Twice as Nice: Two Neck Surgeries That Drove Away The Pain
Kathy Conley has ridden horses since age 14. In fact, riding horses has been a major part of her life. But it was also part of the problem when her neck pain began. "I had neck pain that got bad enough that I had to have a neck fusion. I had pain that went down into my shoulder and sometimes my fingers would get numb."
Kathy got an appointment at Columbia Orthopaedic Group with Dr. John Miles, a specialist in disorders of the spine. After examination and discussion, Dr. Miles did a spinal fusion at level C5-6. That fusion surgery is a procedure in which the surgeon intentionally makes the 5th and 6th cervical vertebra heal to each other, so that there is no more motion between those two vertebrae since the motion creates so much pain. She had that surgery performed in 2013. The surgery went great, and Kathy felt better and had no pain. She exercised by walking a lot more. Her nerve pain was gone, and her headaches were gone too. She finally had a new lease on life.
In November of 2018, Kathy had barely put 10 miles on a new car when she was t-boned in an accident where her side of the car was hit as she was driving. Immediately, the discomfort returned. "I remember thinking that maybe it was just trauma from the accident and everything would return to normal. It didn't turn out that way.
"I had to sleep sitting up because I was in too much pain to lay down. I knew to get in to see Dr. Miles again, and we chartered a new plan."
This time Dr. Miles suggested disc replacement surgery for Kathy. She had damage to the disc between the 4th and 5th cervical vertebra.
The disc is a shock-absorbing flexible structure that sits between the vertebrae in a normal spine. When this disc is damaged, it loses its shock-absorbing ability. It also may collapse some as it deteriorates leading to pressure against the nerves which exit the spine to go down the arms. The damaged disc may lead to significant pain. That is what Kathy was experiencing.
In recent years spine specialists have been performing artificial disc replacements. An artificial disc is a device made of metal and sometimes metal and plastic. These devices allow motion like a regular disc. So, instead of a fusion that eliminates motion between the vertebrae, this device allows motion.
Kathy had an artificial disc replacement at C4-5 with removal of the metal instrumentation at C5-6 which had been placed at the time of the fusion. This surgery was performed in April of 2019. A second surgery for Kathy, but she knew she was in good hands with Dr. Miles.
"Dr. Miles is so talented and his team with Jeff and the rest are so wonderful."
Kathy noticed an improvement in just a couple of weeks and some of her other pains were gone too.
Again, it was a new lease on life. Kathy advises anyone that may be having neck pains to call Dr. Miles at Columbia Orthopaedic Group because it is worth it.
"I feel good. I sometimes will have some muscle pain but nothing from my replacement. It's excellent. I can turn around and look in the backseat of my car and I am very pleased."
While Kathy admits that she definitely has to take it a little bit easier now, you can still see her out walking and, of course, working with her horses and doing what she loves without the neck pain.
Dr. Miles is a board-certified Orthopaedic Spine Specialist. He specializes in the nonsurgical and surgical treatment of problems of the neck and back.
For an appointment with Dr. Miles, call (573) 876-8141.And for more specific information about Dr. Miles, please visit his page.