View Full Version : Pain in the Neck

11-15-2005, 03:15 PM
As I had told Gayle yesterday, I am having a time with neck and shoulder pain from a wreck several years ago (Sept. 2001).

I had an MRI (my fourth or so) and saw a surgeon this morning. The disc between my fifth and sixth vertibra is not so good. He wants to cut through the front of my neck and take out the disc and replace it with a piece of bone taken form my hip. This will require a lot of recouperation time and I was hopeful there might be some alternatives to the knife. Gayle has given me some nice suggestions and I'm going to see if my regular doctor thinks it's worth a try to get physical therapy or some other treatment.

One of the bad things is it is impacting my pool game as well as sleep, etc. I had just decided to live with the whiplash but this thing has obviously gotten worse over the last 4 years or this doctor needs a new swimming pool.

Please let me know if you have gone through this and if surgery really helped anyone a lot.

going through a lot of Hydrocodone (like Rush?)

11-15-2005, 03:36 PM
Hi Dee,

It sounds like they're replacing that soft gushy flexible disk with a hard piece of bone that will then grow together with the bone on either side and fuse the bones together. In most circles, this is called spinal fusion. Although it may ease the pain, it will decrease your flexibility.

Please get a couple of second opinions. Find that pool playing orthopedist who understands. Or, have that bone be fused with your head facing upwards. It would be real bad if you could no longer play pool.

A quick internet search shows that there's now, or soon to be, an option of doing a disk replacement with an artificial disk rather than fusion.


The one thing I can say about that is that my father had "experimental" ankle replacement surgery that isn't common in the states but had been done in Europe for a couple of years (like the link I just posted), and it was very successful for him. Ankle replacement surgery! That's cutting off your foot!

Save some of those hydrocodones for me, will ya?

11-15-2005, 03:43 PM

There may be someone on this board that can help you. I have to send a pm because they don't post here too much anymore.


11-15-2005, 04:08 PM
SPetty: Thanks so much for the web site. It does sound like what he was talking about but he never said anything about the neck being fused. I was so shocked that he seemed to want to do this like next week but I told him I had to look into it more. I did ask if there was an artificial disc but he said none had FDA approval in the US. I might be better off to go to visit some friends in Germany for a few months if that is true. I would have to be fused in a shooting position LOL.

Tori asked him if I could still have good sex after the operation? He asked, "Does he have good sex now?" The world is against me. I won't get a second opinion on that but will on the surgery.

Barbara, Thanks. Any help or advice will be deeply appreciated. The benefit of someone's experience is always welcome.

saving a couple of Rush's pills for my road partner....

11-15-2005, 04:28 PM
Hi there Deeman,
Barbara emailed me-Im sorry I havent had time to post,I've been pretty busy ,but I do open my email-
As for your neck, I see it was from trauma a few years ago-I just wanted to share as quickly as I can -I had 3 discs removed-its called an "anterior Cervical fusion"but you do not have to have bone from your hip-thats an autograft(and that means 2 surgeries,2 healing processes)-you can use bone from a cadaver-I believe "allograft"-which is what I did-there are pros&cons to it(slower healing,titanium plate with screws will be implanted,like mine:):)-depends on your situation-(my spinal cord was being crushed-headache,vomiting,fainting)My surgery was performed by the head of neurosurgery at NYU-so I was confident(still a little scared though,ya know?)-this other local jerk wanted to operate and I was like, "no way" he performed one every 6 months-NYU did 7 per day- that's where I went-I do have limited movement-as for pain, nothing was like I was before-if I didnt have it done, my spinal cord wouldve been severed,so I thank God everyday,ya know!

Anyways, definitely get second opinions and make sure the doctor knows what the hell he's doing -as far as Im concerned,any surgery is a serious surgery!!!!
Hope I helped-Take care and stay well!
Carol /ccboard/images/graemlins/wink.gif
If you do a search for "anterior cervical fusion",Im sure you'll get some info,okay? /ccboard/images/graemlins/wink.gif

11-15-2005, 05:01 PM

Thank you Carol. I guess you are THE ideal person to ask, how did this impact your game? I know you play lights out but did it all come back after the surgery and how long did it take, if so. Are you really, really conscience of your neck position and what you do now.

I guess mine sounds a little minor compared to yours but, of course, it still is serious enoough for me to conside the surgery. It is not impossible for me to do this in NY or even overseas if I have to to get the right surgeon.

Using the web site Spetty supplied and you description, I can get a better idea of where I stand and certinaly have a bunch more questions to ask all the doctors.

Thanks to all....I'll keep everyone updated....

