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Pain better, weakness worse??

dnsmiffddnsmiff Posts: 2
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:58 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Not sure how to start this...but to cut a long story short was due to have surgery on I think 4/5 and 5/6 (6/7 was also bulging but he did not want to do 3!). 5/6 has gone big time (sorry to be vague but I’ve not seen the consultant since and have not seen the full report and I may have the wrong order, but the disc that has gone BIG is the one that controls the thumb and first finger and top of the arm – I cant lift pans and stuff, but other movements are fine!!!)

However the pain is now more controlled (about 9 weeks since the BIG pain started – however have been having problems for years but it always seemed to get better after 2 – 3 weeks). I been taking lyrica 100mg 3x daily plus kapain 8 per day and the pain is now bearable, however the weakness and tingling now seem to be worse.

Because the pain seemed better, I stopped taking the painkillers but the pain came back but not chronic, took them again when it started to get a bit more unbearable but it seems to be more in the neck now than the arm as previous. However I still get some amazing funny feelings slowing moving down my arm to my fingers – bit like a slow electric shock, not painful just a VERY strange feeling!!

So many people keep telling me how they had a slipped disc and they did this and that no need for operation and they are fine now.

If I don't have the operation what are the risks, will the strength in the arm return or do I risk permanent damage, as the pain seems ok with painkillers should I just wait to see if it improves?


  • Have you tried physical therapy to improve strength? It's hard to know if things will get better or worse. I had herniated a couple of discs in my lower back over the summer and it has gotten much better. Not perfect, but better. In my opinion, surgery should be the last resort since it doesn't necessarily cure the problems. I chose surgery because I was on the couch half the day and I was losing feeling in my feet due to spinal cord compression. I wish you much luck in getting the strength back!
    2011 ACDF C5-6 for Spondylosis with Myleopathy
    2012 L4-5 herniated disc and hernated disc at C4/5 2013 Taking Amitriptyline for headaches

  • What does your surgeon say?
    As to whether it is safe to wait or avoid surgery altogether, depends on whether you have cord compression or not.
    The best person to advise you is the surgeon who suggested surgery. Although I think I would get another opinion before giving into surgery.

    Sometimes people can have compression on their cord without any pain, but that doesn't mean that they don't need surgery. If there is cord compression and you are advised to have the surgery, then it is probably to stop ending up with permanent cord or nerve damage.

    Generally the doctors are more worried about weakness than pain.

    However sometimes it is still ok to wait as long as a close eye is kept on things. I have cord compression at C3/4 and C4/5 and my neurosurgeon is doing 'careful watching and waiting' to see how quickly things will progress. We have already waited a year and my next appointment is in April. In some ways I am happy not to have surgery, but I do worry about waiting too long and being left with permanent damage. I have to trust my neurosurgeon with that. (Mind you my GP has said that she wants to refer me for a second opinion. We are waiting for the appointment.)

    I would add that I am having weekly physiotherapy which seems to be keeping my range of movement quite good and my pain levels are manageable.

    You will probably get others who come and answer your post. Meanwhile I wish you well and please do let us know what you decide to do. You will get a lot of support here from others who know and understand what you are facing.

  • The surgeon recomended surgery as he was worried about permanent damage to the nerves. But with Christams wont be able to see him till the new year when the op is planned.

    I briefly stopped taling the meds (Pregabalin) and the pain started again after a day, silly me also went for a bike ride which seemed to aggravated both the pain and the weekness in the arm even more!

    Bit worried about my right leg as well - feels weaker, but not obvious, had trouble lifting it to tie my laces today and I seemed to be have what feels like problems swallowing food, although I have had this for years it is really bad right now.

    Sorry, I think with all the pills and stuff is putting my mind is in a spin!!!
  • I don't know more about it. But I will suggest you to concern the good surgeon who will suggest you better. Exercise is also helpful for such pains to get temporary relief.
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