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c6-c7. Evolution after five months.

Hello everyone,


First, I apologize about  that my English isn´t good enough. I hope, however, that my message was properly understood. I am very grateful if someone read it, anyway!!! :)

I am a man of 39 years old with an active life without health problems, except frequent anxiety attacks. Four years ago I was diagnosed with a cervical herniated c6-c7 disc has dont given me problems all this time. Simply, any contracture on the right trapeze solved by going to a PT every two or three months.

On April 28 of this year I had a new and very strong cervical crisis. I felt a lot of pain in his right arm and was with corticosteroid therapy, pregabaline, diazepam and Enantyum. I did a new MRI and the diagnosis was a herniated cervical c6-c7, and two protrusions c4-c5-c6. The EMG also showed pathological activity in c6-c7-c5 and a little c4.

I have visited several doctors (four neurosurgeons, an orthopedist and a neurologist) and finally I decided to wait several months to see if my "problem" could improve by iltself with time and conservative therapy. I guess we're all afraid about the surgery  and we hope that our problems are solved alone ... :o

After almost five months, ritgh now I not  taking any medication (except diazepam, but mostly for reasons of insomnia), but keep some symptoms. But it is curious, the symptoms are oscillating and changing much throughout the day or week. For example, a Monday I can have a symptom and not to suffer it until Thursday. It also happens that when I had my symptoms were severe crisis on the right side of my body and now happens on both sides (?). Now, my current symptoms are:

-Pain In the elbow area of ​​both arms. 1/10  to 3/10 level.
-Disconfort (not exactly numbness) on the fingers of both hands, but really changing. Someday I have no disconfort, others only in the left thumb, others in the index of the left hand ...
-Pressure in the neck and pain, especially on the right side.
-Pain at the top of my right upper pectoral, 2-3/10.
-Pain/burning behind the right eye, a little on the forehead and temple (my neurologist says it is not due to cervical hernia).
-Today I tested my strength in the triceps and the right is 60%, the left 100%. I scared enough, really. I always thought that the weakness was not one of my symptoms. Even when looking at the left triceps is stronger than the right. Before today he had not noticed. :'(


Despite all that, I do normal life. I returned to work (Im a teacher) and go swimming every day. My back problems not greatly influence the activity of my life. I also have to say that once a week I have  physical therapy.

I know you can not tell me what I do in my case (only a doctor can make the decision with me), but I have some questions sure that with the experience you have can help me a bit to feel me oriented. I would greatly appreciate any response based on your own experience.
  1. It has been nearly five months after my crisis. The loss of strength (in my case only on the triceps) is normal to worsen further over time? Is it possible that my arm worsen further without surgery? Does anyone improved without surgery? :/
  2. I can assume my current situation and would rather not have surgery, at least for now. I still have consequences, but I think with physical therapy I can still improve something. I imagine that in the future will have to undergo surgery, but for now I prefer to wait. Did any of you, having a situation similar to mine, improved without operation after more months or years?
  3. Does anyone have the same problems (mainly c6-c7) has had headaches/pain associated behind the eye? Can you keep a relationship with cervical issues?
  4. To go to work I drive my car every day 40-50 minutes. For my cervical pathology, I have fear that if I have a little car accident my situation could get much worse and reach in a paralysis. Does the surgery would minimize these risks?
  5. Changing medical company in February 2017 and could then be operated by a renowned neurosurgeon in my country. If I keep the same symptoms as now, it is very risky to wait four or five months more to see if I improve and, if not, go directly to the operation?
Thanks a lot for your time, sincerely. I would be very very very grateful for any kind of response!!!!! :) :)


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Comments

  • Hello, Nacho!

    Everyone is as different as their fingerprints, so it is very difficult (if not impossible!!) to predict the course of your spinal problems, and whether or not waiting or not waiting to have surgery is going to do more harm than good.  There are some members here who've waited too long, others who feel that they chose surgery prematurely.  I am just trying to illustrate that we are all along the spectrum on these forums, and what might be an effective treatment plan for one person doesn't mean it would work for another!!  Have you had the opportunity to discuss the previously unnoticed muscle weakness with a medical professional yet?

    I'd like to welcome you to Spine-Health!  Please click on the following link for some helpful information to get you started!

    Welcome to Spine-Health
    Kimmy72, Spine-health Moderator
    Firm believer in PMA!
  • NachoNNacho SevillaPosts: 7
    Hello, Kimmy!

    You're very kind responding to my post. Thank you!

