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C5, C6 Large, Herniated Disc w/ Moderate Foraminal Stenosis

Hi- I'm new to this site. 15 years ago I had a partially herniated disc in my L4, L5. That was an ordeal, but I recovered well from it. I now have experienced something way more significant to that injury. I've been diagnosed with a large, broad herniated disc in my C5, C6 + moderate to severe foraminal stenosis. I now realize I most likely had the stenosis prior to aggravating/ injuring my disc while backpacking with 35 lbs on my back. It was immediate. I was in acute, agonizing pain for 3 weeks until I went on Prednisone for 12 days. That was a miracle pain reliever as all the other meds were not working for the neuropathic pain that was radiating from my neck, down my shoulder and all the way through my arm and finger tips. I literally got 2-3 hours of sleep for 3 weeks. As the Prednisone lessened, symptoms came back and they almost immediately gave me an injection. This was just last week. Over the last few days the neuropathic pain has come back and at night goes down my arms. It's not as severe as it initially was. I'm assuming the bulging disc shrunk some/swelling is less and perhaps that is why??? The Physiatrist says at this point I will either go up hill or down hill. I only started Physical Therapy today. Unfortunately they said I wasn't even ready for traction. They did tell me it takes the nerves longer to calm down compared to muscles, etc. im experiencing moderate disability and am wondering if I can somehow hang in there, the nerve will calm down and or the bulge can recede taking the pressure off of the nerve? I'm assuming I must have had the stenosis before the injury and it was the herniated disc that set it off. I hear some people can have severe stenosis with no affect and yet others with a less degree might feel more. I'm very hesitant about surgery, but the debilitating all encompassing aspect is wearing on me!

I would appreciate any suggestions. This sort of pain from stenosis is very new to me and it sounds like each case is so different. I know that the MRI showed no damage to the nerves, etc so the DR said I might have a chance. But my faith is wavering and he's now talking one more injection possibly, and then surgery......which I dread for some reason.


Thanks,

Shanna
Shanna
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  • LizLiz Posts: 7,904
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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
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