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  1. #1
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    Artificial Cervical Disc Arthroplasty (ACDA)

    The last five years have been extremely frustrating and challenging with pain and a significant reduction in activity. At this point I have loss of feeling in my right index and middle finger, the tops of my forearms feel as if one were to have a migraine headache where there is constant pounding and pain protruding from the tops of them. If I grip anything with weight it feels as if knives want to jab out of my forearms. My right pec minor feels as if someone is tugging a marionette string across my face to the left and ripping it off my chest. My right tricep and forearms have that gym swollen throb and pump nearly 24/7. I can no longer sit in a car/airplane seat without looking like a meth head tweaker constantly twitching.

    I stopped cycling nearly 5 years ago due to the pain in my hands, arms and shoulders from gripping the handlebars. I eliminated playing golf three years ago due to the shooting pain in the tops of my forearms after every shot. Gave up hockey two years ago as I could no longer grip a stick and shoot, pass without forearm, bicep, tricep and shoulder pain after each game. Fishing rod/reel combo purchases have been based on total weight of the set up the last few years. I purchased three sets of carbon fiber ski poles this year, each lighter then the previous trying to find a pair that would not kill my arm or grip. I don’t use straps as any catch or tug would send me cringing bent over at the waist in pain. As this season progressed the poles magically kept falling out of my hand. I would try and convince myself that it was getting caught on something.

    Water glasses and coffee mugs started dropping to the floor. No longer able to do anything that required dexterity like putting an allen head in to its slot or place nuts on bolts. Signing my name to a check or adding a tip, I look like a 2yr old with a stick drawing in the mud. Eating with chop sticks, might as well be finger food. Sitting on the chairlift became so miserable that I was constantly stretching/re-positioning trying any position to get comfortable without falling off the lift. Plane rides, sitting in the car and in a chair have become so painful that I eventually feel nauseous as if I have to vomit from the pain. I have been walking around and driving with sleeves on my forearm/elbow/bicep the last 6 months to alleviate the symptoms of radiculopathy. I work a lacrosse ball on my back as I drive to try and alleviate the pressure and manipulate the nerve. I stand 75% of the time in meetings and while eating. At this point I have not slept in over a month. As a stomach sleeper I can not sleep on my stomach as it sends all the pain to my lat, tricep and forearm.

    I have tried traction, I was sent to PT and a chiropractor which all attempted to work on me. With minimal to no results from their efforts I was scheduled for an MRI. The MRI was excruciatingly painful. 7 minutes in to the 15 min cycle, the tech walks in and asks if everything is ok. Well, no I can not lay on my back with my head locked in place without my pec feeling like it is being ripped off my chest and my tricep not cramping. She said if I take you out it will extend the time you have to be in for as we are not getting any solid images due to your constant movement. FKNA women get me out of here and let me stand for 3 mins. Let my arm get above my head so I can get comfortable. She lets me out, I stretch, stand and then hop back on the table for 12 more mins laying as still as I can be. Thankfully they are able to use the images to diagnose severe foraminal stenosis at C 5/6 and 6/7. I show up to PT and chiropractic appointments the following morning and get fired from both after they read the MRI as they have nothing for me.

    Two weeks ago I went for an injection at T1 with minimal to no effects. If I lay with my legs bent and supported while slightly on my side with my neck tilted at the exact proper angle I am able to reduce most symptoms except the numbness/tingling feeling you get when you smash your finger in a door or with a hammer, in my fingers. Had an appointment with a surgeon (orthopedic w/spine fellowship) who tested my strength (same results as the chiropractor and pt had both previously done) to find significant weakness in my right bicep and right wrist compared to my left. I thought the issue was my grip which he then explained it was not my grip it was my wrist. Thus leading me to the point of being recommended for the cutting room floor and an ACDA to preserve the range of motion vs multiple levels of fusion.

