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Anyone with C5C6 Disc Bulge - Please Read & Help

patrick212ppatrick212 Posts: 36
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:31 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
What's going on with me?

I know it might be long, but please read and help me figure out whats going on with me.

Both my General Practioner and Chiropractor do not think that my problems are disc related. GP thinks it was a bad muscle spasm. Chiro isnt sure but thinks it could be mostly stress. I went to a Neurosurgeon just in case and he said I had a bulge but it wasnt impinging, if anything I should just do physical therapy for a few weeks and Ill be ok. I did 3 weeks of physcial therapy at the hospital outpatient center and they discharged me. We only did retraction exercises and I was fine.

My goal in posting this is to find out if anyone else has had the same symptoms to me and if its disc related or just muscle problems caused by stress or something else. My symptoms arent as bad as they could be, I am just worried that I am so young it could get worse. I have not had any "traditional" disc signs yet, no burning, numbing, or tingling down my arm. I almost wish I didnt get the MRI so i wouldnt just blame the disc, because I hear there are a lot of people with disc bulges that dont cause any problems.

General Factors:
I am a 24 year old male. I am in Law School (stress). I am generally pretty active and try to do cardio 5 times a week. I used to be overweight but lost about 150 pounds 5 years ago and have kept it off since then. I have bad posture and am working on it. My shoulders always seem to roll forward. ALSO, i have heard digestive problems could be a cause and I want to note that I talked with my doctor about 6 months before all this happened about how I literally burp within 10 seconds of putting anything in my mouth and I only have bowel movements about 1 time every 2-3 days.

About 2 months ago I noticed a knot in my neck right where my neck meets my back
The next day, I woke up with a EXTREMELY stiff neck, it hurt and my range of motion was cut by 60%.
I went to ER at one point and they did x-ray, they thought it was just a muscle spasm. Prescribed Flexeril.
I tired it for 2 weeks and it really did nothing for me. In the meantime, I had a cervical MRI done just to see if it found anything. Finally, two weeks after it started the stiff neck went away.

MRI Results:
4mm C5C6 disc protrusion which is mildly compressing the spinal cord but no neural encroachment is noted.

For the past month and a half I have had the following symptoms:

1. A sort of pressure feeling in the back of my head that is only relieved when I have a chiropractor stretch adjust me and he says it frees up the pressure that was on my brain stem.

2. My upper back gets extremely tired, mostly my left shoulder blade. Unless I get massaged every 3rd or 4th day it feels like I just did the work out of my life. Could this be related to the fact that I am trying to stand up straight now, as I am trying to improve my posture.

3. Burning sensation on my upper left shoulder where it connects to my neck. Found out that was due to REALLY TIGHT scalians. So if i have my scallians massaged it got rid of the burning. So that burning sensation was really caused by the muscle tightness.


Advanced Biostructural Correction (Chiropractic Adjustment) - 1 time per week just started last week
- Relief: Usually last a day or two, or sometimes good one day and bad the next throughout the whole week. Then again, I just started this.

Massage (Scallians, Upper back, and Cranial muscles) - 3 times per week
- Relief: good for a few days

Vax-D Treatment (Flexian / Distraction)- 5 times per week for 2 weeks (DONE)
Relief: none noted

Physical Therapy ( 3 times per week for 3 weeks):
Relief: discharged, and no noticeable improvement

Accupuncture - 2 times per week
Relief: none noted yet

Flexeril - 1 at night for 2 weeks (discontinued use)
Relief: none but helped sleep

Nortiptyline - 1 at night for 1 month
Relief: none just helps sleep

At-Home Traction - 1 a day as needed - just tried it a few times
Relief: none noted

What do you think? Disc? Stress? How can I fix this?


