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Cervical Herniations C5/C6 and C6/C7 - Question about symptoms and therapy

Hi Everyone, I posted before about my MRI findings, and did not realize I was supposed to do that.

Basically, I have full herniations at C5/C6 and C6/C7 levels and I am confused about the symptoms and what is written on Spine-Health.

They say pain, numbness, tingling OR weakness ....a lot! I don't understand that. I have twitching, pain and weakness in my left arm, and pain and stiff muscles in my neck (more left side, where the herniations are). No numbness or tingling. I would like to know if anyone who has had herniations if they know what this "OR" means (shouldn't it be "and/or"?) , and if you have had more of my symptoms with twitching and weakness, rather than the numbness and tingling.

Also about therapy: I received some physiotherapy, which helped for some time, but the pain in my neck and down my arm came back, so did the weakness and twitching. Yesterday, I received a neuraltherapy shot in my neck with a pain killer in my rearend, and that has helped with the pain and the twitching. The doctor said the weakness returns or recovers last (or most slowly). And I wanted to see if anyone experienced that as well, or would agree to that. If so, about how long did it take for you, and, did you ever get to a "good" point and then the symptoms just all came back (like with me)?

Thanks a lot!
PS - I am in Germany and they refuse to do any sort of cervical disc surgery unless absolute life or death situations. My own therapist had 4 cervical herniations and could not use his left arm and he still only just got shots and long term physiotherapy. They will operate on thoracic and lumbar, from what I know. I find myself almost jealous of those who had some sort of surgery, but then I see the posts about how it went bad or the symptoms came back and then I feel so sorry! I wish all who have these problems all the very best outcome!!!


  • I am too herniated in my 5/6 6/7 and experience twitching all over. Sometimes it is really bad and will be in my shoulders, face, a lot in my biceps. Both of my arms are week and now I am finding it hard to hold onto things. My neck pain would be probably the most painful area and I am going to be having a double level fusion coming up to help with the pain. I can feel the weight of my head and it drives me nuts. It really affects my shoulders and upper back as well. How long have you been in pain for? I am on to year two and have tried everything under the sun for pain relief. I am only 28 and my surgeon said I have a very rare case.

    Hang in there and don't give up on your health. Listen to your body and keep a pain log of all your symptoms. My pain log helps my husband understand what my day is like and why I can not do some of the things he would like.

    All the best

  • I am sorry about your situation, but I am comforted to know someone else has these symptoms and I am not crazy.

    I too get the twitching - very random and quick - in my face. I only have one weak arm (left) but it's driving me crazy! The most of my pain is also in my neck area, but I really can deal with pain pretty well. That does not bother me as much as the weak feelings and twitching. I would take lots more pain if that meant taking away these two symptoms. Kind of sad, right?

    I've been having problems/pain since almost a year, but this past December, I can almost pinpoint the exact moment either one or the other disc herniated. My whole neck and my left side shoulder and arm were so painful, it felt like a truck ran over that part of my body and everything was blue. I could barely touch any part. Since then, the pain that comes back, is bad, but not at that level in December.

    Again, I can sleep with the pain, but when my arm twitches and is weak, I lose sleep.

    In these two years, have your symptoms come and gone? What have you found has helped you, as far as self care or treatment (shots, acupunture, etc), if any?

    PS - I am 34, female, so almost in the same range as you.
  • had that problem in 2007. went parolized in both arms. pain unbearable. had mri and three disk were crushing my spinal cord in cervical area. had first surgery in 11-15-07. was fused at c4-c5, c5-c6, c6-c7, with titanium plates. in 2009 started having pain down my rt. arm. another mri showed disk above plate was pressing in on cord. had a second surgery 1-27-10. removed c3-c4, another plate. since then i have no strength in hands and tingling in fingers. doctor says its nerve damage. and thats what im stuck with. the last 4 months its gotten worse. the past week i went and seen a new doctor, and he told me he could help. so now i have to get an mri and a myelogram. after that. he said he would go in the back of my neck and free up some nerves. to tell you i have been through the mill with shots ,pain pills, etc. i can tell you this , with out the fusions i would be totaly parolized. i wish you the best.
  • In the last two years my pain does come and go. Today is a very very awesome day. I hardly feel any pain what so ever I almost feel like I am in a dream and it is to good to be true. I live in Canada and we are just in the transition into Spring so I am not sure if the weather has anything to do with it. During the cold winter on the very very cold days I could hardly get out of bed because my pain was so bad. I try to just live day by day now because I never know how I am going to feel.

