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Cervical disc herniation with spinal compression and myelopathy

rtconant1rrtconant1 Posts: 348
edited 08/26/2014 - 5:44 PM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I finally have a firm diagnosis for my neck pain. I have cervical disc herniation with spinal compression and myelopathy. I finally got to see the MRI for myself and they showed us the area in question at C5 and C6. The disc material had moved out of the disc itself and is pressing into the nerve roots and the spinal cord itself.
Anyone have a similar issue?
Tracie C


  • I had very similar problems, but no mention of myeolophy. I've known of my herniated discs for 8 years(C5-C6- C7), and it started with neck pain, and 4 months ago I started to go numb, and having severe pain in my left arm. I had fusion of C6-C7, 20 days ago.

    If it on your nerve roots, as it was mine at my last MRI in June, you probably need to speak to a surgeon. You have a chance for having nerve damage, not to mention the spinal cord compression, which can cause you to lose motor skills. I had compression on my spinal cord, but the nerve pain was so bad I didn't notice how clumsy I was.

    If your younger like me(33) look into an artificial disc, my insurance wouldn't cover it, so I got fused. I had to do something.

    The good thing is you know whats wrong... now you need to way your options.

  • Sounds like the same old story for me also. Neck pain, shoulder pain and arm pain. I put off surgery as long as i could but its finally caught up to me I believe. If you are experiencing weakness or bowel, bladder problems then head to the surgeons office. I tried pt, esi's and finally moved on to pm and drugs for some relief. There are many here and on other sites who had great outcomes with surgery but also many who still have pain and complications also. Its a tough call, one I wish I did not have to make. Seems some people initially have good results for a while then end up with same or worse pain. I have neural foraminal stenosis also which makes my arm hurt, feels like tendonitis all the time. Good luck
  • I just had my appt. with the neurosurgeon a couple of days ago. I am scheduled for surgery in 2 weeks. The plan is a disc fusion with instrumentation. The Doc said it was necessary to do this as soon as possible because of the spinal compression. It is also pushing on the nerve roots. The C5 disc is pretty much completely out of the disc space. Since the MRI, I have also had some additional pops in my neck after turning my head and looking up and feelings of bone on bone in my neck after a pop so I don't know if there is more than one disc that is out but the pain has increased since then. I don't know if its in my head or if it really is but it seems like its forever evolving. The pain is never the same. They told me what to look out for with the muscle weakness in my legs and loss of control of my lower faculties but from what I have read, it sounds like it applied more for people with spinal compression in the lumbar region. Either way, I'm on the look out for it,
    MackiMcD- Wow- 8 yrs. is a long time. I have only been dealing for about 2.5 yrs. It felt like forever but my PCP wasn't doing a whole lot to help. Usually prescribing drugs that I cant take while working and taking an ultra slow approach to do anything. I had to go to chiropractor to get any relief(wasn't a referral) and he eventually after trying just about everything and ordered the MRI and got the referral. This was about a month or so ago. My neurosurgeon helped modify a material that they will be using to replace the disc and bone marrow to get fusion. As far as clumsiness, I just chalked it up to tripping over my big feet. I had to perform some of the tests and the field sobriety tests. Lets just say unless I have a breathalizer test, I would never pass. I couldn't even touch my finger to my nose on my right side much less walk in a straight line without grabbing something to stay upright. lol. I joke around about it but it really isn't funny.
    DMO- Thanks for your information. I have been doing so much reading on this site that sometimes I catch myself getting all worked up about all the possibilities. My Neurosurgeon recommended this site but I already found it before he told me. You pretty much touched base on my bigger fears with the surgery. I am so afraid that the pain will still be there or be worse. It also scares me that they have to go so close to my spinal cord. I don't mean to be dramatic but if its uncommon or weird, it has happened to me from birth to present. I'm trying not to focus on the negatives but it is so hard. I have read some about your condition also. I hope that you find the relief you are looking for whether it's surgery or not. It definitely is a hard decision. I told my chiropractor after a couple months of adjustments and therapy and beyond that I wanted to avoid surgery if it all possible. I was told at my appt. the other day that I don't have a choice.
    Tracie C
  • Sorry. I didn't mean to ramble on about all of this. I wish you both the best.
    Tracie C
  • Hey