  • There are a lot of things that in combination could be causing your pain. The disc bulge of course is first. The stress is a major factor also, as it can cause your neck, shoulders, and back to really spasm. As can your posture, especially working on a computer. Reading a lot can also impact your neck, shoulders and arms a lot. Have you tried ice or heat? Some people like one, some the other. Stretching exercises can help a lot too if it is a muscle problem. A whirlpool tub or jacuzzie help relax your muscles, or even just a hot shower. Congratulations on your weight loss. That will help your spine, knees, etc., as I'm sure you already know. If this continues, I would recommend a second opinion from a good neuro-surgeon. Something may have progressed further since your MRI. Good luck.

  • Thanks so much for your response.

    I really am hoping its not disc related.

    Hot tub usually helps, but Ice works too. Hot shower really doesnt do much for me.

    Anyone else ever have any symptoms like this?
  • Spinal cord compression is something not to take lightly, no matter how badly it is being compressed. My C5-C6 was pressing against the spinal cord a bit more then what the MRI had shown. Even though I had the fusion two months ago, I'm still in severe pain and have all the same symptoms as pre surgery. I think now is a good time to start looking for either a neuro or ortho surgeon and getting thier opinions. I'm at a spine clinic with ortho doctors and they provide everything from physical therapy, pain management, to surgeons.
  • Nicole,

    Thank you for your response.

    What seems odd to me and those treating me (General practitioner, chiropractor, and neurosurgeon) is that my symptoms arent like most people with a disc problem. Can I ask, was your disc midline (straight back) or to the right or left? Was it encroaching the nerves at all? I think mine is just "mildly compressing" the spinal cord, so I want to know what that feels like. I guess my question is if my symptoms (the pressure on the neck) are what spinal cord compression feels like?

    The only relief I have from this symptoms is after a stretch adjustment and the chiro said it freed up the brainstem and I literally felt like I never had anything wrong with me for a whole day, and then the next it was back.

    The best way to describe the "pressure" i feel is just a sore/pressure feeling over my spinal cord but it feels better after a cranial massage or after that stretch adjustment. What are your thoughts?
  • My disc was right on the midline and just to the right of the midline. I can feel exactly where it was herniated. Before the surgery, my neck would often get stuck. It took me a few minutes before I could move it. My symptoms are severe pain in the neck, right arm and hand pain all the way to my first two fingers, pain in my shoulders(mostly right shoulder), pain in between my shoulder blades. I also have the burning feeling on the back of my neck. I also have involuntary neck jerking due to this injury. I have all the same symptoms even though I've had the surgery. I'm hoping it's due to inflammtion and not permanent nerve damage. The pain doc is not sure if I have permanent nerve damage.

    The only noticable relief I've felt was when I was on the pain pump at the hospital. I take pain medication and muscle relaxers and they are not helping enough with the pain. I personally would never see a chiro. I think they can do more damage then good.
  • Wow... I have a good mix of sympathy & fear. I cannot imagine if my symptoms were that bad, and I truly commend you for coming on here to discuss your healing process with others, especially, knowing what you are going through.

    I truly hope that my symptoms never reach that point, however, what scares me is this seemingly came out of nowhere.

    I also want to mention that I have had NO numbing, tingling, or burning. The only thing close to burning I had was on my upper left shoulder but it was cause my scallians were extremely inflamed and after massage it went away.

    The only thing I have now is a weird pressure/soreness straight on the back of my neck, and I'm really hoping this isnt related to the disc. Im just looking for any possible solution, or to see if anyone has any symptoms as mild as mine.
  • I have problems at C4/C5/C6 levels. I just had an anterior foraminotomy done, it is less invasive than ACDF, no bone grafts, fusion or extra hardware added!! I had bone spurs, and spinal stenosis, and a bulging disc at C5/C6, which actually may have herniated before the surgery. I had seen the neurosurgeon after having an MRI, which showed protrusion, but thanks to bronchitis at the end of January, and a bad coughing fit, sent me in a downward spiral. I had extreme pain in my neck, shoulder blade, shoulder and arm (right side mostly) pain, tingling, numbness al the way down to my right hand. Some days my left arm bothered me, too, and a few days, I couldn't move either arm or hand, they were so cramped up. I would get terrible knots in my neck, and near my shoulder blades. I went to physio on and off for 1 year and a half. Traction really helped, and gave some relief, but it wouldn't last long. I also tried accupuncture when I was at my worse, which didn't help me, but has with others.

