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new to the terror

Howdy all. 41 year old male

on Thursday June 6 MRI showed "significant moderately herniated disk between c6-c7"

I've always had back and neck pain from rugby, construction and weight lifting. so here is the current situation

Injury happened on May 8th and the pain seemed like"the usual". I went to PT and had electrostim & massage. My neck cramps freed up but the pain remained, i figured it was just lingering tightness in my shoulder blade and went about my life.

June 2nd I woke up with what felt like a gigantic knot in my upper back and neck. When I lay down to sleep, this pain or something similar sets in within a couple of hours (or less) Haven't slept more than 2 hours/night since. I've never had a problem sleeping and the inability to do so is freaking me out.

I can't get in to see the Neurosurgeon until sometime next week so I am trying to do my own info-gathering

Looking on the internet has been sobering and frightening. It seems my options are :

1.waiting it out while taking medication to mitigate the pain for weeks-months. I do not like to take medication, I am on vicadin now and it lessens the pain but sleeping last night didn't happen. I don't want to get addicted to it or any other drug.

2. Having a surgery that removes the disk and fuses the vertebrae. But it seems like from the internet these surgeries are risky (at best)

I am terrified, I can't calm myself down and need some help.

Is there any good news? What are the chances my symptoms will get better on their own? If they do improve am I done doing the things I love (gym, mowing lawns, chopping wood,)

Are surgeries as bad as I have read? Do they really only last a year or two and then the symptoms come back. . .

I know these are generalizations, but anything positive will help me calm down.

Thanks for listening,



  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    I am sure that you will find your time on Spine-Health very rewarding. This site is a powerful and integrated system that is dynamic and continues to grow.
    Here are just some of the highlights:

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    - Under the Resource tab, there is a section Doctor Advice Health Center which can be invaluable.

    - As a bonus, Spine-Health provides these patient forums. Here is where you can meet thousands of other people who understand and can relate to your situation. You will soon become part of the Spiney family who provide comfort and the advantages of a Support System. You are now part of this family that is approximately 20,600 International members and growing daily.

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    All of this will help make your threads better and improve the times and quality of responses you will receive.

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    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • jellyhalljjellyhall Posts: 4,373
    edited 06/09/2013 - 9:19 AM
    Sorry to hear about the pain you are experiencing. You have found a place where there are many others who have experienced this and can sympathise with you.

    Really, the only person who can give advice on what treatment option that you have is the neurosurgeon that you will be seeing.

    Meanwhile, you could try
    icing your upper back and neck. Make sure that you wrap the ice pack in a cloth and leave on for about 15 minutes at a time.
    If that doesn't help, you could try heat, again wrapped in a cloth for about 15 minutes at a time. It may relax the muscles.

    Only the minority of neck problems need surgery, but again only the neurosurgeon can advise you here. It is certainly a last resort after other conservative treatments have been tried unless there is a risk from cord compression.

    I have had a lumbar fusion and a 2 level ACDF (neck fusion). I, like many others, found the neck fusion to be an easier recovery. Many people get great relief from this surgery, and once they are fully healed, can go back to their previous life.

    As for how long they last before more trouble shows itself. Some people never have problems again. My lumbar fusion was 3 years ago and I am not facing more surgery. I do still have some pain sometimes, but nothing like the very debilitating pain that led me to surgery.

    After neck surgery, many people find it difficult to sleep lying down, but can sleep in a recliner. Perhaps you could try that until things settle down.

    I hope that you can get comfortable before you see your neurosurgeon next week and that he will have a plan to help you.

    Do let us know how you get on. Good luck

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