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  1. #1
    Registered User cengstrom's Avatar
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    Herniated disc C6-C7

    I realize this subject has been brought up a lot but 1 question that has not been answered is recovery of the nerve. 7 weeks ago the nerve root coming from C6-C7 was pinched and it hurt badly. I recieved an epidural shot of cortisone that reduced the inflamation and eliminated the pain 1 week after the pinch. My question is the tricep is still about 1/2 as strong as it used to be.How long does it take before the nerve is fully healed and firing the correct signals and restoreing all my strength. I've also lost 1" of size in that arm. My doctor is having me go to Physical Therapy 3 times a week which im doing and after 1 week of that I still have not seen any improvement. I'm worried and concerned.
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  2. #2
    Registered User Krossceeper's Avatar
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    I did some reading and found that there a large amount of websites dealing with herniated discs of various sorts, so if you need more help recovering you should just do a google search. Ive not found anyone who was fully recovered in less than 4 months, and many are still not 70% of where they were before by that time.

    A guy made an interesting point on one of the forums saying its best to speak to your doctor and they can help guage when you might be fully recovered. Due to each person being different, what your given to manage the pain, and what your doing to recover it will affect how quickly you will recover. Having said that he also said you go to 10 different doctors you will get 10 different answers.
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  3. #3
    Registered User Most Muscular's Avatar
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    If the nerve was severely cut and you lost the path to the muscle the nerve will not fix itself at the point of injury... it has to grow back from the beginning.... and it may, or may not find its way there.

    I had a pinched nerve in my neck (C6-C7) back in 2001 and finally had surgery for it in 2003. My surgeon told me the nerve may never find its way back to my tricep... and it hasn't. The outside head of my tricep (the part the forms the horseshoe type look) isn't there anymore hardly at all. It is complete mush to the touch. However the rest of my tricep has gotten stronger and I now hardly notice any difference in strength between the two arms. For a few years there was a noticable difference. My left arm is still smaller although the bicep in much stronger on my left side... go figure.

    Its a crap shoot. But I wish I would have had surgery earlier on it since I kept on reinjuring the area. I had a bone spur which was nicking the nerve as it went through the vertabrate so no amount of chiropractic service, physical therapy, or coritsone shots was going to remove the bone spur. It is what it is.

    However I did recover enough to still compete and win two National Bodybuilding titles in 2006. I just never showed my left side much. Smoke and mirrors baby, smoke and mirrors.

    nuff said...
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  4. #4
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    Hate to break the news to you, but a herniated disc may never recover.

    Hopefully you don't end up needing a spinal fusion like my wife did, she's had 2 now.
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  5. #5
    Registered User Krossceeper's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Skidmarx View Post
    Hate to break the news to you, but a herniated disc may never recover.

    Hopefully you don't end up needing a spinal fusion like my wife did, she's had 2 now.
    Off-topic but I would like to move into your gym lol.
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  6. #6
    Registered User brent35's Avatar
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    I had fusion surgery within a month of the herniated disc diagnosis at age 31. I stopped lifting (started back last August) so recovery timing wasn't as critical. I did notice the difference in strength for a few months. When I started back lifting last year, I expected a difference in left and right arms (left was affected by the nerve) but didn't notice it. Can't help in answering on recovery time but when faced with the surgery decision, it was pretty easy for me and I had great results. I know that is not always the case so ask lots of questions and get several opinions. Good luck. I remember that pain - not fun.
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  7. #7
    Registered User culican's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by cengstrom View Post
    I realize this subject has been brought up a lot but 1 question that has not been answered is recovery of the nerve. 7 weeks ago the nerve root coming from C6-C7 was pinched and it hurt badly. I recieved an epidural shot of cortisone that reduced the inflamation and eliminated the pain 1 week after the pinch. My question is the tricep is still about 1/2 as strong as it used to be.How long does it take before the nerve is fully healed and firing the correct signals and restoreing all my strength. I've also lost 1" of size in that arm. My doctor is having me go to Physical Therapy 3 times a week which im doing and after 1 week of that I still have not seen any improvement. I'm worried and concerned.
    Hi,

    Back in 1994 (16 yr ago) I had herniations at C5-C6 and C6-C7. Had numbness in my thumb and forearm as well as loss of triceps and hand strenth (Dr could flip the fingers on my outstretched hand down with a very light touch.) Loss of reflexes too.

    Neurosurgeon said prescribed prescription strength ibuprofen and said to wait 8 weeks and be re-evaluated. After that time my strength and reflexes came back. I still have residual numbness in my thumb and forearm (parasthesia). Never had surgery.

    I was told by a neurologist, who saw me every three months for a year after, that if the numbness hadn't gone away in year, it probably wouldn't.

    I went back to lifting, including squats and deads at about 8 weeks.

    Recently took a copy of my MRI report to my current Dr. He took one look and said, "Your neck is a mess."