    I would get a second opinion, my GP wasn't much help at all, except to finally give me a referral once I demanded it. And then, she found out I was right all along in saying that my disc was bulging, if not herniated, as the surgeon told me. Remember, GPs are not experts in any field, so go straight to the experts when you can, and don't let the GP snow you because they can't get over their own ego or can't admit that they don't know everything.

    Heat has always helped me, my electric heating pad is my best friend!!! lol... Also, if you`re at your computer a lot (which I imagine you are) make sure your desk is ergonomically correct. I work at a computer all day (well, I`ve been off work for 3 months now, but before, once I rearranged my desk, it really did help!!) Make sure your chair is at the right height for you - your legs should be at a 90 degree angle with your feet flat on the ground, your arms should be level with your keyboard, which should be at the height where you can rest your arms on the chair arms, and still be able to type. Your monitor should be an arm`s length away. You should also get the wrist guard for your mouse pad and keyboard. The back of your chair should be at an angle that keeps your back straight, and your head from not being pushed forward (same goes for your car seat). The seat of your chair should also just touch the back of your knees. Bad posture is defintely going to make any situation worse, whether it is a muscular or disc problem.

    I also suffer from anxiety disorder and PTSD, so I can tell you that stress certainly doesn`t help either. Maybe you can get a referral to see a psychologist, it does help to talk!!! Other than that, other ways of de-stressing - exericse (even if just going for a walk), reading (something other than your law texts!!! LOL) soft music, aromatherapy, taking 20 - 30 minutes to do something that you really enjoy - time for yourself!

    I hope that you do find out what is wrong, and that you find the solution and some relief!!! All the best!!!
    APROUD CANADIANveteranButNOTa doctor, my thoughts are my own
  • The first episode was waking up with a stiff neck and after several chiropractor visits, with tens and heat treatments on my shoulder, I got better. Never had an MRI, only Xrays at the chiro...he noted at that time that my cervical spine was already losing it's correct bend and was more straight that having the natural curve. This was my 20's

    Ten years after that in my 30's, I had another episode. I was working a lot with a lot of stress, staying tightened up, at the computer, pounding away at code. Went to a new chiro, had more xrays. The curve was going the opposite way now and this chiro mentioned that it looked like I'd broken my neck somewhere down the line around C5/6. After massage, tens, heat, ultrasound, and adjustments, I was okay. I could really tell I was stressed, due to how I felt as I left the chiro visits....I couldn't believe the difference.

    Now, I'm 44, and having more extreme symptoms...started with neck pain and arm muscles sore. After visiting a new chiropractor who used a thumper type device to pop the sore spots, my symptoms got worse. I started having zaps in my fingers and hands. I have had an MRI now and am getting opinions on what all is going on. My Neurosurgeon that did my lumbar fusion and revision says I have a large bone spur at C5 that's compressing my spinal cord and I need surgery to remove it. I'm wondering will it come back?

    For your story that you've related....if the adjustments and therapy work, but the pressure feeling comes right back, then I think you should get another neurologist or neuro-surgeon's opinion. You are correct that your stress of law school, reading, typing, and all could be causing more spasms that are not helping the neck issues. But the mild bulge into the spinal cord, can cause a pressure/headache feeling. Spinal stenosis is not just nothing. You may start to have zaps and buzzing in your arms and fingers, or more of a soreness in your upper body. I didn't know I had so many sore spots until the last chiro start feeling my back and shoulders and was thumping on me!
    You should also ask your GP to try a different muscle relaxer. Flexeril is an older one and only makes me sleepy, doesn't really relax my muscles. I've found that Soma, Robaxin, and Parafon worked well for me. They each seemed to lose their effect though after taking for several months though, so that's why I've taken these one after the other.

