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  • Has anybody tried 2 or 3 months rest to treat Cervical disc problems and pain?

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    Old 02-25-2005, 11:39 AM   #1
    sned2121
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    Question Has anybody tried 2 or 3 months rest to treat Cervical disc problems and pain?

    Has anybody tried rest for 2 or 3 months to help with neck problems?
    My Doc suggested that I might want to go on short term diability to rest for my job for 2 or 3 months. I work on computers all day and this kind of work aggrevates my condition.
    He said sometimes a couple months rest may help prolong the time before surgery is needed and the longer you wait for surgery, the better. If you don't have an immediate need for surgery, of course.
    Also, He said in some people, it has helped in healing enough that surgery was not need for many years.

    I have been throught the Pain Management and PT with no help to my cervical spine or pain. My neck is worse now then when I started Pain Management.

    I posted another thread and explain that I have 4 bad cervical disc with a bunch of pain.

    I am going to see a Neurosurgeon, Highly recommended by my Primary and Neurologist. To see what options I have. I am really worried about fusion since I have 4 bad discs. So maybe rest would help.

    The latest MRI report says the following (some I understand and other part I don't). Any help or advise would be greatly appreciated.

    At C5-6 there is broad-based posterior disc/osteophyte complex, with mild deformity of the ventral cord. The canal is mildly stenotic. There is left greater than right foramina! stenosis due to uncovertebral spurring, best seen on axial image 15, impinging the left C6 nerve root and encroaching on the exiting right C6 nerve root.

    At C4-5 the canal is borderline narrow. There is posterior disc/osteophyte, more pronounced on the left where there is
    contact of the cord surface. This Is best seen on axial Image 11. There is mild biforaminal stenosis due to uncovertebral
    lipping.

    At C3-4 there Is mild posterior disc bulge, minimally separated from the cord surface. The canal is borderline narrow, in
    part due to short posterior elements. There are mild zygapophyseal degenerative changes, but the- foramina remain open

    At C6-7, there is posterior disc bulge, touching the cord without deformity, the canal is mildly stenotic. There is mild left
    foraminal stenosis,

    IMPRESSION:
    1 At C5-6, there is mild canal stenosis. Posterior disc/osteophyte complex produces mild effacement of the ventral
    cord. There is significant left greater than right foraminal narrowing, encroaching on the C6 nerve roots.
    2- Mild stenosis at C6-7, with posterior disc bulge touching the cord surface without significant deformity.
    5. Borderline canal stenosis^tC3-4-anqhC4-5-without cord-deformity.There is mild biforammat-nafTowing^t^4-57
    4. Straightening of the mid to upper cervical lordosis, suggesting muscle spasm.

    Last edited by sned2121; 02-25-2005 at 11:44 AM.

     
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    Old 02-25-2005, 02:30 PM   #2
    rob_zzz
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    Re: Has anybody tried 2 or 3 months rest to treat Cervical disc problems and pain?

    I did to some extent (took two weeks off straight, and co-incidentally also taking a lot of time off because of recent birth of new daughter so only working one or two days a week) and it worked to some extent in that an annular tear appeared to heal and the herniated disc I've got reduced slightly. But my symptoms are still similar - I guess if I hadn't rested they could have progressed a lot more. But I only started with fairly minor problems compared to you (c5/c6 moderate soft disc herniation (no osteophytes) with cord compression, bulges c3-5, mild stenosis) and it was caused by trauma.

     
    Old 02-25-2005, 05:22 PM   #3
    TurtleD
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    Re: Has anybody tried 2 or 3 months rest to treat Cervical disc problems and pain?

