Hi and welcome to the Spinal Cord C/D forum.
The best advice I can give u is to see a few Drs that specialize in spinal surgeries....and see which one u r more comfortable with...that should help u decide what u want to do as no one else can.
Everyone that may have had this surgery may have a completely different story as to how it all went.....what is more important is how ur Drs feel this will help u if u have it and how u will fair if u do not.
Sometimes physical therapy can help, as can epidural steroid injections, but depending on the severity of the your stenosis, surgery may be necessary.
I too live with 3 self-fused vertebra and spinal stenosis. The symptoms are annoying, at best. I get numbness and burning in my feet. However, I am trying to defer surgery for as long as possible, as surgery can exacerbate pain.
Thanks for your response. I need to identify with someone who is sort of on the same page. I have a neurosurgeon that is head of the department who I waited to see. I checked out his credentials, fellowship and school of Medicine. He is in his early 40 or late 30:s, Good reputation an gave me options. I am past epidural injections, Went through sports medicine and saw a sports PT for almost 10 years on and off. worked with him prior to hip resurfacing to stretch the psoas muscle which was shortened and work with tight hip flexors. Had the resurface in 2006 and can do the splits still! Well, could until a year ago when my spine really became a problem. Had MRI and CATS done on both lumbar and cervical. I was told the entire spine was a train wreck! Not that I did not know that! I have danced since I was 5 and family predisposition for osteoarthritis was made worse because body loading incorrectly, gait is off etc. Dr. feels most of it is coming from the cervical spine and a fusion of the C5 would take pressure off the cord. I do not take pain meds. I do Pilates with a trainer and have for 8 years so I am strong but stopped a year ago because I was scared when I started to have balance issues. Being a dancer, this drives me mad! I have
moderate and often severe pain in my arms and hands tingling and some numbness. Burning in left knee and pins and needles down both legs into toes. My life style is limited and I would like to be able to walk a mall or two blocks with out worry if I can make it! I am extremely fit because I know it has a bearing on my spine, I do 30 minutes 7 days a week of stretching and balance work at home, I know surgery is my last resort, and I hate feeling like I have no life again! I got it back after the hip resurface! The surgeon said he had 4 people like me and two are still ok and 2 opted for the surgery. They are all athletes.....The pain I will handle but the ability to walk and go places and errands takes its toll I do not have any idea of the success with spinal stenosis surgery! Help
I have cervical spinal stenosis, and was told I would need surgery over 5 yrs ago and to date ....I did however have surgery for a different medical issue and it has relieved some of my issues I was having, and why I felt it was ok to hold off on dealing with the stenosis.
Since your entire spine is a "train wreck" I would suggest you be tested for a condition known as Ehlers-Danlos...as it is a connective tissue disorder and spine issues are typical as well as hyper mobile joints some refer to much of it as being double jointed....but it can be far more then that...so do check it out.
My daughter is a dancer as well....and what I was told by her and my NL is to do Feldenkrais...not sure if you have tried it yet, but it is supposed to be great...I have yet to find someone locally that I can go to for this method as the books were difficult to read and understand.
Wishing you all the best.
My back isn't a train wreck, but I do have disc disease in 4-5 cervical levels and 3-4 lumbar levels. Lateral view of my spinal cord looks like s rippled snake, but there's yet no occlusion in the cord, so I'm going to stick with what i have, for as long as I can.
I too have a few balance issues (I walk with a cane sometimes. Other days I'm fine). I also have a slight foot neuropathy that can be annoying.
I think the need for surgery depends on the severity of the stenosis. If your cord is at risk, or if symptoms are unmanageable, then surgery can help, but there's always a trade off. I'm not willing to take the risks of surgery.
The least invasive kind of decompression surgery, laminectomy, comes with risks (ask your doc and do the research.) Full anterior fusion has another set of risks.
Also, these procedures cause trauma and scar tissue in neighboring structures that can later contribute to pain.
You have to make your own decisions. If you have a choice, meaning that the integrity of your intrathecal space is not threatened, then you have the luxury, like me, of balancing risks and benefits of surgery. Look into everything that can possibly go wrong. Education will help you get the best treatment possible.
Thank you ! Your post was very helpful!