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how long does it take a disc to heal once herniated



  • How do you know if your herniation has healed? How do you know if your herniation has gotten worse?

    I assume pain is an indicator - but what are some of your experiences with this...
  • not really sure,my lower back is starting to feel better although i still have pain running down my legs my lower back doesn't hurt like it did.When i start to see that my legs are feeling better then i'll no for sure that things are calming down.Its been almost a month now or more and am still having pain.My other discs never did heal so i couldn't say what it felt like.I would imagine the pain goes away and you feel better LOL.
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  • Just wanted to say hello and man, you've been through a lot. Sure wish you were doing better. I know i've asked before, but can't remember your answer. Have you had an MRI since the car accident?

    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
  • I had a mri just after the accident and just had another one two weeks ago and i go back to see my surgeon tomorrow for my one year check up.They will do an x-ray before i see him tomorrow as well.Ya its been quite the year,just when i thought everything was going to be better everything goes to hell =)) gotta laugh about it.How long do most surgeon hang onto there patients for? Just wondering.I plan on asking him about my fusion i know that they said that there was more fusion the last time i was there but they never said how far along i was.There can't be that much to fuse together i do have titanium implants.LOL I'm back to using my cane when i go for long walks.I try for an hour at a time.Got tired of walking across the sidewalks,back and forth ,back and forth,at least with the cane i can walk in a straight line.My therapist knows about it ,he told me it was fine to use it then but i couldn't have it with me in the clinic.He wants me using all my muscles as much as i can.My neck seems to be stuck half way between straight and looking to the right.I get it half way and it won't go any farther.Been like that for three weeks now.We were doing ultra sound on it and it had loosened up nicely,my massage therapist had said how soft the muscles were so we switched to doing ultra sound on my mid and lower back to relax those muscles and after a week my neck muscles started to tighten back up again.I can't win. My therapist won't help me stretch it out because i'm not fused yet and he said that he could try once my surgeon gives him the ok but til then i'm on my own as far as stretching goes. Wonderful!!!!! Oh and HI BACK :H lol.
  • Tammy, as I recall you have a plate over your fusion site and used cadaver bone for the fusion graft. This is something you'll want to confirm with your doctor, but I'll try to explain what I have learned.

    When they do an ACDF, they remove the discs in between the vertebrae, and put a bone graft in the section where the disc was, often "jacking up" the vertebrae to create the proper height for the bone graft to be inserted into.

    These grafts, whether your own bone or donor bone need to grow together with the vertebral body above and below. So say for your top level done, you have the C4 Vertebral body, the bone graft, and then the C5 vertebral body. In your case, you then have another bone graft, C6, another bone graft, and then C7. Those bone grafts are supposed to grow together with the original vertebral bodies to create one solid piece, or "fusion". The titanium plate you have is basically there to hold things together until this fuses solidly.

    If the bone does not grow together, eventually the graft will die and this creates a weakness to the area. The donor bone can even shrivel up and be absorbed by your own body if a significant amount of fusion hasn't occurred, because it receives blood and oxygen through your own bones. Anyway, if you do not create solid fusion, the potential for weakness is there, and as things weaken, the screws have the potential for wiggling loose and causing an instability to your neck. That is why I asked if your fusion is solid, and why I feel it is important that they check this since you have been struggling for so long.

    Usually after about a year it has been long enough to know and the doctors can do a CT scan if there is any question.

    You may already understand all of this, but I felt prompted to explain it because of your statement that you have titanium implants, but those implants are only as good as the surface holding the screws in place. If enough wiggling happens, you could end up with a "false joint" with is otherwise known as pseudoarthrosis, or failure to fuse. I'm in no way saying this is what is going on with you, but I do think you need to be pushing your doctors for some help. I personally don't think that your problems are solely coming from your post fusion whiplash incident. Don't give up yet!

    Good luck with your doctor appointment, and please let me know what they say.
    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
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  • OMG there is hope?!?

    How is it without other problems to the disc (Info listed in sig)? My PA-C said the doctor should be telling me that I will deal with this for the rest of my existence, and yet it is all mild to moderate non surgery needing stuff.

    Gosh I hope it heals. I don't know how long it has been a hot mess, but I've been experiencing pain etc for a year and a half. Some stuff is better, but it can be a real pain 95 percent of the time, depending on what I am doing or not doing.

    Is this for herniated disc after an accident or injury? Because mine seemed to happen out of nowhere, although I was in a Car Accident 12 years ago, but hadn't really had anything till now.
  • I'm not really sure, i did have herniated discs there before my surgery they felt ok for a long while afterwards.when i had the car accident i had complained quite a bit about my lower back and said that it felt like the discs had moved somemore.Just felt to me like disc pain but then i had tried to move a box that was too heavy for me and make it even worse.It does feel better then it did a month ago but i'm still having trouble getting out of bed in the morning i can't straighten up ,i walk half way across the bedroom before i'm straight.I'm just very careful now of everything that i do so that it will heal up.
  • how bad does the herniation need to be - before you are taken as a surgical candidate? After 2 + years of conservative treatment - what happens next - the pain is worse now than whent he mri was taken in jan 08 - so i don't believe it has healed....so how big, whatever, before they think surgery?
  • baffled said:
    how bad does the herniation need to be - before you are taken as a surgical candidate? After 2 + years of conservative treatment - what happens next - the pain is worse now than whent he mri was taken in jan 08 - so i don't believe it has healed....so how big, whatever, before they think surgery?
    I think it depends, but my neurologist said about 8mm and if it is compressing the spine. I personally only have 2 to 3 mm's so ...But I still have pain. ugh.

    If your stuff is worse , you might ask your doc if a new mri is necessary or get another opinion. If you don't go to a neuro-surgeon then you could go and see one...I don't know , I've heard that sometimes surgery can make things worse....So they only want to do it as a last resort.
  • are they supposed to do at a clinic? They can't do injections, surgery, therapy, botox, acupuncture, deep tissue massage, etc. What are we expecting from clinics besides the inexpensive price and no appointment necessary?
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