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Neck Pain C3-4 C5-6 Neural Foramen Encroachment
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Neck Pain C3-4 C5-6 Neural Foramen Encroachment

I was injured at work (Paramedic). in May 2004. I had an MRI and the results were C4-5 C5-6 herniations. I have done the Physical therapy and epidural shots for now 3 years. My pain has gotten alot worse with TOTAL numbness in BOTH hands and pain that goes down my arms, mostly on the right, but lately on the left also.
I recently had another MRI now showing C3-4, C4-5, C5-6, C6-7 protrusions and Bilateral neural foramen encroachment at C3-4 and C5-6. I have seen several doctors (4) saying I needed surgery to get better or have permanent damage to my nerves in my neck. However at first I did not want surgery (wanted to TRY PT first) Now after seeing a Well known Neurosurgeon, he says I do not need surgery that the disc will fix themselves and the Nerve pain will go away with time. Since it has been now 3 years and the pain is MUCH worse and the MRI looks worse do you have ANY suggestions? I also felt "blown off" by him when I was asking questions, he walked out and never came back in the room, nor did he do any type of exam on me. Spent less than 2 minutes with me then left. I am not completely ignorant to the medical field, but I have NO IDEA now what to do. NEEDLESS to say this is a workers comp case.
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147426_tn?1317269232
Blow off any doctor that blows you off, well-known and respected or not!!  He may well be avaricious (re: the workman's comp issue) in addition.  I had a similar experience of being blown off by one of my large city's "100 Best Doctors."  He missed my Dx of MS, because he was in such a hurry to prove to me (a fellow physician) that there was nothing wrong - or he didn't wanted to be bothered by someone on Medicare - as I am for disability.

Your symptoms are worsening with the conservative therapy.  I think you probably know what you need to do.  It is not my area of expertise, but I know that you run the risk of permanent damage and possible permanent paresis or paralysis if the condition is left untreated.  It is also possible that you will not gain much improvement from surgery, only stabilization.  You should have some nerve conduction studies to determine how much permanent damage is already done.  Sometimes the surgery does seem to leave people in worse shape - I've heard people regret having it done, but usually when their pre-op sx were mild.  Yours aren't.  I recommend getting another opinion ASAP from a major, university medical center.  They are typically less $$-oriented.

Good luck, my heart goes out to you.  Keep us posted, Quix
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Avatar_n_tn
kymedic. find a new doctor and have the surgery before you get worse and have perment damage! GOOD LUCK TO YOU!

as an aside, I'm having three level ACDF this month and was told the samething your first doctors told you...do it or have lasting damage...I also did the PT for a few years but I just got worse...
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you for your support. I am waiting for WC to approve my 2nd opinion with a different neurosurgeon. I will keep you posted!

Thanks
Kerri
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi Kerry,

Unfortunately I have been suffering with the same medical conditions you have for the past 6 years.  Last year I had Anterial Fusion on C4-5 and C5-6. Because the pain had gotten so bad in my right arm I could not lift it without it becoming completely paralyzed.  I had multiple cortisone shots, P/T, Epidural and Chiroprator Treatment for 6 years nothing work.  So I had no chose but to have the surgery.  It has been a year and a half and I am back to square one.  My pain has gotten much worst and my EMG and MRI now shows my left side is much worst than my right.  I know I needed the surgery because I could not raise my right arm.  I am able to use right arm but now I have more pain in my shoulder, biceps, triceps, forearm and hands.  The surgery got rid of one problem but was replaced with five additional ones.  My injury is also a W/C issue.  My surgeon became frustrated with me because the surgery did not work.  Now I am searching a new surgeon.

GOOD LUCK, I HOPE YOU HAVE BETTER LUCK THAN I HAD WITH MY TREATMENT
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Avatar_m_tn
I have some of the same conditions, in my neck and shoulders, believe it was brought on from drivers tractor trailer--Osteoarthitis I suppose.  I am constant pain from the time I wake up until I got to bed, I occasionally get numbness in my arms which I can tolerate.  Anyway, I been like this for 10 years, I am on social security disability-63 yrs old.
Well, good luck, if U can get put on a duragesic patch from a pain doctor, I think U may find it to be extremely helpful and yes, i had pain doctor give me cortizone shots in the neck and it didn't help
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