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Old 08-04-2009, 04:40 PM   #16
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Re: Therapy and pain management for Ruptured disc at C5 and C6

Thanks for the response. Is there a website you can access to verify a doctor's education, years experience, malpractice cases pending, etc... I'm trying to research the doctor's in my network to find out more about them.

 
Old 08-04-2009, 09:02 PM   #17
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Re: Therapy and pain management for Ruptured disc at C5 and C6

You can get a lot of information for your state medical board's data in which they'll list the education and list any complaints against the doctor. Ask around to people you know...the doctor I'm going to now was recommended by a friend-of-a-friend. At a holiday party I overheard him mention he was about to have spine surgery so we exchanged e-mails. After he reached the 6 month recovery period and was delighted by the surgeon I decided to switch to his doctor.
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Old 08-05-2009, 07:26 PM   #18
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Re: Therapy and pain management for Ruptured disc at C5 and C6

Sorry to jump in on your thread, but I am meeting with my orthopaedic surgeon tomorrow after seeing my DO/PM doctor yesterday and he recommended I see him.

Since I can't get the injections of any kind, or even anti inflamitories for that matter (allergic to both) and since I am experiencing the numbness, aching and tingling to the point of it is driving me nuts when I wake up in the morning and until my meds take effect, you guys are basically saying to probably consider the surgery rather than the PM at this point then? I'm looking at 3 discs, not one.

The PM explained that they don't use cages? They use donor bone and plate it. I'll find out more tomorrow I'm sure, but do you think there is anything I should be specifically asking about the surgery?

Thanks!

 
Old 08-05-2009, 08:52 PM   #19
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Re: Therapy and pain management for Ruptured disc at C5 and C6

Sorry - since I'm new to this, I don't really know enough to answer this question. From what I was able to gather from my PM, I'm not sure what else he would be able to offer. Maybe the veterans can answer...

 
Old 08-05-2009, 09:11 PM   #20
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Re: Therapy and pain management for Ruptured disc at C5 and C6

I just went to my PM for the first time and came away feeling that I had someone who was genuinely concerned and interested that I make the right decision. He spent a lot of time examining my arm strength and did notice some weakness on one particular exercise. He prescribed a steroid anti-inflammatory for the next 7 days and advised me to contact him immediately if I noticed any continued strength deterioration. He also knows the neurosurgeon I'm scheduled to see on 8/21 and recommends him highly. So for the next week I'll be monitoring the new drug to see if it makes any difference and whether it will allow me to pursue other avenues before surgery. THis seems like the right course of action for me to take, since I have to wait for the neurosurgeon appointment anyway. I'm hoping I can avoid surgery, but am open to the prospect if nothing else works.

 
Old 08-06-2009, 01:13 PM   #21
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Re: Therapy and pain management for Ruptured disc at C5 and C6

I so glad it went well and you seem to like this guy. Sometimes that is the biggest hurdle.

 
Old 08-09-2009, 08:35 AM   #22
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Re: Therapy and pain management for Ruptured disc at C5 and C6

I came in late on this discussion, but wanted to add my experience as it relates. I turned over to get out of bed one morning and ruptured my cervical spine at c6-c7 level. I was in extreme pain for 6 weeks before I had the opportunity to have an MRI and Myelogram due to insurance company restriction. I had a congenital fusion at c5-c6 level and I was not the typical candidate for therapy and medication treatment. I know that nerve pain, which is exactly as you describe is the most relentless and excrutiatiating pain and there is little you can do to alleviate until you fix the source.

I tried to work and finally after having much additional stress fighting the insurance companies, I was allowed to have the necessary tests to confirm my history of congenital fusion and the rupture below. I had surgery to fuse and plated all 3 discs the very next day and my pain relief was immediate. I returned to work (clerical, sat at a typewriter all day) 10 days after my surgery for half-days and fulltime two weeks later. I know that the delay in fixing my problem left me with some residual damage and I do have problems with pain at times, but nothing of the magnitude of the time from rupture til my corrective surgery.

