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herniated disc c3/4 c6/7 advice anyone please

Hi everyone, it is so good to find that this website still exists as I last posted on here about 11 years ago and although I do visit this site from time to time.
I had two surgeries to my neck in 1998 and I unfortunately have never ever returned to my pre op condition. So fairly concisely I will try to tell my story.
In 1995 at the age of 35 I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in my spine I was told that my condition was that of a 65 year old woman (who appeared to have had the life of a coal miner or an all in WWE wrestler :-))the truth is my G.P. at the time commented I may have had some type of juvenile arthritis? He said this may have been the reason that I had always suffered neck pain as a youngster but that it had never been diagnosed?
Then within a few years of this I had a car accident and was told that every disc in my neck had herniated to varying degrees as well as some in my lower spine (which did settle thankfully)
When the condition deteriorated I was told that I had a severe herniation at c5/6 which had cut into my spinal cord and I began to loose sensation down my right side. In August 1998 I had surgery and was told that though c4/5 looked pretty dicey because of my condition at the time they decided to leave that one and keep an eye on it. However within 6 months they then found this had been a mistake and I had to undergo further surgery on this area and a bone graft from my hip was placed in there to further help. Unfortunately my body absorbed this bone graft leaving the area "mobile" and I have never been without pain since and though I did try to return to work after a couple of years it became impossible and I have been disabled since early 2000. I then collapsed in 2005 after months of very poor sleep and losing sensation once again in my right hand side from my eyes, cheek, tongue, mouth and down to my legs, my Neuro surgeon considered fusing all my cervical spine but he was loathe to operate with the state of my arthritis he did not think the bones would support the metal and screws and commented it may make my condition worse. He did though send me to the best pain specialist I have ever seen and he diagnosed that as well as everything else I had CRPS along my right arm which is Chronic Pain Reflex Syndrome and all my meds were reviewed (for the first time in few years) and I was prescribed 25mg morphine patches every 72hours, Tramadol, Lyrica and some other meds which thankfully this time my body tolerated and I was at last able to get some sleep. Since that time I have been up and down with the pain and my morphine patches have gradually been increased over the years up to 200mg every 72hours together with liquid Oromorph and Diazepam for when I get the spasms and the pain it at its very worst. I do fall often and have had to go to A&E many times and then two years ago I started to go downhill again and the pain across my shoulders going into my chest began to affect the left side almost as much as the right at one point I thought I was having a heart attack but I was told c3/4 affects the chest nerves, my G.P. reffered me back to the specialist again and after having another MRI's the Neuro surgeon has found that though c 5/6 and c 4/5 have clamped together forming a big chunk of bone that is helping my neck(and head) stay secure, at c3/4 the herniation has slipped out some more and c 6/7 is really out there, oddly enough there is a lump of something behind the missing disc of c5/6 he said he thought was a screw from my previous op but, I only realised after we left that I haven't had anything "screwed" in that area so to speak :-) so I am puzzled about that little lump of something? He has suggested removing both the herniated discs and clamping the lot together from the top to the bottom but I am really nervous about this, I mentioned I didn’t want to lose all sensation in my legs as I explained when the electric shock pains shoot down into my legs and I literally stagger it is so scary and I am pretty terrified of not being able to move at all but he and my son did comment that if in the last two years I have deteriorated so much what might happen in the next two years which I suppose does make sense. 3 weeks ago he arranged for another MRI as it was a few months since my last one and this is due in a fortnight so that’s pretty fast. He knows that I am so loathe to have another op he has promised that if everything looks the same as last time we can afford to wait for a few months until we make the decision. Anyway after my "war and peace" saga I am interested to know if anyone else has been in the same or a similar situation as me and if you opted to have surgery and if it was successful? Thanks so much for taking the time to read this I really appreciate it.
Linzi (in the uk)


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    edited 10/12/2013 - 8:42 PM
    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:

    - Detailed medical libraries of Articles and Videos that address almost every Spinal Conditions and Treatment

    - The Wellness section contains articles, tips and videos to help patients after surgery and also to help people avoid surgery.

    - 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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    Here are some you should take a look at:
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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 10/13/2013 - 5:41 AM

    I am also in the UK and had an ACDF of C3/4/5 done 11 months ago.
    I had 4 levels that were very degenerated but my neurosurgeon only fused the two levels as he said that there was a much great chance of not fusing if he did more than that.

    He did warn me that I may need another surgery from the back afterwards as he felt that the anterior surgery might not do enough to decompress my cord. A full spine MRI scan done after my surgery has shown that my cord now has fluid around it again so he is happy for now.

    I do have 3 herniated thoracic discs and two of them are slightly compressing my cord.
    I had a lumbar fusion of L4/5 done in March 2010. I know that the discs above and below this were not good before surgery.

    I still have most of my symptoms from before my neck surgery although my lumbar fusion gave great relief. I have been told this may be from the cord compression that was left for over two years while my first neurosurgeon 'waited and watched'. These symptoms are all over my body.
    I had an EMG and nerve testing that showed that I have nerves compressed from C4 down my neck on both sides.

    I don't know what the future holds for me but I am trying to be optimistic and make the best of how I am now.

    Good luck with your next MRI scan and I hope that things will not have progressed.
    I really do understand your anxiety about having another spinal surgery, but if your surgeon feels it will be necessary I would want to ask him what will happen if you wait. Sometimes trying to avoid it or wait can leave you with permanent cord/nerve damage.

    I found reading the various articles on this site about my problems, and writing down the questions that I thought of ready to compile a list to ask my surgeon, was very helpful. It also helped me to understand my problems and helped me to follow the surgeons description of what was wrong and how he was proposing to treat it.

    Do ask any other questions that you may have. There are lots of us in a similar position to you and we are happy to share our experiences. :-)

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