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c5/6 herniared discs
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c5/6 herniared discs

I have been teated for this for 6 months by therapy and to series of cortisone injections. they now want me to have epidural and say if it dont work they will consider removing the disc.i have pain in right shoulder runs down to my hand some numbness. this injury is about 3 years old and till this year i dealt with it but now it is getting in the way I cant lift over 20 lbs and have to be very carefull. My husband and I dont know what way to go since nothing has woeked this far. I am on inflamatory and have been for about 6 months. Could you please give me pros and cons or help so we could make a decision
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Avatar_n_tn
Dear Robin:

It is difficult for me to tell you anything as I have not seen the MRI, done a physical exam, etc.  What does your neurologist say?  Surgery is usually the last option, and reserved for severe herniation with cord compression, facet obliteration, etc.  The outcome is dependent on the extent of the lesion, surgeon, type of procedure, and rehab.  I would seek a second opinion from someone who can see the films, do the exam, and then give you more of a concrete answer concerning possible outcomes. Then talk to your rehab specialist and see what he/she recommends as they see you alot and know your lesion. Most find that unless the lesion is causing mechanical induction of pain, the surgery is a **** shoot as far as completely resolving the pain.  I would imagine that if there was muscle atrophy, loss of nerve function (by EMG) the surgery would have already been recommended.  

Sincerely,

CCF Neuro MD
23 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi,
I have the same problem, namely herniation at C 5-6.  

I also am preparing for two other surgeries which are NOT related, so I won't go into
them here.

The pain is in my shoulder/neck and sounds like same spot as yours.  But the
Pain Management doctor [who I thought was going to give me some Trigger Point
Injections] said they were 'out' since I am allergic to cortizones and also
can't tolerate steroids of any kind.

I have been incapacitated for over 6 months with the pain in my back/shoulder. My
MRI clearly shows the herniations in both C 5-6 and also C-4-5.  But three
Neurosurgeons said my pain coming more from the C 5-6 specifically.  I was
so happy when I was referred to a Pain Management team.  Now I feel so let down.
I had to give up my private practice (I am a clinician also) and won't have my life
back until I can get this muscles taken care of.

Anyone know of something other than cortizones and/or steroids that the Pain Management
peopole can use with the Trigger Point Injections?

Or CCF Doctor, know of any other alternatives which would be better than very temporary?
How does one get medical help done, when one can't take cortizone nor steroids?
Thanks so much,
Leah Neal |
***@****
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Avatar_n_tn
I, too, have a severe herniation in C5-6. The neurosurgeon (top in the region) told me that all that could be done is surgery. After a bout with horrible pain, arm/hand weakness, extreme-at-times leg weakness, and tingling down my right arm, I suddenly felt much better - until now as I'm experiencing some pain once again, although not as bad as one year ago. I just wonder, since you've been "incapacitated" and have numbness, why have they not indicated surgery for you? From what I understand numbness is serious and can indicate nerve damage. Are you avoiding surgery (as I am?) Just wondering.

