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Cervical Neck Problems and Symptoms

I don't know where to start but I had surgery on my right colarbone where they put a screw in the colarbone to keep it healing straight 15 years ago. 8 years later, I was getting pain to the touch in my right colarbone and I went back to the orthopeadic surgeon and they advised me to have the screw taken out....I believe that was the wrong thing to do. I feel pressure in my colarbone like my colarbone is dropping downward and with that it is taking my arm down too. I feel downward pressure, nerve pinching, pain in the chest are under the colarbone too. I've gone to oh so so many doctors and everyone tells me that rebreaking or fixing the bone again would be catastrophic and the condition of my shoulder would be worse. There has to be a way that a neuro-surgeon can somehow do something so the nerve is not impinged.

I suffer from migraines everyday and I thought it was just my colarbone (which contributes to the problem) but 2 weeks after my 1st surgery to my colarbone, I started to get the pain on the crown of my head. I've had it ever since for 15 years only things are getting terribly worse. One spine doctor wants to do a spinal fusion on C3 in my neck and he says that it is a medium herniation that is pressing on my spinal cord. I also have 2 lumbar herniatiions (the last two disks) and a nerve is affected (the same one) in both my legs. I had to be blessed with herniations...right? Well, I don't want plates and screws put in my neck and so a woman I spoke to on QVC told me her father had surgery done on her back and he had spacers put in (i believe they are plastic disks) and she said that he was in a wheel chair for 2 years and now he is in therapy and could walk. I believe I was destined by god to speak with this woman as I have asked him for his guidance for a good doctor. She has given me the information and now I have an option to go see him only he is in Florida and I am in New York but still, if I were to have surgery, it would be worth the trip and I could stay at a hotel while undergoing therapy...I guess. I have another name of another neuro surgeon in Westchester, NY which I want to see what her recommendations would be as she also believes in less invasive surgeries and uses the spacer disks as well.

I get throbbing in the colarbone, nerve pain in the muscle in my upper arm on the right side, pain going down my arm down to my fingertips, my fingers swell and hurt when I bend them (feels like my nerves are being squeezed or suffocated causing this), now just 3 weeks ago I am getting spasms under my left eye and my eyeball feels strange (like a tightness). I thought it was solely related to my right arm only but today I was getting sharp pain in my colarbone on my left side and the muscle in my the upper arm started hurting me just like the right arm. I have a tightness under my right arm in the back, I get pain in my neck where C3 is on the left side, my eye spasms almost all the day long, sometimes my vision gets blurry due the migraines and my brain almost feels disoriented like whatever it is, is affecting my brain. My upper mid spine where the bottom of my wings in my back meet the spine, hurts and aches like a nerve impingement there too. I wonder if that is coming from the neck as well? I am running scared and know that I have to have surgery hopefully soon so that I could put this pain behind me never to be reminded of it later on.

The spine doctor told me that my spine is spasming due to the lumbar and neck herniations causing me to get the throbbing and headaches and he told me when I can no longer deal with it that I would know where to find him. I know I have nerve impingements and am better off going to a neuro surgeon but can orthopeadic spine doctors do the same job as a neuro surgeon? I feel like I am running out of time to get myself fixed up and adjusted as my condition is getting worse.

Everyone's help and ideas would be appreciated as everyone has different experiences and is helpful to me in knowing so that I can direct myself to the right person or have the right surgery done! Thank you so much everyone!


  • FrancineSFFFrancineSF Posts: 318
    edited 01/16/2013 - 2:31 PM
    First, welcome. You'll find a lot of people on here have had a variety of surgeries with a variety of outcomes. No one method or type of surgeon is the answer.

    For me, almost 3 months ago, I had cervical disc fusion - ACDF C3/4 and C4/5. I am healing nicely.

    I had a choice between a neuro surgeon and an orthopedic surgeon and saw both - a few of both, actually - and truly, I think what it came down to is the surgeon with whom you feel most comfortable and who seems to get it the most. I finally chose the orthopedic surgeon because he deals with sports medicine, the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team and has done a Fellowship, not to mention a vast number of years doing this. His ability to include me and explain to me all about the process scored BIG points with me because I am intelligent and I get it.