    I can't give you any information about whether rest helps or not because I had too much nerve damage and problems to hold off surgery. My problems came on quickly and had to be fixed quickly. You mentioned that you were afraid of having 4 disks fused. I now have 4 disks fused and can tell you that I do have a loss of some mobility in my neck but not as much as I had feared. You do learn to turn at the shoulders or upper body. I think I can turn my head as far to the right as I ever could, and about half the distance to the left. Driving is the only time I notice it anymore. I've added some bigger mirrors to my truck and have learned to adjust. I can't put my chin on my chest either (used to fold clothes that way), but that's not a big thing. Nor can I hold the telephone between my ear and shoulder. Funny things like that. It's a small price to pay for being able to walk and not have my fingers numb.

     
    Old 02-25-2005, 06:21 PM   #4
    sned2121
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    Question Re: Has anybody tried 2 or 3 months rest to treat Cervical disc problems and pain?

    Thanks both rob_zzz and TurtleD,

    TurtleD.
    It sound like you went through the same thing that I may have to in the future. Can you answer a few questions for me?
    What symptoms did you have and who determined that the Nerve Damage was so bad that you could not wait for surgery?
    How is your pain after this 4 level fusion conpared to before?
    Did you have all 4 discs fused at the same time?
    How long was recovery in the Hospital and at home?
    Where you able to return to work and how long until the return?


    I've been throught the whole PT and Pain Management routine nad stil have a whole lot of pain. I am still trying to get the Doctors to get me to the pain med levels that I need.
    I see a Neurosurgeon for the first time on March 8th, to see what he has to say. My Neurologist suggested it as the next step after PM. Being a Neurologist, he agrees on holding off on surgery as long as possible. My MRI I just had showed my neck is getting worse each of the last 3 years. I work with computers and that may be one of the worse jobs for people with Neck problems.

    But I have allot of symptoms that I think I could live with, as long as I have the proper Meds. My wife may not agree as I am miserable allot of the time.
    But I am still not on the level of pain meds I need. I dropped the PM Doc and am going to see my PCP for Pain Meds on 3/9. He said he will help me with the meds. I am on 50 mcl Duragesic and up to 4 Norco a day. But some days that does not handle the pain (most days it is enough for now).

    I have the pain down my right arm and in the hands, right shoulder pain and neck painis really bad, numb and tigling hands (more on right hand than left), very week right shoulder and arms (I cannot pull the seat belt over in the car...have to use both arms), Spinal Headaches, pain down upper back, pain beginning on left shoulder, stabbing pains in cervical spine (feels like a knife sticking in the spine at times).
    The other day my right hand started severely shaking like never before. I hade tremors before, but this was really shaking and worried me.

    Keep in mind, I use to be in great shape and played QB in football in college until and knee injury ended that. But I have always been big and strong until this cervical spine problem. Now I am just big. I am 6' 4" and shrinking and about 275 lbs.

     
    Old 02-25-2005, 10:13 PM   #5
    disjointed
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    Re: Has anybody tried 2 or 3 months rest to treat Cervical disc problems and pain?

    Hey Sned2121;

    Sounds to me like you need to get the surgery as soon as they'll schedule it for you. You've got some pretty serious stuff going on and it sounds like you haven't improved in the 3 years you've known you've had it. If it were me I wouldn't wait any longer - bite the bullet and get it done!

    The fact you're in a job that continues to egg it on is all the more reason to get it sooner rather than later. Hate to tell 'ya, but it probably isn't going away on it's own...

    Getting it done can prevent future problems as well, not to mention get your nerves healing now rather than later (before you end up with something permanently messed up).

    The surgery isn't bad (just had it a week ago) and you'll find out the relief you are likely to get is well worth it!

    By the way, I'm 6'4" also (although 190 lbs due to losing 48 pounds last year through running and low-carbing) and had a weak right arm with pain that was driving me nuts. I found myself using my left arm/hand for things I use to do with my right arm over time (without realizing it). Like you, I finally had to give up running because of my neck and my knees (torn menisci - arthroscopy coming up again after doing the same thing 10 years ago - I'm 46 years young).

    Anyway, good luck! I'm sure it will turn out fine when all is said and done.

    Kevin

    Last edited by disjointed; 02-25-2005 at 10:17 PM.