Regards, Dawn
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Avatar_n_tn
I had the same problem about 6 years ago.  I went for McKenzie therapy and it took all the pain away.  Now, 3 1/2years ago I was in a car accident and suffer from severe whiplash.  I had an anterior cervical discectomy in Nov of 97 for herniated disc at C6-C7.  It did not help at all.  I had an epidural which set me back to square one.  i've had 100's of trigger point injections, which helped for a couple of weeks.  I have facet nerve blocks, which lasted for about 1 month.  They then did and RFL, which is when they corterize your facet nerves.  That numbed my back on the side they did for 6 months.  I also have a problem with my muscles not releasing.  They are always in knots and I'm in pain all the time.  I am so tired of doctors.  I wish they weren't so worried about being suied and would just give you an honest opinion.  If anyone out there has any advice, please let me know.
I think the most important thing to remember, is that you have to trust your doctor and do what you think is best for you.  Get a couple of opinions just to make sure.  I had three opinions before my diskectomy and they all said I needed the surgery.
I hope you all find some relief soon.  I know how you feel.
Take care.
Barb
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Avatar_n_tn
I'm sorry to here about your suffering. I too have the same problems, especially similiar to the woman above. 2+ years in, and I just had my third MRI last week. Re-herniated what was left of my C6-C7 disk after a right hemilamonectomy 6 months ago. Diffuse osteophytic ridging causing diffuse central canal narrowing. More focal left paracentral broad disc protrusion appears to be calcified and causes, in addition to diffuse cord flattening, more focal impingement of the left anterior aspect of the cervical cord. What does this mean for all of us? It means we live in fear of our pain. It means we are in constant, chronic pain. Pain that can eat us up. Pain that is destroying the quality of our lives. Sometimes life just *****. I am 34 years old. I have 3 young boys. I don't know what I'm going to do. I am in constant discomfort. I still have pain and weakness from my last ruptured disc and surgery. Get a second and even a third opinion. If surgery is indicated, then do it. I too, have tried everything. It's about getting rid of the pain. Let your lawyer deal with the insurance companies and all that junk. In this state of pain, it is easy for any of us to become depressed. Take care of yourself, do the excersises and stretches. Take your medications and have the proper treatments and procedures preformed. But, do not be intimidated, feel silly, or worry about insulting your doctor, by asking questions. It's all about you, and only you, when you go in there. I hope you find relief. I hope we all find relief. CYA
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Avatar_n_tn
One of my doctors has mentioned Prolo Therapy. Some sort of sugar water injections and supposedly it allows your muscles to re-heal properly. I'm not so sure it's for me, but maybe it is something you could look into. Good luck!
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Avatar_n_tn
Just wanted to let you know you are not alone.  I went thru the same difficult decesion of whether to have surgery or not.  I ruptured c 6-7 with severe spinal cord compression.  I dealt with the pain for 6 month's, did the injections, therapy, massage etc nothing completely releived the pain.  I went to several nuerosurgeons and found one I finally trusted and had an anterior cervial fusion.  The results were good NOT great.  I still have pain in my hand and lots of numbness, but it is much more manageable than it was prior to surgery.  My hand is still numb probably due to nerve damage.  I would recommend the surgery only as a last resort.  I still have difficulty sleeping comfortably and muscle spasms.  I cannot turn my neck like I used to but have adjusted to its limitations.  If you do have surgery just allow ample time to heal, no sledding, travel, etc the DRs tell you to go back to work pretty quickly DONT let your body heal.  I made those mistakes already and had the surgery on Nov 2.  Good luck e-mail if you have any questions. Deborah.***@****
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Avatar_n_tn
In 1989 I was hit by a car while crossing the street. The pain was unbearable and my then doctor recommended surgery. I was diagnosed with herinated discs S1 and L5. epidural injections were given and pain was gone until about a year ago.

I have no medical insurance as I retired early because of other health problems. Currently I am trying to find an organization that can pay for the eye surgery I need to stop bleeding in the eyes due to Diabetes.

Since I don't have a doctor I am wondering if the pain in my neck,shoulders and spine are the disc. Does the injection last for only a time and then wears off? I thnk I remember the surgeon saying it should last for 5 years.

