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Confused?


I'm 37 years old and got a herniated disc,c5c6; that is pressing against my left nerve root and spinal canal. My symptoms are tight muscles in the left scapular region, and mild weakness in the left wrist, and some mild neck pain that comes and goes. No loss of feeling, nor any numbness.
      I saw a neurosurgeon and he recommended acdf, another neurosurgeon said that it should heal on its own with some pt and time.
      I was confused so I went to get some more opinions. Another neurosurgeon explained it clearly to me that if I do not do anything about it I will be at risk of paralysis if I had a severe traumatic incident to the neck since the disc is already close to the spinal cord; or I can have surgery and take the minimum risk that it comes with to eliminate the risk of paralysis. Dr also expressed since my symptoms are mild it's hard for a person to make a decision for surgery.
   BUT I also did some research and came across incidents where cervical herniated discs regressed by themselves over time.

Confused. Trying to look for a good approach to my situation. 
      
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1

Comments

  • Generally, from what I've read, the herniation itself can regress a little bit but once it has started it's not really something that will simply go back on its own. Generally the physical therapy and treatment at that point is simply to help the body adjust to the condition and help ensure nothing worsens. There are plenty of people who are able to adjust and will eventually recover and live perfectly fine with the condition, however there are also plenty of people who just don't respond well to the therapy and will eventually need surgical intervention to get past it.

    Now, it seems generally that doctors always want to try the physical therapy route first as it's the cheapest for the patient, the least intrusive, and the least risky. The steroid injections have risks involved, are generally temporary relief and that's only if they even work in the first place. Surgery is expensive and can have side-effects as well as a permanent impact your movement and flexibility.

    It sounds like the one doctor followed the normal process which is to recommend therapy before entertaining the thought of any surgery. However, the urgency of the other doctors does seem to indicate that the location of your specific case might be putting you at greater risk of a long term impact. I'd ask the doctors recommending surgery if there is something specific about your case that increases your risk compared to a normal cervical herniation. If not, then I'd go for the therapy first. Of course, this is all just my opinion based on what I've learned in dealing with my own cervical issues and obviously my opinion shouldn't be taken as medical advice.
  • LizLiz Posts: 9,745
    hello max
    please click on the link for useful information

    Liz, 

    Veritas-Health Forum Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
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  • The doctor said that the disc is in the spinal canal taking up the reserved space and pushing my spinal cord. So it's right there with no wiggle room. 
  • Well, I would talk with him and ask how that compares to normal cases he sees. If he feels you are in greater danger than a normal case then I would take that under advisement. When all is said and done it's what the doctors see and how they interpret the results that really matter and you have 3 different doctor opinions at this point? Nobody here is qualified to make this decision for you but I think you have enough information from the medical community to make a reasonable decision at this point. Have you tried physical therapy though? It does seem unusual that they would go straight to recommending surgery. I've had my moderate C7 right nerve impingment issues since late May and so far they haven't even entertained the idea of injections, let alone surgery.

    On a side note, how did you get in to see 3 neurosurgeons in such a short time? Seems your generally lucky to get an appointment with one within 2 months.
  • Well one of my buddies is a doctor who is friends with one of them, and this all took place over a month. All of the doctors are all kind of surprised that I only have mild symptoms for how bad my herniated disc looks on the mri. The first dr believe's it's because of the size of my spinal canal. He said that I've been blessed with a larger canal than average.
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  • What also gives me hope is that when I Google " cervical herniated disc regression" , there's cases where herniated discs have regressed and rebsorbed on their own. Just don't know if their cases were as serious as mine
  • momo-kmmomo-k Posts: 131
    edited 08/26/2016 - 7:01 PM
    max713, I feel EXACTLY the same way as you do. I have to make a decision if I want to go for ACDF/Corpectomy. it is no doubt the hardest decisions I ever have to make in my life thus far. CONFUSING as well.
  • Heh, and here I'd almost welcome the surgery just to get this over with since nothing else has worked. My doctors have been very conservative, not even opting to try a steroid injection yet, let alone even consider surgery.
  • Momo, how are your symptoms ?
  • momo-kmmomo-k Posts: 131
    edited 08/28/2016 - 10:21 AM

    max713 said:

    Momo, how are your symptoms ?

    Hi max713.
    My symptoms are: pain at shoulder blade and base of my neck, AC/SC joints pain, tingling sensations down to my elbows and then to my wrists/fingers especially in the morning, right rhomboid muscle pain, clumsiness, tripping on my own foot occasionally and low endurance. 
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