    When my pain was not so bad I lived for hot yoga. It was the only thing I really found that was helping me. I had to stop doing it about three months ago because my pain never seamed to go away and it was just getting to hard. Other than yoga nothing really helped me. I had 6 facet injections done at once and even that didn't help. I am at the point where the discs in my neck have actually degenerated to the point where I am just bone on bone in there now, so that is what is causing a lot of my pain.

    I feel for you because all of my weird symptoms were making me feel crazy and it is hard for people to understand because on the outside we look normal. I totally understand what you mean when you would take away the twitching for more pain. Its really annoying when your talking to someone and your face starts moving for no reason lol.

    Keep your chin up. I really find that positive thinking and meditating help. I always remind myself that now matter how much pain I am in someone always has it worse.

  • I replied to your first post about the MRI. I will mention again, it's best to have that read by an actual neurologist. I also agree with one of the other posters that you should NOT be doing adjustments from a chiropractor there until a neurologist or neurosurgeon looks at the MRI. You can cause permanent damage to the cord with the wrong manipulation. Stick with deep tissue massage or acupuncture for relief of the tension and fatigue.
    If you go to my post about fasciculations returned after acdf, you can get a better idea of my history.
    I have 3 discs removed and I'm plated at 4 levels. I had 2 severe herniations that had calcified( as well as my ligaments that hold the vertebra), compressing the cord with signal change, osteophyte complex and a reversed lordosis. I was diagnosed with cervical myelopathy. I think I may eventually end up diagnosed with a (multiple) cord syndrome. Time will tell.
    I have from the beginning been very weak, more on the right and I fatigue easily. It was one of my first complaints. It started in my atm, shoulder and hand and eventually became all over weakness/fatigue. In the beginning I could barely make it to the back yard without needing to sit down. Since the surgery, that has definitely gotten better. Not sure if it was vascular or just from signal problems within the cord, but I was exhausted all day for a long time.
    I also have widespread fasciculations. Some people will say twitches, or another term is fibrillations. The difference is you can see fasciculations rippling under the skin. Fibbrilation usually can't be seen.
    Anyway... I've had that issue since my injury, but it didn't start until the spinal shock from the cord compression started. About 4 weeks after I first felt my pop...hehe.
    I get mixed info from all the Drs regarding the fasciculations and I actually just got off the phone with my surgeons PA who said she honestly can't answer whether those are from a spinal cord injury, and that question is better suited to a neurologist or neurosurgeon that have extensive knowledge about the nervous system and to talk to my surgeon in May when I see him. I already know his answer. I asked him before surgery and he said...that YES...they can be from spinal cord injury in the neck. It's very uncommon, but it is possible. It's more likely to be from the spinal cord injury than a motor neuron disease. Especially if you have an abnormal MRI of the spine. But nonetheless...it still has me freaked out. I hate them. It's a constant reminder that my body has a real problem and its not something that can be fixed mechanically. It's more complex and its rather concerning to me. And no... Stress doesn't make mine worse. But a heavy day at therapy or if I overdo it will make them worse.
    Everything I've read about fasciculations, say that it is a lower motor neuron symptom. I have both upper and lower motor neuron symptoms (spasticity, babinski sign, Hoffman's and a flaccid GI urinaryt tract.
    I honestly don't know, because I don't have a doctorate in neuroscience...haha...but I will say that they are not benign!! It's an indication of a nerve issue. I am seeing a new neurologist this week and will report back about his opinion.

