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My Monster

Cervical Djd, Ddd, Radiculopathy

Question

I was trying to put off my surgery until after my C&P for my neck but my symptoms were getting worse and the surgeon advised getting it done ASAP. Figures my notice for the C&P shows up days before I go in to get 3 vertebraes fused. Surgery went well, Doc told my wife and I that it was much worse than the MRI's were showing and that it was a damn good thing that I had it done when I did. That was 3 weeks ago, most of my symptoms are still present and a little worse than before but I am having an easier time telling the difference between hot and cold with my hands. Some of the pain in my right shoulder is gone but now I have the sharp pains in my left.

My C&P for my neck and radiculopathy was today and seemed to have gone well. The examiner went over the questions in great detail, actually measured my ROMs ( no more than about 5 degrees in any direction ), noted the tremors in my hands, the pin prick test up and down my arms, noted the headaches, the muscle spasms, and of course how that all impacts my daily life. At the end of the exam he goes over exactly what he typed into the computer, that it was "at least as likely as not", and that he didn't really see much in my medical record pointing to any one traumatic event to cause the severity of my arthritis but that there is no way it happened in the year since I retired. So sounds like this might be a "win" for me. I am currently at 40% not sure where this will put me or how long it will take the VA to make a determination on whether or not they feel it is SC. Fingers crossed. I wonder how the radiculopathy will be rated, it is bilateral, and I already sent the EMG results to the VA (TRICARE doc did the test in June)? Will the fact that I had the surgery 3 weeks ago factor into the decision?

Monster

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3 answers to this question

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Be glad you had it done, With a 3 level fusion even using cadaver bones will cause you some issues. First it will be reduced ROM of the neck.

2nd: If you have had neurological issues or radiculpathy then there is a strong chance that the effected nerves will remain effected as there could be some permanent damage. I once had a well respected Neurosurgeon tell me that I would never be fixed and he was right.

Another thing to consider is your claim. Now you have a play by play hard core evidence that you have problems. I would get a copy of the OR report asap.

Hang in there and I believe you did the right thing.

J

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Thanks Basser!

The surgeon, my PT, and neurologist said the same things about recovery that some of this just isn't going to go away. I just couldn't delay it any longer plus I got some really cool titanium parts. LOL I have a copy of the OR report and will be sending it off to the VA. The surgeon said the injuries and nerve compression looked like they have been around for a good while and asked why I never had them looked at before I got out. I never put 2 and 2 together until it got real bad and my PT asked a whole lot of questions and connected the dots for me as far as how the different headaches, tremors, shooting pains, spasms etc all were caused by my neck. I had a hard time getting my head wrapped around all that and the prospects of it not getting any better. The wife pushed real hard to get me to consent to the surgery, she's been great through the whole thing and is a lot less stressed now.

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Update time. I was awarded 20% for Cervical DDD with an effective date of April 2010 instead of my retirement date of August 2009. Over all rating of 50%. Migraines secondary to claim is deferred for further development, absolutely no mention of my Cervical Radiculopathy claim despite the EMG/NCV report I sent them in July or the terrible tremors I had during my C&P exam in Oct.

The surgeon has since sent me for another round of X-rays, MRIs, and the lovely EMG/NCV due to my headaches increasing in duration, frequency, and severeity, my tremors still present, numbness in my hands still present, pain in my wrists, elbows, shoulders and some balance issues. The hardware is set perfectly, the MRI looked "okay", the EMG/NCV report states:

1. radiculopathic process of the lower cervical spinal roots at C8/T1. Acute axonal denervation is preganglionic.

2. concomitant mild compressive neuropathic process affecting the right median nerve at or about the wrist (carpal tunnel). Pathology affects both sensory and motor fibers and consists predominantly of demylelination.

No idea what the above means, I have an appointment with the surgeon tomorrow to discuss that. He did tell me after the fusion of C5-6-7 that I could have issues below those levels.

SSDI is waiting on the doc's notes to make a determination. I was a little peeved he hasn't sent the notes in yet, however I think the latest EMG/NCV test will help with the SSDI claim. I think the only area I don't have the dreaded arthritis in my nose and that is only due to it being cartilage. LOL

Any advice/comments?

Monster

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