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New member with neck problems

Hi, Found this website looking for information, answers etc. on my neck problems. Been struggling for months with neck pain. I tried chiropractic with some relief but only temporary. Ended up seeing my GP Dr. who prescribed physical therapy that also helped some but almost immediately after the treatments my symptoms got worse. Anyhow, he then sent me for a MRI where it was discovered that I have bulging discs (c5-7). My pain is bearable but at times it just completely wipes me out. I do have an appt. with a neurosurgeon soon. Glad I found this site, been reading a lot and hoping to learn more, take care, Debbie


  • Hi, Debbie! Glad to have a newbie-buddy. ;) My GP did absolutely nothing for me, and I'm really sad about that because he had been a wonderful doctor for me for several years. He didn't take my pain seriously, and it really ruined my trust in him. So, in the midst of all this, I'm shopping for a new GP. I'm glad yours is reacting more favorably & getting you the help you need.

    The more I read, the more freaked out I'm getting! I guess it's making me realize the gravity of the situation, which isn't a bad thing, I need to be prepared for what's to come.

    Hope today is a good day for you,
    C5-C6-C7, T3-T4-T5: disc protrusions, spinal cord & C6 nerve root involvement, tear at T3-T4
    C6 nerve root injection 10/12/12 and at-home traction
  • Hello and welcome to spinehealth, this site has been a great support system for me and is a great resource. I had 3 Level ACDF C4-C7 on 4/16/12. It was a tough surgery but I am starting to feel normal again in many respects and that is a big deal. I spent a long time in terrible pain and never felt like it would be any different. I then had cord compression which forced me into surgery and a very long recovery. I am not pain free but my life is managable. You will get many different opinions here but everyone means well. There is a section to help you with the appt with the surgeon and what to ask. It gets overwelming and ACDF is a major surgery so take your time and find out all you can. I am considering my surgery a success but alot of people are still struggling but some have multiple issues. MAke informed descions and we will walk your journey with you, no matter what you decide. Welcome and if you need anything let us know and you can PM if you need anything. Blessings Kim
    Kimberly Martin
  • Welcome to a great community!
    You can learn a lot on this site and will find people who are dealing with what you are going through. Sounds like your GP is attentive and have refered you to the appropriate specialists. I can recomend asking for a referal to a pain management clinic, regardless of your contact with a neurosurgeon and what he/she says.
    The PM clinic will help you with different types of pain management and since you are new to "this", there are a lot of things today that can be done to manage your bulging discs and the pain you are getting from them. You might find that the pain comes and goes and that the discs are acting up at different times.
    I have been with my PM clinic for 3 years now and gone through the works there. Ended up having a 2 level fusion this year, and Im still with them for meds and PT referals etc. They know me and what works or not for my pain.

    Hope you are getting some relief soon!
    Cause: car accident & genetics
    Effect: herniations C4-7, stenosis, osteoarthritis, myelopathy, neuropathy
    Non-invasive Treatment: everything under the sun
    Invasive Treatment: 2 level ACDF, C5 & C6, May 2012
    Moving Forward: SCS
  • Hi Victoria, thanks for the post. I am very anxious and nervous about my upcoming consultation with a neurosurgeon later this month. I have been in a lot of pain over the last couple of weeks, plus the unknown of what may lie ahead. Everyone here has been very nice and helpful...and...I am learning a lot from reading other posts etc. Thanks for the kind words, take care, Debbie
  • If I can give you some advice, it would be to prepare for your appointment with the neurosurgeon. The time alloted to you will be short. I suggest that you make notes on your pain and other symptoms, (how long you have had them, where they are, how long they last, how severe ...) and prepare a list of questions you want to ask. Perhaps have two list of questions; one for it he suggests surgery and another one if he says that you should try conservative methods. Then hopefully, you won't be saying after the appointment 'Oh I never asked that, or I forgot to tell him that'.

