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C5 disc rupture therapy recovery time

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:37 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Just wondering if anyone has similar experiences.

26 yo male
5'-7" 160 lbs.
Very healthy

About 3 months ago I fell asleep holding my new daughter. My head was straight down.....for 3 hours. Needless to say I woke up in agony. The pain persisted for about a week before I called the doctor. Pain included... severe headache, burning pain in shoulders, neck, upper triceps. The pain would jump back and forth to each arm. Doctor saw me and prescribed the 5-day Medrol pack and MRI for suspecting problem C5 disc. He also noted decreased muscle reaction in left bicep.

MRI confirms:
Left paracentral C5/6 HNP with mild cord impingment. Cervical straightening. Uncinate hypertrophy with mild foraminal stenosis from C3/4 through C5/6.

Dr. immediately setup consultation with neurosurgeon and I immediately called a chiropractor. Don't worry!! The chiropractor I called specializes in disc herniation therapy and does not manipulate my neck.

I have been seeing the chirpractor for about 1.5 months. 3 times a week for the first 2 weeks, 2 times/week for 1 week, not 1 time/week for a little over a month. He has focused on my posture. I'm an engineer and sit a computer 80% of the day... the other 20% is looking down at drawings. I ordered an angled desktop and I am extremely conscience of my posture.

After the medrol pack the pain went away, but I started getting neck and shoulder tension and pulled muscles. The chiro performs deep tissue to relieve the tension as well as ultrasound and electric pulse stimulation. He also has me doing chin tuck exercises and traction 2/day. Lots of icing and just starting to get into heat therapy. I also did one session of acupuncture which I think helped (may do another). I feel like I'm at 80-85% recovery.... I take no medication except for advil maybe 1-2 week if I get a severe headache. At times my neck does feel weak or slightly unstable, but I am pretty conscience to not move certain ways...

I feel like I am making great progress.... I finally met with neurosurgeon last week and he performed tests and confirmed all muscle sensation/response was normal. He told me to be careful, but to continue doing what I am doing. His only concern was my age and the fact that the disc may rupture again due to my age.

Has anyone else had similar results from treatment? I guess I'm wondering how long I should expect to be treated ...6months? 12months?



  • MetalneckMetalneck Island of Misfit toysPosts: 1,364
    This is a question best answered by one of your treating physicians.

    They know you, your treatments, diagnostics, state of health, etc. etc. etc.

    Your MRI shows that you have a herniation with cord impingement, I would definately seek a second and third opinion by a(nother)qualified neurosurgeon and or orthopedic surgeon.

    I don't understand the term "may rupture again" either it is ruptured or its not ... once ruptured I do not believe that a disk will "un-rupture" - curious ...

    Good luck and I hope that your disease does not progress too rapidly.

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  • Thanks for the reply.

    In my research and from my consultations with the chiro and neurosurgeon a disc can decompress (reabsorb) during traction. The neurosurgeon's comments about re-rupturing was assuming that the protrusion size decreased or that the disc reabsorbed.
  • Hi and welcome to Spine Health. My understanding is that the younger a person is, the more pliable their discs are and therefore they are more prone to herniation. As we age, things dry up (for a lack of a better analogy) and we are far less likely to herniate a disk, however that's when all the other age and overuse injuries come into play.

    Sounds like you have a good team helping you out. I would stick with their recommendations and if your body responds well to it, then live your life and enjoy.

  • MetalneckMetalneck Island of Misfit toysPosts: 1,364

    Good reading ... contra to some of the "advice" you have been given by your docs ... I've found you need to talk with about 5 docs ... to get two of them to give the same answer - or recomend the same treatment.

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  • MetalneckMetalneck Island of Misfit toysPosts: 1,364
    " Traction in the acute setting may help muscle spasms, but it does not reduce the HNP and has no good evidence of efficacy."

    From above link ...

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  • Damn man... your like a debby downer! I will def. be seeking out additional professional opinions. I should note that the neurosurgeon I met with has 30 yrs of experience and is the most respected surgeon in my area.

    I also know that you can find almost anything you want on the internet.



    My neurosurgeon said the same exact thing. I currently have tightening in the shoulders, but I feel like I am getting better every week.
  • MetalneckMetalneck Island of Misfit toysPosts: 1,364
    retrospectively for my snarkiness and pesimism.

    One of my greatest fears for those who are newly diagnosed with spinal conditions is under or mis - diagnosis and under or mal treatment.

    As we all know ... this is very serious stuff ... I was under treated by having only a 3 level anterior done - when I should have initially have had much more done. In my case I didn't have the time prior to the need for the first surgery to even attempt any number of conservative treatments.

    If you really are concerned about your outcome(s) ..
    my advice is to get multiple opinions and don't put your faith, health, and ability to walk and function without pain in the hands of only two practioners.

    There is strength in numbers ... seek out the opinions and advice from 4 - 5 specialists and then let them battle it out if there is any disagreement on how you should proceed.

    I am not saying that surgery is the only answer as after 5 surgeries - I am still in severe pain almost every waking moment - I long to fall asleep everynight because only when I am sleeping ... am I out of pain.

    I pray that you never get to this point ... do everything within reason to insure that this does not happen to you!

    Please keep us posted ...

    I will keep you in my drug influenced prayers,

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  • MetalneckMetalneck Island of Misfit toysPosts: 1,364
    Indeed ... I was hoping that my appology and admission of drug influence could allow us to avoid name calling ... guess I was wrong.

    Its your neck buddy. Keep your chin up!(when holding that new baby daughter).

    I hope only the best for you, and will not engage in name calling.



    Spine-health Moderator
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