    Good luck and I hope you find someway to get through school! Hope that your neck feels better soon. It's definitely no fun to have that nagging pain or weird feeling and go on with life.
  • Thanks so much for your message. Just so I understand better did your symptoms start out as mostly muscle problems or did you have some traditional disc signs such as "burning, tingling, or numbing"

    I have another neuro-surgeon visit scheduled for this week and we'll see what he says. My guess is he is just going to brush me off again since "i'm not that bad."

    I guess what I am still trying to figure out are my symptoms related to the disc? Can a cervical disc bulge at C5C6 cause only muscle tightness in the neck that is relieved by a massage and no other symptoms? I am pretty sure that my upper back pain is due to my rolling of the shoulders and how tight my pecs are. I have never really worked out my back, and only did pec exercises when at the gym (big no no).

    But what I am asking can the disc cause only these symptoms but nothing else? Does this sound like a disc issue? The only thing that tells me it is the disc is fact that I had an MRI done and saw a disc problem. Otherwise, it doesnt seem like much of a disc issue to me or anyone treating me. But then again I go back to the disc cause its right there and my neck soreness is in the back of my neck as well. What are your thoughts?

    I know i need to change several things in my life.

    I need to :

    1. work out my back to build better posture (my shoulders are ALWAYS forward)
    2. RELAX and work on relaxation techniques

    However, I do not feel like I can do either of those until my symptoms subside a bit, so I am on a quest to see if it is disc related or stress related so I can work on that problem now to at least allievate the symptoms and then work on the rest of my life.

    Have you any thoughts on how to do that? or what this sounds like to you?
  • Hi, I'm glad to be here as finally finding people in similar situations as mine. I first went to see a new internal medicine doctor on April 17, 2009 for a nagging burning sensation in my left neck/shoulder area. He felt like it was carpal tunnels since I had been diagnosed in my right hand years ago with moderate carpals tunnels. He ordered a nerve conduction study done on both hands. My left hand showed up as severe whereas my right hand is still only moderate carpal tunnels. I was sent for a MRI on April 27 and have been diagnosed with a bulging disc in C6, C7. The good news, according to my doctor, is that it's not pressing on my spine, but into my shoulder. Ok, so what? It still hurts I told him. I felt like my new doctor was brushing me off and treating me like it wasn't a big deal, but for someone who works all day on a computer, and takes on-line classes to finish her bachelor's degree after working full time, I need some type of relief for this pain and I let him have it! He did give me samples of Lyrica atmy first visit which I didn't feel was working at all so I asked for pain medication and although he was apprehensive to this idea at first, he did give me Vicodin on 3 spearate occasion, but only 20 pills each script. Some days I have to take 4 pills and other days I can get by on 2 pills. My own sister, who works for this doctor, treated me like a freaking drug addict when I asked her if he would prescibe more pain medication when I ran out because the doctor he referred me to wasn't able to get me in until July 27, 2009 (thanks to Katrina). That's when I found my own dang neurosurgeon who I see today at 1:30. Wish me luck!!!
  • Puppylove:

    First of all, Good luck. I wish you the best. I am going to see my ordinal neuro-surgeon Friday, but I have an appointment with an Orthopedic surgeon as well as a new neuro-surgeon just to get some different opinions in there.

    Can I offer a suggestion. I had a burning sensation in my upper shoulder areas as well. Have you gotten a massage on your scallians yet? Mine were so tight from always being at the computer that they were literally pinching my nerve, within a day of the massage the burning was gone and hasnt come back much since then. Hope that works, and let me know if it does.
  • Hi Patrick, My initial symptoms started with a stiff sore neck and sore muscles. The neurologist that I saw yesterday for the consultation said that a disc bulge puts the muscles into complete spasm and knots. He was saying that anything out of line puts pressure on the spine, the fluids, and nerves, even if your MRI doesn't exactly show it. I'm having a nerve test today to show which levels are my worst problems for my symptoms today.

    I hope that you find a new doctor. This neurologist was the greatest at explaining and was also sympathetic which is usually lacking in all these type of doctors.
  • candle99 - thanks for that. I am truly hoping the disc isnt the cause of my problems, but hearing your story I can see how it can relate.