    I know, trust and respect the surgeon. I have a very close relationship with him and I’m familiar with his work. I have seen him talk MANY people out of surgery and truly believe he has my best interest at heart and is not just cutting to cut. People travel from all over the states and internationally to see him as he is well trained and touches the crap no one else wants and he handles complex revisions with positive results. He is ex-military who has operated on many special warfare operators that have returned to jumping out of planes as well as athletes who returned to their competitive sports and living life with no restrictions 6 weeks after this procedure.

    A life well lived has finally caught up to me. My spine looks like that of someones at least 2x my age. I searched to see if anyone else here had gone through this procedure but I found most posts regarding issues much further down the spine or those with herniated or bulging discs. I have talked to another individual (ex SEAL) locally who was recommended this procedure and he is opting for stem cells prior to going down the surgery route. Unfortunately the research is not there for stem cells regarding this application and the severity of my issues are greater then his at the current moment.


    Anyone sitting on research relative to stem cells and severe foraminal stenosis?


    Anyone here have an ACDA?

  2. #2
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    Holy shit dude. Didn't know you were dealing with this.
    PE, Mechanical Engineering
    University of Bridger Bowl Alumnus
    Alpental Creeper

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Norseman View Post
    Holy shit dude. Didn't know you were dealing with this.
    Getting together to make laps at BBI is all about celebrating life and engaging with others, not for me to dump medical questions and bitch about my pain on the field of dentists. Bitching about pain at my house is not an option so keeping it quiet had been pretty easy. I was able to tolerate/manage/self convince myself that everything was ok...up until the last month.

    Hope to step out the gates with ya in the near future as I quit touring 3 years ago. Gripping a pole while bracing myself to climb up hill became absolutely miserable. Depending on me to work a shovel in an emergency at this point is dangerous for all involved.

  4. #4
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    Let me know what I can do. Meals etc. after surgery. Hopefully short recovery as to get back on the water ASAP.

  5. #5
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    Wow ... and I thought my neck issues were bad. No direct experience or knowledge with ACDR/ACDA but looked into it 7 or 8 years ago jut before the FDA approved it. Based on the more extensive European history and the few years here in the US it actually sounds pretty good - definitely preferable to fusion if everything goes according to plan. If my neck ever progresses to being even close towhat you're experiencing, pretty sure it would be my first choice.

    Best of luck!

  6. #6
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    Man. This stuff is the worst.

    I don't even know what to say. I wish we could have talked about this at BBI. Don't give up bro

  7. #7
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    Damn that sounds gnarly. How did you still ski so fast at BBIU?

  8. #8
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    fkna dood, let me take the pics next time while you slap on the stickers! and 4real, seriously how did you ski so fast?
    .

  9. #9
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    do you have or access to your MRI results/images?
    .

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2FUNKY View Post
    Let me know what I can do. Meals etc. after surgery. Hopefully short recovery as to get back on the water ASAP.
    Thanks man. Looking forward to fishing together soon.


    Quote Originally Posted by PB View Post
    Wow ... and I thought my neck issues were bad. No direct experience or knowledge with ACDR/ACDA but looked into it 7 or 8 years ago jut before the FDA approved it. Based on the more extensive European history and the few years here in the US it actually sounds pretty good - definitely preferable to fusion if everything goes according to plan. If my neck ever progresses to being even close towhat you're experiencing, pretty sure it would be my first choice.

    Best of luck!
    Appreciate the feedback, insight and best wishes. Cheers!


    Quote Originally Posted by ill-advised strategy View Post
    Man. This stuff is the worst.

    I don't even know what to say. I wish we could have talked about this at BBI. Don't give up bro
    Naturally I have truly avoided this section of the forum until my return from BBI. It was then and only then that I read of your adventures. I have no complaints about my situation and actually felt more pain for you in reading your story. Stoked for the turns we shared and looking forward to doing it again in 2020. If you are crazy enough to drive to Alpy, our home is on your way from your house to Alpy and always open to you and yours.