    I have the same issue as you. large disc herniation C5-C6. I 've had it for about a year now. I now have pain down the arm, tingling, numbness, and loss of motion in certain areas. I am only 30YO as well. Ive had 4 different opinions because i wanted to find someone who didnt want to do fusion. One suggested a laser procedure, one suggested fusion, and the last finally said to do a foraminotomy. I'm electing to go that route. I dont want any screws or plates in my body, esp with how young I am. please look at all your options before doing the fusion
  • Thank you for your insight. My Doc and I along with my husband and family talked about our options and decided that the ACDFI was the best option of trying to relieve the pressure on my spinal cord. It has been a month since the MRI and the symptoms of the compression have been increasing in speed. I had some of the tests for the nerve damage to see the progression about a week ago and they were not as bad as they were on Monday of this week. It has also been increasing in pain down my legs.
    I hope you get your relief soon. You are definitely being smart about your options. Good Luck
    Tracie C
  • Hello - I am new to all this. I went to a neurosurgeon with suspected ' spinal stenosis ' which the mri confirmed, likely to be a micro surgery decompression...... i cannot walk far or stand for long. However the neuro guy spotted hoffmans reflex and had a neck scan too+ xray...... confirming csm with cord signal compression. he has made me a priority for a acdf in weeks time.
    I knew only of the lumbar problems, but on reading up on these forums which are helpful I do have rt hand 2 small fingers tingle and numbness - worst at night, + sometimes a slight balance problem - rare really, rt hand movement can be irratic- have broken 2 wine glasses and dropped things- nothing expensive...

    In my case the lumbar HAS to wait - this is what's halted my life.... guy says all through ageing really as no accident that i know of.

    Very anxious in all thsi as no idea IF the numbness will disappear, or the balance be restored. The surgery is to prevent spinal deterioration !!!

    Any of your views post op would be a help..

    Many thanks Lancs guy UK
  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    edited 08/30/2014 - 11:34 PM
  • I totally feel for you Lancashirguy55. I have been dropping stuff for a while. I usually couldn't even explain why it happens sometimes . My arms feel weak and I barely feel like I can lift a glass sometimes. I know why now though. Even though my issues are all in my neck, I have had balance problems and all that. As time wears on, I feel like I am fighting my own body. I had to cut my daily walk short today because of the numbness and tingling down my leg that ended up being like someone taking needles and not just poking me but actually stabbing into my toes.
    I hope you get your relief soon. It is so hard to live with pain Too bad they cant just fix it all at once right? Im sure that would be a much harder recovery though. I didn't have an accident either to cause this..... Its just our old age catching up to us right? LOL. Good Luck with your surgery. Ill keep you updated on mine but please return the favor. I would like to hear how you are doing.
    Tracie C
  • My name is Mary and I have the same thing. I am having surgery on the 10th of September. I have a lot of the same symptoms. I trip and my feet drag, I am always dropping things. I am an Ultrasound technologist so I have to use my right arm all day long. I am hoping that my job will not be affected. 2 months ago I was holding a 10000 dollar probe and it just dropped of course on the floor so it was ruined. That was my deciding factor in going to see the surgeon. I did not realize how bad my neck was until the MRI. I will be having the acdf on 3 levels. I am really scared to have this surgery. I never dreamed that I would be on the operating table when I was doing the C arm xray on people that had the same surgery. I know exactly what they do to you from start to finishing. Sometimes knowing can really open your eyes lol. Anyway, I am looking forward to having this surgery for I know I will have a positive outcome. I pray for all of you on what ever you decide to do.
  • BrauchtworstBBrauchtworst Posts: 38
    edited 09/12/2014 - 2:05 PM
    Hello everyone. I hope I can find this same forum again after I post! Still getting familiar with the site. I had horrific arm/shoulder and upper back pain for several months EDITED Thankfully a chiropractor ordered an MRI of my neck---though I had no neck pain. A large herniation was seen at C5 and 6. I was sent to a neurosurgeon who told me that he wished all his patients had necks like mine, and then an orthopedic surgeon who sent me for eight weeks of physical therapy (which made my arm pain excruciating). I was on 40mg. of hydrocodone which wasn't even beginning to touch the pain. I was pretty much disabled. The orthopedic surgeon told me to get off the drugs, stop going to the ER and that there was nothing wrong with me. So my primary care doctor took me off the hydrocodone! It was just unbelievable pain for months and months. I gave up. Eventually, a year later, a PA at a pain clinic told me that she still believed it was my neck and sent me to someone with a brain. He diagnosed me as having a compressed C6 nerve root on the right side as well as moderate central stenosis. By the time I had surgery four months ago, I could hardly walk on some days and my legs would barely get me off the toilet or out of a chair. I have gone from someone who used to walk my dogs every day and also mow the lawn to a person who sits a lot and takes hydrocodone again. I was told that post surgery, it would take six months to a year to resolve the spinal cord issues as well as the nerve issues in both arms. Over time, my arms are not nearly so painful as they were and I am able to do a lot more things, though limited. My biggest frustration is the ongoing leg/butt/hip pain. My quads feel very tight on some days and it is uncomfortable to walk or stand long. Sometimes my low back/sacroiliac joints hurt. My periformis muscles in the butt area really hurt a lot if I sit too long or walk too long. This is really miserable and it could have been dealt with last year before the miserable leg symptoms began. I am extremely frustrated and discouraged at times. I want to walk my dogs again and have a life. As far as I know, there was no permanent damage (no white spots on the MRI within the cord). The report said that there were not any bright spots.

