Just got results of MRI which show a "blown out C5-C6". The doc says it will take a while to feel better - have undergone PT and cortisone injections. Neither are helping much. Doc says that I should think about surgery if I don't get better with the PT. Any suggestions on how long to wait until surgery option sets in? The doc says that you risk when you fix at one level the next level blow out as well. Any suggestions or opinions regardng what I should do?
What the heck does your doc mean by "blown out"? I assume it means ruptured, but how bad? Is there more disc in the disc space than out? Did you see the picture? Anyway, if the cord and nerve aren't involved, you can hold out on the surgery as long as you can stand the pain. Once the disc presses on the spinal cord and the nerve, you are better off just going for the surgery, because it'll just get worse. Good Luck
I second dgri, I never heard of a blown out disc.
What are your symptons and how bad is the pain.
surgery should always be the last resort. If your MRI report indicates the C5-C6 is herniated and effacing the nerve roots by a few centimeters PT probably will not help, but you might get better in time. If the spinal cord is impinged you shoud consider surgery.
It really is a question as to how much pain you are in and if the pain can directly be related to the disc. You might want to consult with a spinal surgeon and make sure you bring the actual MRI films for he/she to evaluate- a good second opinion.
"Blow out" means ruptured. The doc says that there is no disc space and that it is pressing on the nerve to my arm and hand on the left. That is why my arm and hand are going numb and also hurt. He did say that if we do surgery that the next disc will probably do the same thing and on and on, so in my opinion that isn't very good. Seems like they could figure out something to eliminate that. Pain, now the pain is so bad at times that I can barely hold up my head. I have horrible headaches and can't sleep at night for the neck and arm problem. He did give me some muscle relaxers and very mild pain pills which I take every night which seem to help with sleeping at least for 2 hours at a time. Doesn't sound like much, but it really helps.
Have same injury, though its labled as HERNIATED. I've been dealing with it for 7years. Im 35 athletic (bodybuilding, marathons, martial arts &yoga) have returned to work recently, (full time), and have advoided surgery though both being active and pain meds/management.
Besides, every Dr. I've spoken with has said there's no way of saying if I'll get relief from the surgery, weighed against the complications that can come from such an intrusive surgery, it doesnt seem like much of an option.
My SYMPTOMS: radiating sharp pain in neck, up back of head (as if its being squeezed), crunching, crackling noise when i roll my neck (sounds like broken glass grinding), shooing pain into left shoulder, down left tricept, into left hand, numbness in hand, loss of dexterity and hand strength, muscluar atrophy in left arm (I was weight lifting way before auto accident, now muscles esp tricept have become noticably smaller/weaker)
MY TREATMENT: first and formost, remaining active has helped alot. I take my meds (30mg roxycodone) an hour before going to the gym, or yoga. Once there STRECHING for a good 30minutes helps relieve all those muscles that were cramping or twisted from pain and over compensating. (I've been doing this for so long that I really mimick what most physical therapists would have a patient do)
I also get lidocane shoots 1-2 times a month, paired with cortisone 3 times a year and have lidoderm patches (which work great esp. w/a thermapatch over it) that I use when pain gets too much (or if I've pushed too hard at gym)
MASSAGE: yes a good massage or chiropratic session every now and again, if insurance/budget allows.
Now I know I take ALOT of meds, (and I posted about this dilema yesterday), and I know the use of opiates becomes physicaly addictive (between jobs, insurance an doctors I got a real miserable experince of withdrawl ONTOP of the REAL physical pain) BUT I feel as long as there a Dr. monitoring your blood/liver/kidney functions, and you're not operating a vehicle, heavy equiptment etc. WHY NOT take the pills?
Personaly, I ENJOY being active and athletic without having to deal with overwhelming pain, or spending days recovering from a day of hiking, swimming, skiing or whatever. Why should I have to give up that lifestyle, or silently endure pain because some irreasponsible jerk smashed into my car and permenately damaged me?
What is the specialty of the doctor you consulted?
The thought that surgery will produce the same effect in surrounding discs does not sound correct.
I know a number of persons would had similar surgeries and they were successful.
A second opinion with a reputable spinal surgeon is your next step. Bring your MRI films and ask questions. As I said before it is a question of quality of life- if the pain is ruining what you have and the spinal surgeon can tell you the results will be good, then make you decisions.