    Everyone keeps telling me its probably not the disc, but my muscles do keep going into spasm and knotting up when Im in poor posture. I'm seeing a new neurologist soon.

    What is your prognosis? What treatment do you need to do to get better?

    Since my pain isnt really that bad other than the spasms and knots, I doubt surgery is an option. What else can I do?
  • I had a "minor" disc bulge as of a year ago, causing a lot of pain. Now my pain is a hundred times worse, and I need to get it checked out again.

    When it started, the pain was only in my shoulder and the doctors kept telling me it was a muscle issue. Turns out it was my C6-C7 disc bulge. Doctors can get things wrong frequently.
  • Hi Patrick;

    I know that you said you had gone to physio before, did they do ultrasound? Sometimes that can help with breaking up the knots and relaxing muscle. Also, my therapist would tape my shoulder back, to relieve some strain on the muscles to hold my shoulder back, when I had severe pain. It did help for a day or two, until the tape loosened up too much. I never had this done for my neck and shoulder, but for my leg - deep tissue treatment, which is like a massage, but not as nice, in fact it hurts like hell at the time, but does loosen up your muscles after. Maybe you could ask about these things, and see if any might help? Or at home, you could alternate ice and heat, the ice will help with any swelling, and the heat after will help with relaxing the muscles. My therapist also suggested yoga, which I haven't done yet, but am planning to in a few weeks, once I'm stronger in my recovery. That may also help with relaxation, and provide some stress relief as well! Good luck, and be well!!
    APROUD CANADIANveteranButNOTa doctor, my thoughts are my own
  • So to play devil's adovocate let's say it is my disc that keep making my muscles knot and spasm, it's safe to assume I would be in early stages of the disc problem. What do I need to do now to heal it and at the least make sure it doesnt get worse?
  • When I googled disc bulge C5-C6 your comments came up. I seem to have many of the same symptoms. Mine has been going on for 7 months. I had an MRI today which confirmed what the X-rays said. I will go back to Spinal Dr. Friday for options. So far chriropractor (after 10 visits) said he couldn't help.
  • Patrick

    I am not sure whether you are still looking at this forum as it was a while since you posted on here and I was just interested in what was happening with you now.
    I have read with interest all the comments that has been made on here with regards to the symtoms and also the treatment that has been recommended.
    My story started around 10-15 years ago ( I am now 43) where I used to get chronic back and neck pain with the burning in the shoulder blades and stiff neck etc..............all of which you seem to have have and currently going through, but I put that down to working at a computor all day for long periods of time. I went through the process of the chiroprator and pain relief when needed especially when the pain was unbearable. This was going on for a long period of time and then last year it started with what I called the "Dropsies" I would carry something and without warning I just used to drop the object that I would be holding. This could happen more than once in a day or not rear its head again for a week or so. Thereafter I was getting pains in my wrists ( which the doctor originally put down to RSI due to my typing. I was signed off by the doctor and asked to attend the phsyio which I did twice a week for 3 months which included acupunture but I must say I went through the torture for nothing as it never worked. An MRI was eventually asked for and thereafter referred to an ortho consultant. It turned out that I had a C5/C6 prolapse which was pushing backwards onto my spinal cord with oestophytes on both sides which in turn was pushing down on my nerve roots.
    I did go through the alternative medication ie: steriod injection ( which in itself is very painful to have as it is inserted in the side of your neck) but this unfortunately did not work for me so I ended up having an Anterior Discetomy Disc Replacement on the 16th September 2009.
    What I am trying to point out is if you have chronic back/neck problems then through the research I have done and professionals I have spoken with, once you get to that point there really isnt many options open to you in the long run but surgery. I did try everything that I could have done not to have to have the surgery but I had to concide in the end.
    Am I glad that I had the surgery........I guess that is too early to tell but trust me its no walk in the park and there are alot of down sides to this operation........defo more than any surgeon tells you thats for sure. If anyone would like to know through my experience what the real down sides are then I would be glad to discuss these with you. I think its so important that people know ALL the facts and I would have done anything to have been told what I would have to go through before hand. As an adult I think it is so important to be well informed as the surgeon defo does not tell you the total ins and outs.
  • ^Tazjdz what type of disc did you have put in?
  • In reply to Patrick's "C5C6 Disc Bulge". I also had a c5-6 disc bulge beginning in 01/2001 with the same symptoms and temporary relief experience with frequent massages of my left shoulder area. My year 2001 report states: "At c5-6, there is left lateral disc bulging and osteophytosis causing slight deformity of thhe anterior left aspect
    of the cervical cord. In addition, the proximalmost left c5-6 neural foramen is mildly stenotic due to this rocess. The AP diameter of the spinal canal is borderline iminished at the C5-6 level at 10 mm with obliteration of the anterior subarachnoid space." I just recently had another MRI on the same area this month (11/2009), I am not expecting the MRI report to be that much different because my symptoms are so consistent with problems at C5-6. I have tried everything that Patrick listed with the same results except the Vax-D treatment. My plan is to try the DRX9000 decompression which I think is similiar to Vax-D treatment. I am hoping I will have better results than what Patrick had with Vax-D. I am going to find out Monday but from what I read they usually suggest atleast 20 treatments in total to start off. My advice to Patrick is not to rule out anything as that is still my strategy. I have even tried Edited strategy to rule out it being something psychological. In my personal opinion, Patrick's problem is definitely real and painful, and it is related to his cervical disc bulge region. The best evidence if you can get it is the scientific evidence of the MRI and a self evaluation. However, even though the MRI is scientific it is not perfect at measuring the amount of pain and discomfort that even a small amount of pressure can cause to the spinal nerves and that is why the self evaluation is so important to determine the real reason for the pain.