    Quote Originally Posted by snowaddict91 View Post
    Damn that sounds gnarly. How did you still ski so fast at BBIU?
    haha, just out there riding the lightning till it's over


    Quote Originally Posted by flowing alpy View Post
    fkna dood, let me take the pics next time while you slap on the stickers! and 4real, seriously how did you ski so fast?
    Deal. I will be stoked if I can reach overhead for sticker placement without having everything cease up in that arm. I'll PM about imaging.

  11. #11
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    Damn dude that's a scary story. Can't imagine that kind of pain and discomfort. Hope everything goes well for you

  12. #12
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    Holy crap. When I have back flare ups I'm in bed for a week, not out ripping laps. I have had some instances of severe back pain but nothing of the duration you're describing. What an ordeal to endure and congrats for not punching the MRI tech. My wife had fusion and it was instant pain relief, but came w its own issues. I too hope everything goes well for you and that you can get this resolved soon and be pain free. Nothing really compares to back/spine pain.

  13. #13
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    WTF! I'm standing right next to you and you keep this hush??

    Complete empathy for your plight. No where near the severity of damage in that portion of my spine but, total understanding of the maladies. Thumbs have been tingly/funnybone numb for years. Chronic 24/7 acute pain directly @ C456 and lower lip. Astute medical types pick up on it visually and in my speech. If I limit my range of motion for any length of time. Symptoms expand rapidly... as you eluded to - twitching/spams. mostly in the forearms and hands. More fingers get painfully numb and blah blah blah. My primary damage is at 4/5 and no discomfort in my chest. Mandible and Hands - growing up my arms when I'm idle.

    Saw you take a mother load of Splats magical salve. It works to a degree but, it's like using aspirin when you need morphine. The effectiveness jumps occasionally. I can't tell you why.

    I've avoided the knife all these years because of the potential of changing my connection to snow. Your damage is so high, and will be much less of a concern.

    Go Get Cut <--!

    Living the life of the Princess and the Pea with 11 different pillows and 20 minutes of wrestling until you can take a breath without twitching in an effort go to sleep. Sucks! A Lot!

    Don't know what pt you do that helps? I find working range of motion constantly makes a difference. Head circles both ways (fast and then slow) and stretching to keep the neck spasms to a minimum. Driving aggravates these. No caffeine makes a substantive difference.

    Stay Loose - pun intended

    eta: no wonder I liked your brand of elixir
    "knowledgeable in escapades of the flesh"

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by abraham View Post
    Damn dude that's a scary story. Can't imagine that kind of pain and discomfort. Hope everything goes well for you
    thanks! Looking forward to making laps again at Alpy with you in 2020.

    Quote Originally Posted by mcski View Post
    Holy crap. When I have back flare ups I'm in bed for a week, not out ripping laps. I have had some instances of severe back pain but nothing of the duration you're describing. What an ordeal to endure and congrats for not punching the MRI tech. My wife had fusion and it was instant pain relief, but came w its own issues. I too hope everything goes well for you and that you can get this resolved soon and be pain free. Nothing really compares to back/spine pain.
    Much appreciated. Trying to avoid the fusion at this time to delay the onset of never ending problems that seem to come with it. All the best to you and your wife!

    Quote Originally Posted by Gepeto View Post
    WTF! I'm standing right next to you and you keep this hush??

    Complete empathy for your plight. No where near the severity of damage in that portion of my spine but, total understanding of the maladies. Thumbs have been tingly/funnybone numb for years. Chronic 24/7 acute pain directly @ C456 and lower lip. Astute medical types pick up on it visually and in my speech. If I limit my range of motion for any length of time. Symptoms expand rapidly... as you eluded to - twitching/spams. mostly in the forearms and hands. More fingers get painfully numb and blah blah blah. My primary damage is at 4/5 and no discomfort in my chest. Mandible and Hands - growing up my arms when I'm idle.

