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Can C6/C7 Heal on their own?

I was diagnosed with a herniated c6/c7. I woke on 5/17 with what I thought was a heart attack as I had pain down left arm, tingling, numbness, tightening of upper arm. I have seen a spine surgeon who felt really good that the symptoms would start to diminish within 6-8 weeks. I am walking and exercising as much as possible. Days are better than nights. I am better off right now then I was on the 17th but there is still a lot of pain in the shoulder and upper arm. So my question is, is it possible for the problem to heal on its own?
Singe Chafin


  • There are lots of ways a disc might herniated and each situation is unique. Some mix of waiting, anti inflammatories, physical therapy, cervical traction and cervical injections, plus taking good care of yourself, and most herniations will resolve themselves. Starting to get better in 6-8 weeks sounds reasonable. Near complete relief more like 4 to 6 months. Good luck!
    Going to the ER, thinking I was having a heart attack, and it turned out to be the neck, been there, done that.
    Severe DDD, Severe neural foraminal stenosis at 2 levels, moderate canal stenosis at 2 levels, significantly impaired left shoulder & arm function. Chronic moderate compression fracture at C6.
  • Thank you so much for response! It is giving me courage. I’m trying to be optimistic and am tired of crying. There are subtle improvements and its slow going. Nights are by far the worst part of it all.
    Singe Chafin
  • It can take a very long time to heal, But yes it can heal on it's own, I have a friend in same situation with neck as 1 doctor wanted to do fusion and another told him wait and see if it gets beter before jumping in to surgery,

    It's worth the wait as surgery is not always the best answer as some after surgery now have more complications ,
    Good luck and hope it gets beter for you and if it does don't over do it as you know it can come right back and start all over again,
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
  • I just wanted to Jump in and say that I have had a 3 Level Fusion c4-c7 and I have a Non-Union at c6&c7 I have been told that this level is the Hardest level to fuse, and my surgery was in 2010. My surgeon told me he does not have a Crystal Ball but sometimes Yes these Levels can Heal on there own. So in my case I am waiting it out as long as possible, because Surgery is a last Resort!!! I have also seen a second Surgeon regarding the Non-Union at the c6&c7 Level as he is Not wanting to Jump into surgery either. This surgery is a very serious, and it is Life Changing, I have and still am Learning how to Re-do Every daily living activity. We are all Unique and Every person is different, and Every surgery is different.

    I hope you are able to heal with conservative measures, Please keep us Updated!!! :)
    ACDF C4-C7 5/13/2010. Synthetic Bone Graft Failed Fusion.
    PCF C4-C7 8/13/13. Rods and Screws Fused in 3 Months with Autograft.
    C6-C7 Spineous process Surgically Shaved Off 3/11/14.
  • I am almost at the 5 week mark and there is a decrease in the pain and an increase in the ROM in my arm. I'm trying so hard to be optimistic. Days are still better than nights. I'm still on pain killers, motrin and a new pill to sleep "Elivn (SP?)". I can only take 1/2 of it as it just knocks me out and I feel like I'm in a fog for the rest of the time. Focusing is really hard on bad days as I feel like giving up. Others that I have talked with say it does take time to heal on its own and not to rush things.

    I just need some encouragement.
    Singe Chafin
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