Just like when you get your car fixed after an accident, you're never the same after surgery. There's always going to be residual symptoms. One thing you should know before you go into surgery is that you will never be 100% again. Something else to keep in mind is that you are most likely going to have some other problem down the line, if not another fusion. Surgeons are not God. They can't build you a bionic neck...yet. Even if they could, they still have to attach it to the rest of your body's fragile tissue.
If you're not comfortable with the idea of having surgery, you should get a 2nd opinion. Surgery should be the last resort. When it comes to your neck, you may not have a choice. With the problems going on in your neck, one little whiplash from being rear ended could bring serious consequences.
I would hope that if you went through surgery, you asked enough questions to be sure about what you were doing. Some cases are worse than others. Some are chonic conditions that get worse with time and activity...and some are acute injuries that give you no other choice but to either go through with the surgery or be on a lot of medication around the clock for the rest of your life and possibly eventually in a wheel chair.
Here's my story.....I had things going on with my neck for years from working at a job that required a lot of lifting. I never knew it was my cervical spine. I always thought it was just muscle spasms in my shoulders and neck. It was a gradual thing and I learned to live with the pain and loss of range of motion in my neck. I went to PT or chiropractors for years and kept working at the same job. After seventeen years at this job, I was wearing wrist braces on both wrists, could'nt write more than two lines and couldn't sleep at night. I was miserable. Finally after another year I got Carpal tunnel surgery..on both wrists..one at a time. Even though my job paid very well, I took a huge cut in salary and began working at a place that required no lifting at all. For several years I was pain free.
Then one day...I went on rollercoasters with my daughter all day at an amusement park. I don't recall anything happening but I woke up the next morning with a really bad neck ache. As I got ready for work my neck was getting worse. After being at work for 2 hours, I began to pace the floor and couldn't sit still I was in so much pain. I went to see my Dr but she was not available so I went to another one. After a shot of an analgesic and anti-inflamatory, it continued to get worse. I don't even know how I drove home. By then I had a feeling what was wrong...and I was right. I went to the ER and insisted on an MRI. I had two herniated discs and spinal cord compression. I had to wait 2 days to get in to see the spine specialist so I was taking medications around the clock but they really didn't make the pain go away completely although they were still my best friends for a while. My blood pressure was always natually low but now it was 160/100 because I was in so much pain. When I met the spine specialist, as he was introducing himself, he had his nurse fit me for a neck brace and told me to call someone to drive me home after my visit. He explained to me why I need surgery. There was no reversing the herniated discs and I already had nerve damage in my right arm and hand. I met with my PCP the next day and we discussed why I needed the surgery. I had the surgery 3 days later. I told myself that if I wake up without this pain, I would never take another pain pill.
It's been 4 years now and I take pain meds, anti-inflammatory meds and nerve meds. It's NOTHING like it was that week though. I do have a dead nerve in my right arm going all the way down to my index finger. Sometimes my index finger hurts. My residual pain comes and goes depending on how I sleep or what I do throughout the day. I limit myself and pace myself and try to pay attention to my posture.
For the past two days...I've had this horrible burning sensation in my right arm that started on the inside of my elbow on my skin and it's slowly speading up my arm.