I did go to an orthopedic surgeon who specialized in spinal surgery. My surgery was done one day and 23 hours later I was home. I never asked for one pain med after the surgery, as the pain relief was immediate. I do have some numbness and tingling in the fingers of my left hand as a consequence and some loss of strength in the left hand and arm, but I feel the delay in my case was a strong contributor to that result. I do at times have an achy feeling across the shoulder blades and do have trouble with riding for long distances but overall I am satisfied with my surgical outcome.

Just wanted to add my experience for you to know the outcome and to look at all options for treatment. I am glad you have seen a surgeon as I feel a surgical evaluation is always a good option, if only to rule out a surgical fix. I do hope you can find a successful treatment option.

 
Old 08-09-2009, 09:28 PM   #23
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Re: Therapy and pain management for Ruptured disc at C5 and C6

Hi - without going into the long journey of my problems let me add some advice. I am fused C4-7 and have lots of spinal issues and tons of experience with all that comes with this stuff. Basically when there is cord flattening it is one of the most recommended things to fix sooner than later.
Here is kind of the low down -
a. it is possible for a ruptured disc to seal itself, but it will be "damaged goods" and prone to more injury even with the simplist of movements.
b. If you read through the hundreds of patient experiences with similar problems - physical therapy or adjustment type therapies are not usually successful and actually cause more pain in a majority of cases.
c. Epidural injections have a better track record than PT, and sometimes although short term in effect, they can knock down pain levels for longer period of time.
d. People with one level surgeries tend to do very well, many go back to 100% of their pre injury routines and never have another problem. There will be a percent who have further problems in other levels in the future because it was in their destiny, and then there are a small percent who have permanent problems.
e. Since your report doesn't call out lots of bone spurs or ridging (osteophytes) you are in a good position if you act fast to maybe to be one of those people who have a full recovery. The longer you let the instability go in in your spine, the more the spine will work to "shore itself up" and will start building bone in there to counteract what it perceives is going on. When that starts happening it is like arthritis, it spreads, and further narrows the canal and foramins and this stuff can only be cleaned out by surgery. It is almost a sure thing that this process will go on if you have instability in your spine or the material from the inner disc constantly leaking out where it doesn't belong. The spinal canal is very smart and works against this stuff.


Basically, if it isn't that bad you have time to wait, but when the cord is compressed it presents a whole different problem in that the longer it is compressed the higher the chance you will have other neurological problems. Even sometimes it sounds harmless to wait because you aren't paralyzed etc., but leaving these things unchecked runs a risk of affecting other things that you wouldn't even expect. Like lots of people get to problems with their bladder even from problems left unfixed in their neck. Just make sure your surgeon thoroughly discusses where your case fits on the spectrum and make your decision to wait or not based on what the surgeon says. Good luck!

Last edited by PNo; 08-09-2009 at 09:30 PM.

 
Old 08-10-2009, 07:22 AM   #24
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Re: Therapy and pain management for Ruptured disc at C5 and C6

Thanks for the response.
One of the most annoying symptoms right now is the left arm numbness and tingling, even though I am taking the steroids. Although I cut way down on the percocet for pain since I don't have as much. I do feel there is some loss of strength in my left arm and that is the biggest concern for me, especially since I'm left handed.
I'll be following up with the pain management doctor to update him. He said he would get me in the see the surgeon sooner that the 21st if I notice a sharp change in my left arm. Although it's not a big change, I don't see improvement in the strength.

 
Old 08-10-2009, 11:47 AM   #25
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Re: Therapy and pain management for Ruptured disc at C5 and C6

With the symptoms of arm numbness and tingling you may want to consider surgery sooner rather than later. The longer you wait the more of a chance that some of that won't subside. I waited a bit to long and still have numbness in one finger and my left arm is a bit (small amt) weaker than my right.
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Old 08-11-2009, 05:02 PM   #26
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Re: Therapy and pain management for Ruptured disc at C5 and C6

Hi - My pain management doctor is suggesting an epidural injection of lydicane/cortisone and he wants me to discuss it with the neurosurgeon I'm seeing next week. If this injection is really only used to help with the pain, what is the advantage of going through this procedure? Does it in anyway stop the progression of the stenosis or disc compression? In no way do I want to rush into surgery, but if this procedure doesn't provide some other benefit, why go through it if your pain is not awful? Right now I just finished a week of oral steroids which have cut down on my use of painkillers dramatically and I barely need any on any given day.

