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c5 hernia

Hi, I've just found out that I have a c5 herniated disc.

Here's my story.

After many months, maybe a couple of years, the symptoms started to increase. But I wasn't aware of what was coming. Slowly, my shoulder, right one, started hurting. Couldn't seem to calm it. Some days good, in fact almost gone. And then over the past 12 months my right hand started to tingle, a brief electrical shock sensation. Yeah so what working day etc. It'll go away.

I had also been recovering from a cartilage operation on my right knee, thanks to an x hole that smashed through me at a friendly game of football. Not a good 12 months. Not one full nights sleep. I had an exam with my job, an external qualification. Three hours of hand writing, tough going, with the type questions to answer. Little did I know how tough it was going to be.

After weeks of studying, long days at my desk and then evenings too. Also adding, I'd complained to my boss about my seating position at work, cold and awkward, could never get comfortable. The test came along. Wow, tough. I've never failed an exam. Everyone kept telling me I'd pass easily. I struggled... big time. Uncomfortable,headache, back, shoulder, hand and forearm. All thinking it was fatigue. Needless to say, I failed. My boss didn't seem pleased, as if I'd let him down or couldn't be bothered.

I guess what I'm trying to highlight is I had no idea what was coming. I didn't know the signs.

Last month I woke up to increase shoulder pain, much more than usual. I struggled to work, very busy time. That week was bad! I couldn't get a doctors appointment, twice I tried. Then it got too much and I don't usually complain about anything painful. My arm felt as if it were to explode, bicep and then forearm. I massaged them, some relief. I walked into hospital. They said I'd ripped a ligament off my lower arm. No way had I. They spoke to another hospital. I had to then go to that hospital. I arrived. They said that I had broken my shoulder! Ok I was now going crazy. I told them I hadn't done anything to create those injuries... end of conversation. That was 8 hours of pain and inspection, move this look over there. All of which I could have done without! So, I saw a private osteopath, twice, he was ok, but I didn't know if it was curing or damaging. So I then went back to the second hospital and went through another days of move this and look over there. That was really bad too. I then waited a week to see a consultant, pain, so much pain. That appointment arrived. He didn't seem to pleased with the other doctors diagnosis. I'm 99% sure you've hurt your neck. I'll remember that comment.

Two weeks later my MRI scan date arrived. Then another 5 days to the review. In all 5 weeks had gone by since I woke with it. The review was swift. Yes, you've a hernia on your c5/c6. I had been looking on line at such information prior to this to understand if it was a muscle spasm, a brachial plexus injury or a hernia. Now I knew.

I'm now 6 weeks down the line, most of the time laying down, awaiting.... a specialist from another hospital to get in touch with me. My pain has reduced, but does flair up, especially in the evenings? I've read and contacted a couple of similar sufferers of the same condition. But to be honest. I don't know what is coming next.

My work is starting to press me for updates, I don't hold much of an outlook from them. After 15 years, I wouldn't be surprised if they replace me.

Anyway, lots of information, but would be good to hear from similar, pre and post treatment.

Thanks. Ps, written on a tablet, difficult :)


  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 7,385
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  • I feel your pain. I had two herniated neck discs that have actually gotten so bad that I am having fusion on June 17th. It took me about two years of tests and treatments before anyone really started taking me seriously because i was only 26 at the time and it is uncommon for someone that young to have such bad degeneration i was told. I really understand the shoulder and arm pain. There is days where my arm won't wake up at all and it is just pins and needles. Be careful if they start you on any nerve medications. I was on 4 different ones and had bad reactions to all. The only think I take now is pain meds. I am an account manager for a family business and I know if I did not work for family I would no longer have a job. No one really understand chronic pain because they can not see it., employers especially because we affect them with our lack of ability to carry out tasks. I drove a lot to all my customers and I had to stop because i was no longer able to check my blind spots and my arms were just to weak.
    I really think it is unfair that the world is not more educated on chronic pain and the way it affects people. I really hope my surgery is a success and that I can return to my full duties because i know even my family is even getting frustrated with me.

    Hope you find a great Doctor that can help you .

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  • The good news is that there are many people on this site that have been down the path that you are on. So you have a chance to bypass the middle stages of trial and error and the periods of pain with providers that don't understand the condition that you have.

    I can tell you that if you have a herniated disc it will never heal and will in fact degrade and continue to break apart over time. And from what you have described regarding pain and numbness I can say with fairly high certainty that the broken pieces of your disc and the inner material are floating towards and touching into spinal nerves. From my own experience I can say that spinal nerve injuries are extremely unpleasant and in some cases get bad enough to wish to chop off an arm or pull the nerves out through a freshly cut hole.

    So what to do? My first suggestion would be to make appointments with a neurosurgeon and also with a respected pain management clinic. You need to get the ball rolling because practitioners in these areas are usually booked for weeks on out. I would skip all the other doctors in between.

    This would also be a good time to read up on opiate therapy, on the surgical procedure of ACDF versus disc replacement, and the lifestyle that some choose which is to bypass surgery and live with pain.

    For me I chose opiates until I was ready for surgery and then again post surgery until all pain was gone. This allowed me to keep my career going and not miss a day of work except for the days surrounding surgery.

    I myself did an ACDF but I am in my forties. I'm not sure what I would have done in my twenties, I may have chosen disc replacement. I also chose opiates because I knew my condition could be fixed. I don't know what I would have done if I were faced with a lifelong condition. I can't advise any more than that ultimately you will have to choose which path to take.

    Hang in there and best wishes going forward.

  • Hi UKqwerty! Here is a link to a topic that you might find helpful. There area number of us on there discussing experiences with cervical problems and artificial disc replacement (for the record, I'm "Team ADR" for life! :)

    L4/5/S1 scar tissue removal surgery, plus unexpected L4/5 microdiscectomy #2 October 2015
    L4/5 microdiscectomy May 2015
    2-level ADR C4-6 (Mobi-C) February 2015
  • So, it's been a while! I'm 2 weeks from having an m6-c placed in c6/7. Yeah, not c5/6. And wow! It's fantastic so far. Since my last post I went down hill fast. Couldn't walk properly, my left leg and hip just packed up. 8 days after my implant and kapow... It's all gone.... No pain. Ive got muscle standard pains now, due to slowly exercising, all good physio... Let me know if you'd like to know more
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