Surgery & c5/6 foraminal stenosis

Posted , 22 users are following.

Hi all.

I'm new to all this so please bear with me.

I've recently been diagnosed with cervical stenosis with intermittant radiculopathy. I've seen a neurological surgeon who said if they operate it would deal with the tingling in my arm but not the pain in my neck, shoulder, arm and back. The pain is my main problem as its really affecting my life. He seemed to give very little solution to the pain. I'm on gabapentin, amiteiptaline, cocodamol etc but these are having little effe t. Does anyone know if surgery could cure the pain? If there is a cure I would rather look into it than continuing in pain and on pills that aren't working.

Any feedback would be hugely appreciated as I'm at a loss as what to do.next

Thanks Lori x

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  • Posted

    I'm on most of that med as well I have disc degeneration in c5-c6 and bone spurs and due to pain in back, buttocks and back of legs Dr thinks my back has something wrong too. I'm due to c a specialist in 3 weeks and same as u as hear surgery is high risk but pain & radiating arm pain is taking over. It's awful but hope u get some answers xx
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  • Posted

    Hi Lori

    I'm on the same medication as you and also find it doesn't help. I was diagnosed with CS and spinal stenosis in April 2014 after a MRI scan. I had been suffering with the pain for over a year at that point. It was a bit of a shock as I'm only 35 but after the acupuncturist lady told me she could feel a lump in the back of my neck last March I knew it wasn't just stress. Last September I had a series of cortisol and nerve block injections around the area as they couldn't inject them directly into the damaged area as they said there was only a 2mm gap. I found they didn't help at all and if anything I have more nerve pain with sciatica too now. In October I agreed to have surgery. My consultant said I will need two operations and I'm going for the first pre op tomorrow and will then be admitted on Thursday before having the operation on Friday morning. I'm really nervous about it but got some great advice off another person on here called Cheshireguy who had already been through the surgery. I like you would rather opt for a long term option than take lots of tablets all the time. Have you been given the option to have the injections? They didn't help me but I've read that others have benefited from them so may be worth a try for you before surgery? Hope this helps, A

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  • Posted

    Thanks so much for ur advise. I'm only 31 so I'm shocked by the problems I've got. I feel like I've got the back of an 80yr old! I wish u all the very best with ur surgery. Pls let us know how it all goes when ur up to it xx
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    • Posted

      I know exactly how you feel it's hard as it drains your energy too plus people think you look okay but don't see the pain! Thanks I will let you know I get on xx
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    • Posted

      Hi well I had a ACDF operation on C5/6 and a cage fitted. My throat is very sore and I have pain in that area but more down the back of my neck and upper back. I'm still getting the nerve pain and numbness in my arms (mostly left side) but was told that would be the case and that it will take 12-18 months for the new nerves to settle down. My consultant said it may feel worse the first few months but it should improve. On the plus side they are going to regularly review me after they decided to not also operate on the damaged area at C6/7 last week plus they want to see how the stenosis is affecting me. Fingers crossed I feel better soon xxx
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    • Posted

      Hi Syd.

      Thanks so much for getting back to us

      I'm so glad it went ok. Sorry to hear you're in pain but suppose its to be expected. Hope you make a speedy recovery and this is the start of moving forward.

      Please keep us updated of your recovery.

      Outof interest what area are you from and where did you have surgery? Xx

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    • Posted

      Pleased it went OK bet your relived its over, can't believe it takes that long for nerves to feel better. I've been offered surgery but the thought petrifies me, your so brave well done. How long will u be out of action? Hope the pain doesn't last too long for you take it easy xxx

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    • Posted

      Thanks Kelly I just thought if it saves me from taking lots of pills and helps a bit then it will be worth it ;-) Told by my consultant to have a 8 week recovery period off work. I'm looking forward to getting the bandage off my neck on Friday and stiches clipped at the ends as its very tight on my neck so is uncomfortable more than anything xxx
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    • Posted

      Hi Lori I'm in the north west and would love to tell you where I had it done but were not allowed to say on here however I can say they were amazing at the hospital where I went. I believe its the leading one in the country? Yes I'm looking forward to the benefits of my surgery and hopefully less pain. I have a 3 month post op appointment so should be a lot better at that point. Hope you find some relief for your pain too xx
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    • Posted

      Hello Syd.

