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Disc bulges C4-5 C5-6 C6-7 and degeneration

cindy2015ccindy2015 Posts: 26
edited 07/20/2015 - 8:50 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Hello everyone,

I have wanted to post here for a long time but was too nervous to, so here it goes.

I was diagnosed with a disc bulge at C7 in 2011 with left nerve root compression, also other issues that I will go into another time. The consultant suggested doing yoga, and said that I did not need surgery. I had suffered with pain in my neck and shoulder since 2006, with occasional severe muscle spasms which I believe were trying to stop me moving due to pressure on this nerve.

I did physiotherapy in 2012 as well as yoga, pilates, callanetics, swimming, walking and anything I could do to try and improve my painful situation.
Everything seemed to fail, the pain was still getting worse and the physiotherapist gave up said I should have an operation as I was not responding to physical therapy.

I had another scan in 2012 which showed three disc bulges and degeneration all down my cervical spine. The consultant also remarked on the fact my neck is very straight and I had lost the curve. So I did lots to correct my posture and continued down the path of exercise, as he too said he didn't advise surgery due to my age? Something they all say.

I have got worse year on year, seen more consultants, had more MRI scans and they nearly all say the same thing, except one who said I was a potential candidate for surgery, but suggested an epidural injection as a process of illumination. I had this in 2013, and it did rid me of the pain in the left side, but did nothing to help the right side, they don't seem to see an issue on the right, despite the pain being worse that side now.
The epidural didn't last long at all, then I got even worse.

I have recently had facet joint injections, my pain management consultant seems to think I have a problem with the facet joints, more than with the discs? My pain has been worse since I had these injections.
I have taken naproxen, pregabalin, and tramadol for three years, yet they still don't suggest surgery? I stopped the naproxen and pregabalin recently and tried a muscle relaxant, but nothing helps. At the moment I take pain killers when I have to, but to be able to think, go out and function I have had to stop the (what I call) mind altering drugs.

I have not been working for almost three years, I do still exercise, tried acupuncture, chiropractor, meditation etc etc... it just goes on and on.
I am in the process of requesting my case notes , MRI scans, nerve conduction study results, I just don't know where to go from here.
The last consultant sent me to see a neurologist, but he didn't think it is a neurological condition and couldn't understand why I hadn't been offered an operation?

Obviously I never wanted to rush into surgery, but nine years on and I am beginning to think it is my last option. I am keen not to go down the fusion root, prefer the idea of a disc replacement at C6/C7 or minimally invasive surgery if I am a candidate for either.

My real question is 'does anyone think I should be offered surgery? Should I have surgery if I have no spinal cord compression?' I worry that the pressure on the nerve could cause permanent nerve damage. I get a lot of numbness in my fingers, pain in my arms, fingers, elbow. Could an operation take these symptoms away? I am 50/50 at the moment as to whether to push for an operation or see if it will get better over more time, but I sure as hell am not living life to the full, I feel I only have 30% use of myself as a person if that makes sense? I am suffering greatly, and I try so hard to eat well, look after myself, exercise...so why aren't I recovering?

Thank you to anyone who answers my post, even if to just say hello, I read your stories and just wish I could wave a magic wans over us all and give us back our health. x

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  • Cindy,
    I too had a herniated disc c5/6 and had the shots, physical therapy, nerve conduction tests....nothing worked. I did not want fusion surgery either and lived with the pain for 3 years. I did not have spinal cord compression either. My pain was horrible from the nerve compression. I had an artificial disc replacement. I am very happy that I did it. It's a very personal decision whether or not to have surgery. Feel free to PM me if you have any questions!!
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