    Saw you take a mother load of Splats magical salve. It works to a degree but, it's like using aspirin when you need morphine. The effectiveness jumps occasionally. I can't tell you why.

    I've avoided the knife all these years because of the potential of changing my connection to snow. Your damage is so high, and will be much less of a concern.

    Go Get Cut <--!

    Living the life of the Princess and the Pea with 11 different pillows and 20 minutes of wrestling until you can take a breath without twitching in an effort go to sleep. Sucks! A Lot!

    Don't know what pt you do that helps? I find working range of motion constantly makes a difference. Head circles both ways (fast and then slow) and stretching to keep the neck spasms to a minimum. Driving aggravates these. No caffeine makes a substantive difference.

    Stay Loose - pun intended

    eta: no wonder I liked your brand of elixir
    Thanks for the PM. I remember our conversation in ghosthop's kitchen in Bozeman over a year ago about all of your pain. By no means has my body been through what yours has so I never even considered bringing it up at Soli or Alta. Especially after you telling me about your chute deployment well below the deck and now reading your other post. I did depart SFBz w/a haul of salve but that was also for others back here in the narth. Your sleeping routine sounds very similar to mine. Pillows slipping between legs, under back, under arm...neck not at the proper angle and then the reposition begins and repeats itself in the hopes of a few minutes of shut eye. If I can get 2 hours I feel like I won. Trying to stay as mobile as possible and continue with some strength training for my own sanity. Since posting this yesterday I have been updated with a cut date of 4/17. Relief is near.

  15. #15
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    Sorry to hear about this mooseknuckles. I will be pulling for you and a good outcome.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by yeahman View Post
    Sorry to hear about this mooseknuckles. I will be pulling for you and a good outcome.
    much appreciated!

  17. #17
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    I really feel for you. My wife has a degenerative spine. Problems started in 2000. She lives in constant pain. If it wasnít for morphine, oxy, and a host of other meds, she would be non functional. She has had multiple injections, regular PT, and other procedures over the years. she had most of her cervical spine fused and half her lumbar. Artificial disks were not available for cervical application 10-15 years ago. And not covered by insurance. But, you said you have stenosis, not a bad disk. So Iím not sure why a disk replacement is considered. Having spent countless hours in hospitals and doctor offices, I might be able to offer some advice. PM me if you want to discuss off line.


    Sent from my iPhone using TGR Forums

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elkhound Odin View Post
    ...But, you said you have stenosis, not a bad disk. So I’m not sure why a disk replacement is considered. Having spent countless hours in hospitals and doctor offices, I might be able to offer some advice. PM me if you want to discuss off line.
    My discs have collapsed and when disc collapses onto nerve root there is no option but to restore height. You and your wife are troopers. I am not envious of your time accrued in hospitals/clinics and appreciate the offer to reach out via PM. I wish your wife all the best with her spine and hope that an end of procedures is in sight for her. Sadly as I am learning, it is rarely as easy as one and done.

  19. #19
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    I understand now. You really donít have a choice but corrective surgery. If you have multiple levels, Iím not sure you are a candidate for ACDA. I would be interested in finding out. My wife has a history of failed fusions. She has a failed lumbar fusion that weíre trying to figure out how to deal with


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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elkhound Odin View Post
    I understand now. You really don’t have a choice but corrective surgery. If you have multiple levels, I’m not sure you are a candidate for ACDA. I would be interested in finding out. My wife has a history of failed fusions. She has a failed lumbar fusion that we’re trying to figure out how to deal with
    Two levels ACDA for civilians and three level ACDA for military.

    Lumbar disc replacement is currently in Europe only for your wife.

  21. #21
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    mooseknuckles...

    I Am really sorry to (read) of this --
    I remember meeting you at Bridger last year, and was really looking forward to seeing You in SLC - until I Just could not make it happen last month...