Last edited by p313rk; 08-11-2009 at 05:03 PM.

 
Old 08-11-2009, 10:56 PM   #27
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Re: Therapy and pain management for Ruptured disc at C5 and C6

The steroids used in the injections can decrease inflammation in the area - thus decrease any nerve impingement.
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Old 08-13-2009, 09:13 AM   #28
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Re: Therapy and pain management for Ruptured disc at C5 and C6

I had my surgery yesterday. C5-7 grafted with a new carbon fiber graft. I was in surgery 2 and 1/2 hours and in the hospital all day and all night and discharged this morning at 7:30. My doctor and hospital were great they made all the difference.

Please note this as a very positive experience as opposed to some of the negatives on this surgery you get on the internet. If you have sustained pain get a good neurosurgeon/pain management professional in your court right away. Get as many as 3 opinions I did. And then get it done. It can be scary because after all this is elective surgery you have to opt-in sign the forms taking the blame but 1 day out I have no pain!

Do it.

TATA

 
Old 08-13-2009, 10:49 AM   #29
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Re: Therapy and pain management for Ruptured disc at C5 and C6

Hi there, thought I would add my 2cents here. Your PM may be doing the injection for diagnostic purposes also.
As far as PM, I think its super smart to get into PM even if you do think you'll need surgery. Its a nice back up to have just in case, as surgeons are not known for prescibing pain meds & if a sugeon does he wont do so for long. Sounds like you have a decent PM & thats a big plus if he knows & works with your surgeon.

I was on the oral steroids for a great length of time before finding out I had cervical problems. Also went on the 7day pack when I started PM when needed. The thing is the relief you get from the steriods will not last forever. Steroids are also referred to as the "good guy, bad guy med". Although they are a huge help with many things including pain, if taken to long they can cause additional problems such as bone lose, vision problems & so on...

Everyone has offered you great advice already. I went through much the same as SpineAZ, listened to my GP & knew something was not right but let if go & this caused a domino effect with other doctors & till this day I believe I am in chronic pain due to not finding my Cervical & other spinal problems sooner. I did not start out with alot of pain but when the pain hit me it was fast & painful enough to have me hanging over the toilet.
There are certain injuries that if you prolong or opt for no surgery you take risks, as the others have explained. On the other hand as we all know there are risks you take by having surgery done also. Can be a tough choice to make.
If I had to do it over again I would have done things differently.

I would have pressured my doctors to find what was wrong.

I would went to a good PM sooner then I did.

I would have sought out more then more opinion from both an ortho & a nuero surgeon.

I would have used more preventative care once I knew my discs were herniated by Limiting my work, lifting & so on...

I would have had surgery sooner rather then trying to put it off, but we dont have crystal balls & you just dont know what can happen in a short amount of time.


I cant go back but I can share with others. I think if I would have used more care while I was waiting for surgery I may have saved myself some added pain. sounds like your on the right track & I wish you the best of luck, god bless, Sammy

 
Old 08-20-2009, 06:59 AM   #30
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Re: Therapy and pain management for Ruptured disc at C5 and C6

It has now been a week and I am recuperating well. I have little to no pain and what pain I have is limited to the surgical area. I have just minor tightness in my throat and notice my range of motion is limited when I put in eye drops its hard to put my head all the way back. My first appointment is on 9/1 until the no driving and no intense excercise. I am encouraged to walk as much as I can daily and have been walking 5 miles a day. I will be moving off all pain meds soon and have dropped my lyrica prescription. In short get a good doctor then get the surgery. Best of luck.

TATA

 
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