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Herniated Disk Surgery C5-6 & C6-7 need advice

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Old 04-21-2006, 06:30 PM   #1
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Red face Herniated Disk Surgery C5-6 & C6-7 need advice

Hello Everyone,

I have been having lots of neck pain and left arm pain for 2 months. I have had and MRI and X-rays. I saw a spine surgery yesterday and I am being advised to have a pain injection in my neck. If this does not help then I am going to have to have surgery on my spine. I have two herniated disk as well as several bone spurs at C5-6 and C6-7.

The surgery they are talking about doing is going in and removed both of the herniated disk and replacing them with bone from my hip.

I go for my pain injection epidual this Wednesday. I guess I will know by the end of the week if I will be having surgery.

Has anyone had this surgery? If so how long were you in the hospital and how long was the recovery time.

I am only 40 yrs old and feel like I am falling apart.

He said he would also send of the tissue/disk he removed to be biopsy with my history of Sarcoid.


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Old 04-21-2006, 06:44 PM   #2
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Re: Herniated Disk Surgery C5-6 & C6-7 need advice

Hi Kim... I dont have experience with cervical herniated disc, but I have herniated thoracic disc, know lots and LOTS of people with herniated discs in all parts of their back... In fact, most of them are much younger than 40.. In fact, most herniations happen below 40, so this is very common in young people... Here is what I know...

Cortizone shots can help reduce inflammation to the point that pain is manageable enough to give your body time to heal, and for you to be able to go get physical therapy.. I dont mean chiropractor, but trained physical therapist that has expertise in spine... Many PT have most training in knee, shoulder, etc, so ask for one that has lots of experience in spine... If cortizone doesnt help after 2 or 3 tries, then stop as it can have side effects... Once or twice is fine... THe herniation (part of the disc that oozed out) will eventually be taken care of by your body as it heals.. My spine dr told me that it can take 1 to 2 years for full recovery without surgery. Not sure about bone spurs though. As Dr about what to do about that, even if herniation heals..

Also, ask your spine dr if he has completed spine fellowship, which is special training that not all spine doctors take, and basically, makes them a true spine specialist... Ask how many of these operations that he has done successfully..

Two more things... 1.. Try ice packs on neck where pain is, for 10 to 20 minutes, but not more than 20 min, or it will have reverse effect... See if this helps with pain.. Also, need to strengthen muscles in neck to support your spine... This is why you need to see a physical therapist to get the proper excercises and stretches.. Ask your dr to see what he suggest, as he will need to give you a prescription for PT..

Hang in there, and my prayers are with you..


Old 04-21-2006, 07:53 PM   #3
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Re: Herniated Disk Surgery C5-6 & C6-7 need advice


I had a Cervial Fusion at C5-6, do to a Herniation and nerve compression. I had went through trigger point injections, Pt, epidural, pain meds and antiflamitory meds. Nothing worked for any long period of time for me, pain always came back within a week.

The pain was what I describe as a half band pain in the upper arm, pain down the arm and numbness and tingling in the fingers. Pain in the Neck, where I felt like I couldn't hold my head up at times and, the pain would go into the shoulder.

Immediatly following surgery, my pain was gone! I couldn't believe that I had this pain for 8 months and then all of a sudden it was GONE. Unfortunately, the past few months, I have had some of the reocurring pain. I think maybe, just over did it and maybe had some swelling and with rest, heat and ice, meds, it has finally calmed down (thank goodness). The surgery was only a couple of hours long. Recovery to me really wasn't that bad, considering the pain I was in before. I remember the feeling of the nerves waking back up over the first month, really not bad at all. Just have to be careful, and not overdue it. As far as being in the hospital, for the Neck part of surgery, was an additional two days.

I went in to Hospital for Lumbar Surgery and the day of surgery, we had gotten the results of the Cervical MRI showing how bad neck was. So, needless to say, one day Cervial fusion and the next day Lumbar fusion.

I agree with Maurice, try all conservative treatments, and if they fail, definately have a consult with a spine specialist for surgery.

By the way, I'm 40 and had these surgeries 1 1/2 years ago.
Best wishes to you, and let us know how your doing.

Last edited by Tucsonlady40; 04-21-2006 at 07:57 PM.

Old 04-21-2006, 08:14 PM   #4
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Re: Herniated Disk Surgery C5-6 & C6-7 need advice

I had an ACDF on several levels 2 years ago and it helped tremendously. I went with donar bone because I have heard that some folks have more problems with hip pain from the removal of their own bone than the neck surgery itself. I woke up with no more pain (well I had incision pain but the pain prior was gone). I was only in the hospital overnight which is pretty standard for the proceedure and sent home with pain medication for a month. I did not have to wear a brace and started therapy a month post op.

If you check out the spinal board here you'll find a ton of posts regarding the surgery and how many individuals have progressed with it. It will give you a general idea of what to expect and the different opinions regarding braces vs no brace post op.

Good luck

Last edited by Kissa; 04-21-2006 at 08:16 PM.

Old 04-21-2006, 09:16 PM   #5
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Re: Herniated Disk Surgery C5-6 & C6-7 need advice

Sixteen years ago I had bony entrapement of level 6 along with nerve problems at C7 and C8. Well the pain was severe and actually took me out of the workforce permanently. I had pain shooting down my arms into my fingers. Well I went through physio with no results. Over a period of 2 years the pain finally subsided. I did not have surgery to release the nerve. Things finally settled down on their own but it took a long time.

I have intermittent arm and hand pain to this day and my x-rays show severe degeneration of the cervical spine. I guess at this point the discs are so dried out there is some natural fusion going on. When the spine fuses naturally the pain does subside but you do lose you flexibility. The range of motion in my neck is very limited but my pain has lessened substantially.

I had no spinal cord compression only nerve root involvement so that surgery was not an absolute necessity.
Pooby Gal

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