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Saw Second Opinion Neuro Today

GreyEagleGGreyEagle Posts: 345
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:26 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Hi everyone:

I saw the second opinion neuro today referred to me by my neurosurgeon who will be doing my cervical surgery. I really liked this surgeon. He was friendly. He explained the MRI clearly to me.

He showed me where the disc between C-5 and C-6 is really pressing hard on the nerve root. He said that bone spurs were also doing the same.

He said he is going to recommend to my neuro to first have an EMG done. I asked him whether he thought a laminectomy or a discectomy should be done. He said it could go either way, although he leaned toward the acdf one level.

I don't totally understand an EMG although I read it can assess the amount of nerve damage that has already been done. I'm calling my neuro tomorrow to find out if I see him next or if his office is scheduling the EMG first.

I'll keep everyone up to date as this develops further. In the meantime my pain has gotten quite a bit worse in the past month. The sooner surgery happens the better in my opinion.

Ken GreyEagle


  • I'm so glad you finally got that second opinion! It sounds like a 3 level isn't in the stars for you and I'm so glad for that.

    Although my EMG was clear there is no doubt that I have nerve damage in my arms. It's a funny test and I don't know why they put sooo much importance in it. The Vascular surgeon I just saw said that they can really only tell if you have carpal tunnell or ulnar entrapment- I don't know about that but I know what happened in my case. Don't let them tell you nothing is wrong if it's clear.

    Hang in there good man, help is finally coming for you. I'll keep wishing you on the way to recovery.

  • I'm glad to here they are only looking at one level at this time. That's good news as far as mobility and quicker recovery time. The EMG I had before my C5-6 ACDF did show some nerve involvment, clear down to my thumb and first finger. So things like that will show up. It also said I have carpal tunnel in both wrists, and upper arm involvment. I agree with griff, whiy they put so much emphasis on one test confounds me. They can see by the MRI that the nerve root and spinal cord are involved. Seems just escessive testing to me. But then I'm not a doctor getting the big bucks to do testing! :D I would also ask if it was me, what the chances of needed other levels done in the furture. But then I always question what I am told. Good luck and hang in there, hopefully you can get this done soon, so you won't be in so much pain. Aren't you glad it finally warmed up and dried out!

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  • The reason they probably want this done to see if there is any nerve damage and they will probably do one later on after surgery. I had one before surgery that was clear and after surgery it showed nerve damage....who knows. I think it is an important test, the MRI will show some things but not nerve damage. A myelogram will show nerve intrapment more than the MRI. I have had all of them done and they are very easy test. I was so scared of the myelogram and it turned out to be nothing, even though they turned me up on my head it was pretty easy. The needles they use on an EMG/NCV test are like accupuncture needles very small and you just feel a slight prick, the others are little sticky pads that feel like a tens unit to me. Just be glad you are getting something done and hopefully some pain relief with your surgery.

  • Yeah, I remember having this test about 15 yrs ago when I had carpal tunnel surgery on both hands. I don't really know what all the doctors find out from this test but it must be important to them.

    I suspect permanent nerve damage. This has been going on around 3 years. I would imagine in the case of permanent nerve damage that post surgery there will still be problems.

    I still don't know absolutely for sure how many discs the surgeon is going to do surgery on. I think probably just the one between C5-C6 since that is the one that is the worst off. I do know he will only do surgery on ones that are actually producing symptoms at the moment.

    I have problems from C3 thru C7. But I think the only one producing symptoms right now is the one referenced above between C5 and C6.

    Do any of you who have been confirmed to have permanent nerve damage know what degree of pain is likely to remain post surgery? It would vary I'm sure depending on the person and the degree of damage.

    Thanks so much for your replies and good wishes! :)

    Ken GreyEagle

  • Glad things are moving forward for you once again!

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  • My EMG told them whether or not I had acute (last 3 months) or Chronic (longer than 3 months) nerve problems. This may be important for them to decide exactly how much surgery to do.

    Everything changed for me after my EMG. It has been the most important test in terms of moving forward and getting properly treated. The test did hurt me, but it was quick. (But nothing like people describe the discogram). Some people report "no pain at all", but do they have permanent nerve damage? I always wonder.

    Good luck!!

  • Hi everyone:

    Wow! I didn't realize a test like this could change everything. That will be good then to have this done and see exactly which surgery they will be doing.

    I like the idea of before and after testing as well. That way they can see clearly and document any lasting nerve damage (which I do suspect has happened).

    Basically, my LTD Claims Manager is going to initiate a SSDI application for me by around March 1st if it looks like I'll be out 4 or more months past that point. With my diabetes and other health issues I wouldn't be surprised. I'll be 57 in March. But, we'll see.

    I sure don't look forward to the pain of this EMG but the information culled from the test will be worth it.

    Ken GreyEagle
  • Ken,
    I have had both test done, the EMG is a little uncomfortable and the NCV is not. On a 1-10 scale the little pin pricks may be a 2, not much more. The funny part is feeling and watching when your muscles twitch when they send signals through the nerves. They used the EMG to find the problems for my second surgery and they used the NCV while they were operating that time and did another one 5 months later to see where things were with my myelopathy. It is good that you know are moving in the right direction, hope all goes well.
  • I like to call it a "gremlin", you will know the difference in that pain and other pain. Narcotics will not help nerve pain, the only thing so far that has helped me is neurontin and lyrica. Not both at the same time, I was on lyrica but my insurance stop covering it so I switched to neurontin and it works just as well for me. I have had no side effects except when first starting it, that was a drunk feeling for about a week and then it went away. There are days when the nerve pain is bad and some days is stays low keyed. My nerve pain is an ache with sharp stabbing, sometimes it runs down my arm like a sharp knife and into my fingers. Some days it feels like someone is taking a hammer and hitting my fingers. I had C4-C7 done, corpectomy, my neck was a mess, the surgeon even told me after my surgery I was 1/2 inch taller, guess my neck had collapsed.

  • I'm sorry to hear your neck was a mess. That is no fun at all! My surgeon told me the structure and integrity of my C-Spine over all is good. I am happy about that.

    But I do have that one level where the disc is being naughty and pushing hard on my nerve root, along with osteophytes doing the same. I don't know when the other levels are going to start producing symptoms or what symptoms those will be.

    My DO thought for sure I was gonna get the works! ACD
    F C3 thru 6 or 7. So I know there are problems to varying degrees thru those levels. All I can do is wait see. She also told me that if I started having issues walking I should go straight to the ER. Haven't had that yet, but evidently its serious if it does.

    My current annoyances are issues with my diabetes: fighting a urinary tract infection, dealing with trying to make compression socks work for me without causing intense itching in my legs and a chronic problem with plantar facitis (inflammation in my heal). I have an orthotic boot for that problem.


    So, all we can do is go one day at a time.

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