Gayle in MD
11-15-2005, 11:56 PM
Deeman, you just described exactly what they wanted to do to me over thirty years ago, take bone from my hip, and lodge it between the disks. Please, please see a physiatrist and get a course of extensive therapy before you make a decision. Go to the very best hospital in your area, and see the Chief Physiatrist.

While every injury is unique, I am really glad that I did not do what they wanted me to do. At the time, I couldn't even lift my head off the pillow in the morning. I had to roll out of bed, literally, head against the matress, and go to my knees before I could gradually get to my feet. Now, I run five miles a day, and do a strenuous work out with light weights.

A friend of mine just had the steel plate surgery, where they go through the front of the throat. He had to have it because his right arm was going numb, and that alone is very painful, I had a bout with that myself from carpel tunnell, but now his right arm isn't numb anymore, but his neck hurts more than ever, and his left arm is beginning to go numb. Do you have any numbness in your arms?

Find the top man in the country, and go to him, if you must have the surgery, but back surgery is like going to war, only as a last resort. If you want to fly here and get an opinion at Johns Hopkins, or Georgetown, you are welcome to stay here, and I'll be glad to take you where ever you need to go.

Gayle in Md.

11-16-2005, 05:25 AM
How are you?

how did this impact your game <hr /></blockquote>
It didnt-you really dont move your neck at all,ya know!

how long did it take, <hr /></blockquote> I still go to doctor twice a week,massage therapy once a week and neurologist every 6 months-and this has been 4 years!
Depending on the severity of your injury and how quickly you heal will be the factor-I started playing again ten days after the operation-of course, I know when it rains,LMAO,(and I dislike the cold-God, I gotta move to Hawaii-) as anyone who has ever broken a bone knows-their is a "gnawing" consistent pain in the shoulder blades,but,whats complaining gonna do-especially when you think of others who have it worse, yours doesnt seem so bad afterall,ya know? /ccboard/images/graemlins/wink.gif
And you know the saying "that which doesnt kill you,only makes you stronger" /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif
Are you really, really conscience of your neck position and what you do now.

<hr /></blockquote>
Yes I am-there are MANY things I CANNOT do,but I focus on the things I can! /ccboard/images/graemlins/wink.gif

guess mine sounds a little minor compared to yours <hr /></blockquote>
Please dont ever think that-like I said, any surgery is major and my heart goes out to you-just hang in there-talk to your doctors,ask alot of questions, cause its your right and your body and only you and your doctors will know the right decision-keep us posted,ahite? /ccboard/images/graemlins/wink.gif
I'll be thinking of ya! /ccboard/images/graemlins/smirk.gif
Take care!

11-16-2005, 05:53 AM
Deeman, I have two friends down here that have been through it twice. One just had it two weeks ago. He was shooting pool with me and Spiderman last Saturday. In Jay's case they operated on the wrong disk the first time. It caused him five years of hell and threatened the loss of his right leg. The doctor who finally fixed Jay's back is the one who is doing artificial disks here in Flarda. It turns that Jay was not a candidate for an artificial disk. It was while this doctor was looking at his MRIs that he told Jay the reason his first surgery didn't work is because it wasn't done right. I was there with both these guys when they were going through all the crap with doctors opinions. It's a major stress.

All professions have about the same demographics. You got a few good ones and a liberal sprinkling of idiots. How many good auto mechanics do you know? It's the same for doctors. I would tell those guys that are pressing to put you into surgery to go fly a kite. A doctor is your employee. Get educated and take control of your own health care. Don't be shy about firing them if they don't do what you think is right.

Take your time and get it right the first time. Like I said, both Jay and the Captain had to go through it twice because it wasn't done right. Don't take anybody's word for it including mine. Get the facts straight for yourself before you do anything.

By the way, Jay is from the old neighborhood. I know he'd like to hear from you.

11-16-2005, 06:57 AM

Thanks, You give me hope I can delay any surgery until I do exactly as you recommend. This guy seems way to eager to cut me!

I am going to go to a physaitrist as soon as possible. Don't worry, I won't let them do surgery until every other option is tried. Yes, I do have numbness in my left arm. It is not too bad but noticable. I've had this for four years, since the wreck. It does get more pronounced as the pain increases. However, this doctor said that the surgery would have no effect on the numbness!

At the risk of boring everyone I'll post as I get more help.

Thanks for your thoughtful advice. I am listening and will heed it.


11-16-2005, 07:13 AM

I do stay still when I'm down on a shot but it's sometimes painful to get as low as I like to be when I aim. Anyway, I'm giving pool a backseat until I get this resolved. Heck, there's not place to play here anyway and I've not set up my tables yet. I also do not break as it seems I really hurt when I do. I let my wife break every game we play which helps her breaking as well.

