Just out of curiosity where in your neck is your pain? and when you do have arm pain where in your arm in is your pain and what arm? I ask this because I have had the C6/7 fusion, back in 1985, my disc was a massive herniation, with free floating fragments in my spinal canal. and the disk was pressing directly into the spinal cord. But all my pain was in my arms, very severe arm pain like when you hit your crazy bone, but was constant 24/7, and I also had some swallowing difficulities. I went close to four months before they finally diagnosed and done emergency surgery on me. I know what I went through during that time, and I would hate to see anybody else develop the problems I did!
I guess, right now the main concern I would have, is what type of job you have? Any heavy lifting or straining of your upper body required in your job? Anything that would cause you any additional strain or pressure on the muscles and disk in your neck. Anything that could possibly make the herniation worse? Has you your doctor put you on any type of work restriction? Suggested any thing to help ease the pressure of the disk on the nerves, ie possibly traction or anythin? I gather you are or have been getting epidural steriod injections, have they helped? Have you had long or short term pain relief from them?
I do understand the the doctors hesitation to do surgery and that is good, but I also have had excellent results with pain relief from having the surgery. I know in 2009 I had developed the familiar arm pain again, mostly in my left arm. My neurologist was against me going to a neurosurgeon, as he did not think surgery would help me. Well my spinal pain management doctor disagreed and sent me to the neurosurgeon and he did another fusion at the one above he fused C5/6 and as soon as I came out of surgery my arm pain was completely gone. This last year I had developed severe upper neck pain and lower back of head pain one surgeon refused to do surgery on me and had me go to physical therapy, and that just made the pain worse, finally late last year I was sent to another surgeon, and he said the problem was the articular joints at C3/4 the left side was actually not recognizable on the MRI and had caused my vertebra to shift, anyway, he said there was only a 50/50 chance it would help my pain. I went ahead with it, the surgery was the roughest thing I had ever had, as they went through the back of my neck and put in pins and rods in my neck to stablize it and fused the articular joint at C3/4 together. It was a very long recovery, but the pain in my upper neck and lowre back of my head is gone! I can now say yes the surgery was worht it, but it was a really rough road getting here to this point.
Your the one that has to live with your pain and your the one who has to make the determination what you feel is best for you. Everyone is different, and thus each case is different! The only thing I would suggest to you is to get a second oppinion, or even a third, what one surgeon might tell you might not be what is best for you! And letting it go might not be the best thing to do, for you. So I would strongly urge you to see another surgeon and maybe even another after that. Back in 1985 I was in the military and I had seen a Army orthopedic surgeon early on when I was first having arm and neck pain, he had told me I was malingering, and there was nothing wrong with me. Had I had the opportunity to see another surgeon right away and got appropriate treatment, I might have avoided allot of pain and permanent damage. Hind site is 20/20 though. Just don't take the word of one surgeon as being Gospel truth!
Good Luck to you!
Moderator Chronic Pain
After spending nearly 22 1/2 years in the USAF, I retired in Sept, 1991. I then went back to school and became a licensed RN in 1994, and I worked on Oncology and then a Med Surg Unit, I became disabled in late 1999 and was approved SSD in early 2002!-- DDD, With herniated Disk at T-12 and L4-5. C5-C6 ACDF in Sep 2009, C6-C7 ACDF in Mar 1985, Osteoarthritis, Ulcerative colitis, Chronic Pain, Fibromyalgia, Complex Sleep Apnea, and host of other things to spice up my life!(NOT!) Medications:Oxycontin, Percocet, Baclofen, Sulfasalazine, Metoprolol, Folic Acid, Supplemental O2 at 3lpm with VPAP Adapt SV I am White Beard with a White Beard!
Post Edited (White Beard) : 6/15/2011 9:49:42 PM (GMT-6)