Thanks for your help     Elaine
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Avatar_f_tn
Carolyn,
If you are still looking at this forum please e-mail me at ***@****.  I would like to know if there is anything you have tried that might finally help.  I am 46 and have a 9 yr. old daughter.  It is very difficult to keep my tolerance in check when I am in constant pain.  I'm at the point, that I don't know where to turn to next.  Nothing has helped for very long.  The severe pain in my neck and shoulders just keeps coming back.  All of my doctors have given up on me.  They just tell me they feel sorry for me and that I'm a complicated case.  They just don't know what else to do.  In the meantime, I have not worked in the past 3 1/2 years and have had no income.  This just makes my pain worse, from the stress of worrying about how we are going to pay our bills.  I really need to get well enough so that I can return to work.  Any help would be greatly appreciated.  
Hoping your pain ends soon.  Take care.
Barbara
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Avatar_n_tn
Barbara,
Don't give-up! Get good therapy.
  I had anterior discectomy c4/5 and c 5/6 with plating and fusion. The only thing that help me post-op was myofascial release therapy. Its alot of stretching exercises and it helps. Healing from this surgery take quite some time. My surgeon made it sound like I could resume my life as before in 2-3 months. Its been 7 mon. and I still am unable to work. Hang in there dear. Good luck!
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Avatar_n_tn
I'm awaiting an appointment with a neurosurgeon on Feb. 24 to discuss possible surgery for herniated discs at C5-6 and 6-7. I had fusion done on C4-5 ten years ago.  I have alot of pain, tingling, numbness, weakness etc. in my right hand and the entire arm.  There is alot of pain on the left side of my neck and in the back just left of the vertebrae.  The surgery would require anterior incision.  My fears are that this will affect my vocal ability, and since I teach voice lessons to people this is a great concern.  But then, I also teach piano to people and with the pain and decreasing ability to use my right hand/arm it is very difficult for me to play the piano.  I have a family trip to Europe planned for the end of June.  Is it realistic to expect to have surgery, be able to sing and play the piano and be well enough to travel in 2 1/2 months.  I'm 62 and a fighter.It's o.k. to email me at ***@**** and refer to "dilema for musician" so I can open up the mail.  Thanks.
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Avatar_n_tn
Karen,

Post-op my voice was very low and raspy for a few weeks. My ability to swallow other than liguids came about 1 mon. post-op. It has been 7 months since my surgery and I still always feel as though I have something caught in my throat. The doctors say its scar tissue or adhesions. As for the pain and numbness in your arm, don't expect that to go away with surgery. My left arm and hand are still numb,painful often wake me at night. I have very little feeling on my left side. I was very dissapointed that the surgery didn't relieve this pain. It did relieve the neck pain. Someday I hope to be strong enough to return to my job.
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you for your answer but last week I had another cortisone injection series and as of now I still get dull headaches that run up back of head and am in more discomfort then I was before Iam very independent and tired of asking for help I thought the injections would help now they say epidural and I am scared I never had when when I had my 3 babies I have heard it could paralyze you I really am worried
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Avatar_n_tn
My problem is similar but not exactly the same as most of those listed above.  I have had two disk operations on my lumbar disks and they were reasonable successful but do to an overly active lifestyle, I have herniated them again.  I had a treatment called VAX-D.  It's basically traction that creates a negative intradiscal pressure so that the herniated portion is drawn back in.  To make a long story short,  I am relatively pain free.  I don't know if they have the same thing for cervical disks (this treatment is for lumbar only) but I encourage you to check their website out at www.vax-d.com.
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Avatar_n_tn
I had c4,5,6,7 cervical fusion with titanium plating and autologous bone graft 13 months ago following a work related injury resulting in 3 level cervical disc ruptures- (picked up a very heavy item - was initially diagnosed with a "sprained forearm" or possible thoracic outlet syndrome) At this time I am still plagued with bilateral tingling and shaking, difficulty swallowing, continued feeling of a "bad crick " on the right side of my neck, continuous muscle spasms, despite medication and PT, as well as muscle twitching in trapezius and biceps regions. Follow up CT has revealed a single level non union ("pseudofusion" at t3)and a stenotic cervical canal (c1-c7). My surgeon does not seem to have anything to offer me. Should I seek a second opinion? Do I just live with this - though I don't know how. Are there alternatives in therapy I have been made unaware of? Please help. My active outdoor life has been ruined. I used to hunt, fish, run a farm and now I am resigned to becoming a "couch potato".
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Avatar_n_tn
I have been fighting with neck pain for the last 8 years. For the first 6 years, my family Dr. told me I was suffering from reoccuring whiplash.  Left untreated, my C5-6 herniation has worsened steadily.  I now have TMJ and postural dysfunction.  The muscles in the front of my neck have overdeveloped while the muscles in the back of my neck have vanished.  This dysfunction is so bad, it totally restrains my breathing when I try to get in the correct postural position. I am only 27 years old. Because of insurance constraints, I have had only 30 days of PT.  I do the recommended exercises and stretch a lot.  I have seen 2 neurosurgeons and both have recommended surgery.  I am reluctant to have surgery but am starting to feel like it is my last resort.  I am about to start another 30 days of PT for the new year and want to learn more about traction.  I have asked many PTs and Drs about traction and have heard completely different responses.  One therapist told me about a Saunders (spelling?) unit.  This was the only traction machine she would recommend.  Unfortunately, it is over $450 to buy it. Has anyone here tried traction?  It makes sense that with this treatment, we may find relief.
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Avatar_n_tn
CCF Neuro MD,
In your opionion, is traction strictly temporary relief if it is not done soon after injury?   Please see above comment.
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Avatar_n_tn
I really do hate it for anyone who has chronic pain. I too suffer from chronic pain, my neurologist says it is myofascial pain syndrome. I have tried cortizone shots, ultram, celebrex, vioxx, tylenol with codeine, loricet plus, zanax for the muscle spasms and paxil for the stress. It seems nothing works, I do stretches, I go walking, I try to relax. I just cannot seem to get any relief. Sometimes it slacks off as long as I can manage my stress and watch every move I make, but for goodness sake I am 23 years old and I have suffered since I was 17. What happened to my life? If I wasn't so afraid of dying I would solve the problem. I haven't had children yet and I don't know if I can handle the pain and a child. Is there anyone out there who has had a child after you incurred your injury? I would like to know how you could handle coming off of your meds. I can't imagine life without the temporary relief these meds offer me. Especially when I tried for 2 years to get pregnant. I can't cope for that long. Does anyone have any answers???
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Avatar_n_tn
I wish someone did have the answers for all of this chronic pain, but I'm afraid there is none.  Been through it all,, suffering more than ever... I give up
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Avatar_n_tn

