HealthBoards (
-   Spinal Cord Disorders (
-   -   C7 and breathing problems (

RobiMack 02-25-2009 01:59 PM

C7 and breathing problems
I don't know if this is a legitimate complaint or not, but I sometimes can't catch my breath. I find myself pushing down on a surface so I can pull air into my lungs. I've had episodes of that ever since I was a child. I yawn, but don't "complete" it. Sometimes I feel like my diaphragm isn't working properly.

Also, lately my throat feels tight and I have trouble swallowing. This doesn't happen all the time, but often enough to trouble me. Hot tea, cough drops, water don't help.

Apparently I'm getting sufficient oxygen because I'm not passing out. But my extremities sometimes feel tingly and odd.

I have a C7 bulging disc and spinal stenosis. My doctor gave me a pamphlet that said C7 can be responsible for asthma and other problems.

I'm wondering if anyone has ever heard of this kind of breathing problem associated with C7. It's very disconcerting and I feel icky and off.


nochange 02-26-2009 12:07 AM

Re: C7 and breathing problems
hello. i also have c6-c7 bulging disk. does the bulging disk causing you any problesms other than what you specified, like pain, and did your doctor say surgery is needed?

RobiMack 02-26-2009 10:33 PM

Re: C7 and breathing problems
Hi NoChange,

Actually, my doctor recommends surgery and I'm tentatively scheduled for June. I'm doing my best to avoid it, however, with physical therapy and pain killers. I have radiating pain down my left side, shoulder, collar bone, scapula, wrist. I had an episode of intense pain not too long ago. If a doctor walked by with a scalpel, I would have begged him to operate now. But after some heavy drugs and the passage of time, the pain lessened considerably.

Unfortunately, it's not gone completely and I'm often in pain from sitting, reading, standing, breathing, headaches, jaw aches, and of course, neck aches. I'm scheduled for a steroid injection soon and just hope that it gives me some relief.


PNo 02-26-2009 11:51 PM

Re: C7 and breathing problems
I had a chronic cough that disappeared after my ACDFs.

nochange 02-27-2009 02:04 AM

Re: C7 and breathing problems
dear RobbyMac, can you sleep at night?? and what meds do you take?. by the way, my doctor recommend swimming?, not sure if swimming helps neck pain. and perhaps you can try it. thanks for your time:).

sammyo1 02-27-2009 03:21 AM

Re: C7 and breathing problems
You pretty much listed every symptom I have experinced. I also had major problems with inhalation, that is really scary at times. No matter how hard I tried I could not get a full breath in. Almost like there was not enough room or it would feel like everything was tightening up. I had some swallowing/choking sensations at times also. Not to long before surgery I would wake up kind of gasping but it would pass.
That is actually how it started was with the breathing problems, I would get it often after being really physical at first. Then for no apparent reason.
Like you at times I can not even complete a yawn, like it would be cut off. Could not get enough air in. strange isn't it? I am amazed at how simulair our symptoms are. Do you by chance get the rapid heart rate at all when your breathing acts up?

Because that is how it began it threw the doctors off & caused alot of confusion. They looked at problems such as asthma & then cardiac because it led into left arm pain & chest. This went on for along time before the spinal problems were found.
Asthma involves more problems with exhalation then inhalation & that added more confusion.

I find this very interesting, I could never get a direct answer out of my doctors it the breathing problems could be linked to the spinal problems.
I sure would love to look at the phamplet you have got there. Must be pretty informative. I most certainly cant tell you what to do, but be careful. My pain continued to spread & increase. I have had pain that I never dreamed you could have right before surgery. although I had C5-6 done, the C6 was pushing on the C7 & that disc is not in great shape. My surgeon was tempted to do C7 but there was more damage then he anticipated & he felt it would be to much for me. I wish he would have done the C7 why he was in there.

I had & still have to some degree the headaches also. They were not sure if my discs were causing the headaches before surgery but due to what was found the surgeon it indeed could have. Since my surgery is 2mnths postop I hoping all of this will improve. good luck, Sammy

want a good out 02-27-2009 05:06 AM

Re: C7 and breathing problems
Hi All,
Before my surgery, it felt like I couldn't get a full breath and it really freaked me out. I thought the worst of course being a nurse (former smoker) and all. Anyway, after surgery, I had brief peroids of not breathing and my family called the nurse and I woke up with everyone staring at me. They had me on oxygen for a night or 2 also. Since that time in the hospital I havenot had a problem...I had acdf c4-c7. I don't think the Dr's really know about the breathing issue and have learned how to make patients very uncomfortable about pushing the issue.

sammyo1 02-27-2009 07:23 AM

Re: C7 and breathing problems
Wanta, What do you mean by that, the not pushing comment? Just curious as I have already been through the ringer. I know I was hesitant to bring it up on several occasions, but thats due to my past experiances with being told it was anxiety & so on, of course that was not the case. Sam

want a good out 02-27-2009 07:39 PM

Re: C7 and breathing problems
By "not pushing" the issue, I mean the Dr's know how to act so the patients feel uncomfortable about repeatedly bringing up something they can't or don't want to explain. Sorry you have been thru the ringer, it wasn't ment as a personal attack.

