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Should I have surgery

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:24 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
My C6-7 disc is ruptured. MRI shows dramatic deformity. However, my pain and discomfort range is in the 2 to 5 area, (arm strength is pretty good) but the discomfort is constant. The onset was 1 and a half years ago. Since my pain is relatively managable but still very annoying should I consider surgery. My family doc says I should but the NS says no. Thanks.


  • sounds like time for a 2nd opinion with another NS. I was told most important thing for urgency in surgery is if you have weakness or not ,if you can deal with the pain.
  • I second what Robert said. I started having weakness in my left arm after I had made a surgery date in early Sept. The strength in my arm deteriorated very rapidly and by the time I had surgery, I couldn't even pick up a glass of water with my left hand. I'm glad I didn't delay because the damage to the arm could have been permanant, but because I had the surgery when I did, I had full use of my arm right after surgery in the recovery room.

    Just my two cents worth. :D
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  • Ive been going through the same thing... surgery or no surgery. So far my NS is leaving that up to me, if I lose strength in my arm/hand, or lose bladder/bowel control then I have no choice. Since none of that has happened, and hopefully does NOT... I just keep working with a chiro who has been with me through this whole ordeal. Just saw him yesterday... said I was doing the best he has seen me since this all started in June of this year. For me I have occasional pain in my neck, but mostly its in my shoulder, not as bad as before more achey now than painful, and I have been off my meds for a week and a day now, with no increase in pain, the numbness is gone in my fingers, but still have some tingling in my fingers and arm, overall its no where near as bad as it was a few months ago. My NS said to consider how this effects my quality of life, so far its been improving and I am not allowed to carry heavy things, or shovel snow this winter (not that Im complaining about that!!lol). So as long as thing continue down the path they are going, I will avoid surgery. I also understand that this could change almost anytime but I plan to do everything I can to avoid the knife until it becomes my last option, or the pain becomes as bad as it was over the summer. Good Luck to you!
  • I had severe pain, left shoulder, 1 1/2 yrs ago and was diagnosed with degenerative discs due to a congenital fusion of the 4/5. All of the treatments I tried didn't work so I waited it out and eventually it went away 6 months later but I still had some tingling in my left arm. This last summer, I lost the use of my left hand and my arm went numb. I returned to the NS I went to originally, and went through a slew of tests, MRIs, Mylogram, CTs, etc. The degeneration of the 5/6 and 6/7 had progressed quickly. The NS said I need surgery but would not say that it would fix the problem. I was frustrated and didn't know what to do, so I put off getting a second opinion. Miraculously the use of my hand returned, with some weakness, but my arm is still numb. Because of work issues, I waited to get a second opinion, and when I did the NS said if I had walked into his office with a hand I couldn't use he would have had me in the OR that week! Because I am still having pain, it's 3 - 7, he insisted I get 2 cervical epidurals which I didn't want to do. I didn't want to waste my time just to postpone the inevitable. But the NS uses the injections as a diagnostic tool so I went ahead and had them. No change. This week I return to the NS to discuss the surgery. At my first appointment he had said that I could wake up any day now without the use of my hand again. Or if I should fall, or bump my head or somehow jar my neck, I could end up with a worse problem than just not being able to use my hand. The NS would prefer not to wait until I experience another major neurological episode, because then permanent damage is most likely to occur (according to him). I am terrified of the surgery, but more terrified of losing the use of my arm and hand.So most likely, I will be having the surgery before the end of the year. Whether to have surgery or not is a tough decision for me because right now my symptoms are not debilitating. Anyway, just thought I would share my experience. Don't wait until its too late to have things corrected.

    Take Care,
  • Thanks. I appreciate the replies. I don't know if I'll ever know what to do. There is so much conflicting info and everybody's situation is unique. I'm a bull riding fan and one of my favorite bull riders, Chris Shivers, recently had surgery for his damaged cervical disc. He says he's never felt better, has a whole new lease on life, etc. Makes you wonder if surgery could do the same for me. Apparently, he put it off for years. Anyway thanks for the responses.
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  • I agree that a second opinion might be a good idea. Surgery is really a quality of life thing as long as there is no weakness. If you had progressive weakness, you need to be seen right away.
  • I think the question you need to be asking, what will happen by waiting it out. Will you risk any permanent damage and or will the recovery be harder by waiting longer for surgery. I do agree that you should seek out a second opinon as well. The other question is do you just have nerves involved or a cord compression as well. Good luck and keep us posted on your decision.
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