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Not sure where/if I fit in here

I've had tingling in my right arm, based on position, since November 2013, or earlier. In Feb, I went to chiropractor for several weeks. At that point, he suggested getting diagnostic tests done through an MD since I had shown no improvements. Fast forward through a medrol dose pack, about 15 x-rays, a wrist brace to wear at night, an EMG/NCS of my right arm, a month worth of diclofenac, an mri and several weeks of PT, in that order. The MRI showed herniated or bulging disc at c5-c6, which fits well with my symptoms - tingling in my right hand/arm when I tilt my head up. But there's no pain.

I had one more appt with PT next week, but this Wednesday, the PT suggested I cancel next week's appt as I had shown no improvement over the previous three weeks. I have a followup with ortho next friday. PT stated that, assuming the typical course of action, a cortisone injection is likely to be discussed next. I don't usually have issues with needles, but the idea of someone taking a big needle and driving it towards my spine, well, I'm not real keen on that.

It's a little confusing since just about everything I find online on cervical disc issues seems to focus on pain and pain management. I'm more interested in maintaining and improving the health of my cervical spine. So, since I have no pain, do i fit into the "Pain Forums" at all?

Another question - While looking through the posts, I've seen several replies by moderators where they basically say, don't go see a chiropractor. But, chiropractic is discussed under the treatments section of the spine-health.com website. This is somewhat of a mixed signal coming from the moderators and the spine-health website. Why the disparity? Frankly, it seems strange to shun the entire field of chiropractic, when it is so widely accepted now. If there's some logical reason for this, I'd be interested in hearing it, as I'm currently considering going back to the chiropractor, armed with the new information from the MRI (c5-c6 disc bulge/herniated).



  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832

    All posts on the forum are based on personal experiences and directed at certain members questions, Based on all the information and there is tons of it members can then make up their own mind which way the want to be treated,

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • sandisandi Posts: 6,343
    edited 07/18/2014 - 5:39 AM
    I don't recommend going to a chiropractor as a first step in treating back pain, until you know that there isn't anything going on that could compromise a herniated disc or nerves in the spine. In either situation, an adjustment can result in further or permanent damage by allowing someone to manipulate your neck or lumbar area.
    I am not against chiropractor care in situations where there is no risk of impingement or causing further damage, but in the event that there is a structural abnormality, I don't suggest it as a treatment option until you have been cleared by a surgeon first.
    A bulging disc and a herniated disc are two different conditions. A bulge is a broad based wider out pouching of a portion of the disc, a herniation is usually a much smaller portion of the disc that has ruptured through the annulus.
  • When my spine problems first started I went to a chiropractor. She was great! We discussed my symptoms. She took an X-ray which showed a lot of damage & inflammation in my lower lumbar area. It was clear there was something very wrong with my disc. She told me to NEVER allow a chiropractor to perform adjustments until I'd seen a spine surgeon & had an MRI confirming that I don't have herniations or nerve compression.

    This was advise from a chiropractor. The problem comes when chiropractors don't follow this standard of care & many don't! I know people who have ended-up in real trouble after adjustments for herniated discs. In my opinion it's best to get cleared by a spine specialist first.
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
  • And disk sacks can rupture as well. Disks ruptured in my cervical spine and fragments went all the way down to my sciatic nerve canal. For years I thought the situation was in my lumbar region and only later discovered the missing disks in my cervical spine.
    Lem Bray
  • lembrayllembray Posts: 6
    edited 07/18/2014 - 4:01 PM
    I have similar symptoms. But a more sever condition. I relieve symptoms by wearing rigid cervical collar during walks using Canadian crutches to gain traction on my neck. If you do this it may be possible to reduce the bulge and allow the sack to toughen in that area without rupturing as mine did.

    The EDIT spinal surgeon's resident who saw me though my sacral 1 disk rupture in 1991 suggested this possible avoidance of further damage because I had had some relief of paralysis in my left leg using arm pit crutches. What he said was that he had good news and bad news. That the spinal surgeon had said surgery wasn't necessary because my spinal fluid was changing chemistry to dissolve the disk fragment in the sciatic nerve canal. But that it would take 10 to 15 year to change the chemistry back to normal. During that time additional disks would rupture and I would have similar experiences lasting 3 to 6 weeks at a time. I saved my lower spine but lost my cervical spine because I did not get a rigid cervical collar soon enough to use when walking, riding in a vehicle or flying.

    The beard in my pic is to avoid irritation to my neck and provide cover for my collar when I'm using it. Don't keep one on without walking on the Canadian crutches or atrophy of the neck muscles will occur and you won't be able to hold your head straight. Your neck will become like a new born baby's.

    Of course my suggestions should be run by your own physician. My advice is only a patient's experience.

    Post edited to remove name of specific hospital. by Liz The Spine-Health Moderator Team..Please read the Forum rules

    Please keep in mind, what works for one patient my be harmful to another. Its always good to hear what others have tried, but before you try it on yourself, contact your doctor
    Ron DiLauro, Spine-Health System Moderator
    Lem Bray
  • Hi Lembray. I've never heard of many of the things you're talking about. May I ask where you're located & what kind of surgeon you see? I've been riding the chronic pain roller-coaster for more than 8 years now so I'm always interested in other peoples experiences & treatments. I've spoken to many specialists & patients over the years. To be honest I find some of the things you've been told a little concerning. Have you ever had a second opinion?

    You say, "surgery wasn't necessary because my spinal fluid was changing chemistry to dissolve the disk fragment in the sciatic nerve canal." I didn't know this was possible. I need to do some research. Why would other discs rupture? Have you been told that the changes in chemistry will damage your discs? It's always been my understanding that discs are not effected by spinal fluid.
    I've had 5 discs degenerate with herniations & the resulting problems have lasted years with all different kinds of treatments, procedures & therapy. How will your issues resolve in weeks? How did you save your lumbar spine? I would LOVE to be able to do that.

    Sorry for all the questions. I'm a little confused by your posts simply because it's all new information to me. I wasn't a very educated patient for many years & now I'm hungry for knowledge. I realize that I have to take control of my own condition & push for understanding & solutions.
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
  • Hi Keith. I hope you have been able to get some relief. I am a Neuromuscular Therapist and work with a chiropractor. Last year I had to have a disk replacement 360 fusion between L5-S1. So i'm on both sides of the spectrum here. As long as you have a good chiropractor who takes xrays and is willing to refer out for issues that are out of their scope of practice you should be fine. Chiropractic care and massage therapy have been the main ways I can get relief.

    Have you gotten massage to relieve and release the tight muscles around the area? NMT in particular can help with this. It's more specific than most types of massage and can relieve numbness and tingling caused by trigger point referral patterns and nerve impingement. Hope you feel better!
    Trisha Butler
  • I have read quite a bit about whether or not to see a chiropractor while dealing with herniated discs. I used to be against chiropractors until earlier this year. He was able to help me overcome other issues that I had no idea that were related to my spine. Unfortunately he isn't able to directly help me with my current problem but without him, I wouldn't be getting the help I need for my pain. My family dr. wasn't really helping me at all. They kept blowing me off. My Chiropractor was changing up the adjustments just trying to help me get thru it. When there wasn't any improvement, he ordered x-rays and then an MRI. Without that MRI, I wouldn't know what was causing the pain and I can tell you, my family Dr./PCP wasn't going to order it. He is currently helping me with dealing with the pain until we figure out the next step.
    Tracie C
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