Why Did I Need Neck Surgery?

When I was in 7th grade gym class doing wrestling a fellow student had twisted my neck in a headlock and caused some damage to my discs in my neck. Ever since I’ve had yearly episodes of severe neck stiffness and pain that I treated with the rest, ice, anti-inflammatory medication and limited therapy including chiropractic and acupuncture. I was able to enjoy playing tennis, rollerblading, bike riding and performing orthopedic surgery most of the time.

Unfortunately, I noticed a gradual onset of heavy pressure and low grade deep pain starting to shoot from my neck down to my left arm. I had some numbness in my fingers. An MRI and CAT scan confirmed that I had developed cervical foraminal stenosis caused by the development of some small bone spurs pressing on the nerves to my left arm. When the usual conservative treatment I used to use did not work I had a cervical epidural injection which provided temporary relief of my symptoms.

I tried a repeat injection but the 2nd epidural injection did not help at all. I saw several different spine surgeons and decided to have the nerve roots decompressed with surgery to grind away the small bone spurs. When I woke up from the surgery my original pain was improved but I couldn’t lift my arm. The surgeon had bruised some of the nerve roots. It took about a year of watchful waiting and light weight lifting and fortunately, the nerves were able to recover on their own. My muscles have recovered their strength and I am happy to say that I’m back to playing tennis and golf.

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Dr. Elliot Gross is an experienced orthopedic surgeon who has practiced in the Los Angeles area for more than 40 years. If you are in need of surgery for ankle fractures or any other type of injury, Dr. Gross services patients in Culver City, CA as well as surrounding areas. 

Author
ELLIOT GROSS M.D.

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