      I had exactly the same operation as you five weeks ago! I still have a very sore neck which I'm told is muscle spasm. Can't start the physiotherapy until the 6 week mark is up. How are you doing now? Tell me the pain eases up please!! I had hoped I would wake up pain free, but that was optimistic! I had the symptoms for 2 years before the operation so they told me it will take time for it to ease up. The mornings are the worse when I wake up. I haven't worn a collar at all which is probably why it is so bad in the morning. xx

       

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    • Posted

      Hi Brevis, its good to hear from someone who has had the same op as me. I feel exactly how you feel and too was hoping to feel alot better after the op. I started to feel pain in 2013 but thought it was lack of sleep and stress. When I was diagnosed I was advised to not wear a neck collar but to keep the area warm and flexible. I have invested in a spinal pillow and new bed which helps to a point now. I have been too scared to do any exercising or full on physio incase it harms the cage or neck but have been doing the physio exercises recommended by the hospital. At the pre op ( two days before my op ) I was told that it would take 12-18 months for the new nerves to settle down which was disappointing to say the least especially as I've been told they may need to operate on C4/5 and will monitor me with the stenosis. Have you got any other problem areas too? How long was you advised it will take to feel any benefit? I just wish I could wake up feeling normal again without any pain if you know what I mean?! Hope you get better soon xx
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    • Posted

      I say that so many times! I wish I could wake up without anything hurting! I still have nerve pain down my arm, but was told that since I had the symptoms for 2 years, it would take a while to settle down. I'm due back at work the week after next but just don't think I'm ready yet. I'm trying to be positive, but the constant neck pain is really depressing. Which pillow did you get?

       

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    • Posted

      The pillow is by Healthbeds and is a quote...Luxury Talalay Latex Pillow Low Profile. I bought it at the bed warehouse when I purchased a new bed. I too find the pain gets me down and depressed but think I would be worse if I wasn't taking Amitrypilin at night which is a anti depressant but is also prescribed to help with nerve pain! This may be a good option for you as unlike Gabapentin I haven't had any bad side effects off it apart from having to drink more water as it can give you a bit of a thirst sometimes. How are you feeling now? I'm still struggling with pain but at week 6 now so still hoping it will get better.
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    • Posted

      Thank you for the details of the pillow. I have taken Amitryptillyn, Gabapentin, the works! I take Mirtazipene which does the same thing and makes me drowsy so I can get a decent night's sleep. I'm actuatlly taking 2mg of Diazepam in the mornings which really helps with the muscle spasms. I will be at the 6 week mark on Monday so just behind you! I've just had my physiotherapy assessment with a fantastic physio who said my pain is all muscle spasms and he will help me release them. I'm not very patient - like you, I had hoped I would be out of pain by now. Are you due to have physio as well?

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    • Posted

      I found the Gabapentin made me feel quite queasy so tried Pregabalin which was better. I have started on 2mg doses of Diaxepan in the morning and afternoon which the doctor gave me on Monday to help with the muscle spasms too! I was given physio exercises to do at home but no physical physio like you which would have been great as I'm quite stiff in the neck at the moment.
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    • Posted

      The mornings are terrible. I suppose it's because I've been in the same position for most of the night. I'm still finding that going in a vehicle sets off the nerve pain in my arm again. I was told that it would take time to heal since it had been like that for 2 years. Do you have the same problem?

       

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    • Posted

      Yes I do find it very hard in the morning. Like you said I agree it's because you are not moving as much in your sleep. The spinal nurse told me to not stay in the same position for longer than an hour which is harder than you think it would be to achieve sometimes. I have only just started to drive this past week to go to my mums which is about 10 minutes away but like you I have found that the nerve pain has increased in my shoulder, arms and hands especially the left side!
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    • Posted

      I had physio today which set everything off again. Dreadful nerve pain down my arm and awful neck pain again. I thought it was supposed to help! I can't understand how I still have nerve pain since there is now nothing to compress it! I haven't been brave enough to drive as yet. I can just about sit upright in a car which I couldn't do for nearly 2 years! How are you doing? Any advice?

