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Posted by Pat G. on October 10, 2000 at 12:36:10:

In Reply to: Cervical disc rupture posted by Rex on October 08, 2000 at 23:07:32:

: This happened fairly recently. For the first two weeks I thought maybe I had pulled a muscle, but the pain never got any better. I had an MRI a few days ago which confirmed a ruptured disc. I didn't think to ask the doctor, and he didn't say, but it's either C6-C7, or C5-C6. I have pain in my left shoulder and elbow, and intermittent numbness below the elbow. My left arm is now noticably weaker than my right. If any of you have had any similar cervical disk problems, I know I could got a lot of good input from you; what questions to ask, what treatments were effective or ineffective and, especially, what results any of you have had from cervical discectomy or fusion.

Dear Rex: I just had C5-6 fused in June, 2000. I tried the epidural steroid shots and they did not work. In fact, I had a series of 3. The reason the shots didn't work was because the herniated disk obviously had been there for awhile and it had calcified. I also had a rather large bone spur on one of my vertebra in the C5-6 area. It felt like a knife sticking in my neck. Yes, the neurosurgeon went through my throat. However, she told me the risks were 1/4% of paralysis. Yes, I still have some pain in my arms; as I did before. The surgeon told me it could take up to 1 year for things to settle down or the pain could be permanent, just as it is in my low back. I HAD to have the surgery, as the disk was calcifying. If I didn't, I was told the main spinal nerve could be damaged permanently and I'd have the numbness in my face and arms forever. (I really hated having a numb nose!) However, although I have some pain, it is less and I do not have that numbness. My fingers feel more sensitive to cold, but I had that before the surgery. I saw my x-rays prior to surgery and afterwards. Prior, there was the bone spur and the disk sticking into my main nerve. Afterwards, the neck vertebre were nice and smooth and aligned. My neurosurgeon told me, "I can only repair your back/neck; I cannot give you a new one." The bottom line is no one can build it like God can; man can only repair what we have broken. Take care of the rest of your body, as best as you can. Once it is damaged, it is NEVER the same. Take care, Pat G.

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