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Do disc herniations ever heal eventually?

ButterflyPainBButterflyPain Posts: 290
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:47 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
If so, how long does it take ? How long have you heard?

What factors apply to it healing? Just herniation? Luck?

According to an MRI in 2008 I had 2mm and 3mm herniations at C5/C6 and C6/ C7. Both having mild to slight central stenosis. Disc desiccation without protrusion at T1-2.
On my Xray from 2008 it said: Very minimal hypertrophic uncovertebral joints at C5-C6. Minimal osteophyte formations and foraminal impingement at C5/C6.

Are those things that can get better with time? My doctor always hopes it will dry out or heal with time, but it has been almost 3 years and nothing getting better just worse at times with pain levels etc. He doesn't advise surgery till I'm older if I need it (Im 28). He's just a neurologist.

I have left arm , hand pain , shoulder/shoulder blade pain, back of the neck and bottom of skull pain and left side of the neck pain. Sometimes my pinkie and ring finger falls asleep feeling etc. I also get front chest pain and down the left side of my torso pain. I believe I have a disc problem in my lumbar spine causing left sided leg and foot pain.

So is it possible after three years for it to heal or am I looking long term?



  • my primary told me the disc will evaporate after a time, but I don't know the particulars at the moment. I'm sure that this is a dream come true to many who suffer the effects of protruding discs.
  • Jen are you seeing a NS/OS? Or was the recomendation that you wait given to you by someone else?

    If you are getting worse I would stay you are do for a new MRI to see where things are at. I am concerned about the torso and leg issues.

    Can you get a second opinion & a new MRI?

    Sometimes a minimal bulged disc will heal and some times it will get worse (can even calcify after some time -things can get worse). There is a reason that surgeon offer surgery at certain times- because they know the sooner you get it done the higher the rate of success.

    Add in permanent nerve damage and it is not fun.

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  • Jen,

    Depending on where the bulge is, the condition of the disk, and many times size, yes it (they) can dry up and come off the nerve, some don't. Like Julie said, there is also a chance of calcification. Not common, but something your doctor can give you a full brief on.

    As to the Stenosis, and Osteophytes (spurs), they don't heal on their own. The body is great at identifying a weakness, but when it comes to "helping" itself by generating more bone to fix said problem, it sucks! (G) Depending what caused the body to start making them, will have a large part in how fast they grow. Like anything else, it all depends what they are affecting as to whether intervention is needed. Like MRI's - a person can have the nastiest MRI on the planet, and no neurological issues, and another person can have a tiny hernia and writhing in pain.

    In closing Jen, if you are not having issues that are going to cause damage, and too your quality of life is good. Just work with your doctors and monitor for any problems, and you should be fine. Please keep us posted...oh, and yeah, 28 is pretty early to start surgeries if you can help it. *HUGZ*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Brenda is right on the money, she gave you a perfect answer and hopefully your condition doesn't worsen.Pain is always subjective to the person thats why doctors don't just do surgery because of pain issues. Hopefully your neurological issues don't worsen over time.
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