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Herniated Disc C6-C7 best option?

FeeneyKFFFeeneyKF Posts: 2
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:51 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Hey everyone,

My name is Kevin and I am 21 years old. I have just discovered that I have been struggling with a C6-C7 herniated disc for almost a year now and I am having trouble deciding whether surgery is the best option for me.

My neck pain is about a "6" while my lat, shoulder, and right arm pain is a "10". I have little strength in my right tricep and changing my shirt is often a challenge. As I am under big time restraints as I finish my senior year of college, I am not been able to start physical therapy until Summer, which has left me doing simple stretches and exercises on my own. Is it worth doing weight training exercises for my tricep, or is it something that is incurable without surgery?

At my relatively young age I am skeptical of this surgery. I am, however, looking for a permanent solution (i.e. no muscle relaxants, cortizone, etc). Will hard work and physical therapy be a promising solution? Or am I only kidding myself and putting off surgery?

Thank you very much for your opinions!!


  • I also have a herniation at the same level with extreme elbow pain at times. I have had relief from Physiotherapy doing manual traction on my neck and ultrasound has helped the arm pain when it's acute pain. I don't think Physiotherapy is hard work other than finding the time to get there in-between studies. Even in college I would see a Massage Therapist(student in training) because I had no money putting myself through college but needed to get a massage.

    Also you want to ask the Neuro or Orthosurgeon or Neurologist if the nerve is being compressed and if there's any harm waiting for surgery. I did well with muscle relaxants for my neck and would try everything conservative before surgery unless it's necessary and even then would get a second opinion. I hope you get some relief soon. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • First let me say welcome to spine-health. You are so young to have a issue such as this. Where you injured that your aware of? If i was in your shoes I would get multiple opinions before even considering a surgery. Once they do fusion they forever alter the mechanics of the spine. Now the good news is that most whom under go the surgery wake up and the arm pain is gone. However as you know surgery is a risk. There are some things they can do to be sure it is that level causing you all the pain, such as nerve block on that area. If the pain goes away or is significantly reduced then you can guess that is what surgery will do for you. But as I said surgery has risk.

    AS far as using conservative therapy. I strongly suggest that anyone exhaust all conservative type treatments first unless there is a risk of paralysis. You need to all ask the surgeons what is the risk of not doing surgery now? There are some important factors with the cervical spine in that the spinal cord is there. So it depends the size of the herniation or if it is just bulging as to the treatment. Also wether it is having any effect on the cord.

    I can tell you I have seen members come here and have a EPI sometimes two of them and are feeling fine and out living normal busy lives. Does that mean they won't need surgery in the future that is anyone's guess, but hopefully not. The hard part is I am sure you are busy with your school work to also deal with all of this. But possibly if the doctors could do a injection they could get the pain down and you would at least feel better to finish your senior year. Good luck and keep us posted on what you do. Once again welcome to spine-health.
  • I am not a doctor or a medical professional. But I have been dealing with bk and nk pain thet radiates in allof my limbs. I've done physio and chiro but now the doctor is saying surgery is my only option at this point. I've everything els for 2.5 yrs andthey have not worked I can't wait til I hav my surgery now.

    So if you can do it and get it behind you it would be worth it.

    The above opinion is just that my opinon not medical advice.
  • Thanks for the input everyone! I appreciate it. And yes, I was shocked to have an injury like this so young. I have witnessed my father struggle through bulging discs and never imagined it would happen to me this soon. While I do not remember the exact point of injury, I believe it happened when I was a counselor at a Summer Camp and rolling around on my neck during an activity.

    I plan on going back to the neuro on spring break and begging for a shot or meds to last me until Summer. As I'm sure you all can relate, this can be very painful; it almost feels like I have a disability. Playing guitar is a serious hobby of mine and I need my arm to cooperate!!

  • I was involved in a auto crash in 2007 that left me with a C6C7 herniation. For two years I was able to manage what symtoms I did have very conservatively. But after the two years I began to suffer from great pain, left triceps became extremely atrophied and my left arm was becoming useless. I found the surgeon who would eventually perform an ACDF at c6-c7 with plating and a allograft. He gave me the option of Disc Replacement or the Fusion. I chose the fusion in the end after consulting with a group of anesthesia drs who new my spine well and there opinion was the replacement disc has a unknown long term prognosis. If you can try to get into some sort of pt with the sports trainers at your school. When you get home seek the needed consults asap as sometimes nerve damage can be more difficult to reverse the longer you wait. Good Luck with everything
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