I am sorry you still have pain but your injury is obviously worse than mine or the normal ones. I admire your game and your ability to overcome this. I plan to make one of your tournaments just to see you and have a few more or Barbara's nuts....My step son is in York, Pa. so we will try to match a visit next year with a tournament.


Wow, my two main advisors are a Democrat and a Pro player, doesn't get much better than this. /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif

11-16-2005, 07:29 AM

Thanks for the info. I wish I could have made down for your and Spiderman's visit but I'd have finished a distant third this time! I have a golf outting on Sunday and I told the President I could not play. Now, this is Korean for you. He is going to let another player hit all the balls except putts for me. Now, my "sub" is about a 20 handicap and I gotta play to mine (quite a bit lower), So I've effectively been set up for a bad gambling day but you know golf and business. If this guys flying 16 hours to play golf, I guess I can donate a few hundred to him. He personally invested $80 million in my plant...I'll be there.

In case, in the end, I don't get relief from the other therapy, I'd like to know more about the guy doing the artificial discs. After hearing about Jay's case and the warnings by Gayle and Carol, I'll think long and hard about any surgery.

What is Jay's last name. I remember a Jay from Funland and River City. I may not recognise his last name, can you do a thirty year ago description?



11-16-2005, 09:38 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Deeman3:</font><hr>However, this doctor said that the surgery would have no effect on the numbness!<hr /></blockquote>Say what??!? That doesn't sound right. Normally, numbness is caused by nerve irritation or pinching, and the whole point of this kind of surgery is to get the pressure off the spinal cord and nerves!

Good luck with it, Deeman. Keep us posted on your research and decisions!

11-16-2005, 09:57 AM
Dee, haven't done the surgery but rehab was pretty
much worthless. When that women hit me 3 years ago
it seriously screwed up my life &amp; my pool game.
Not much cheerful help, huh? Sorry. Get better.

11-16-2005, 11:06 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote SPetty:</font><hr> <blockquote><font class="small">Quote Deeman3:</font><hr>However, this doctor said that the surgery would have no effect on the numbness!<hr /></blockquote>Say what??!? That doesn't sound right. Normally, numbness is caused by nerve irritation or pinching, and the whole point of this kind of surgery is to get the pressure off the spinal cord and nerves!

Good luck with it, Deeman. Keep us posted on your research and decisions! <hr /></blockquote>

It is right. When a spinal nerve going out ot a limb is pinched for a long time it will cause the entire limb to deteriorate. Taking the safe medical point of view a doctor will tell you that there is little or no chance that the nerves in the limb will recover.

Deeman's a big strong guy though. If he gets a good doctor, eats good, and does his PT, I think he'll be OK.

11-16-2005, 12:05 PM
Dee, hope they can help you out. i have a sister, brtoher, and friend, all with neck problems. My friend gets some relief with cortisone shots...but there's only so many they'll let you have.
Keep us up to date, if you will, on your progress....I ain't much on praying, but I'm pulling for you...good luck, jjd

11-16-2005, 12:14 PM
A friend of mine had a nerve cut to eliminate the pain. In this case there was no loss of functionality except for the nerve getting pinched in a degenerative process occuring in the vertebrae. Once the degeneration stabilized, they cut the nerve because it solved a practical issue of quality of life and any surgery would have limited success at best. I believe you said you've spent time overseas; I'm sure you are doing so, but make sure you do a bunch of looking in Europe for the latest and greatest solutions to back problems. We only get one spine for now, but my next one is ordered!


11-16-2005, 12:18 PM

Thanks. I will let you know what happens to me. I'm sorry nothing has worked for you. Are you still trying to get help or have decided to live with it?

Anyway, thanks for your kind words.


11-16-2005, 01:08 PM
Hey Deeman,
I'm giving pool a backseat until I get this resolved <hr /></blockquote>

Absolutely! /ccboard/images/graemlins/wink.gif

also do not break as it seems I really hurt when I do<hr /></blockquote>
If your in that much pain, definitely consult with the very best of physicians in your area-this is something you have to look into-Gayle mentioned the numbness down the arm-I too, had my left arm numb and couldnt feel my left three fingers-I had no choice but to have the surgery,ya know!
At least you have some time to "shop around" and like I said, "make sure you have the best"-also, I know ~10 other people who have had this done without any complications-I have yet to hear of one complication!

I am sorry you still have pain <hr /></blockquote>
That is very nice of you,but Im doing fine,thank you!

I plan to make one of your tournaments just to see you <hr /></blockquote>
And I will look forward to meeting you,also!@
Hey, if you'd like me to pm you NYU's neurology phone number,just say the word,okay?

Nice talking with you and I wish you well!
Carol /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif

11-16-2005, 02:26 PM
Ya know, it could be worse.


11-16-2005, 02:37 PM