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Cervical Disc prolapse C5-C6

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:39 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Around 10 months ago I noticed shooting pains in across both of my shoulders when I was jogging on a treadmill. I then got a horrible burning pain in my right arm that could be relieved a little by massage, but aggrevated by certain postures - especially computer work at a desk where my arm was extended.

This got progressively worse over a few months, until around 3 months ago when the burning was 24/7 agony - more pain then I have ever known. It spread to my neck, shoulder, arm and wouldn't stop. I also got tingling down my arm into my thumb and forefinger. This persisted for a couple of months and is now subsiding, but I am left with the odd pain in my arm that comes and goes, but is by no means agony. I have a mild stiff neck and general mild pain in the neck area, I also get tingling in my forearm, shoulder and hand but this too is passing. Mainly I have weakness in my bicep muscle (about 20% down I have noticed in the gym).

I have no bicep reaction to a tendon hammer in either arm, and the following is the report on my MRI:

The main abnormality is a large broad based osteophytic disc
bar at C5/6 with a dominant disc component which is
particularly large towards the right side. The changes
result in severe left foraminal stenosis and very severe
right foraminal stenosis and mild indentation of the right
lateral cord. There is no cord signal change. No other large
protrusions are present and appearances are otherwise
essentially unremarkable.

I have seen a neurosurgeon who has recommended an artificial disc replacment, but suggests I should wait as my symptoms are on the whole, much improved.

I am concerned I have nerve damage as I have weakness in my arm, tingling, and general reduced sensation to touch. I have had a few physio sessions and tried dicloflenic, a strong NSAID which helped until I got a sore stomache. At least now I can sleep and am finding it liveable. When I run though I feel very mild electrical shock sensations in my arms so for now at least I cannot run.

Should I go for the operation or wait a little longer? I'm concerned the nerve root compression is damaging the nerve more over time (or is any damage already done?) My whole life is based around sports, including mountain biking, snow boarding, kite surfing, gym and I'm sure to hurt my neck again.

Thanks for your advice!


  • The hard part is that only you can make the decision whether or not to have surgery. Have you sought out a second opinion from a different surgeon? Are you experiencing any muscle atrophy in your arms along with the weakness and lack of bicep reaction?

    It is always recommended to try as many conservative treatments as possible before resorting to any type of spine surgery. However, you are the only one who has to live with the pain and weakness and possibility of nerve damage. Surgery, especially fusion is something that cannot be undone. ADR is something that is highly controversial and it is recommended that you do A LOT of research before agreeing to ADR surgery.

    I hope you are able to find some answers and get another opinion easy enough. Spine surgery is a HUGE leap and you really need to be certain and know it in your "gut" that it is what you need, before you make that commitment.

    Welcome to Spine Health.

  • I had the same issues you are having, mine started 05 i went thru therapy, shots anything i could do to avoid surgery.Im 07 i finally couldnt take it any more and agreed to surgery. I had a anterior cervical disc replacement in my c5/c6 with one called secure c. after awaking from surgery the tingling and the pain were gone. after 3 months of taking it easy i had almost all my rom in my neck back. as haglandc said its still a new procedure and everyone is different but i am happy with the results that i got from mine.
    best of luck to you in whatever you decide to do.

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