       

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    • Posted

      I know what you mean about the physio, I'm guessing it's all down to the new nerves around the cage and fusion area? Well I'm hoping it is that but if so I really hope it doesn't take 12-18 months for it to settle down! I have drove to my mums house which is 10 minutes away but its very hard as I can't move my neck around alot to look behind or to rear right or left if you know what I mean because it hurts like hell. I'm due back in work on Tuesday 24th March as 8 week recovery period up then so have to get back to work and some kind of normality but dreading the hour drive in (on a good traffic day) and then back again. I have good days where I'm feeling stronger as in can manage to block the pain and think there are worse people than me and then there are days when I'm not able to block out the pain and it gets me down. The thing I find the hardest is when people ask are you not better now like it should be fixed and look at you like there's nothing wrong with you. You can probably tell from my rant that I'm having a bad day! Sorry for not being able to give you any helpful information but atleast you know that I know exactly what you are going through, hope you are feeling a bit better today?
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    • Posted

      I've had a couple of really lousy days. I'm sure it's muscle spasm, but it is so, so painful. Right up the side of my neck to the back of my ears. Impossible to rub anything in to soothe it. I can't even imagine going back to work - just getting through the day is nearly killing me. I felt so depressed over the week-end. I just hoped the operation would fix everything. I've had this pain for over two years. You are not alone!

       

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    • Posted

      I've just been given some different tablets by the GP to help with the muscle spasms. I think they're called methocarbamol. They do seem to help but not with the nerve pain which I'm still getting in my arm. Do you still have nerve pain? NOTHING touches that pain! How are you doing?

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    • Posted

      Thanks for the message it is reassuring to hear that I'm not the only one who is suffering from the muscle spasms and nerve pain which doesn't help you or me but it's nice to know someone else understands the pain we are dealing with all the time. I don't find anything hits the pain anymore as I think my body has got used to the painkillers or the pain has just got worse! I've never heard of methocarbamol but glad to hear it helps you with the spasms atleast. I have constant nerve pain from my neck down my back, shoulders and arms. Tonightmy neck is tthrobbing and has resulted in a severe migraine type pain in my head. Just had a bath to try and relax but it didn't help. I had a meeting with my manager and union guy yesterday about me doing a phased hours return to work in a weeks timewwhich is the end of the 8 week recovery period recommended by the hospital. I'm not looking forward to going back to work but been on half pay since the op as I was off work last year for five months. I'm not bothered about the money but I think I have to be realistic as I could have this pain for the next 12-18 months or longer so have to go back to work at some point anyway. Work have a nightmare as last year I was working 60 hour weeks and when I was diagnosed with this advising my manager I had too much work and was struggling on the medication too she did nothing. Two weeks later I broke down in my doctors who signed me off and recommended a OH referral and reasonable adjustments at work I.e supportive chair. It took them 5 months to do that so my doctor didn't sign me back until they were done. A week before this op the higher boss said on review of my complaint about this she would sign off some of my sick as DAL. Two days later s H e said they couldn't as a independent OH guy said they couldn't. I'm now having to go to a tribunal about it on my return as they won't give me any DAL for this period of sickness and I have to on princtoff how I've been treated. It's been very stressful! Sorry for rabbiting on. I feel bad sometimes about moaning about the pain as one girl I work with is off having chemo but then I think it's me who has to live with this pain every day. Sorry for the rant again!
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    • Posted

      You rant as much as you like! I've been in such pain today I've made an appointment to go back to the Pain Consultant. I just don't know if it's muscles, everything healing or what. I just can't imagine going back to work at the moment. I can barely get through the day. I haven't driven for 2 years! No idea when I can get back in the car. I've had loads of time off work in the last two years and I feel so bad about it.  One girl I work with is having chemo as well! I often think of her and realise this is not a terminal illness BUT as you say, we have to live with this terrible pain. Keep in touch.

