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Thread: prevention of further degeneration following fusion?

  1. #1

    Post prevention of further degeneration following fusion?

    Hi-
    I have cervical spondylosis, numerous osteophytes and bulging discs that are causing cord compression. I can't extend my head much without pain, have had pain and slight tingling in R arm - but have been able to minimize the pain with life-style adjustments (watching my position at the computer, not using bifocals, using my left hand for mouse.) I was recently rear-ended (no damage to cars, very low impact), but because my pain occurred immediately after being hit, I was referred to a neurosurgeon for consultation. Although the pain (typical pattern down R arm) subsided within a couple of days, the neurosurgeon is recommending fusion of C3-C7 because of all the above conditions shown on the MRI present danger to the spinal cord. (only other positive signs were maybe slightly increased reflexes on right.) However, suddenly, I'm also having tingling and burning on my left side (neck, arm, sometimes part of scalp.) (This started 17 days after accident, so I don't think it's related to that.)
    My questions:
    1) Anyone think my sudden new symptoms could be stress-induced? (I know that question probably sounds like deep denial, but the timing of all of this seems so coincidental.)
    2) I was advised to consider fusion 2 years ago, went to PT instead, and with the lifestyle adaptations, I actually regained function and reduced pain.
    2) If I go ahead with fusion, my understanding from a prior response by Dr. Young is that approach is likely to be determined by the particular shape/nature of my osteophytes, bulges, etc. The neurosurgeon talked about all 3 - laminoplasty, anterior and posterior laminectomy. However, he favored the posterior fusion. I am very worried about the "cascade" that is likely to occur as a result of fusion - further problems on other discs given the increased load (again, very informative article by Dr. Young). Is there any way to prevent / reduce the likelihood of further damage ("failed back")? Is there exercise one can do to prevent lower damage? (I am an active, fit person, and I do Pilates every day.)
    3) How limited will I be with a C3-C7 fusion? I asked several questions about how functional I would be (limitations in movement) but the neurosurgeon's answers weren't very informative.
    4) Is tinnitus possibly related to cord compression?

    I apologize for the length of this post. I'm just very frightened and I'm hoping that if I do have fusion that there will be some way to reduce the chances of a steady decline and more surgery. Any research articles about any of the above would also be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you so much for this intelligent, well-moderated forum. I feel so lucky to have found it.
    -lmm55

  2. #2
    Mine is cervical stenosis with myelopathy at c-4-5-6, I had the posterier lam. done two years ago. No choice, everything went south fast. Within six months I went from walking to using a cane and a w/c.

    I also have DDD in my lower back l-4-5, with 5 being the worst.

    Get a second opinion. By the time I found someone to treat me, no health insurance, I'll always have problems walking, with neuropathy, bowel and bladder issues.......... Wish I'd had it done a lot sooner....

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