     
    Old 02-26-2005, 07:19 AM   #6
    TurtleD
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    Re: Has anybody tried 2 or 3 months rest to treat Cervical disc problems and pain?

    Sned2121, we do have some of the same problems but I was lucky and didn't have any pain.

    What symptoms did you have and who determined that the Nerve Damage was so bad that you could not wait for surgery? >>>The first surgery in May was decided by my doctors. As I said, everything came on quickly and no one knows why. Suddenly my fingers became numb and then about 2 weeks later I began to have difficulty walking. I kept stumbling and falling down. My balance was really bad too. I made a doctor's appointment with my primary who immediately put me in the hospital. Things like stroke, MS etc. were being discussed. Believe me, when they found out it was something that could be operated on I cried in relief. I went in the hopital on a Friday and they operated on Monday afternoon. They wouldn't even let me leave the hospital to wait for the surgery on Monday. They fused 3 disks with a donor bone and put in a metal plate.

    I went home and could notice relief from the walking and numb fingers. I was far from 100%, but I could tell things were better. Still no pain to speak of before or after surgery.

    I continued to get better until September. Then I started experiencing some of the same problems. I saw my surgeon and got another MRI. The disk above the 3 he fixed was now a problem. He told me that I could make the decision when to have surgery. During the next month I fell three or four times. A couple of times I really hurt myself. I decided that I didn't want to live like that and schedule the second surgery in November. I'm better than before the second surgery, but I do still have some nerve damage because the legs are still a problem. I think they are getting better and I've been told it may take a year for the nerves to repair themselves. I've only fallen once, so that's an improvement. As long as I walk slowly, I'm okay. It's when I forget and try to move too quickly that my left leg drags behind and tangles me up.

    How long was recovery in the Hospital and at home?>>>The second surgery was just an overnight thing. Recovery at home is another thing. You will be restricted on lifting. I think I did too much after my first surgery and that may have been part of the reason why I had to go back in for the second surgery. Don't really know. My problem and blessing is that I don't and never did have any pain. So it's easy to do or lift too much. I had surgery in the middle of November and I'm still restricted to a pound limit. The doctor said that I can begin working with light (no more than 5 pounds) weights to try to build up my arms and shoulders. I have a painting studio where I teach three or four daysa week. I went back to work after 4 weeks. A lot will depend on your job. One thing I did have and still do is that I get tired easily. I've been surprised how long that has lasted. It probably has something to do with lack of activity.

    I know making the decision whether to have the surgery is a tough one. But where your nerves are being affected, one needs to act quickly. I was told that the longer you wait the more permanent damage you may have. I would hate to think where I might be had I waited. I'm 57 and plan on doing a lot of walking and hiking (I hope) in the years to come.

    I know this is long, but I hope it helps. Good luck on making your decision.

     
    Old 02-26-2005, 07:23 AM   #7
    TurtleD
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    Re: Has anybody tried 2 or 3 months rest to treat Cervical disc problems and pain?

    Oops! I said I was restricted to a pound limit. Actually, after surgery I was restricted to a 10 pound limit. Now, I'm up to 15 pounds.

     
    Old 02-27-2005, 01:03 AM   #8
    mel1977
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    Re: Has anybody tried 2 or 3 months rest to treat Cervical disc problems and pain?

    I have been on disability now for seven months for my back and neck. It was my neck that took me out of work initially. After a MRI and xray I found out I had: loss of normal lordosis, spondylosis, small bulge at C5-6 and an emg showed a pinched nerve as well. The lumbar MRI showed DDD in two discs and at the time the dr decided to treat my back. I did have transforaminal ESI in my neck and after a month it worked, little pain. But it is now back (injection was in OCT). I am healing from a lumbar fusion and my neck pain is just getting worse. So, after seven months of not working, injections, PT, traction, Medrol Steroids and massage, things are NOT getting better. I have read that with spondy AND loss of curve will lead to further problems probably resulting in surgery at some time. I am 27 and need mine fixed some how b/c I can't sit up to go back to school or work! I am getting a bit freaked out. I would love to also hear what others have done.