I have a "right paracentral disc herniation osteophyte complex at c5-6 moderately compressing spinal cord and creating moderate central spinal stenosis." This was the MRI written report on my problem. I am experiencing pins and needles type of numbness from the right thumb  up the arm.
I am a 45 year old healthy woman who does not smoke or drink.

What are my options?
What forms of therapy, meds or surgery are available?
Will this get worse through the years?
are there  statistics on this type of surgery?
thanks
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi I am suffering with a herniated c-7 disc. I also am a gospel singer and I am very reluctant to let doctors do surgery on me. I have been to 2 neurosurgeons and they both said I need surgery. My fear is that I will have a raspy voice maybe forever after the surgery. I saw you message and want to know if you received any answers? E-mail me if you can and refer to "dilema for musician". My address is ***@****    Thank You
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Avatar_n_tn
Dear Dee:

Sorry to hear about your problem.  Surgery should not effect your voice as the vocal cords are controlled by vagus nerve which should be easily avoided during surgery.

CCF Neuro MD
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi everyone.  Although I don't have much pain, I can relate to you all as far as the numbness is concerned.  Since mid-January of this year I have had gradual progression of numbness, starting with right leg and now involving both legs, arms, face and neck, with occasional "tight feeling" in throat, resulting in gagging.  CT and myelogramm revealed herniated disc at L4-5, and MRI of cervical spine revealed herniated disc at C5-6 (I think it's that location)  Anyway, the attitude I get from family and neurologist is, "Well, at least it's not life-threatening," or "It's just a herniated disc."  The numbness literally drives me crazy, especially at night, when I cannot feel my legs.  Best of luck to all of you!
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Avatar_f_tn
A related discussion, hernaited disk c7  cuased by whiplash was started.
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