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C 5&6 Disc tear and bulge

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:38 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical

I recently got a migraine or sever headache on the 19th and 20th of October. I was able to return to work on the 21st but with major sensitivity and pain in my neck and right shoulder. I saw my doctor the next week because my head was still hurting badly and he ordered 3 MRI's and referred me to a Neurologist. My MRI's came back that my brain was good but that my C 5 & 6 vertebrae were both torn and bulging.

I'm only 26 and I have no idea what could have caused this. I do remember having problems with my right shoulder in the past because if I laid on my right side I might wake up with shoulder pain, but could that really be the cause of my C 5&7 issue? Today is the 12th of November and although I am on a high dose of naproxen sodium my pain is still there. I have an appointment with a neuro surgeon on the 7th of December but it seems SOOOO far away that I'm trying to find out as much as I can so I don't go out of my mind. I don't want surgery and wondered if a chiropractor could help. Is that even advisable?

My headaches started to drastically diminish once I stopped lifting more than 15 lbs and kept up with the naproxen sodium. This is hard because I found out just before a move and now that I'm moved in, I still can't do much in the way of moving furniture.

What does lifting weight have to do with my neck? I'd really like to start running again but I'm afraid that I might screw myself up even more. I also have been trying to avoid my neck popping. Should I try to make my neck pop? I'm so lost. I'd be grateful for any help. :)




  • Your neck carries a heavy load. Your head! It's as heavy as a bowling ball! Almost every move you make, your neck plays a big part. DO NOT try & pop it or go to a chiro - you don't want to break it. Don't do anything until you talk to a Neurosurgeon. Take it easy until Dec. 7th, & let us know what they say.
  • 26 and a bulging and torn disk, not good! Zack is a thousand percent correct - don't try to pop it or go to a Chiropractor. Chiropractors are wonderful, but once you *know* you have bulging, tearing, hernia etc. damage to your neck or back - no chiropractor! Most Chiropractors, once they know you have such an issue - won't touch that area!

    As for the pain when you lift things. You put a lot of stress on your neck believe it or not! Think about the dynamics of just what your head (which weighs around 16 pounds if I remember right) positions are when you lift things - that transmits through your neck and back. Just take it easy and see what the doctors say. Don't push it, and hopefully you will feel better soon Riko. Take Care!!! :-)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Thanks Brenda and Ms. Julie. I'll take it easy but I think I'm going to go and see a family chiropractor who is also a neurologist on the 25th (my family lives three hours South of me so I'll take a day off of work and go in early). He's not going to charge me much more than a normal person's co-pay. I figure this way I'll have some background information when I go to see the neuro surgeon a week and a half later.

    I'll have to figure out how to get my MRI results so I can take it to him. Any ideas on my running/jogging issue? I'm figuring if I can't lift (can I put more than 15 lbs pressure on something?) more than 15 lbs I might not want to jossle my head around either.

    Thanks! :)

  • Welcome to Spine Health. I would caution you with any impact type activities until you've had a chance to see the neurosurgeon and talk things over. When the outer portion of a disc is torn (annulus) your body naturally tries to form scar tissue over it to keep the disc from herniating. So it's in essence like having a shock absorber that has a weak seal. If you hit a bump too hard or drive over a long bumpy road for very long, the internal pressure in the shock will cause the seal to rupture and leak. When the disc leaks like that, the material irritates the nerves and can cause pain, numbness or weakness in the area that the nerve supplies.

    So if you tore the annulus fairly recently, then the easier it will be to herniate the discs. It is certainly easier to back off and take life easy for a few weeks until you see the NS, than to have to take months off due to surgery if you herniate those discs.

    Bending, lifting and twisting puts tremendous pressure on the spine. If you look at the anatomy of the muscles in the neck and shoulders, you will see that every time you lift anything with your arms, you are placing pressure on your neck. Even raising your arms out in front of you to grasp a steering wheel places added pressure on the neck and shoulders.

    So if you can, kick back and take a break for a bit and let things calm down.

  • Riko said:

    I'll have to figure out how to get my MRI results so I can take it to him. Any ideas on my running/jogging issue? I'm figuring if I can't lift (can I put more than 15 lbs pressure on something?) more than 15 lbs I might not want to jossle my head around either.

    Thanks! :)

    Howdy Riko,

    My guess on the jogging/running - wouldn't do that now! Like C said, scar tissue forms in an effort to heal. Doing impact activities that are encountered when running could fubar that healing! I remember when my C5/6 hernia happened... I bumped my head getting out of my car - couldn't move for 15 minutes! Another time I ran to get the mail (it was raining) and felt such pain going through my shoulder and arm it wasn't funny. Fast forward...I read my operative notes for that surgery - my disk had ruptured when they got in there, and that was only a few days after my 30 foot "run"...Please be careful!! Take care. :-)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Please don't do anything like running, lifting etc. Can't believe your even contemplating it. I have had a cervical fusion at C6/7 and had a titanium plate and screws inserted. You should see a specialist before you do anything at all. I had a tear and bulging and the only other treatment that was suggested to me was a root sleeve injection which i had. That was because my torn disc was sitting on the C6/7 root nerve. Whilst it did relieve my symptoms for a week it was not successful however my dr did say that it can give the discs in some peoples cases time to settle and result in the disc/s going back into place. Best of luck with everything!
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