    Has anyone else gotten over this condition in due time? I hope!

    Also, I want to encourage anyone who is fearing surgery to not fear it. Mine was a breeze. I was a little uncomfortable here and there, but it was not a big deal. The nerve pain WAS a big deal, and now this leg mess is a big deal to me. Don't wait until you have leg pain. It's really miserable and lasts too long. I was told that 85-90% of neck surgeries are successful. Much better than the lumbar successes I believe.

    Sorry this is long, but it has been a very long haul EDITED If anyone knows how long this leg stuff lasts, let me know. I have heard six months to a year. I hope it might go away sooner!!!

    Post edited. Doctor bashing is not permitted on Spine Health. Please read the forum rules.
    You agree not to submit or post material that is harassing, libelous, abusive, threatening, harmful, vulgar, obscene or otherwise objectionable in any manner or nature to forums on Spine-health.com. This includes the bashing and/or name calling of physicians.


  • clumsy and never even realized the correlation b/n my cervical stenosis and increasing clumsiness. I trip or fall at least once or twice a month and drop things all the time (severe tennis elbow). I also have interstitial cystitis, a bladder condition that wears away the lining of the bladder, so piddling when I sneeze seemed normal. After research I learned that the C spine problems were probably responsible for my increasing falls and trips and dropping items and worsening incontinence.

    Because I have so many issues I was attributing all of this junk to each individual problem. I had NO idea.

    It really has all been much better since my four level ACDF. Amazing.

    Yeah, I still have tennis elbow and IC but I'm shocked that the DDD and nerve compression could have such a whole body impact.

    4 level ACDF, C3-C7 with iliac bone crest graft with hardware on August 22nd.
  • I had the same thing with the neurosurgeon's PA. So ignorant of the cervical spine stenosis causing issues in the legs. Many of the medical people I saw said that it would not affect the legs!!! DUH. I know nothing, but with a little research, it is plain! My primary care doctor was WORTHLESS. I would come into his office almost weekly in tears due to the severe pain. I was sent for physical therapy before the diagnosis, so all their stupid trapezius stretches really murdered the nerve root stenosis as well as the moderate central stenosis. Then he had the nerve to take me off the hydrocodone because everyone misdiagnosed me. I'll tell you that I have never suffered like that in my life, and for months---like almost a year---11 months on massive Tylenol and ibuprofen to survive---and barely.

    Funny that I also got "Tennis elbow" a lot. I have gone to a physical therapist and chiropractor since my surgery who used a "graston knife" on me. It's a godsend. They use this gadget to break up adhesions and scar tissue in the muscles and tendons, which sets the tissues free from being stuck together and limiting movement. It is a bit painful for a day or two, but in the end, after a few appointments. a person is like new. I am still too raw to have it done on my shoulders and arms, but I did have it done in the thoracic spine on my right side, which wants to spasm. Also on the "tennis elbow" area, which was very painful, but in the end, really helped. You can go on line and look up Graston Knife or Graston Technique and find practitioners in your area who do it. It has helped me a lot over the years.

