Husband wants surgery for cervical spinal stenosis

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My 52 year old husband has had numbness and tingling in his legs and arms - no pain.  His symptoms have changed and now feel his limbs are heavy, tired and weak.  NS has diagnosed him with C5-C7 spinal stenosis and want to give him a laminectomy.  The docs tell him that he will be back at work within 7-10 days. 

I am worried that surgery will not solve problem, and may make things worse.  Will he have more pain after surgery?  At present he requires no meds, has healthy sexual function, goes to work and often forgets about symptoms.  

What at can he expect after surgery which is scheduled for 2 days from now?

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  • Posted

    That's how my pain started but I didn't know the exact cause of the pain.  Took 5 years to get a correct diagnosis & by that time I could barely walk.  Maybe it's a little too soon for his surgery.  Only he knows how much pain he can handle.  Wouldn't rush into surgery as the recovery isn't that easy...I'm a month out and still having issues.  Not allowed to bend, twist, lift or stretch for items for 3 months.  
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  • Posted

    Hi Charlene,

    So sorry to hear about your husband's problems.  Welcome to the cycle of trying this and that and trying to find a solution.  I can't tell you whether or not he should have the surgery, but he definitely should have an MRI and a second opinion.  And check the reviews on the surgeon - see what other people say about him.  It's pretty easy  - just google - "reviews - name of surgeon" and you'll see.  A laminectomy is a pretty simple procedure, but I don't know about going back to work that quick.  It's still considered back surgery - and can require 6 weeks.  He definitely should not push going back to work.

    He should check into getting a neurostimulator.  They can be very effective in helping numbness and tingling in your legs. I'm not sure about the arms.  There's a new stimulator called the Nevro that my doctor has suggested for me, but I'm reading about people having lots of problems with that.  For now, I'm sticking with a sympathetic nerve block and a radio frequency ablation to help with the numbness and tingling in my foot.  I had one already that helped.  Perhaps he should try injections first.  

    To be honest with you, when my back problems started the surgeon was going to do 2 laminectomys - one at L3 and one at L5. Then he had problems at L5, and made things much worse - and I ended up having to have multiple fusions.  That shouldn't happen, it turned out my surgeon didn't know what he was doing!

    Good luck to you.  Be careful.

     

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    • Posted

      You wrote "There's a new stimulator called the Nevro that my doctor has suggested for me, but I'm reading about people having lots of problems with that. "

      I would really appreciate reading those accountings if at all possible.

      I am getting closer to having a pain reduction SCS implanted and want to make the best informed decision that I can possible make.

      Thanks for your time, Kilee

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  • Posted

    Sounds nice cut & dried, I'm over 5 weeks now, and it's impossible for me to go back to work, I hope for your hubbys sake it works out well, I was expecting the op would be the end of my probs, but it's getting me down now, the way it's turned out.

    did they offer him the nerve root blocking injections first? I thought they were a waste of time.

    the pain does start up as a gradual thing, but it will get worse in time, a lot of it, as mine is, down to degeneration , and the work you do in life, can play a factor, imo.

    hope it all ends up good, all the best.

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    • Posted

      Hi Stephen, I would definitely try the injections first.  I did have a bunch that did no good, but recently had a sympathetic nerve block that helped, so now they are going to do the radio frequency ablation - burning the nerve. That worked really really good for my boyfriend.

       

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    • Posted

      Sorry.i did have the injections, 7 I believe , in one session , found them to be non effective , as with all the drugs, tramadol, gabepentin etc, I expected so much from the surgery, and I'm just p*ssed off, that it ha sent worked, soon find out after the next mri scan.

      majority of posts on here, are on the negative side of things!, there must be a great deal of cases, where surgery has been a success , so I'm just gonna try and get on with what it throws at me, and remind myself, that there's a lot worse things people out there, are asked to face.

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    • Posted

      Boy, I sure understand where you came from. Before my 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th back surgeries, I must have had 20-25 injections that did nothing at all.  But now I have neuropathy in my foot and I was reluctant to try a sympathetic nerve block, but I did, and it did help my foot, so now I'm proceeding with the RFA.  You know your body best.  If tramadol is the strongest pain med you have, then you probably need something stronger like oxycodone.  Tramadol is a step above ibuprofen.  Good luck to you. I'm sure there are a lot of cases where surgery has been successful.  I was unable to walk upright and had to have a walker before my 2nd, 3rd, and 4th surgeries (done over a 2 day period).  It was just too bad that he damaged my femoral nerve in the process so now I have a deep aching and burning in my left thigh all the time.  I ask myself often if it was worth the trade-off.  I can walk now, but it hurts my back to walk around our block. And my L5-S1 fusion failed twice! So I can't sit for any length of time.  Take care and good luck to you!
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  • Posted

    Did he get an mri to get diagnosis? What type or surgery are they suggesting he have? I regret having my surgery. I had a micodisctectomy 1/2015. I am in back pain almost daily. I wish that I would have just continued with physical therapy and stretching. If he does not have pain and can walk, sleep eat and do other things, I would say that he should wait until the pain gets really bad.. Any procedure is invasive and not minor.. Good luck.
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    • Posted

      Hello Everyone.

      Thank you all for taking the time to respond to my post.

      My hubs is currently having his pre-op exam with the doc in prep for surgery tomorrow.  He told me this morning that he actually doesn't feel very bad -only a little weakness in his arm - much better than he did during the holidays.   I'm trying to emotionally detach from his decision because it seems  ill-considered - with potentially very negative consequences.  

      I've him on an anti-inflammatory Weston A. Price diet for the past 2 years, and he was doing really well until this past June when he pitched too much batting practice to our 16 year-old varsity baseball player son.  The throwing motion is hard on the body, and I suspect he jarred himself and just needs time to heal.  However, since his MRIs showed cervical spinal stenosis 2 years ago, he has been very anxious over every twinge, numbness, odd-feeling is just one step closer to paralysis.  He feels strongly that the surgery will stop any more deterioration in his body.  

      Fear is a strong motivator, and not something I can talk him out of.  I will do my best to support him and be positive for him as he embarks on this journey.

      I wish you all the best as your bodies continue to heal.

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    • Posted

      Hubs actually did heal over the summer from the baseball playing injury - well enough to go fly-fishing for salmon in Alaska for a week - where he (I'm guessing) overdid it again by fishing 12 hours/day.  After returning in September from that trip, his limbs have felt weak and heavy.  He can't consider any other explanation for his muscle fatigue other than the collapsing of his spine.  
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    • Posted

      The NS just told my hubs that he'll be able to resume regular activities soon after surgery - and that folks who have active jobs like farmers just go right back to work without problems.  Also, hubs asked if he'll need pt, the doc said maybe a little if his neck hurts after surgery.
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    • Posted

      Good luck to your husband. Doctors promise too much after surgery.  They say you can go HOE A FIELD after surgery!  HAH!  The only advice I can give is  not to push yourself too hard after surgery.  If it takes 6 weeks to recover, it takes 6 weeks, or it may take your husband 4 months.  Good luck to you both!.

       

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