    I would take the pain, over the fasciculations any day. I understand exactly what you mean. I try to explain to people that it's like having one of those annoying little eye twitches, but it's 24/7 and all over my body. They are beyond annoying!!!!
    I didn't have a ton of pain in my neck. My range of motion was bad, and there was discomfort...but not horrible pain in my neck. It was more located in my hands and under my shoulder blade. Eventually my foot would cramp too.
    After the surgery, the pain in my neck has been worse unfortunately. Really aggravated about that, but I'm hoping with time it feels better... But the surgeon actually added a curve back to my spine because the spine had become deformed from the long standing injury. I am rather unique case and because of my age (35) and the injury and myelopathy, I have a long road ahead to recover. If I do. The damage may be permanent. They just don't know yet. I just try to put my all into therapy and feeling better and trying to live life as normally as possible.
    I do a lot of reading though... You are your own best advocate and even though learning about all these issues and the anatomy of our body, is scary and can make you over think...it's also really important, so you are able to communicate and explain your symptoms. I wish I had done it from the very beginning, instead of relying on the medical community to figure it out!!! You can get lost in the system!!
    I would definitely say, don't take this lightly. You are very young and if it's not addressed now, you could really get worse and have permanent issues. The spinal cord is one of the most important parts of how ALL your systems function.
    If your headache and fatigue are constant, you will definitely benefit from massage therapy. Your muscles being tense and pulling will exacerbate the symptoms. I did what they call Graston therapy as well as deep tissue massage. They use hand tools to break up the muscle adhesions. I would leave looking like I had been beaten. They are not a warm inviting massage from a spa!! Haha. They fig and push and hold on soft tissue to release acid from them. I would leave all bruised and sore. But it really helped me and the spasticity.
    If you have super tight muscles and ligaments in the back, neck and shoulders.. it will effect your spine alignment and make things worse...
    I hope that helps a little. :)
    let me know if you need to vent!! This stuff is overwhelming and its easy to feel alone and scared.
    good luck and feel better!!
  • Rachel, I am glad you had a great day! I wish you many more! I am glad you understand with the twitching. I also always compare, like "there are children dying of hunger..."

    Frances1, I'm so sorry about your nerve damage :( I really hope that can heal. Question, does that mean you also had twitching before the fusion? I've read many posts where people get twitching after the procedure.

    Lilahw, I did have my neuro read it. He was not so sure if my symptoms came from my herniations, but my orthopedic doctor does think so. He's given my a shot so far, and I will get a 2nd one next week. Then he said I have to rebuild muscle in my neck/shoulders. I am done with chiropractic work for sure!! I am scared that the symptoms I have are not from the herniations, and am thinking very scary thoughts. The report mentioned "no myelopathy" and "no clear root affection", but others told me that is just the moment the MRI was taken, while laying, so maybe nothing was compressed then. I wish you luck with your neuro appt, please do report back! That Graston therapy sounds interesting! I def have tense muscles in my neck/shoulder. I wonder if that is available in Germany...

    All, I appreciate all of your time and advice, it means a lot!
  • Glad to know you have a Neuro!! What was his opinion of chiropractic? I have a chiropractor too and he would have used the Cox technique with me, had there been no cord compression. Just a thought. It's not that you SHOULDN'T have work done, it's that you should be very clear about the MRI findings before doing anything. A decompression collar is helpful too. But it will tire out the shoulder so you can't use them too long.
    I do completely understand how scary it is. I am still questioning whether I have some sort of other affliction. That came from bad info and a lack of understanding. As well as a year of tests for those diseases. But the thought still lingers. I keep thinking that the differential diagnosis is not as obvious as the neck and spinal cord injury. I promise to update you next week about what this new neurologist says. I am prepared for the fact that I'll be sent through I whole new battery of tests, but I need some explanation.
    Try and stay positive. I will too :)
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