    The Pain you are enduring sure makes my discomfort pale.


    I will hope the Surgery will bring you Relief .
    … sending Positive vibes your way - Please keep us posted...

    I don't know about 2020 - Maybe - but definitely by 2021. . .
    ( I need to return to Schweitzer )

    Please - take Good Care, mooseknuckles --
    let us know how your rehab. comes long …

    wishing You The Best (!) tj
    " ... I will do anything to go Skiing ... There Is no pride ... " (Miriam , 2005-2006 epic)

    Dec21, 2016. LittleBigLost :
    " I think about it everyday. It is my reminder to live life to the fullest. I get up early, go to bed late, 'cuz I got shit to do. Like I said, I'm 61. Not going to wait till I'm 81 to do stuff, ...

    Get out there and do stuff!

    Enjoy life to the fullest!!

    See you on the slopes! "

  22. #22
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    Thanks TJ! Take care of yourself and here's to us reconnecting in 2020.

  23. #23
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    I had discectomy with fusion at C6-7 about 2006. Didn’t have artificial discs at the time but would have taken that over the cadaver shim.

    Prior to the surgery I had similar symptoms. Numbness in hands, screaming pain in elbow and behind scapula, pecs would go into rapid spasm when on the bike. Went through the whole gambit of PT, chiropractors and epidural injections. Had to give up my road bike and back way off with Mtb and skiing. Finally said fuck it and got the surgery. They went in thru the front of the neck - pull carotid artery one way, trachea the other and there’s a clear path to the spine. Very little soft tissue insult. Three days later I walked five miles in hilly country. Back on MTB in a month and skiing (OK it was tele) the next season.

    In retrospect, should have done it sooner. I still get numbness and the occasional stinger, and range of motion isn’t what it was, but all in all I’m happy with the outcome.

    Best of luck
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  24. #24
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    Artificial Cervical Disc Arthroplasty (ACDA)

    Quote Originally Posted by mooseknuckles View Post
    Getting together to make laps at BBI is all about celebrating life and engaging with others, not for me to dump medical questions and bitch about my pain on the field of dentists. Bitching about pain at my house is not an option so keeping it quiet had been pretty easy. I was able to tolerate/manage/self convince myself that everything was ok...up until the last month.

    .
    Just read this. Totally. Everyone deals with adversity. More or less but thereís always someone worse off. Much respect!

    Cervical much more troublesome cause contains spinal cord. Risky business.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by TBS View Post
    I had discectomy with fusion at C6-7 about 2006. Didn’t have artificial discs at the time but would have taken that over the cadaver shim.

    Prior to the surgery I had similar symptoms. Numbness in hands, screaming pain in elbow and behind scapula, pecs would go into rapid spasm when on the bike. Went through the whole gambit of PT, chiropractors and epidural injections. Had to give up my road bike and back way off with Mtb and skiing. Finally said fuck it and got the surgery. They went in thru the front of the neck - pull carotid artery one way, trachea the other and there’s a clear path to the spine. Very little soft tissue insult. Three days later I walked five miles in hilly country. Back on MTB in a month and skiing (OK it was tele) the next season.

    In retrospect, should have done it sooner. I still get numbness and the occasional stinger, and range of motion isn’t what it was, but all in all I’m happy with the outcome.

    Best of luck
    Thanks TBS, glad to read that you are in a far better place and all is well over a decade later. Front of the neck entry is the only way in to such a tight space. Totally agree that I should have looked to have this issue resolved sooner. Hopefully someone else will read our experiences in this thread and recognize the issue in their life and move forward with care prior it to reaching such an escalated level.


    Quote Originally Posted by 4matic View Post
    Just read this. Totally. Everyone deals with adversity. More or less but there’s always someone worse off. Much respect!

    Cervical much more troublesome cause contains spinal cord. Risky business.
    Cheers. So glad you were able to get your implant quickly. All the best with your recovery!

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