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C6 C7 advice needed

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:39 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Hi I have had pain in my neck for 7 months with bad pains & needles and pain in my Left arm, shoulder, hand and leg. An MRI has shown prolapsed disc at C6 C7 and signs of arthritis, the discs were as they say massive. I am now on almost 2000mg of gabapentin which does not always work. They said I need an urgent operation to replace the discs or possibly fuse them, but they would not know until they operate and see the precise damage. So urgent they said within 2 weeks as muscles are wasting away. Now I got a letter the other day saying they would do some injections under CT with contrast, I assume this is for pain releif and to get mor eimages at the same time. My question, are the risks worth it for the injections, I hear a lot of people have problems and in many they do not work. Are the injections just masking the problem? and can I expect a normal life if I am pain free (would the discs get further damage if I do any sport as I cannot feel the pain) part of me strangly would prefer the op to sort it once and for all, im at the of my tether in so much pain, I cannot play with the kids and I am so weak... im just 34


  • I forgot to metion the discs are so huge they are near the arteries on both sides, I am also now experiencing pain in both legs and the back on my knees feel swollen and sore. I also get times where I need to go to the loo and very quickly but not sure if this is the nerves or drugs! Im due to have my injections under CT next week! they said if they dont work they will operate soon after
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,855

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    I can understand pain and discomfort you are having since I have had previous cervical surgeries including C6/C7.

    I am a little confused regarding some of the things you mentioned. It might just be terminology.

    1 - When you indicated that your disc are massive and almost pressing on your arteries. Normally from MRI reports you would see disc herniation that are mild, moderate or severe. And if its pressing it would be pressing on a nerve root.
    That would give you nerve pain, and explain why
    you are on gabapentin (neurontin). That medication is specifically for nerve pain.

    2 - CT with contrast. When they are looking for details, normally it would be a MRI with contrast.
    That would mean you go into the MRI tube, pictures are taken, then you are removed from the tube, injected with contrast and put back into the tube.
    This contrast injection has nothing to do with pain relief.

    There are spinal injections (ESI - Epidural Spinal Injections) that use operating room like environment and steroid injection under a fluroscope. That is used for pain control.

    This is a video of a cervical ESI:
    Cervical ESI

    Cervical surgery almost 99% of the time requires fusion. That is to provide strength to the disc space that has been removed.

    Here is some information and video on Cervical Surgery:

    Cervical Surgery

    Neck Pain

    Hope this helps
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • thanks for the reply, I had a normal Xray which showed there was a narrowing of space then a normal MRI after showed herninated discs c6 & c7 which were large and severe hance th edrugs allocated, my recent letter from the hospital said 2 proceedures were needed 1. Spinal injection under CT, 2. Spinal cervical CT with contrast... I am not 100% sure what the 2nd is, the 1st must be pain and inflamation relief, the 2nd I think for more images. They said they would either fuse or use (pro disc??) the replacement disc if the injections do not work. I am happy to try the injections but do wonder about the long term effectiveness of them
  • The doctors may want to look at more details to see if you are a candidate for disc replacement.

    My NS told me that he does not like to do disc replacements on the lower levels of the cervical spine. I can't remember why.

    You might want to call the doctors nurse who sent the letter so you can get a better understanding of the procedure. I would not wait too long if you have a massive herniation. You can risk permanent damage.

    Are you in the US? Some places may use different terminology from the US and that could explain a few things.

    Good luck,

  • When I had my accident they did a CT scan with contrast and without.

    I'm not sure why they would do a non emergent CT unless the doctor feels it is better for his visual needs. As you suggest most often it is done with MRI.

    Maybe, since they are pressing this to be done soon they simply can't get mri time?
  • Before my PLIF my NS sent me in for a CT. He said it gives a better view of the boney structure so he could plan the surgery a little better.

  • Hi Julie-

    :H I have the same problem in my c5/6 & 6/7. I had the fusion & it failed. I then went to a PM & had the spinal injections. The first helped for 3 weeks, the second helped for about 10 days, the third was ineffective. Then I had a rhyzotomy. It totally changed my quality of life. I barely notice the pain, though still use norco daily. I now have the same problems in my low back & go 12/22 for a practice rhyzo. I read a lot of scarey stuff on WebMD but found it to be easier than doing to the dentist. Maybe I just have a great PM. Don't know. Good luck. The steroid epidural really helped the pain & numbness to my arms.
  • I was sent to PM & had the spinal injections. before my c5 c6 fusion
    and now 14 months later I have more pain with less doctors is it because of my HMO that does not want to pay the doctors
  • I had three spinal injections and I would not say that any of them helped. I was also given advice that I could go to the gym and work out afterwards - which I did. Three days later, I ended up in the emergency room with painful radiculopathy in my arms. A month later, I was in surgery for an ACDF. It was not until much after my injections that I found an article on the internet stating that you should not exercise for THRRE DAYS after having an injection.
  • btw yes I am not from the US I am from the UK... had a really bad weekend, both my knees are sore and so is my lower back... having a bad feeling this is more than C6 & C7, also keep getting an upset stomach!.. injections under CT are planned for tomorrow .. just hope I am feeling well enough!
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