     
    Old 02-27-2005, 01:30 PM   #9
    sned2121
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    Re: Has anybody tried 2 or 3 months rest to treat Cervical disc problems and pain?

    I wish the best to you Mel1977. You are young and may heal better than some on us older folk, like me.

    I know it is always a good idea to get 2nd and maybe 3rd opinions before any surgery. Also, I believe that surgery is always the last option. My Nuerologist, PCP and Pain Management Doctors all agree that surgery is always the last option, after trying everything else. Unless, you have a chance of making it allot worse by not having surgery. But I would not take one surgeons word for that and get the 2nd and 3rd opinions from reputable Doctors.

    I have not tried to use Short Term Disability (STD) were I work, yet. But the way I read it, I get 2 weeks paid for every year I work there and it is renewable every year. So since I have been working there for 6 years, I could take 12 months paid after an initial 2 weeks not paid this year (The first 2 unpaid weeks, I can use sick or vacation time so I don't miss any pay). I would get the same or better benefit for STD next year if I needed it.
    So if I took up to 14 weeks STD for rest this year and I can wait for surgery until another year. If I need surgery next year, I would get another 12 months paid after the initial 2 weeks unpaid.

    It looks like a very good plan, if that is the way it really works. They have to approve the STD, as well. So who knows if they will approve 8 to 12 months rest, even with the Doctors consent.

    They should, because I have heard that it helps some people and may delay risky surgery or even prevent the surgery.
    My Neurologist said some people never get the surgery and the body can create a natural fusion on it's own. But this could take 10 to 20 years and would require staying on Pain meds.

     
    Old 02-27-2005, 08:18 PM   #10
    mel1977
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    Re: Has anybody tried 2 or 3 months rest to treat Cervical disc problems and pain?

    you'll need to check into your STD benefits. They kick in after you have exhuasted all your PTO and will only last for six months, then you go for LTD. Also check in about FMLA where your job is held for you, but that is only for 12 weeks. I think if anyone has STD it is great to use (as long as you CAN use it).
    I hope I fare okay and really really will do all I can to avoid surgery on my neck. I needed it on my back and am very happy I had it done. I just haven't exhausted all my options for my neck yet. Heck, right now I am so darn tired and it is only eight pm, I slept til almost noon. My neck wears me out so fast, I am so darn tired!

     
    Old 02-28-2005, 06:59 AM   #11
    chitowngl
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    Re: Has anybody tried 2 or 3 months rest to treat Cervical disc problems and pain?

    My symptons came on quite suddenly in early September. I woke up one morning and could not raise my left arm to wash my hair. After a mutitude of tests ( EMG, MRI, CT myelogram) it was determined that I had a badly pinched nerve in my neck, along with some other problems. We tried treating it with drugs and therapy but nothing seemed to help. My surgeon said that the only way I would not suffer permanent nerve damage was to have a one level dusion with plating. I had the surgery in early January and am now (I believe) fully recovered. My left arm has regained the strength that was lost and quite honestly I would do the surgery again in a heartbeat.
    Good Luck!
    Carrie

     
    Old 02-28-2005, 11:46 PM   #12
    IL2GA
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    Re: Has anybody tried 2 or 3 months rest to treat Cervical disc problems and pain?

    Many years ago I was off work for 9 months as a result of a cervical injury (whip lash type from a fall) and it did help BUT in my experience - - While resting reduce or eliminate as best you can, the use of fine motor skills with your hands (typing, writing, crocheting, knitting cutting etc) as that tended to aggravate my condition causing intense spasms. Laying down for LONG periods also aggravated it. Be sure to use a comfortable pillow (and not too many of them).