    Post Edited by Authority Member haglandc
  • I read your whole report, and have this to say. There is a possibility that you are having fibromyalgia. there is some good information on this on this site. Check it out. I am 59 and my onset was in my 20's. The bulge is real, but can be agrivated by fibro. Lyrica was effective for the muscle pain and spasms, but I had the swelling side effect and so I had to discontinue it. It can affect your bowel as well.
  • This has been an interestin thread for me to read, as I wish I read this pre-op.
    34 year old male
    average height & weight.
    May10th had fusion at C3-C4, and C4-C5 levels with partial discektomy.
    My MRI pre op showed the two bulging discs at those levels, along with a "less significant" issue at the C5-C6 level (was if refered to as a "preliforation"? bear with me as this is off of recall, my paper work is at home.
    My total symptoms pre op were as follows:
    Intermitted pain radiating into right arm along back side (back of tricep, back of shoulder) down to my hand.
    muscle flare ups in my trap muscle, and upper lat muscle around my shoulder blade on right side.
    My actual neck and muscle on my actual neck would get achy quite bad along with the muscle flare ups.
    On really bad days, the flare ups would mirror on the left side of body as well.
    Basically, doing ANYTHING that required more than 10 lbs of force would put me into a bad flare up the next day, lasting for about 2-3 days, sometimes more.
    It has been exactly 7 weeks. The following are my symptoms:
    Flare ups in musclcular pain in my right lat around my shoulder blade.
    Flare ups in my right trap.
    I have a different kind of pain in my arm now, itermitted.
    I have been in physical therapy for 3 weeks. Doing extremely light activity in PT.
    My Neurologish that performed surgery says my symptoms are consistant with surgery.
    But I was told the nerves would take 1-2 months to heal, and with week 7 ending, and the level of intermitted pain i have in my trap/lat on right side is making me EXTREMELY concerned.
    The surgeon chose not to touch the c5-c6 disc, and I fear my pain symptoms will not subside.
    The surgeon didnt think my c5-c6 disc was an issue.
    But after reading this thread, and dealing with the pain I experienced pre-op, how could he have missed this?

    It has been teo years since anyone posted on this thread from what I can tell.
    Can anyone offer a follow up on their recovery process?

