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Cervical Disc Protrusion. Please help



  • Ugh? I just typed a lengthy response and then it disappeared. Ok, so let's try this again.
    What do you mean by quick turns? Obviously I am still in the soft brace which prevents and protects me from too sudden and too crazy head rotations. Though, I am supposed to take it off several hours a day to readjust. I also had to quickly or suddenly turn my head in several moments, such as while driving, when a ball came flying towards me (at the park, I was walking) or when my crazy dogs were a bit too crazy right around me. My PT guy is very pleased with my ROM and I am doing certain neck strengthening activities to soon be back to normal. I am back to work for a week now and I have to twist and turn quite a bit and not felt any discomfort. I am careful still but I can tell I am getting better with every day.
    Before surgery I did a lot of core strengthening exercises and could use my abdominal muscles to lift my upper body up when I woke up from surgery. The PT and occupational therapist at the hospital showed me the log roll as well which I used sporadically but most of the time I was ok with doing a straight legged controlled sit-up. I got a bed wedge for my bed which helped me sleep more comfortably. Because of all the strong meds and steroids I had no pain at all the first two days but once at home, meds started to wear off. The oxycodone and muscle relaxers helped a lot - stay on top of that! And I only had pain between the shoulder blades and occasional neck pain and headaches but once I was out of the hard brace and off the pain meds all those issues went away quickly.
    Yet, I think having someone there for the first week is important.
    I also thought (since I felt so good overall) I didn't need a shower chair and I actually passed out. The doc explained it was a combo of my low heart rate and the meds and that's when I quit meds.
    If I hadn't had my husband with me that could have ended badly.
    Also the surgery and meds will make you tired. I would not have liked to stand in the kitchen to cook and I truly believe that freshly prepared healthy meals are more than important for a quick recovery. I had lots of protein, veggies and some fruit! I ate a lot - didn't gain or lose and just had my LBM measured today and only gained 1% of body fat. Which I'll easily lose again with more activity in my life. Also I couldn't have cared for my two large breed dogs if I had been by myself.
    The staple was just weird and a bit tender to touch but showering wasn't a problem. Having long hair was more of a problem. I showered every other day for the first 10 days. Hasn't been a problem since the staple and sutures were removed. Hope that helps. And again, this was just my experience with a posterior foraminotomy / microdiscectomy .
    C5/C6 herniation
    Radiculopathy left arm
    Posterior foraminotomy 8/19/2014
  • JeffBoyd_61JJeffBoyd_61 Posts: 2
    edited 09/13/2014 - 5:47 PM
    Hello, Maybe I should start a new thread but this one looked like it had some good questions and answers so I hope it isn't off-base to ask a couple of questions.

    I have been having some fairly minor problems with balance and vertigo the last couple of years and restless leg. I finally started to see some doctors and found out I've got some material problems with my C6-C7 disc in my neck. Spinal canal stenosis, disc osteophyte complex. So I went to a neurosurgeon and talked about it and surgery is an option. Since I went to the doctor everything I'm reading talks about arm problems from C6-C7. My problems have been with my legs and since the doctors have pointed out my neck I am more aware that yea, it kind of hurts but it isn't terrible.

    So my questions are:

    Can C6-C7 issues impact your legs or is it always your arms? I'd have surgery if it improved my legs but I'm on the fence if it is just for neck pain and other issues. My balance and restless leg are my big complaints.

    Studies of post-surgical results. What do people who had surgery five or ten years ago say? There is plenty of stuff on the web about the immediate period following surgery but what about long-term impact?

    I'll be talking to my doctors about the above but hoping someone my give me a head-start on where to look on my own.
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  • AnkeJSAAnkeJS Posts: 49
    edited 09/15/2014 - 5:12 PM
    Since I'm not a doctor I will not even try to answer your questions about whether c5/c6 can impact leg function. For me, the herniation or the disk material pushed on nerve to the left side not the spinal cord and that is what caused arm and neck and shoulder pain and weakness.
    There are actually quite a few peer reviewed articles in medical journals that also discuss long term effects of surgery, however, you can't just group all procedures together but want to be more specific, such as what
    Level(s), posterior, anterior, fusion or microdiskectomies, demographics and general health of patients etc.

    I read a lot about cervical spine surgeries performed on athletes between 20-40 and found that studies and long term results were mixed. Hence, I concluded that there will always be a risk for surgeries later in life. I did consciously decide however not have a fusion and I try a microdiscectomy first. Success rates are said to be around 90%. Fusions are higher but adjacent levels may need fusions later in life and since I'm only 30 is rarer have a fusion later in life as a follow up instead of living wih screws in my neck already and hen having to get other levels fused later again.
    Taken openly to your surgeon and read medical journals.
    C5/C6 herniation
    Radiculopathy left arm
    Posterior foraminotomy 8/19/2014
  • I believe any body part below the spot where the cord is "squished" (not nerve roots or foraminal stenosis, but actual spinal cord stenosis) can be negatively affected by stenosis. So issues with legs, bowel/bladder, etc. can be due to C6-C7 stenosis. Of course there's no guarantee that your leg issues originate in the cervical area but it is certainly possible.
  • I had a c6-7 discectomy and fusion back in Dec 13 and am still recovering.
    I don't know who classified this as an "elective" surgery but I had three epidurals and after the traction and physical therapy made the stenosis worse.
    My point is, I know young men think healthy is staying in shape, but how about letting yourselves heal and do alternative therapies to try to heal on your own before going under the knife. My insurance didn't cover massage or accurpunture and I could only afford the massage until the pain was debilitating. Even the Vidodin and flexeril were no match.
    It wasn't until I dropped from 135 and 3 days of cycling to 110 and unable to eat or sleep did I beg for surgery after ten months of enduring pain that almost cost me my life at my own hands.
    I know everyone has there own way of making this decision, but this is a decision that could paralyze you from the neck down.
    I miss my athletic life, but know and have accepted it may be a couple of years before or if I can run again. I'm okay with that. I'm not paralyzed, but still in pain. I have good and really bad days. But I hope I never have this surgery again. Best of luck and health.