    I hope it all goes well for you and that you will come back and let us know how you got on.

    Welcome :H :-H :wave:
  • Debbie2DDebbie2 Posts: 8
    edited 09/16/2012 - 7:13 AM
    That is excellent advice! Thank you!...I am starting to make a list of my questions, past treatments and other points of discussion at my appt. I will let you know how it goes. I have been very nervous and anxious over the last week or so. In addition to dealing with the pain and discomfort. Oh...and having to deal with my work and upcoming projests, dealines and travel. Glad I found this site, thanks again, Debbie
  • JellyHall gave excellent advice for the Dr.'s appointment. If at all possible I suggest you have someone else go with you to the appointment, whether it's family, loved one or a friend. That way if you start getting overwhelmed there are two of you trying to make sure all of your questions, and follow up questions are answered. Before the visit you could do "what if's" and with one question, write out the possible outcomes and what the next questions might be. Do ask the surgeon who you can call as a follow up after the appt. if you have questions.

    I had neck pain for probably over 10-15 years using various things to help: chiropractor (early on). When the chiropractor could no longer help me get relief, he sent me to the Ortho surgeon for the first time, and and although I had some bulging and bone spurs it wasn't bad enough to be surgical. I then tried medicine from my GP (and MRI), physical therapy, rheumatologist (who followed me and requested new MRI every 2-3 years), pain management and then to an orthopedic surgeon and 2nd opinion by a neurosurgeon and then surgery.

    Don't assume that because you're going to see a surgeon that he will necessarily recommend surgery. Also know that you make the decision about whether or not to have surgery or seek a second opinion.

    Best of luck.
    4 level ACDF C4-C7 5-2-11, laminectomy & discectomy L4-L5 1/26/12, ALIF L4-5, L5-S1 12/10/12.
  • Hi Karen, Thanks for the post...and yes, I have been working on a "checklist" of things to go over in my consult with the neurosurgeon later this month. My neck problems started ( at least noticeably) within the last few months or so. It has gotten progressively worse especially over the last 4-6 weeks. I did see a chiropractor for a while, but the relief was very temporary and towards the end of my visits it seemed like it only helped for a few hours at best. While my GP (who sent me for my MRI) didnt tell me that I definitely needed surgery she felt that it would definitely be an option considered based on my MRI report. The one thing I have found out is that the neurosurgeon I am seeing has an excellent reputation and is not what you would call "knife happy". However, as anxious and concerned as I have been, I am trying as best I can to learn as much as possible and be prepared for whatever the treatment might be....I just want to get better ASAP! Thanks again for the kind and supportive info...I will keep you posted, take care, Debbie
  • Hi Everyone, I had my neurosurgeon consultation yesterday...overall, it went pretty well. I want to thank everyone that helped "prepare" me for the Dr. visit. I was told that there is a better than 50/50 chance I will need surgery and if so it has been tentatively scheduled for mid-November. If I have the surgery I was told that the initial recovery time would be 2-3 months with a full recovery in 6-8 months. In the meanwhile, he wants to try an "aggresive conservative " treatment approach for the next 4-5 weeks and see how I respond. I am sure I will still have plenty of questions going forward. Thanks again for all your help and support! Debbie
  • Glad that your appointment went well, and that you felt well prepared for it.
    Do you know what 'aggresive conservative' treatment you will have?
    I have weekly facet joint mobilisation by my physiotherapist and do daily neck exercises and walk a couple of miles a day. I do believe that all of this has kept my neck more mobile than it would be otherwise, but I am still facing a 2 level ACDF because of cord compression at the higher levels. My whole neck is very degenerated and have been warned that I may need further surgery afterwards from the back to decompress the nerve roots in the rest of my neck that are being compressed bilaterally. An EMG has shown that the muscles in my arms are being affected now.

    I will be interested to hear what treatment you have and how much they help you.
    Take care, and keep asking questions as you think of them.
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