I am having the ACDF surgery in a few weeks. I was in a car accident in 1987 and was told I had whiplash with a permanent injury. The last 3 years I have had the tingling-numbness in both arms-hands and now legs, with some pain in upper left arm. My neck hurts, if I turn my head a certain way I have an instant migraine headache or extreme head pain. Also, when my neck hurts and spasms my neck and hands will shake. At first they told me I had arthritis in my neck and when inflamed it caused me to have pinched nerves. I had the steroid shots in my neck 4 times and the last time made my migraines 3x as bad. I have migraines and excruciating head pain depending on the position of my neck-head. My shoulder muscles has been tight ever since the car accident; when I get a massage I get remarks about how my neck muscles feel rocks, they are very hard/tight.. I'm just used to it. I had the steroid shots in those muscles too and it did nothing for me. I also used a tens (?) unit that did nothing for me.
My Ortho who came highly recommended and has performed thousands of these surgeries without every being sued etc.. told me he has only seen one other case as bad as mine. The other case was successful - an op room nurse. I need 3 discs replaced - c4-c5, c5-c6, and c6-c7, they are pressing against my spinal cord. He has told me that they will use the cage method, fill with granules that turn into bone and fuss. I will wear a soft collar for 2 weeks and can return to work in 4 - 6 weeks - I have a desk job with walking and lots of air travel. I'm not to lift anything over 10 pounds over my head for 3 months. I should be totally healed by the 3 month mark. I will have limited range of motion -exactly how much I don't know. I am in the 70% success rate category because it's so bad. If I fall into the 30% I could have extreme pain down my left arm and I'm not sure how they would fix that. I have another page of questions to ask him tomorrow after my next MRI.
I am just so sick of taking all the drugs daily for my neck pain that causes me to have extreme headaches-migraines, sometimes 3 to 4 times day taking neurotin and tramidol along with Advil (or something of that nature) to get rid of them. I used to eat a bottle of (50) tylenol in a week for the headaches. I've dealt with the headaches and neck numbness for years, but the numbness, tingling and sometimes pain in my arms/hands/legs only began about 3 yrs ago. Anyway, I'm scared. I'm sick to death of the neck-head pain-headaches-migraines. I'm sick of eating the pills -I hate pills to begin with.... But I'm also scared I will be in the failure category. I'm a very optimistic person, so I'm just telling myself it will all work out. I hope I'm not wrong.
Advice please! Anyone else been in this situation?