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    • Posted

      Thanks its good that you understand how it feels alot of people think that because you've had an operation that you are fixed so to speak! Hope your pain consultant helps you to get some more pain relief. I'm not sure how I'm going to manage with work especially as I can't take the diaxepan then as I will have to drive to work . I'm dreading going back but living on my own I have to support myself so it's a matter of just getting on with it. I've started to get more pain in my right side now too so looking forward to seeing my consultant on 31st March for the post op review. Is your work ok with you being off so long or are they pushing you to return? My bosses don't understand how it affects me no matter how much I try to explain it. I'm just trying to stay positive although some days are worse than others as you know.
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    • Posted

      The pain consultant was useless. Told me I need to go to relaxation classes and do some mindfulness to hellp cope withthe pain. I'm going to go bacck to the specialist on MOnday even though I only saw him two weeks ago. It will be 8 weeks for me then, (I must be one week ahead of you) I just want to be reassured that this is normal and that it's just muscles or the healing process. I've had so much time off work - not just this year but in the last two years. I think they would just like me to resign. I'm not going to, but I'm worried sick about it. Some days I can just about get through the days doing nothing at home!  I'm right there with you! Keep in touch

       

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    • Posted

      I'm sorry to hear the pain consultant wasn't helpful but hopefully you got some answers from the specialist on Monday? I'm really hoping that it was a positive outcome for you as it will give me some hope too that feeling like this is the normal healing process and not just how it's going to be forever. I see my consultant next Tuesday so hoping for the same news as it's getting harder every day. Today was my first day back at work, well I say day it was 4 hours in work but nearly two hours too for the commute there and back. It was lovely to see everyone but I found it very hard too. Myneck and back went into spasm on the drive back and I felt like I needed someone to walk on my back tonight. One of the hardest things was when people made comments like oh you look ok are you fixed now plus then explaining I still have a lot of pain but could have it for quite some time. Don't get me wrong I would prefer to not be in work with the way I feel but I can't afford to not be. I've just took some more painkillers as the Amatrypilin is not helping at all, hopefully I will nod off soon.
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    • Posted

      Good to hear from you. I was in tears when I went back to see the consultant. He said it WILL get better.... it takes 3-6 months for the fusion to take place. I just have to keep positive.  I think the physiotherapist is helping me a bit - he is trying to release all the knotted muscles. No manipulation, just gentle massage. Can you find someone near you who is experienced in dealing with spinal surgery recovery? I am taking Tramadol and Diazepan every day. It just about takes the edge off. I think you are incredibly brave to drive to work, but you obviously don't have a choice. I haven't driven for 2 years! I'll probably get the bus into work. I have about 2 weeks to go before I go back. I've also been rubbing Biofreeze into my neck first thing in the morning. A bit sticky, but I wipe it off once it has absorbed. It's really good to hear from you and compare notes. Do you have a hot pad to lie on? That is my saviour! Hang on in there!

       

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    • Posted

      That's great news about the consultants advice, I was giving up on it getting any better before the 12-18 months mark so thank you for letting me know about it, you have given me hope. I'm going to ask my consultant next Tuesday if I can see a physio at the hospital or if he could recommend somewhere as I've had massages before now by a lady by mine but I don't think she is a specialist in spine stuff just homeopathy type treatments. I wish I could take the diaxepan still as it would really help but as I'm driving it's not possible now. Thanks for your kind words as I don't feel brave so it was lovely to read that. I'm going to try biofreeze too now. What do you mean by a hot pad? I hope you are feeling a bit better today, stay strong I am with you all the way.
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    • Posted

      If you look on Amazon, you'll see a Beurer Electronic Heat Pad. You plug it in and lie on it. Bliss! Most days I lie on this as I find the heat very soothing.

      Do you think you could snap the Diazepan in half? I do that sometimes before I go to sleep. Perhaps on a day when you're not working you could try it and see if it makes you drowsy or not. I've just spoken to the lady in Yorkshire who had the same operation 3 years ago. She said that she knew someone who was in real pain for 6 months after the operation and now she travels one hour on a train to work and back with no problems.  I have to keep thinking of these people as it helps me to stay sane!  I drove 10 mins today into the town and back again. First time in 2 years! I figured that as I was so sore anyway, it wouldn't make any difference! Please let me know what your consultant says next week. Any advice you can give me would be great!

