I have an MRI confirmed postero-lateral cervical disc prolapse at C7, with chronic pain in the C8 dermatome: i.e. left shoulder, posterior triceps and lateral border of the little finger. There is no motor deficit. The problem has been present for 3 months and is constant.
If possible I would like to avoid surgery. Can anyone tell me the percentage of this types of problem which settles with conservative treatment, and the time factor involved before one would expect to become pain free?
Indeed do these ever settle without surgery?
I am sorry to hear about your problem in your back. Surgery is usually the last choice. Rehab with PT is usually what we recommend initially. Whatever the etiology needs to also be addressed, whether it is arthritis, osteo, etc. Changes in lifestyle are usually also recommended, so if your overweight now there is some motivation to lose weight. Technique in lifting, posture etc is also a good idea. Prognostication is difficult to give you without seeing you and the MRI. We always hope the patient will become pain-free, that is our goal. I hope that you will become pain-free.
This type of problem may be resolved with conservative chiropractic care depending on the severity of the prolapse.
Gentle movements of the cervical spine may in fact allow the disc to return to it's proper place and allow healing to occur naturally. Compared to surgery, this is conservative care. It would be at this time that rehab would be most advantagous depending on the strngth and flexibility of the neck muscles.
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