RobiMack 02-28-2009 08:54 AM

Re: C7 and breathing problems
Hi everyone,

As much as I wouldn't want others to feel like I am right now, it's at least nice to have some company - people who know what I'm going through.

Sammy, I bookmarked something on the internet that shows which disc affects certain areas. Strangely, the disc below C7 affects trachea. I'll post the link when I get back to my office.

NoChange, yes I do have ALOT of trouble sleeping at night. I'm not happy about taking drugs, so I pop the Arthrotec only. I have Gabapentin (Neurontin), Oxycodone, and Percoset. I've been avoiding those because I don't want to be found dancing naked on a table top in some seedy bar. The Gabapentin is used for bipolar disorder and has some crazy side affects. When I'm having my biggest pain, I end up with Vicodin because I've used it before.

My doctor is recommending popping out the C7 and using a titanium cage to shore up the spine and to protect the spinal cord. Anyone hear of this method? I don't think there's any fusion to it. Sounds very Frankensteinish to me.

Good luck everyone. It helps to hear from you.


nochange 02-28-2009 11:49 PM

Re: C7 and breathing problems
Dear RobbyMac, i'm sory to bother you again. but i really don't know what to do anymore. my doctor doesn't believe chronic neck pain affects sleep. she thinks it's just a little pain and that's it. i'm taking lyrica + sleeping pills now. in the first month it helped and i was sleeping 5 hours a day and now it stopped helping me. doctor increased the dose and it just does nothing.
i really fight in order to live now. i get irritated easily now. should i ask for neurontin???do you think that will help any for sleep. hope to hear from you and thank you so much for your time, appreciate:)

sammyo1 03-01-2009 05:00 AM

Re: C7 and breathing problems
Robi, I would really be interested in what that link says, but not sure you can post it here. I believe you can using the Private messaging though at the top of the page. I would really appreciate it as I am having problems with that C7. I have never heard of what your doctor is suggesting, hopefully someone else has & Hopefully its less traumatic then fusion. I think I would ask if I were you. I know if it was me I would go for it. I hate this feeling of not being able to breathe normal. Have you experianced any chest or rib pain, cant remember if I asked that. The inability to get a normal inhalation was the very first symptom that occured with me, then at times the tachycardia (rapid heartrate) would accompany it. I have learned when it comes the the spine it can really be complex. Either way I sure am happy you came aboard here, I know now I need to keep a closer eye on that C7. Take care, Sammy

RobiMack 03-02-2009 08:17 AM

Re: C7 and breathing problems
Hi Sammy and NoChange-

I'm leery of taking drugs and so I have no idea what the Neurontin does. If you're any where near a good medical teaching institution, you might want to see what they suggest. I don't know how chronic pain [U]can't [/U]affect sleep. Sleep deprivation is serious stuff. I toss and turn trying to find the right spot so my neck doesn't bend and cause more pain. I know that for me, when I don't get enough sleep, I am short tempered and emotional. Unfortunately, when you're like that, most doctors don't seem to want to talk to you.

I've had pain in my left collarbone all the way to my left shoulder and down my arm, up my neck and head around to the back (scapula) across to the right side. For the last few years, I've had migraines, but only on the left side of my head. I've had a head CT scan, x-rays of my chest and neck, EKGs, tread mill tests and an MRI of my neck. MRIs can tell if you have spinal stenosis, bone spurs, or bulging discs.

Because of the way my problems presented, they were at first thought to be: migraines, heart problems, GI problems, a cyst under my collarbone, and thyroid problems. I've even had TMJ - my bite was off for a month. My voice became hoarse and I had blurry vision. I'm thinking that now all of this can be attributed to my C7 and maybe C2-6. I have bone spurs throughout, too.

So, I don't know. Putting it all out here is helping to sort out the details for me.

Good luck with your health care.

PNo 03-03-2009 01:41 AM

Re: C7 and breathing problems
Hi- gabapentin (aka) Neurontin is same type medicine as Lyrica. Some people do better on one vs other-you have to find the right dose. Gaba is used for many things not only bipolar also for seizures, and nerve pain and probably other things. Side affects usually appear at higher doses if you are going to get them. They gave me 2400mg with no prob but had to slowly get there.

The surgery you refer to where C7 is taken out and only cage in sounds odd-it probably does include bone or BMP (like bone paste)inserted. Once cage is there is would have no motion so it is like fusion anyhow so I would get that clarified so you have no surprises. There is ACD that is disc removal but no hardware or fusion and I think they leave some material in there.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 08:48 AM.