    The truth is that this is a difficult process and everyone tries desperately to seek information to make a good decision (surgery or not surgery, ITS always the question .. ;-) Actually, I tolerate well the pain and discomfort of this injury, but I fear have permanent nerve damage just for waiting.

    Anyway, although no one can here give me a medical response, any personal experience can help me better understand my situation. I am particularly interested in any experience muscle atrophy and waiting for surgery.

    On the 28th I have an appointment with a neurosurgeon. I hope that helps me with these doubts.

    Regards, and thank you very much.
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  • A couple of points.

    1.  It's not the fact that you have a herniation at C6-C7.  It's whether the herniation is causing something graded as "severe" central canal stenosis. You should see if your MRI report grades the level of your central canal stenosis. I have/had herniations at every level of my cervical spine, but only C6-C7 was graded "severe" and that was the only level that my neurosurgeon chose to operate on. It's his personal belief that not every herniation needs to be fused or replaced with an artificial disc and that you just operate on the worst ones.

    2. I had neck pain for at least 20 years before I got a MRI exactly a year ago and discovered my issues, and I'm sure I've had herniations for at least that time, so one can live with this for a long time.  It's only when the central canal stenosis becomes "severe" that it is crisis time.  That being said, I think things are more serious when you have arm pain and numbness.  I had neck pain for 20 years, but no arm pain or numbness. It was when the arm pain and numbness started a year ago, plus the neck pain got unbearable, that I finally got a MRI and discovered the extent of my problem.

    3. I personally with a severe C6-C7 problem (fixed through surgery) did not have any headaches or eye symptoms. Those typically would come from higher levels in the cervical spine. But only a doctor could advise on this.

    4. Spain is very famous for doctors using artificial discs instead of fusions.  Since you live in Spain, you should find out if you are a candidate for an artificial disc rather than a fusion, given your young age. I am older than you and was told by numerous doctors that an artificial disc would not work for me at C6-C7 because I had too much loss of disc height and too many osteophytes (osteophytes and artificial discs are not a good combination).

    5. I waited almost 4 months to have my surgery because I wanted to use a famous neurosurgeon and he was too busy to take me without a 4 month wait.  So from my perspective, I would hold out for the best.  Maybe I was just lucky, but I just didn't have the kind of problems that other people have with fusion surgery, such as swallowing difficulties, pain that required painkillers or anything else. Again, maybe I just got lucky, but I do think it matters what surgeon you use.
    C6-C7 ACDF - January 20, 2016
    Shoulder surgery - August 2, 2016
    Interlaminar laminotomy, mesial facetectomy and foraminotomy bilateral at C5-C6 and unilateral left at C6-C7 and bilateral C6-C7 facet fusion - December 7, 2016

  • NachoNNacho SevillaPosts: 7
    Hello again!!

    First of all, thank you for your answer, L.A. Spiney. Yours words are very useful to me, thank you.

    On September 28, I had an interview with a neurosurgeon and  I am happy with his reponse. I was very worried about the the loss of strength of my right triceps (approximately 50% of the left) and the neuralgia in the eye.

    It's funny, because it was not the first time I visited this doctor in my life. Several years ago he operated my father of a brain tumor and the result was great. My father now makes a perfectly normal life and has no sequel to the operation. When I had my crisis with the hernia I went to see him but I did not
    like his attitude: he told me to make a quick operation and gave me very
    little explanation.

    Well, on September 28 I saw him (accompanied by my father) and said:

    -Loss of triceps strength: from his point of view is not important. I still maintain enough strength in his right arm and I should not worry. It is a consequence of the crisis I went through.
    -Neuralgia: It assures me that he has no relationship with the hernia. I must follow the advice of the neurologist: taking amitriptyline 10mg.
    -Pain: I explained that my pain was in 3/10 and said that under these conditions did not have surgery. He also has a herniated disc that it hurts and he support it with medication.
    -Future: He believes that the disc can be dried in six months or more and it will no longer cause problems. In fact, he thinks I'm better as I got the first time. It has given me an appointment within two months to control the
    situation, but he believes that I will not have to undergo surgery for this
    injury.
    -Central Sensitization: considers that part of my problem has to do with an excess of central sensitization. He believes that the persistence of symptoms is not proportional to the existence of damage.

    The truth is I left his office happy and surprised. I
    still have the same symptoms a week after seeing the neurosurgeon, but I
    think I have to interpret them so negatively as before. Honestly,
    I'm sick of worrying about this issue, always scared, and continually
    look for information online to know whether or not doctors are right. The disease is hell, but keep an eye continuously aabout this is suffering too.

    I will see the neurosurgeon in late November. I tell my progress in the forum.
    Thank you all!

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