If you do not have a disc between the vertebra, they will rub together and this becomes a very serious problem. What to do depends on your symptoms and how they are managed. Asking about the herniated disc tells us how bad you really are. A small bulging, herniated, slipped ( all names for the same thing) disc may not even cause any pain for some, they may not even know they have one. It's when the spinal cord and or the nerve/roots are involved is when it becomes serious. Your doc- assuming is a neuro -surgeon, said blown out and you said he meant "gone", well that's something that nothing will "help". You MUST have a disc in that space between the two vertebra, or they must be fused. You can not leave it. I am surprised you were given the choice to wait. So I ask you, where IS the disc????? It is probably pressing against your spinal cord, the nerve roots and the nerves. The pain, tingling and numbness are all signs of nerve compression. If there isn't a disc in the disc space, it is where it shouldn't be. Pain is a sign of something wrong. You can only take debilitating, unrelenting pain for so long.
Brian1972 has a herniated disc that obviously he can live with, with all the meds and treatment. Some discs will harden enough at the protrusion, so it does not extend and worsen. But that is not your case here.
Here's a web site with the basics. Type webmd.com/back-pain Scroll down the left side of the page and click on the topic Herniated Disc there are many web sites out there, you can even google herniated cervical disc and go from there.
I can't tell you how much I appreciate all of your comments here. The problem is at C5 and C6. The doc is a neurosurgeon, and seems to be very good. He has been practicing for over 30 years, but then you think that maybe a younger one would know more. Who knows... Nigh Noon, I just might consult a spinal surgeon if it continues to worsen in the next 2 weeks. It is encouraging that you know peole that have had success with the surgery. The doc did say that when something hurts immediately stop it! Well, I work as a legal secretary and type all day long. Yesterday, by the end of the day my neck, arm and hand were hurting so much I cried most of the eway home. (And,I am NOT a cryer). I certainly can't stop working. I just took meds when I got home and went to bed. Usually in the mornings it is much better. It just worsens during the day as I have to look down so much typing. Dgri, thanks so much for the web site which I will look into today. I really appreciate all of your help! Thanks so very much.
He gave me some type of muscle relaxer and a pain pill. I have never heard of either of them before. I can't take them during the day - but I take one of each at 6 p.m. and then again one of each at 10 or 11. I asked him if it was ok if I did it that way and he said it was fine. I don't like to take any type of medicine, but they seem to help a lot at night. I will get the name of them tonight and let you know tomorrow.
I had the same symptoms for over 9 years, I was in a car accident 17 years ago. It got so bad that the problem would'nt go away like it used to. It would start as a sore neck, like I slept the wrong way. A couple days later pain would go down my neck and arms, for years this happened and would last a week or so. This past spring it happened, lasted until I had surgery 2 days ago! It was my C5-6 and C6-7. I had anterior cervical discectomy and fusion. They didnt give me a cage thing, its a soft cervical collar, like foam. I really didnt want the surgery. Once I found out that the numbness and tingly feelings you get are the nerves dieing from compression and can be irreversible unless its stopped. I then decided that benefit outweighed the risk. I do feel pretty sore and in some pain, but no longer do I have to wonder if the damage will be worse.
Sorry it took so long to update -- but the meds I am on areTramadol HCL 50 mg; Tizanidine HCL 4 mg. I have never heard of either of them, but then I don't know much about medicine. The problem with my neck and arm has lessened to some extent and I feel it is because I have stopped PT and NO MORE INJECTIONS! I think those injections were making things much much worse. Now I just take those two meds at night, twice once at 6 p.m. and then again around 10 or 11 p.m. I did get a copy of my MRI report and a CD of the MRI from the previous ortho doc, and intend to see a specialist in spinal surgery after Christmas. Hopefully he can make things better for me. Good luck to everyone here and HAPPY HOLIDAYS to all.
I thank a disk has blown out in my neck. Yesterday morning i got up i was fine . About. 8:30 am my neck and shoulder started hearting very badly and it has not stopped . It happed with no warning . It has not easied off but the pressure seam to be more to the left side of my lower neck. It herts very badly . It gave no warning. It just went .
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