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Spinal Cord Disorders Message Board

Spinal Cord Disorders Board Index

C5 & c6
Aug 27, 2009
Ive had neck and shoulder pain for easily 15 years now! The last 6 months the pain has been constant and after a ct scan Ive been put on the waiting list for surgery!(because of bulging disc and bone spurs) But the last week my pain has become a bit more bearable! Some days better than others! Nights are not good! Im wondering if I cancel my surgery because my disc is healing or do I still go ahead with it as it has been going on for 15 years! I have been in no accidents either, its just been something Ive put up with for years and years until it left me unable to move for 6 months
Re: C5 & c6
Aug 27, 2009
Hello. Neck pain, horrible. Me and you are in the same boat. Look, just so you know, even if you do a surgery there is no guarantee the pain will go away. Did your doctor tell you that?.

This is the first time I hear doctors agree to do surgery on bulging disks. From what I understand they only do surgery on herniated disks.

If you are not in danger of being paralyzed I would suggest just to take pain medications.
What medications are you currently taking for neck pain?.
Re: C5 & c6
Aug 27, 2009

I had ongoing neck and arm pain for 2 years + with a bulging disc at C6/7 which an MRI showing to be impinging the nerve and markedly compressing the spinal cord. Just before last Christmas the pain became unbearable and I was screaming in agony. My consultant advised surgery if my quality of life with the pain was poor enough for me to undergo surgery which had risks and also might not fix the pain.

Just prior to my ACDF surgery the pain subsided and I deliberated whether or not to go ahead. I penned my concerns on this board and took note of the replies. As I knew, the pain was very likely to come back and my symptoms had been going on so long I made the decision to go ahead. So far I have been delighted with the results. I do have occasional muscle spasms in my neck but apart from that I am pain free and have a reasonable range of motion and great quality of life.

No one can advise you what decision to ultimately take but my experience is that, so far, I have no regrets whatsoever. There are various experiences on this board of the surgery so read them all thoroughly, listen to your consultant and then make your own decision.

Good luck whatever you decide.

Bobbyboo x
Re: C5 & c6
Aug 27, 2009
Welcome lealeaMickey,

Yes, it seems interesting that surgery is suggested for arthritis and a bulging disc, and after a CT scan. You mentioned that you were unable to move for 6 months, after 15 years of pain (ouch); you mean literally, as in some sort of paralysis, or because the pain was so bad, all you could do was lie there (and possibly, scream, at times)?

So it might depend on exactly where that disc is bulging; if it is affecting the spinal cord, then surgery might be the way to go. You would have symptoms like muscle weakness, numbness, inability to move certain body parts properly that would cause you to be clumsy or tripping. I have been in this stage for 6 years and it seems to stay the same, as in, I have severe problems but no complete loss of function, yet.

I understand what you mean about the pain and can certainly understand your hesitation if it seems 'better' but from what I see on many posts, surgery is often about preventing loss of function and paralysis. If your disc is bulging just enough to press through the spinal canal and efface the cord, you can get by like this, but is very risky as it can lead to worse. After 15 years of pain, I don't doubt that your nervous system and pain receptors might be getting a little 'messed up' as mine are after only 6. Those osteophytes are not going to disappear on their own, right? I kind of doubt whether that disc bulge can correct itself to any great extent with the arthritis often keeping it in that position. If you have had to spend alot of time laying around because of this, your symptoms and pressure on disc may be receiving some relief, but what a way to live. (that's all I will say on this).

If I were offered surgery, I would make sure that the rest of your neck was in good shape and that the procedure was not going to cause any 'domino' effect back there. What did they say they want to do back there, anyway?

There are causes for cervical spine problems other than accidents, such as certain birth abnormalities that create few problems for some, but create severe problems in others. Even accidents that happened to you too young for you to remember, or at birth can contribute. Age can be a factor.

Don't hesitate to ask for MRI and post here so those with experience can offer some inciteful information. It must be a tough spot for you to be in and good that you are checking thoroughly.

Hope all are able to be of some help here, and that you get answers you need from your dr's.

Re: C5 & c6
Aug 29, 2009
I'm kind of in the same boat. After years of annoying pain in my left shoulder and neck I had a painful episode that led me to the emergency room. Had unbelievable pain in my left arm and shoulder and actually thought I might be having a heart attack. Turns out that I have I large broad based herniation at C5 and C6 with severe forminal stenosis. That was causing the radiating pain down my arm - along with the subsequent tingling and numbness.

So far I've seen an Orthopedist, pain management doctor and a neurosurgeon. I'v decided to seek conservative treatment after 4 weeks of rest has considerably helped these symptoms. However, I'm not under any false impression that in all likelihood I'll eventually need surgery, especially since I can't live my life lying down.

I've been to 2 sessions of physical therapy. The first one they applied that machine that sends electrical pulses into your muscles and that really set off my nerves down my arm and shoulder, so no more of that. However the gentle decompression feels really good and didn't set off any alarms in my neck

But like you, the moment the doctor explained the ACDF procedure, boy I felt a lot better :) It's so natural to be scared of surgery there. In fact, I was nervous just having the physical therapist touch my neck. Is there a way you can get an MRI done before the surgery to see if there really is any improvement, or whether your going through an episode of no symptoms? How long have you been on the waiting list for the surgery?

Either way, the best of luck to you and I truly hope your condition is on the upswing on it's own.

Re: C5 & c6
Aug 29, 2009
Well, actually, there is. There are some WISE people in this board who said there is a procedure called discogram. It shows exactly where is the problem(for the best of my knowledge).

Whatever you decide, you will need to look for second and third and even more opinions when it comes to neck surgery(or any type of surgery). and also, don't do it with just any surgeon. You will need to find someone who has done this procedure for at least 10,000 times(that's what I've read somewhere, but don't catch me on that one).

Don't believe to anyone telling you: "This is a good surgeon".

I have this article about this somewhere in my home. I will look for it and post about it later.
Re: C5 & c6
Aug 30, 2009
Hello lealeaMickey,

I have had 3 neck surgeries since 1995, 2 successful and one not but all and all, the quality of my life is now much, much better after surgery and I have my life back so for me, it was worth the risk.

At the end of the day, the ultimate decision is up to you but I will say that if you have had 15 years of pain I really doubt that your discs are going to heal themselves.

Good luck with whatever you decide and please keep us posted.


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