Surgery

My Personal Experience:

When I ruptured a disc in my neck, I was losing neurological function of my left arm and had excruciating neck pain. A month later, after drugs and physical therapy failed to improve either symptom, I had neck surgery—an anterior cervical discectomy with fusion—to remove the C5-6 and C6-7 discs in my neck and replace them with donor bone. The surgery gave me the full use of my arm back. But I never got out of pain; it just changed. 

    

Although the acute nerve pain in my neck and the associated neurological problems with my arm resolved after the surgery, that is when my chronic myofasical pain began. The surgery or the weeks of acute pain before the surgery, or a combination of both, triggered chronic myofascial pain syndrome, which was apparently sitting dormant in my body waiting for something to finally expose my buried traumas. (See My Journey.)   

   

I've since heard of cases where people with a similar disc rupture and symptoms have recovered without surgery. Thus, I wonder to this day, whether my surgery was necessary. 


At the time, however, the acute nerve pain was so intense that it is hard to know if I could have withstood more pain while waiting for less invasive approaches to work. In addition, as soon as the doctors diagnosed my ruptured disc and neurological symptoms, they insisted that I needed the surgery as soon as possible.    


Of course, it's too late now to dwell on what might have been. So I focus on taking action to heal the traumatic wounds that contribute to my pain, through mind-body and self-treatment approaches. (See Treatments.)        


As for having surgery to cure chronic pain without neurological deficit, I don't think I'd choose surgery if I were in that position today. Based on what I've learned and experienced since my neck injury in 2005, I'd likely forego surgery because:   

 

  1. Surgery is invasive and can trigger chronic myofascial pain, especially in people with past trauma, like me (see Trauma & Chronic Pain).  
  2. I have significantly reduced my chronic pain symptoms through non-invasive methods—such as JFB myofascial release therapy [JFB-MFR treatment] and learning about healing and the mind-body connection (Reading about mindbody).  
  3. There is no conclusive evidence that structural anomalies of the spine cause chronic pain (e.g., “Mind over back pain” Harvard Health Publications, May 4, 2016).

Rating: (--)

BOTTOM LINE: Surgery fixed the neurological deficit from my ruptured disc, but likely triggered my myofascial pain.


My Ratings Key:

-----------------------------

(+++) Most effective

(++) Effective

(+) Somewhat effective 

(-) Not effective or hardly effective 

(--) Not effective or partial negative impact 

(---) Not effective and negative impact 

(+/-) Unsure or some positive and some negative impact 

(?) Don't know because I haven't tried at all or enough

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Note: Described here is one of the many approaches I've tried or considered trying for healing my chronic myofascial pain.


This content is not intended as and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. (See full Disclaimer.)


Soft Collar

My Personal Experience:

For the first several days after surgery, I felt I needed a soft neck-collar. I removed it when my neck felt steady enough.  


Three weeks after surgery, I used the neck collar again when my family and I took a pre-planned weekend getaway that was a three-hour drive away and my neck was still causing me significant pain. It might have helped slightly during the car ride, but I was still in substantial pain.  


Another time, about four months after my surgery when considerable pain remained and my surgeons weren't sure why I wasn't getting better, they suggested I wear the neck collar again. It didn't do anything to reduce the burning and jabbing muscle pain in the trigger points in and around my neck. Plus, wearing the collar for too long only stiffens the muscles around my neck, so I don't wear it anymore.

Rating: (+)

BOTTOM LINE: Only helpful immediately after surgery.


My Ratings Key:

-----------------------------

(+++) Most effective

(++) Effective

(+) Somewhat effective 

(-) Not effective or hardly effective 

(--) Not effective or partial negative impact 

(---) Not effective and negative impact 

(+/-) Unsure or some positive and some negative impact 

(?) Don't know because I haven't tried at all or enough

------------------------------


Note: Described here is one of the many approaches I've tried or considered trying for healing my chronic myofascial pain.


This content is not intended as and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. (See full Disclaimer.)