    joshkim178 said:
    Hey ANKEJS,

    I have a similar situation like you. I have a C5/cC6 disc herniation. Please let me know how your procedure goes. I am havingi the same one done in october. I'm also 30 and very active. I dont know how i'll go without being able to hit the weights
    46 F Avg Hgt/Weight non-smkr/drkr, ex-runner
    Chronic back/neck pain/urticaria (pic)
    ADCF C6-7, 11/13
    C3-4-5 , L3-4-5-S1 DDD bulge annular tear

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  • Thanks for your post. Speaks again for "everyone is different and reacts differently to the various methods." Of course, there are so many factors that play into not only the cause but also the reaction of one's body to conservative as well as surgical treatment. In my opinion, and that should go without saying, educating yourself and consulting multiple specialists is the way to go. After painful and costly attempts to get my pain under control without surgery, sacrificing my athletic lifestyle and being afraid of surgery, I am happy to say now that for me surgery was (so far) the right decision. Life bears dangers and uncertainties but I found that with a positive attitude and proactive approaches to taking care of myself, I am in a much better place. Good luck to everyone.
    C5/C6 herniation
    Radiculopathy left arm
    Posterior foraminotomy 8/19/2014
  • how long did you have the staples in your head? Im asking b/c they schedule my post op already for 2 weeks after and I dont want to have staples in my head for 2 weeks. I would feel weird going outside with that. Did you have stitches in your neck or did he use the glue for a self sealing wound. How did you shower with the staple?
    the closer i'm getting my surgery date, my symptoms have subsided a bit. how convenient hahaha. i only sharp pain when i turn my head in a certain direction. i get numbness and tingling randomly and my traps and upper back feel really tight. to top it off, my shoulder makes a clicking sound now when i rotate it
  • Hey AnkeJS,

    How are things progressing for you. The closer I'm getting to my date, the more nervous i'm getting. Recently for some reason, my neck has been feeling better. how convenient.

    Just a few more questions about your procedure.
    the day after the procedure, were you able to move your neck at all? or did you have a brace on the majority of the day? Was the pain constant or did it only occur when moving? during the first few days, if you were in a comfortable postiion, did you experience any pain? how bad was it?
    are you still wearing a soft collar to sleep? how many days after the procedure did you feel useless where you couldnt do anything? would you do your daily walks outside?

    where on your head were the staples? was it noticeable? I have a wedding a week after the procedure and I'm trying to gauge if i'll be up for it.

    how was the neck range of motion for the first week? did you wake up a lot due to the pain in the beginning?

  • DS2BDDS2B Posts: 34
    edited 10/03/2014 - 2:49 PM
    How do feel? Sorry I didn't get a chance to get back to you. I stil have pain that keeps me awake for days. it's more anxiety than anything. I stopped taking all prescription meds last month and have a hard time sleeping.
    All the best to you,
    AnkeJS said:
    fardaaftab said:
    Hi AnkeJS
    I'm also interested on the outcome of your procedure. My surgeon recommended this but I got better and have very mild pain and numbness in my left hand and fingers. and I think I better wait longer. good luck on your surgery and please post your recovery as often as possible.
    Yes, I will :). The third surgeon I saw also suggested to wait and hope for it to heal in it's own but I talked to surgeon two who is doing my procedure on Tuesday and even though he said it can heal on it's own, he was more concerned about my radiculopathy; though, I think this has improved I am still struggling with some mobility and certain movements and get episodes of pain. Not nearly as bad as in june/July but I can't afford putting it off and then potentially reinjure. I'm starting a new job in September and I really want to go back to heavy lifting. Everyone's situation is different and I really hope you do not have to get surgery!
    Two nights away from surgery, I started washing my neck with that lotion stuff the nurse gave me and I am not nervous. I may be underestimating the impact this surgery will have but I hope being only 30 and in pretty good shape will be for my advantage. My surgeon said I will be at the hospital over night and I think that's good. I'm most nervous to come home and be walked all over by my two dogs. A 130# mastiff and a 100# obnoxious Saint Bernard puppy... And then there is our cat but he just stares :)
    I'll keep y'all posted!
    Thanks for your interest and again, I hope you'll be ok without surgery!!
    46 F Avg Hgt/Weight non-smkr/drkr, ex-runner
    Chronic back/neck pain/urticaria (pic)
    ADCF C6-7, 11/13
    C3-4-5 , L3-4-5-S1 DDD bulge annular tear

  • anyone know AnkeJS?

    I have my posterior cervical laminoforaminotomy and discectomy is 2 days and just want some feedback from anyone out there who has had it done. I see so many ACDF testimonials but i feel that posterior surgery recovery is completely different. any input is appreciated!!
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