  • but have some of the same issues you describe except revesrse with left side being the worst. I had a laminectomy at c4/c5 in 2008. Surgeon said afterwards that it could take up to a year for the nerves to heal but also warned me we aren't doing this to stop the pain but to prevent the continued loss of function and use of my left arm.
    Flash forward to 2012 and a new OS is saying I need a 3 level fusion C4-C7 but should put it off as long as possible. He said if you have an operation that changes the bony structure of the spine the stress will be put on the adjoining discs and they will eventually fail, there is no set timespan on the deterioration.
    He echoes the previous NS that the surgery most likely won't stop the chronic pain in my upper back but should reverse the strength loss that is evident in both arms now.
    Most days the pain is the bearable and a nagging reminder that it is still there. On the worst days the tingling numbness and pain are almost to much to bear. I have another MRI scheduled for next Thursday and an appointment to discuss results 2 weeks later.
    laminectomy c4/c5 2008, ACDF c4-c7 Jan 20 2014 sched
  • BamaChillBBamaChill Posts: 1
    edited 06/29/2012 - 12:58 PM
    I'm new here, so please bear with me as I learn the layout of the land! :D. You mentioned your NS wanted you to have a 3 level, & something about no set timespan on deterioration...I had a 2 level fusion (C4-5/C5-6) in October 2000. I was told at that time the same information regarding deterioration at adjoining discs. Fast forward to 2010 - I made it about 9 1/2 years, and began having the exact same symptoms & problems I was having prior to surgery in 2000. (Living in a different state now, had to find new doctors, & previous surgeon is now deceased). I was actually told "you should be good for at least 10 years".....
    I made it to 9 1/2 years! I am now going through the same "band aid on a bullet wound" treatments as before! Milogram from May of this year showed slight bulging at C3, severe bulging at C-7, as well as multiple bone spurs. NS wants another surgery. I'm not as easily persuaded this time around. He's already mentioned the possibility of having to remove the existing plate, which would put me at a 3 level fusion, (as you mentioned for yourself as well).
    I just saw where you mentioned "Timespan" in your post, and wanted to share my own personal "timespan" experience. Don't know if this helps or not.... :)
    I look forward to reading much more here, as it's new & somewhat helpful for me to read OTHERS writing about my pain! I've never experienced that before....
  • It is good to hear these stories as well.
    I am getting concerned to read some of this info. My neurosurgeon said there "was a chance" that there could be issues at my discs above and below my fusion levels in the future. But he didn't give time frame.

    I think when bone spurs are involved, things get more complicated. I don't have any bone spurs. My brother did, and his recovery was so much worse than mine because of that.
    I will post on here from time to time. My main concern is the symptoms i have been reading regarding c5/c6 discs issues do not go away. I just had surgery, and the idea of my pain symptoms not improving there would be devestating.
    I hope things go as well as they can for you guys. Good luck!
  • mommywomanmmommywoman Posts: 24
    edited 07/02/2012 - 3:46 AM
    Patrick, not really relevant but about 5 yrs ago I had a 3 level fusion at c4-5, c5-6 and c6-7. Anyway, congratulations on your weight loss, that's amazing. Ok, this is just my opinion based on 2 neck surgeries, more MRIs and CT-scans than i can count. And approximately 130 nerve blocks and epidurals since 1994. I would say a second opinion never hurts. However buldging discs are very commom, most people don't even have pain. Other than that, time is on your side. Added thought, even if there is no nerve impingment, there is some spinal cord compression and when they told me that, I always felt it was cause for concern. I just had one millionth MRI done on my thoracic and was disappointed to learn that every single disc is either bulging or herniated. Kind of scary. Keep in mind that the back is very tricky. At some point you could develop referred pain. Meaning you will not hurt in the places you would expect but instead somewhere else, so keep an open mind. Good luck to you and hopefully you can avoid surgery. Hope thos info helps.
  • It does support the surgeons wish to postpone as long as possible, but at what cost. I had a laminectomy 4 years ago and never even gave it a second thought that it would help destabilize the rest of the neck. Surgeon told me that any time you affect one of the bones you are destabilizing it to a degree and the body will transfer some of that stess to adjoining discs.
    It is a true balancing act on when to have the surgery. I waited too long on the laminectomy and have permanent weakness on my left arm, I am left handed. What will I be making chronic by waiting before having the fusion?
    laminectomy c4/c5 2008, ACDF c4-c7 Jan 20 2014 sched
  • I am new to this forum so please bear with me as I explain my condition.