    I too have 4 "bad" cervical discs. The orthopedic surgeon recommended against surgery saying with 4 damaged discs it would only aggravate the problem in the long run. My stop gap solution has been to do what I must and lay down when the pain begins to get bad.

     
    Old 03-07-2005, 05:35 AM   #13
    insomniac_oz
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    Cool Re: Has anybody tried 2 or 3 months rest to treat Cervical disc problems and pain?

    I lost my left arm for 8 months.
    Went to bed after about 6 months because I was too afraid of surgery (if they had been able to cut off my arm to stop the pain I would have agreed) and got up a year later. Haven't looked back. Still very careful and have bad days. I keep rugged up always. Have been working full time on computers for 2 yrs now.

    I used my year in bed to become an expert on computer- voice activated laptop.

    However I Have developed trigeminal neuralgia now ..... which they feel is related.

    Hope this helps.

    Last edited by insomniac_oz; 03-07-2005 at 05:36 AM.

     
    Old 03-11-2005, 08:51 PM   #14
    sned2121
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    Re: Has anybody tried 2 or 3 months rest to treat Cervical disc problems and pain?

    Thanks for all of your input. I truly wish the best for each and every one of you. We can all relate to each other, which kind of bonds us. Nobody really know what we are going through and how debilitating the problems are. I get the people that doubt that you that bad off. You know the one that you can just feel it. They think your looking for sympathy or trying to get ta free ride. Well, I would not even wish the pain I have on them or anybody else. What good would that do me. But as you know, it is frustrating.
    Below is an update on my situation:

    I talked to my first Neurosurgeon this week. He thinks the C5-6 definitelt and most likely the c4-5 will need fusion. He said it is not an emergency, at this point. Of course there is risk in waiting for the surgery, such as permenent damage to the nerves, the disk getting worse and pushing on the spinal cord and the risks associated with being on the Narcotics for pain. But he said he could not gurantee the surgery would help the pain. In fact many patient do not get releif from the pain. especially the more you need fused. Since I have the disk above and below the proposed fusions, I would have a greater chance of the domino effect on those disks with repeat surgeries sooner than a patient with good disks.
    The good thing to me was e said it is not an emegency. It's not as if I can take a small tumble out of bed and make it allot worse. Unless I fall in exactly the right manner. I should be very careful driving.
    So, I am going to wait for surgery and continue my Duragesic 75 patch (yes my PCP raised the level) and up to 4 Norco for breakthrough. It may go up as time goes on. But I am going to take my wife a go on a vacation for a week. We are going on a relaxing cruise. My PCP did not think it was a good idea, but I convinced him to see what the surgeon said and told him I bought the best insurance for cruises. I'm covered for $100,000 for medical evacuation and I have the pre-existing condition waier. Plus the Surgeon said go on the cruise, it may be good for your neck to get away from the computer.

    We'll see how it goes when I get back. I hope to have a better work environment at my home provided mostly by my company to take the strain off the neck while working on the computer and teleconferencing.
    hopefully this will allow my neck to rest and heal and hold off the surgery as long as possible. Maybe even prevent surgery forever Ok. that may be stretching it, but stanger things have happened.

    Last edited by sned2121; 03-11-2005 at 09:01 PM.

     
    Old 03-15-2005, 03:48 PM   #15
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    Re: Has anybody tried 2 or 3 months rest to treat Cervical disc problems and pain?

    REST HELPS, I have been off work for over 1 year on LTD. I have disc protrusions at C4-5, C5-6 and C6-7 with cord displaced posteriorly. Soon as I do anything that requires much movement of my head, arms or upper body I feel it a lot. The best thing I have found that really helps is a good chiropracter. He makes all the difference. My chiropracter uses a trigger gun instead of the twisting and cracking my neck. I'm comfortable with this, but for the first month of going I didn't know if it was going to be worth it. Trust me, it is. PT caused me more pain and increased nerve problems. Rest is good but make sure you are active, move around as much as you can but when the pain gets bad.....rest. I find this helps me.

     
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