    I am still having some bladder issues, but nothing like before the surgery. There were many times that I awoke in the night and barely made it. I had no idea why I was having such issues.

    I believe there needs to be an informational campaign to alert people and physicians about stenosis. There is a huge ignorance about the issue and it is so common in older people. No wonder so many are hunched over, fall a lot, drop things, are unsteady on their feet and in their hands. How sad that they suffer and are put into nursing homes when all they would have needed was surgery in their younger days! Just appalling! Everyone should have an MRI at age 50 for this horrid disorder, before they are disabled!
  • I have seen a few of you on here and I know we have had conversations before but I just want to let everyone know my story and maybe I can help atleast 1 person out.

    I had a lot of the same issues you guys have, I had almost total numbness in my left arm and fingers, I had leg cramps in both my legs, I had pins and needles in my feet, I couldn't hold my head up at all, I had to keep my head looking down or I would get migrains that would instantly bring me to my knees.
    I had 2 epidural injections that did absolutely nothing for me, I had 2 rounds of facet injections (a set of 36 injections at each joint in my cervical spine on both sides) that also did absolutely nothing.
    I was diagnosed with myelopathy and stenosis throughout my cervical spine, I had foraminal narrowing and radiculopathy also. I had DDD in all but 1 disc from c2 to t3, I had 4 discs that were herniatied but 1 was significant.
    I couldn't take the pain anymore so I talked to my surgeon and believe me we talked for quite a while. I agreed to have a 1 level (c6 c7) fusion and he said after that was done to be paitent and the rest should resolve itself in due time that the c6 c7 herniation was causing my pain and the others were probably from compensation from that pain.
    On March 19, 2014 I had the fusion. I insisted on coming home that same day even though they wanted me to stay overnight. I had to go back the next night to have a drain tube removed. I am almost 6 months out and I have to tell you that surgeon was my savior. He must have been sent from heaven because he saved my life. I was well on my way to being a quadripelgic. I had lost so much muscle mass in my arm that I am still very slowly trying to get it back and my legs also but I am slowly getting there.
    I wouldn't say am 100% but I am well on my way. I am in the high ninetys atleast. I have been told that my fusion was almost complete at 3 months, I was released and told to do anything I want to do just listen to my body it will tell me when I am doing too much.
    I was 35 when this happened and I was scared to death that the screws and plate would change my life forever, but most days if I didn't see my scar on my neck I wouldn't even know I had something wrong a year ago.
    Do every concervative treatment you can just in case it works without surgical intervention but don't hold off too long on the surgery because I was told that more than a year of pressure being on that nerve will cause permanent nerve damage. I still have some nerve pain but was told that would get less with time, and my muscle weakness is improving.
    The surgery is simple, the recovery is hard but the results are unbelieveable!
  • After having a hellish week of my PCP and partners not clearing me for surgery, they finally cleared me for surgery on monday. I had it on Tuesday. I was not fooled by the doctors into thinking it will take all of the pain away thank goodness, but hopefully in time I will be mostly pain free. Even as I am still on mega pain relievers and muscle relaxers I don't regret having this surgery at all at all.
    Tracie C
  • I have also suffered a couple of years because of different doctors that fail to help us and still have to deal with them. Once my surgery is over, I'm telling my PCP to take a hike. They didn't do a darn thing to help me in my 2.5 yrs. of pain. The NP had the gall to say that some of my issues (including my nerve pain in my leg issues)had nothing to do with my neck nor did she even have a clue what my diagnosis and procedure I am scheduled for.
    I hope you get some relief soon or at least someone willing to help you. Good Luck
    Tracie C
  • You will probably be on pain relievers and muscle relaxers for quite some time afterwards. My surgeon told me that he could not guarantee 100 percent or that I would ever be pain free again but told me he could do his best and hopefully I can atleast try to live a normal life as much as possible. Like I have said before I am almost 6 months out and I still have some nerve pain once in a while but it always goes away. I was told that was my nerves healing. All of my pain is gone almost all the time now, I have bad days, rainy days especially but I think that will go away eventually! I still take a pain pill once in a while and a muscle relaxer too when I have bad days. When I went to my 3 month followup I was almost completely fused, just a small gap to go and he released me and told me that if I ever needed anything to contact him. I should be complete now, I feel whole again and can do anything I want to do. You will get better, and you will feel like your old self before you know it. The recovery process is longer than what I expected but worth the trouble to take things slow for a while.
    Godspeed and good luck!
  • the rocktthe rock Posts: 3
    edited 10/06/2015 - 8:01 PM
    I was operatied on june 9,2015 it is going on 4 months well all I can say is I am walking I could not walk at all dragging and falling no balance at all now it is different I am walking but still not good with turning and I get the gait good balance but I still fall because of the stuttering in my legs bad very bad they are now going to do a pet scan of my brain to see if anything is going on like parkinson I tell you I had mri on my brain least year and this yr. before the operation everything was ok. but being that I am seeing a movement dr. tats what I am waiting to get an authorization from my ins. company I just hope its just the spinal cord that caused nerve root damage does anyone else have this problem

