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C 5/6 disc herniation -- Any opinions on treatment

Discussion in 'Off Topic Threads' started by tjwatc, Dec 19, 2011.

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  1. tjwatc

    tjwatc TS Member

    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    I just got home from my orthopaedic surgeon. Discovered that a my muscle weakness in my right arm is from a herniated disc at C 5/6. Was wondering if any of you have had this problem and what helped or did not help.

    I an appointment with a spinal doc later this week. Going to listen and gather information.

    Thanks for any help or suggestions.
     
  2. Lyle

    Lyle Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    652
    Had the exact same injury. I lost 60 percent of the strength in my left hand. My hand shook like I had Parkinsons and my neck was in extreme pain. Doc said I would eventually loose my thumb and forefinger to numbness.

    I went to Dr. Tim Johans in Boise and had a C5/C6 fusion. I woke up with no pain in my arm and my strength has come back in my arm and hand. I had to miss Elk hunting this year, but well worth the trade. Shooting has not bothered me at all and after three months I am cleared to do whatever I want.

    I would highly recommend getting this done, but find the right surgeon. I talked to a guy who had the same surgery and he lost his speech and couldn't eat anything solid for two months. I went home the day after the surgery and was back to work in four days and had no issues with speech or eating.

    I would talk to people in your area and see who is the best guy to do the work. One source of this information may be the nurses who work on the recovery floor where they do these procedures. They see which doctors patient recover the quickest.
    Good luck.

    Lyle
     
  3. grntitan

    grntitan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    IL(The gun friendly Southern Part)
    Dangit Vern, quit posting that pic. Although i have (8) screws and (2) rods in my low back, that pic gives me the willys.
     
  4. g7777777

    g7777777 TS Supporters TS Supporters

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    9,353
    I am going to take the other side here. Make sure before you decide on surgery that the benefit you expect will outweigh the risk you will take

    Read up on this- be prepared to ask the doctor questions and be prepared to get a second opinion

    Even if everything goes ok you have made a mechanical change to your body- which means less mobility in that area and additional stress on other segments.

    And you cant undo it.

    So just make sure

    Regards from Iowa

    Gene
     
  5. Patrick Haskins

    Patrick Haskins Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
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    I had the fusion and the relief was immediate. However, after 6 years I started getting some pain in the arm and shoulder again. I went back to the doc and he said there was stenosis, a narrowing below where the fusion was. I had therapy, and they used a portable traction device which gave me immediate relief and seemed to be the best treatment. I bought my own portable traction device, just like at therapy, and use it whenever I feel any pain or problems. Doing the exercises they give you after surgery helps too. Ask about microdiscectomy, disc replacement, and surgery as well.
    Pat Haskins
     
  6. Texshooter

    Texshooter Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
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    I had mine fused 10+ years ago, Best thing I could have done, I almost waited too long. Pain was gone when I woke up post-op. AJ
     
  7. scott calhoun

    scott calhoun Well-Known Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Chicago area
    I had the same issue. Last year just before Thanksgiving I woke up with pain down my right arm and under my shoulder blade on my right side. No pain below the elbow but my right hand, especially my index finger, was numb and I only had about 50 percent strength in my right arm and hand.

    MRI showed three ruptured disks between C4-C5-C6-C7. Took a course of steroids and that eliminated about 80 percent of the pain, went from a 7/10 down to a 1/10.

    Went to the surgeon and he recommended surgery, wanted to fuse all four, but said I could try physical therapy as long as the symptoms got better. Nerves won't repair themselves, so once you damage them they are pretty much damaged for good. He said if the syptoms continued I would need surgery to avoid long term problems. He gave me four weeks of therapy, said if things didn't change during that time I would need to have surgery. After a couple of weeks I was nearly back to normal. Had to make a lot of changes (sit up straight, adjust the seat in my car, etc) and did lots of exercises. There are a lot of things you can do to reduce the pressure on your neck that is causing the issue in the first place, and also to strengthen other muscles in your back to prevent the load from being transfered to your neck.

    I wanted to avoid surgery at all costs, since paralysis is a potential side effect and there are a few others that aren't too good either. Also it's permanant, so if it doesn't solve your problem it has eliminated a lot of other options. I also thought that if I could avoid it even for a while it might mean that in the future the treatment would be better/safer. A guy I work with had the exact same surgery as they were proposing for me, and the recovery time is pretty long. Six weeks minimum in a neck brace, 24 hours a day, even when sleeping. Overall two to three months until you are back to full strength. Maybe fewer fusions are not as bad, but that was the recovery laid out for me.

    I can tell that as long as I keep up with my exercises and pay a little bit of attention to what I'm doing I can keep the problem at bay. I shot almost 10K registered targets this year, so it didn't hamper my shooting at all. I also played as much golf as I wanted and had no problems because of it. No meds, except for some Naproxin (OTC anti-inflammatory) every once in a while when I would over-do things.

    I have a friend who is a anethesiolgist - he told me never let them cut you open unless whatever they are fixing is going to kill you or result in the loss of a limb.

    Scott
     
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