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Cervical Radiculopathy-would love your opinions

spinaltapsspinaltap Posts: 50
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:25 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I had an EMG done today along with a second MRI on the thoracic spine. I haven't gotten the results back on the MRI yet, but the EMG shows nerve damage in both arms due to a C5-C6 herniation. My doctor said we would try conservative treatment first (for me it's Physical Therapy 2 times a week fr 4 weeks, Celebrex and an upcoming Epidural Steriod/Anesthetic Block) and then if this didn't work, she would have to operate. I'm wondering if anyody knows of situations where a herniated cervical disc that causes nerve damage heals? I have had pain for 2 years so I know that this injury is older than 6 weeks. From what I'm reading, 6 weeks seems to be the standard healing time. Does nerve damage mean that surgery is the only option? How bad can the nerve damage get? I'm still shocked by all of this because I went to the doctor for a chronic headache that no one could help me with and found out I had a herniated disc. Anyway, sorry so long. I have a million questions. Thanks in advance!


  • I am an advocate of getting second opinions for all major medical issues and this would be one of them.

    I had a recent neurosurgeon tell me about how his mother had a herniated cervical disk who he didn't want to operate on due to her age and the nature of the pain being tolerable with occasional cervical traction. 5 years later when the pain became acute he looked again for the herniation-but it was gone-absorbed by the body and the bone self-fused without much further pain. She was instead having a heart attack. So obviously anything can happen and an operation is not always necessary, but only a competent surgeon can tell for sure and sometimes it helps to weight the advice of 2 or 3 doctors.

    I got my cervical operation because I didn't want to live with the fear of getting an actue painful attack again, and my arm was weakening from the nerve compression. But my doctor told me right up front it was an elective operation because it wasn't a life or death situation. But he felt certain I was a good candidate for C7 foraminectomy and suggested I do it now while I was otherwise healthy and not wait until it was killing me.

    I'm glad I had it done last week, but recovery is no fun and the pain is sometimes as bad as before the operation so some hours I second guess myself-but it's important to have a positive attitude about these things. Mind over body-it is true-the mind can set you up for healing quicker if you try to think positive most of the time :) Harder to do than to say but I keep trying.
    Good luck!
  • Yes I have this and have had the cervical spine surgery. Before surgery I had pain and weakness in my right arm that went on for about 2 years. When I did see an ortho spine surgeon I was told my conditon was bad, 9 on a scale of 1-10. I also had to have a revison surgery 5 months after my first surgery. This past spring an emg/ncv test was done and the dx was radiculopathy right side coming from C5C6, denervation and muscle atrophy. I probably waited too long for the surgery but the pcp that was treating me for 2 years said my arm pain was stress. I found a new pcp and he found the problem and sent me to an ortho spine doctor. Get a second opinion or even a third but don't wait too long, you do not want nerve damage.

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  • MetalneckMetalneck The Island of Misfit toysPosts: 1,778
    I was told that the amount of time that I will continue to have radiculopathy post surgery is equal to the time pre-nerve decompression .... is ... the longer you wait .... the longer it will take.

    Good Luck!
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