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My New Life... C6 & C7 Disc Herniated


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Old 08-03-2013, 04:14 PM   #1
Faye8521
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My New Life... C6 & C7 Disc Herniated

Hello all,

I am new to all this health board and I am very grateful too see there are many categories and post about our conditions

I feel for all of you and I cannot wait to give my support and advice to all of you.

A little bit about myself. I am generally a happy person. High on life. I am married -age 40 with two kids with a wonderful husband.

I was in a car accident June 12, 2011 and I got hit from behind and since then I had some bad neck and lower back problems.

My main concern is my neck and hands. I also have carpel tunnel syndrome and since I have been diagnosed with disc herniation. My whole life has turned around and has dragged me down into a dark hole. I must say I am thankful that I am on medication that masks that pain and that my friends and family are there to support me.

The question is.........do you think I need surgery? Will surgery help me? Will I loose my range of motion? Instead of doing a Fusion can the doctors perform a Disecteomy?......Help!

Here is what my MRI states:

C2/3: The intervertebral disc is adequately maintained in height and signal intensity. There is no significant disc protrusion or bulge identified. The spinal and neural foraminal canals are widely patent. The facet and uncovertebral joints appear normal

C3/4 Mild loss of disc height.

C4/5 Mild loss of disc height. The spinal neural foraminal canals are widely patent.

C5/6 Mild loss of disc height. Moderate focal disc protrusion/osteophyte complex is demonstrated posteriorly extending from the right lateral recess to the the left lateral recess and associated annual tear is noted. Definite nerve root compromise is not appreciated. The facet joints are normal

C6/7: Mild loss disc height. Large focal disc protrusion/osteophyte complex whis is maximal in the right lateral recess but extends from just to the left of midline posteriorly and into the right neural foraminal canal. The disc/osteophyte complex severely compresses the right C7 nerve root and slightly flattens the right anterior cord. Moderate right neural foraminal canal narrowing is identified. The remaining elements are normal

C7/T1: Normal

There is no cord abnormality

The remaining portions of the exam are normal.

Impressions: The dominant finding is that of a large focal disc protrustion/osteophyte complex maximal in the right lateral recess at the C6&7 level with compression of the right C7 nerve root

To all readers......I would appreciate your advice, support, interpretation and if anyone of you had the surgery......please tell me how it went and how do you feel today. I would love to hear from you.

Thank you for your kind attention

Faye

 
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Old 08-04-2013, 09:00 AM   #2
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Re: My New Life.......C6 & C7 Disc Herniated

As the radiologist says, the thing to focus on is the impingement on your right C7 nerve. This might cause pain at the point of the impingement - right side of neck - but would also likely have symptoms running down the back of your arm and into your index and middle finger.

The car accident and the carpal tunnel complicate things, though. The accident may very well have caused muscle damage (whiplash), which can be painful and rather intractable. The carpal tunnel, of course, affects your hands. Hopefully, you can distinguish symptoms coming from C7 nerve impingement because they'd be right-side only, and affect only index and middle fingers, not thumb or ring/little fingers.

One operation for this would be the ACDF, which means coming in from in front, removing the C6-7 disk, and fusing the C6 and C7 vertebrae together. This is a fairly routine operation, and your loss of range-of-motion should also be quite small. Of course, you'd want to get absolutely the best surgeon you could find for this. I can't emphasize that enough.

Another operation MIGHT be a foraminotomy. This is a much less invasive operation than the ACDF, where the surgeon comes in behind-right and specifically attempts to clear out the obstructions in the right C6-7 foramen, where the nerve is being impinged. Only thing is, I don't know if the surgeon can access those obstructions, because of the posterior approach. The surgeon might also believe that the foraminotomy might not be a permanent fix, but in that case a foraminotomy could be tried first, then an ACDF a few years later, if necessary.

Last edited by WebDozer; 08-04-2013 at 09:03 AM.

 
Old 08-04-2013, 11:58 AM   #3
Faye8521
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Wink Re: My New Life.......C6 & C7 Disc Herniated

Thank you VERY much for the options you provided. I really needed the extra support and explanation of my new condition.

I keep going over and over the possibilities of what should I do.

If, I choose the ACDF surgery, what if the problems still occur afterwards. Such as: Muscle stiffness, numbing/tingling hands, neck pain etc....Do I continue taking my medication for a long period of time? Gabapentin, Flexiral etc...

When I was 22 years old I had surgery on both of my hands for carpal tunnel syndrome. Since the accident in June 2011 and until now it has aggravated ...ARRR....

I have not heard of the foraminotomy procedure. I assume its like the disectomy? Perhaps I can look into it more further. And....if they do this procedure and it works......then I am free of pain? No more medication? No more muscle stiffness etc.......Has anyone on these Health Boards had this surgery before?

Thank you once again for your kindness.

You made my day a happy one

 
Old 08-04-2013, 02:39 PM   #4
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Re: My New Life.......C6 & C7 Disc Herniated

From 1996 to 2011, I had an ACDF, a laminoplasty, and a foraminotomy, which is nothing at all like an ACDF. You can look it up and read about it.