    the rock
  • Unfortunately, surgery is only to halt the progression, not necessarily for an improvement. Honestly, you sound pretty normal to me, just not one of those stellar ones that have a 90% recovery in 2 months (darned it). There's a cervical myelopathy thread on here somewhere that was started...maybe last November, a bunch of us are on it, but no posts in a while.
    For myself, I am better in some ways (barely stumbling, no fumbling), but getting worse in other ways (spasticity and spasms) at 10 months out. The spinal cord sure is a sensitive little thing. When I researched the heck out of it, I found 70% of people had at least 50% improvement.

    ACDF w/Corpectomy C3-6 12/8/14 ; Laminectomy C3-6  5/19/2016

  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,427
    edited 10/07/2015 - 4:35 AM
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  • Im awaiting surgery myself. have been off work now three months as soon as I got to see first neurosurgeon he told me my neck was bad and put me off work to work cover runs there process,have been to insurance ime and awaiting for insurance company to give go ahaead.
    I still have the usual neck,shoulder,arm,and tingling in hand...and weakness....The one thing that has got worse is my legs.A few months ago when walking the y felt like they where just going to give way under me..but now they are feeling heavy and some days its a stuggle to get them moving.Im keen to have surgery as don't want symtoms to get any worse than they are now
  • hi operated on 4 months and I am walking but when I stop walking I have a problem turning to get started again and they call it the gait if I have parkinson which I am going for a test soon called da tscan to check on my doparamine I hope it's all do to the operation compressed spinal cord and not parkinson I also have some tremor in my fingers and hand mild tremors not uncontrollable wish you the best
    the rock
  • I also forgot to mention I also have nerve root damage with the spinal cord compressed and mylopathy
    the rock
  • I had the same exact issue, and chased around internet phantoms and forums concerned with promoting specific treatments. Then I went through the shots and the PT and the medications that turned me into a zombie. Finally unable to parent my two young children from the mess I was, I found a competent surgeon (after interviewing two or three) and had my two discs fused. I was back to all regular activity including lifting weights in a little over a month, and was able to lift my daughter about a week after the surgery. I have no loss of mobility and can't tell anything has happened to my neck, it just feels fixed. I was 36 at the time of surgery a little over a year ago.

    So, with that said, here is some bad advice I was given on the internet:
    1. Don't bother getting a second opinion. WRONG!!!! Sometimes, surgery IS best. Not all surgeons are even REMOTELY equal, especially where our SPINES are concerned.
    2. Look for the latest and greatest techniques. WRONG!!! Even if you CAN afford it, sometimes these techniques may not be appropriate for your specific injury or condition, and sometimes these techniques are just not approved yet. I would much rather bet my spine on a suregon's competence than on a newer technique at the hands of a mediocre surgeon.
    3. Reviews online can be trusted. WRONG!!! I have seen spine treatment centers go out of their way to suppress and conceal bad patient outcomes. We are talking hundreds of millions a year in revenue for these places. The best reviews are from people you know personally. Ask around. Did that person recommending a surgeon get multiple opinions and inform themselves? Then if they are happy with their outcome, you can consider their review reliable. The second best source is places where consumers are protected, as in paid services in which a formal dispute process is required.

    I hope this helps somebody! I am not here to profit from it:-)
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