repair was not done. First fusion may 17 2012 cadaver bone was used. May 26 2014 I was fused c4-c7 with a bone graft. This is where they remove bone from your hip for the fusion. I no longer deal with the numbness but have more surgery's to look forward to as well as a life or pain management. You can skip the surgery and deal with injections and pain meds or surgery that my fix the problem after a long recovery. But some do deal with postoperative pain which is a life of pain management. But as I said if compression is the only issue in the cervical explore and try every option before surgery. This is a life altering surgery. Good luck as this will be a hard roed despite the direction you chose to go.
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  • Posted

    Hi Mary:

    I have written several posts on this and I have stated a number of things where I am regarding pain, stimulators, surgeries, etc.  Rather than list many here, I thought you can go to my posts on zzmel77.  That should bring up my posts.  I am sorry to hear that you are having all this pain and sometimes, it is hard enough for us to deal with it.  There are days mostly enduring very bad pain and sometimes it does lessen.  I also experience a doubling up type of pain where I am unable to function.  That is when I take another dose of an narcotic.  Even that for so many years don't work well anymore.  Longivity of opiates causes to change to something different and you know that doctors now don't prescribe larger doses as in the past.  The controls have become tight because of misuse.  Also doctors don't want to get into trouble with the law and possible malpractice.  I see where they stand on these issues and they have to protect themselves.  Does that help us any.  Probably not as we have to deal with all this pain and it seems no one is out there to really help to deal with it.  There is so much talk now about a holistic approach and alternative medicine.  Holistic sounds fine but you have to be ready to do it.  Right now I am trying meditation and self hypnosis.  It works to relax me and deal with some of the pain.  It is not conclusive though as the pain returns but I guess you have to consider that lessening the pain for a few hours is better than experiencing a lot of pain.  Any relief would be great.  I have spinal stenosis, nerve damage arthritic psiorisis, and who knows what else. Oh yes, I have add now that I have urinary incontinence at times.  Aging doesn't help either.  Everyone here hopes for a miracle but there are none.  It is all determination on how to deal with the pain and educate yourself in trying to try other methods to help lesson the pain.  I wish I can give you alternative resources but I am not allowed to promote it.  That is what I heard from the monitors here.  No names of anything specific but you can generalize.  So, take a look at what I said on my posts and research it out on your computer and you will find a wealth of information out there.  I found out you have to be your own advocate.  What I tend to do is post frequently, feel the empathy of what they are going through and hopefully many will respond to me.  Don't expect that you will get tons of responses but just a few does help.  It gives you insight of whats out there and can gain more control.  I like to write as y ou can well see.  I have developed a comradere with some but we are all in the same boat with different diseases or ailments and conditions.  Thats it for now and hope to hear from you.  My best and have happy holiday.

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