       

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    • Posted

      Hi there. We went to see friends today in the car. I was a passenger for about an hour each way and my neck and back are SO sore. Do you have a back rest in the car? How do you manage to drive to work? I'm getting really desperate. I can't imagine EVER being able to travel in a car again without the terrible pain.

       

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    • Posted

      Thanks for the advice about the heat pad I will definitely look into it. I have been looking online at Homedics Back Massagers but also ones that include neck massager. There are so many I don't know what is best! I'm going to ask my consultant on Tuesday what he would recommend! My Auntie has cervical spondylosis and has a homedics neck and back massager seat thing that she said helps so it can't hurt I guess as she's got bolts in her spine now too! The only problem with taking any diaxepan is that the police can do you for driving on drugs now and my chemist has a big notice about it so I will have to just try to manage the pain with painkillers and make sure I eat with them. I know what you mean about driving, I think the same but I do find the more I drive the pain is worse. I think as a passenger it is worse because your not controlling the car and get moved around involuntary if you get what I mean. I hope you are feeling a bit better tonight and get a good night's sleep. I'm dreading work tomorrow but atleast I am off on Tuesday and hopefully get some more answers then too. If you have any questions you think may help us let me know as I am making a list so I don't forget and use the time wisely as I always think of something afterwards!
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    • Posted

      It's so good to hear from you - just to know that someone is in the same boat as me. Please let me know what your consultant says. I just want to know if this is the healing process, if it is muscle spasm, how long it takes to settle etc etc. I'm finding the Tramadol makes me very dizzy so I don't think I can take that for much longer. I take your point about the diazepam.  I had a long car journey yesterday and just couldn't get comfortable. I'm sure that's why I'm so sore today. Can you ask him if a Back Friend is a good idea for the car, or what he would suggest? I can't get the position right...  Please let me know how you get on!

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    • Posted

      It certainly is good to talk to you and know I'm not alone. I will ask him about the back friend which is a great question. I'm just thinking how people used to have bead things in their car. I'm leaving now with my list so wish me luck!
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    • Posted

      please let me know what he says. I'm just so relieved that someone else is in the same boat as me. I'm really struggling. Good luck! is there any chance I can send you an e-mail privately?

       

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    • Posted

      Hi Brevis, sorry for the late reply and thanks for thinking of me yesterday. I woke up with terrible stomach pains and a temperature then vomiting and diarrhoea all day so asked my dad to go with me to see the consultant incase I started being sick in there he could make sure I got the answers I wanted! I asked about the back friend and was told they are going to refer me to a physio to do more in depth treatment now that I've passed the initial 8 week recovery period as its important that the cage fusses in the first8 weeks with no strenuous exercising. I was told to be guided by the physio with regards to the back friend and also discuss types of massage etc. I asked about a Homedics massager and what type is best as there are lots of different ones and if a neck one would be beneficial. I was told that it would be ok but to not have it on a high setting in the neck area but depending on how I respond to the further physio it would be better to wait and ask them for their opinion. I was told that realistically it will take 12 months for the nerves to settle down although I may see some improvements before then. I asked about using a TENS machine which was okay and told to use codeine and paracetamol separately as the co codamol has been upsetting my stomach. I asked about my throat because I have been finding it difficult to swallow food unless I drink fluids with the food plus tablets get stuck alot. I had an x ray but was told if there was any problems they would ring me by today so I'm guessing it's just internal swelling and not that the cage has moved or something else. If you want to send me your email address I will send you an email. Hope this has helped? I've stopped being sick now but my throat feels like its on fire so I booked a holiday day off work. I couldn't move last night as every time I did I was sick! Hope you are having a better day than me?! :0)
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    • Posted

      You poor thing. I can't take codeine cos it makes me so sick. I went back to the GP yesterday as I was so desperate. I now have a morphine patch because the tramadol wasn't touching the pain. So far, touch wood, the morphine is working and I feel much better.

      Did your ou are in ecxconsultant say the pain is normal at this stage? Is it muscles or just everything settling down? It's so good to speak to you as you are the only person I have found who is in exactly the same boat!

      Emis Moderator comment: I have removed the email address as we do not publish these in the forums. If users wish to exchange contact details please use the Private Message service.

      http://patient.uservoice.com/knowledgebase/articles/398331-private-messages

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