    I have been suffering from straightening of cervical spine for 8 months now. My main problem is the neck tension/stiffness and daily mild headaches I get and it’s been 8 months of these headaches/ neck spasm. I don't have any pain in my shoulder or arms or no numbing/tingling feeling, just the neck stiffness and mild headache. I got MRI of spine and brain done and also MRV done. all results came out normal except for cervical spine MRI saying “straightening of cervical spine along with mild right lateral disc bulge at C4/C5 level”.

    I am 30 year old (male) and was a regular at the gym. I am not sure what caused by muscle spasm but it could be due to the following reasons:
    a) workout at the gym combined with boot camp classes
    b) sleeping position – i used to sleep on my chest with head sidewards and used to watch tv in the same position
    c) I had been on Accutane (isotretinoin..acne medicine) for 4 months low dose of 20 mg/day – I am not sure if this caused by neck spasm/straightening or the disc to bulge

    I have been on many different medication like Cipralex, Prothiaden (dosulepin hydrochloride), Gabapentin, Lyrica, Ternelin, Diamox and many other muscle relaxants and although they have provided relief, the main cause is still there. I have been to neurologist, orthopedic, physiotherapist and even a psychiatrist to help me over come this pain. The intensity of pain is not bad, but it's just a constant mild pain in my neck and some parts of my head.

    I am very regular at the gym but instead of weight lifting I only do treadmill and eleptical exercises.

    Does anyone have the exact same problem as I do? Is it curable? What are my options?
  • Best thing I found to help in my therapy was to bounce lightly on a therapy ball for about 10 minutes followed by about 10 minutes of heat and stim, then a good 10-15 minutes of traction. This helped bring blood flow to the disc, helped pull it back in, and helped relax the muscles in my shoulders as well.

    Now only if this could work for my lower back! :/
  • Update for me.
    I had surgery in May. It has now been about 5 months.
    My surgery was mutli level with c3-c4 and c4-c5 fusion.
    I do physical therapy 3 times a week still.
    I am still in quite a bit of pain. I have some good days, where I am at 2/10 or 1/10. but most days are anywhere between 3/10 - 6/10.
    I still have pain in my traps. I do have pain in my arms from time to time. On bad days, I have pain in my hamstrings. My neck muscles still hurt from time to time. I try not to do anything to flare up my body. But, my flare ups are MUCH shorter lived post op. They last hours, instead of days. Granted, I am not doing anythin that is too strenuous, but I still think there is progress there. I am slowly improving my rannge of motion in my neck.
    Pre op i have 3 levels with issues. The neuro deciced against fusing the c5/c6 level, due to his findings when i was opened up, and my age. (34). He thought fusing 3 levels would be a bad idea.
    My pain symptoms I think are that of someone with issues at c5/c6 level. At this point, I fear my pain symptoms are as 'good' as they are going to get. I hope they improve, but at 5 months, i doubt things will improve.
    Can anyone confirm or deny this based off their own experience ?
    I have a desk job, and i was back at work less than 4 weeks post op. (my nuero said some people go back to work 2-4 weeks post op). Also, I live alone, and I have no family near me, so I have no support. I cook, clean, do laundry, EVERYTHING, myself.
    I have some issues sleeping, as I am tired ALL THE TIME.
    My xrays have looked good, and I have follow up with nuero next week. At this point, I am probably going to get a second opinion, because EVERY time I mention my symptoms to my nuero, he says "this is typical, the body takes time to heal." I feel like I am dealing with a car salesmen, and he is trying to sell me a Pinto like it is a Porshe.
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