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disk protrusion

jenny1jjenny1 Posts: 5
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:47 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Hi everyone. I had an MRI of my cervical spine and the impression is: 1) mild degenerative disk disease at c5-6 and c6-7. 2) a small right foraminal disk protrusion at c5-6 may compress the exiting right c6 nerve root. No evidence of canal stenosis or cord compression.
I have problems with neck pain, swelling, numbness and pain in my right arm. My question is, has anyone ever been diagnosed and treated for this that can tell me more about it? I am starting physical therapy next week, and my doctor told me to stop chiropractic care. She explained that usually patients are given pt, then cortizone shots and maybe surgery to remove the protrusion. How do they do that? How does a disk protrude and why? Is this most likely caused by a neck strain or injury? Any input will be helpful, I don't have any idea how serious this is, or if this pain will ever stop. Thank you in advance.


  • I don't have any answers about the cause of the protrusion, but I did experience the degeneration of my disc, C5-C7, along with bone spurs and cysts that pressed on my spinal cord. I didn't experience the swelling you mentioned, but at that time, my right shoulder blade and arm were so painful that I could hardly function and my right hand was basically useless. I dropped things all the time. PT was a Godsend for me. This started in 2001 and my physical therapist finally found the right combination of treatment after almost a month of going 3 times/week. In my case, mild traction totally relieved my symptoms. I had 3 more severe episodes of the same pain over the next seven years and until the last time, I was always able to get relief from PT, along with muscle relaxers and anti-inflammatory meds. It wasn't immediate, but I did get better. The last time it occured, the PT didn't help. I had an epidural and unfortunately it didn't help either so the conclusion was that I needed surgery to replace those discs and remove the bone spurs, basically "cleaning up" that area. I have cadaver bone and a titanium plate.
    I hope that the PT will provide you some relief. Be patient and go consistently and hopefully it will.
  • And I failed to say the most important thing! That surgery DID help me. The arm pain disappeared and the hand got stronger. Hope that gives you some positive input!
  • Jenny,

    Using the search box at the top of the page, type in disk protrusion, and you should have some of your answers. Basically if you have weakened areas in your disk(s) they can start to bulge or spread out. Some of these will dry up and heal on their own, so that is why they try to do conservative steps first to see if that will happen.

    If they can't shrink it back off the nerve, then other measures may be offered. More shots, PT or sadly surgery. Each case is different, so hang in there and see if the shots and such help. Fingers crossed that they do.

    Like you I had the burning, numbness but no swelling. I also had weakness and clumsy fingers. My disk was on the cord, so surgery was needed to prevent further damage. That surgery was 100% successful for me. Please let us know how it goes. *HUG*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
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