    I now have spacers - they are pretty common. I also now have plates and screws. This is for stability. I wasn't thrilled with it, but I think the most important thing is to listen to the variety of options that could SOLVE your issues, of which you have many more than I. I went to 4 surgeons - all agreed I needed surgery - and I had 4 different recommendations - some more extreme than the others.

    Just because you don't want plates and screws doesn't mean that it's not the best solution for your very long list of issues and the duration of the issues you have had. What if the plates and screws solved all or most of the other issues when nothing else could? My point with this is - keep an open mind. It doesn't thrill me to have the plates and screws, but if it provides the stability that my neck appears to need, I had to be open to it since there appeared to be no other solutions - and I saw everyone - eastern, western medical practioners and everything in between. I went to those in the medical community who could have sold me a variety of other solutions, some non-invasive, but after each looked at my MRI - 100% of them said I needed surgery. I feel like I did my due diligence in the area of research.

    You sound like you are in a lot of pain and discomfort and encourage you to listen to the options and to see both - neurosurgeons and orthopedic surgeons, listen, pay attention, ask questions and if you start seeing a theme in what they are recommending, you might need to accept that just because you prefer not to have it, maybe, just maybe, it is the solution.

    I believe there is someplace on this website an article or several articles on choosing a neurosurgeon or an orthopedic surgeon. I came onto this site long after I went through the process, so I didn't see it, but it's there. Someone else will probably guide you to it.

    Good luck to you!

    10/26/2012 ACDF C3/4 C4/5 surgery
    No pain; no pain meds - thank goodness!
    04/01/2013 - 5 months + 1 week - FUSED
    Doing some physical therapy for even better range of motion
  • I have seen many doctors during the past 15 years.....orthopedic shoulder doctors, neurosurgeons, orthopedic surgeons....Orthopedic shoulder doctors - most of them told me it was my neck that I had problems with, neurosurgeons - 1 told me to leave it and do nothing....but he doesn't realize what pain I go through, 2nd one told me I didn't have a problem at all...then I showed the one orthopedic doc who showed me the problem....! What I am saying is they were not honest with me and maybe it is because I have "pernicious anemia" which is an autoimmune disease! I can't be running to all of these different doctors who won't be honest. I just went to a excellent orthopedic doctor in New Jersey and I told her my spine is going thru Mri shows lumar problems 2 herniations and my neck 1 herniation and a degenerating C7 or c8 disk and she tells me she doesn't know why my spine is spasming! spine orthopedist said it was because of my lumbar hernia and neck hernia is why my spine is spasming...and she didn't know? Well, I finally figured it out that she called my neurologist and he told her he was putting me on a mild anti-depressant for the inflammation.

    Inflammation is due to the body either in stress, infection (which with pernicious anemia I can get a bacterial overgrowth), and pain. I just wanted to get a 2nd opinion and they are denying I have anything wrong when I know I do because I feel it in my neck and get headaches. The headaches get worse as the day goes on...mostly at night and my vision starts getting blurry. I want to fix my disk in my neck but I don't want to have to keep going back for more surgery! I need to talk to the doctor about whether I am a candidate for the artificial disk which I would prefer! Having the fusion is acceptable to me because it will also give me a better quality of life than I have right now....hopefully if all goes well!

    I would like to know what other symptoms people have suffered with neck problems so that I can compare to mine! I am having other things checked out like my eyes and getting an MRI of my brain (which my regular doc has ordered multiple times and it says nothing). I just hope I don't have MS or something affecting my muscles. Lately, I am having problems taking any meds because after I take them, I don't feel well. Mine not feeling well could be due to the bacterial overgrowth and now my doctor went on vacation and I was given an appointment on Feb 25...and I have been a patient of hers since 2006 and getting B12 monthly injections.....that is an awful long time!

    I'm trying to manage and struggling to feel better! At least I'm looking for help! Thanks for your post!
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