I'm afraid I am not qualified to answer any of your other questions. I'd just recommend that you do some reading, and try to distinguish which of your symptoms may be caused by C7 nerve root problems and which could not be...

Last edited by WebDozer; 08-04-2013 at 02:40 PM.

 
Old 08-04-2013, 04:21 PM   #5
Faye8521
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Cool Re: My New Life... C6 & C7 Disc Herniated

Yes, thank YOU very much for your personal experience and thoughts.

You were the only one who cared enough to respond of to what I needed to hear the most. A true explanation of my MRI and what can be done or not.

I am forever grateful

I am doing a lot of reading and researching about my condition.

Being on here and reading the other posts, really helps my inner soul feel the pureness of hope and happiness; as I am not the only one with an ongoing problem. We all need help and this is an awesome place in meeting new people and receiving a grateful response.

Thank you once again


Last edited by Faye8521; 08-04-2013 at 04:26 PM.

 
Old 08-04-2013, 05:55 PM   #6
ifeelyurpain
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Re: My New Life... C6 & C7 Disc Herniated

Hi Faye Maria.....I just had a one level acdf on C4 C5. I had been dreading it and it really wasn't all that bad. Mine was outpatient and I haven't had to wear a collar at all. I am now 3 weeks post op. The worst thing after surgery is severe muscle spasms in the back of neck and into shoulders (at least for me). I'm gradually tapering off the pain meds and muscle relaxers and feeling better and stronger each day.

I hope you will find a good surgeon and he/she can answer some of your questions. In the meantime..... keep reading/researching and you will be knowledgeable and prepared if the surgery must take place. And of course keep your positive attitude.....I know its hard but it helps!!

All the best to you....I hope you get some relief soon,

Lisa

 
Old 08-04-2013, 07:37 PM   #7
Faye8521
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Re: My New Life... C6 & C7 Disc Herniated

Helllllllllllllllllo ifeelyurpain

Thank you for kind response.

I am so happy to hear that you did surgery for your C4 & C5 and that you did not have to wear a collar afterwards. Wow, that is AWESOME!!

I have been reading a lot about ACDF procedures and my question to you is do you find that you are limited in movement? Can you move your head/neck to the side of your shoulder? Like from before? ......Or perhaps you are not 100% healed yet to do this part. ?

Do you feel the metal plate and screws in your neck?

Is this painful?

Do you sleep on a neck pillow?

How many years did you decide before surgery?

I know what you mean about muscle spasm.........arrrr those are horrific........but at the moment I am on Flexeral 20 mg per night

What medications are you tapering off?

Thank you once again for your best wishes for me and I will be sending you extra ((((((((((hugs))))))))))) and ((((((((((healing powers))))))))))) for your new health

Thank you for your everything


 
Old 08-05-2013, 06:44 AM   #8
ifeelyurpain
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Re: My New Life... C6 & C7 Disc Herniated

My situation is a little different from yours as I wasn't involved in an accident. My problem is a result of degeneration of the spine. I had bone spurs and a large disc herniation. My spinal cord was being compressed and I was only given the option of surgery so I went ahead to prevent permanent cord damage.

My range of motion is good. Of course its not all that comfortable right now but I'm sure it will improve. No...I cannot feel the plate/screws. I fortunately didn't have too many swallowing issues....only for the first few days. My throat was very sore and irritated from the breathing tube that they use during surgery. But that only lasts for a couple days.

I do not sleep on a cervical pillow but I did sleep on a wedge pillow for about a week after surgery as its painful to lie flat. Some people sleep in recliners but I didn't have one. The wedge worked just fine for me as I put my regular pillow on top of it and that provided some extra cushioning.

The meds that I was given were Percocet for pain and a muscle relaxer. I have already stopped the Percocet and only take the relaxers at night. I have used ice and heat often and that helps as well. The only real problem I've had from surgery is that I had a large lump (edema) formed under my incision. My doctor's office told me to use hot compresses and this would help dissolve it. I have been doing this at least twice a day and now the swelling is almost gone. I just started using a scar cream which you can purchase at the drug store and also vitamin E oil. This will help to heal smoothly to where its barely noticeable.

I posted about my surgical experience about a week after so if you want to scroll down and read maybe that will help you as well. Thanks for your hugs and healing wishes!!

 
Old 08-05-2013, 07:18 PM   #9
Faye8521
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Wink Re: My New Life... C6 & C7 Disc Herniated

Hi ifeelyurpain,


When you say: My problem is a result of degeneration of the spine. I had bone spurs and a large disc herniation. My spinal cord was being compressed and I was only given the option of surgery so I went ahead to prevent permanent cord damage.......Have you ever considered Spinal Decompression?

I just recently heard and read about it over the internet so I thought maybe it would of benefit you or anyone on here before surgery.

If, anyone tried this therapy/treatment before please let me know if it worked out for you or not.

I love hearing and reading all of your personal experiences which made me feel good about myself and my new commitment in learning so much about our conditions.

~~ As for you ifeelyurpain........you are managing quite well with your post surgery and you are already using scar cream for your neck area. Wow!!!! You are amazzzzzzzzing!

God Bless You!!!

 
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