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Herniated disc in neck, symptoms worsening with treatment

ZengardenZZengarden Posts: 2
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:47 AM in Degenerative Disc Disease
I have a herniated disc and osteophytes at C5-C6. They have caused the classic symptoms of pain down the arm with pins and needles at the thumb and forefinger. After the initial bout I went to an osteopath and after 4 visits(and pretty violent manipulation)I felt normal, even though after the third the symptoms got worse. I have had 3 recurrences since then in the last 3 years. The second time I went to a chiro and it took 5 visits to fix it with again a visit that made the symptoms much worse. 3rd recurrence went back to the chiro but 6 visits and no change or improvement but happened to visit a myotherapist while on a holiday and he adjusted my hips and about two days later my arm symptoms went!!
This last recurrence I decided to act earlier than usual as the symptoms were mild and only when I moved in a particular way. Went back to the osteopath felt a little better after the first visit but the second visit exacerbated the symptoms but since the third visit the symptoms are worse then ever and I am experienceing them constantly, arm feels numb and cold in places and only little movements cause strong pain radiating down my arm.
What I want to know (at the same time dont want to know) is, can this manipulation cause more damage? Is this why the pain and discomfort is there all the time?And what is my next option.Do I keep going to a chiro or Osteopath because they have fixed it once before. The last two days I tried traction with a PT but no change. Just dont know which way to turn.


  • Hi, most of the members here think that any sort of manipulation is the work of the Devil so don't expect much support for that idea. I have used Chiropractic care in the past with some good results.
    I've had my neck adjusted over 100 times in my lifetime and I think it has not had any effect good or bad on me.
    Your question about continuing with manipulation is hard to answer because of your mixed results with manipulation but one thing I'll say is that you've only spent 2 days with a PT and I believe that you should give the PT more time to work with you.

    Another option is to consult with a Doctor who uses Prolotherapy injections to treat neck pain. Often times by tightening up the ligaments with these safe and natural injections the pressure is taken off the nerve thus relieving pain. I'm having this done on my neck after my back gets completed. You can search youtube on 'Prolotherapy Lecture' or PM me for more info on it.

    Good Luck.
  • Zengarden,

    First off, Welcome to Spine Health!! At the top of the web page is a search box that might be of help. You can see many articles written by doctors as well as forums with people of similar issues.

    As to manipulation being the work of the Devil. Hummm... I've used chiropractors for years - it allowed me to function *but* once I had a hernia, it exasperated it. So "to me" manipulation is a two edged sword! The Chiropractors and Neurologists that I have, will not condone manipulation in an area that has a known hernia.

    Which ever route you go Zen, I wish you relief! Again, Welcome Aboard!! :)

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

    Welcome to spine-health. Have a look around and you will find many going through what you are.

    As far as manupulation causing you more issues, yes that can happen. When you get in the cervical spine unlike the lumbar spine you have the spinal cord to worry about. If the disc herniates to bad it can cause a condition called myelopathy and that can't be undone only the progression of it can be stopped. It essentially is damage to the spinal cord. As far as the prolotherapy my doctor does offer the treatments but said it won't help a herniated disc. When the disc herniates it releases the nuclous inside it. So while i am not sure how bad your issues are, I would be sure to let your doctors know how bad the pain is getting. Also you don't want to risk permanent nerve damage either. I always tell everyone to try all conservative methods before using surgery. Keep in mind there is good and bad providers in every form of treatment. But if your condition is changing for the worse and not getting better with the treatments then you need to speak to your medical provider.

    AS someone who lives with permanent nerve damage and myelopathy it is certainly not fun. If I was in your shoes I would first want imaging studies so the doctors know exactly what they are treating. I mean at this point they don't know if it is a bone spur or a herniated disc or a strained muscle. Because your spinal cord resides in the neck and there isn't much room i would want to know for certain that your not risking anything that could become permanent in nature.

    Just thought i would stop by and welcome you to spine-health.
  • Prolo won't fix a herniated disk but it can take pressure off of the nerve by tightening up the ligaments and stabilizing the damaged joint, thus reducing pain.
    It's best to consult with a Sports Med doctor or Integrative doctor who has been properly trained in treating with Prolo. Or if you can find former US Surgeon General C Everett Koop these days consult with him. He was treated with Prolo and is a proponent of its usage.:)
  • Thanks for the replies.
    I did go back to the PT and he applied more traction but before I had left the clinic I could feel the tingling in my hand and arm. That was three days ago and now I have these sensations all the time, even when I am lying down ( I could usually get relief when I am lying down).
    Does this mean the inflammation is worse or that the disc or spurs are pressing on the nerve all the time? Does it mean that the space where the nerve comes out has reduced?
    Oh what am I to do? I thought traction at the worst would not change anything. I didnt expect it to get worse. Now I am at a loss.
  • I can't answer your last couple of questions, but I can say that my neurosurgeon told me to never ever go to a chiropractor for my neck, as it could cause permanent damage with the problems that I have.

    As for relief when laying down, prior to surgery when I had those symptoms all the time, laying with the affected arm over my head did seem to relieve the symptoms a little. Traction for me only provided a few minutes of relief, maybe an hour at the most, if I didn't do anything after. There were times when it actually hurt more to have it done, like you've experienced.

    Have you been back to your doctor that is treating you for this? I would definitely talk to the doc, especially now that your symptoms have changed and are constant, and before the pain gets too bad. Have you seen a neurologist or neurosurgeon? A referral to one or the other might be beneficial. Hope you feel relief soon, take care.
    APROUD CANADIANveteranButNOTa doctor, my thoughts are my own
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