    Still doing squats and deads (300lb on each).
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  8. #8
    Registered User jpenn36's Avatar
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    Pinched nerve

    Originally Posted by cengstrom View Post
    I realize this subject has been brought up a lot but 1 question that has not been answered is recovery of the nerve. 7 weeks ago the nerve root coming from C6-C7 was pinched and it hurt badly. I recieved an epidural shot of cortisone that reduced the inflamation and eliminated the pain 1 week after the pinch. My question is the tricep is still about 1/2 as strong as it used to be.How long does it take before the nerve is fully healed and firing the correct signals and restoreing all my strength. I've also lost 1" of size in that arm. My doctor is having me go to Physical Therapy 3 times a week which im doing and after 1 week of that I still have not seen any improvement. I'm worried and concerned.
    Here’s the thing, it all depends on the individual. For example, a co-worker had the same surgery that I did "the cervical dissection and fusion" where they cut the front of your neck, go in and remove the disk, replace with cadaver bone and put a plate and couple of screws. She was a body builder before her surgery. She told me it took her a year to get the strength back in her left arm. I went and did my surgery anyways but it only took two months for my strength to return. It also depends on how bad or sever it is. I lived with it for about 2 years going in and out of physical therapy and I told the doc that I had enough.
    Last edited by jpenn36; 04-20-2010 at 06:06 AM.
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  9. #9
    Registered User MidWestCam's Avatar
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    So I was doing pushup last July and well to make a long story short I lost strength in my left side, pain lasted about a week and a half then went away but Ive lost strength in my left tricep, lat, and pec atrophy compared to my normal right side. I have had a x ray, mri, emg nerve test, and myleogram and ct scan.

    The Dr. said he finally did find something in the last test myelogram and ct scan. The Dr. are baffled that I have no pain, and the emg nerve test showed no nerved damage from where they done that test. The Dr. summed it up real quick stating that I need to have a spine fusion, yet I have no pain just weakness in my left muscles mentioned above. Im not sure what I should do and keep worrying if I;ll ever get to work out again I miss it daily.

    I could work out right now but the weakness is impairing progress. Any advice and any thoughts on ever working out hard again. My days of heavy lifting are over if I have the surgery I've been told ??...

    I can still Deadlift 400+.. and bench decent 225x6.. ( no where near where I was at )... but I've not been in the gym in a year and a half.
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  10. #10
    Registered User 1headshot's Avatar
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    Similar problem

    Guys, hate to resurrect an old thread, but I wanted to see if there are any better stories about this other than the "horror stories" that I see.
    About 10 days ago I slept on a crappy bed/pillow and started feeling tension in my neck. Popped some Advils, hit the gym ffor a back day... NExt day pain is worse and the day after tingling sensation in fingers and tricep/left peck are severely weakened.
    Went to the doctor, got prescribed anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxers. Pain was debilitating for a whole week. It is finally subsiding, only the fingertip is tingling and I got almost 100% range of motion in the neck.

    Yesterday hit the gym after a 10-day hiatus to test out where I was at.. No issues with biceps, no issues with delts or any shoulder muscles. Being extra cautious with traps but they are strong as well. Seems like lats are ok too - only feel weak when doing wide grip lat pulldown(probly cause Im afraid to rip into it). But - tricep is at 50% power and incline bench is out of the question - went from benching 315 to barely pushing one plate......

    My question is - it seems that I am healing because pain/tingling is going away. Will the muscle strengh return once I am healed or not? If the tingling stops does it mean the nerve is fixed?? I'm freaking out big time!!!
    Does anyone have a story where their strenght returned faster rather than 8 weeks without surgery / PT / ETC....

    I am trying to work out my left side with low weights to prevent atrophy - ...... Afraid to push it..
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  11. #11
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    Originally Posted by 1headshot View Post
    My question is - it seems that I am healing because pain/tingling is going away. Will the muscle strengh return once I am healed or not? If the tingling stops does it mean the nerve is fixed?? I'm freaking out big time!!!
    Does anyone have a story where their strenght returned faster rather than 8 weeks without surgery / PT / ETC....

    I am trying to work out my left side with low weights to prevent atrophy - ...... Afraid to push it..
    Sorry, I can only add to the list of horror stories. I woke up with a burning pain in my upper back one morning. My right pec and right triceps were weakened to the point that I had to get a spotter to help me with a whopping 95 lb bench press. The pain went away in a week or so, but it took over a year to regain strength in the affected muscles.
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  12. #12
    Registered User erinlee01's Avatar
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    I have numbness from an L5-S1 herniation. Almost 12 weeks now. Strength started to come back in my leg around 8 weeks. It's still not 100%, but it is improving. The numbness is not.

    My understanding from my PT is that if the numbness goes away, the nerve is healed.

    Personally, I wouldn't do anything without a doctor or PT supervising. All it takes is the wrong motion and you could do permanent damage, or force a surgery. At the very least, do some research on the internet for PT exercises that are recommended for your particular issue.
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  13. #13
    Registered User MATTR35S's Avatar
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    I just checked this thread because I am worried about recovery time as I recently herniated the C6-C7 disc. I hope your recovery has gone well and that you are still going strong!
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  14. #14
    Registered User culican's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by 1headshot View Post

    My question is - it seems that I am healing because pain/tingling is going away. Will the muscle strengh return once I am healed or not? If the tingling stops does it mean the nerve is fixed?? I'm freaking out big time!!!
    Does anyone have a story where their strenght returned faster rather than 8 weeks without surgery / PT / ETC....

    I am trying to work out my left side with low weights to prevent atrophy - ...... Afraid to push it..
    The motor nerve roots are towards the front of the spine (anterior roots) and the sensory roots are toward the back (posterior roots). It is possible to recover in one and never recover in the other. For example in my case (see post #7), my strength came back in 8 weeks but my thumb, finger, and part of my forearm still have a tingling 19 years later.

    The way it was explained to me is that the posterior root was the one pinched (tingling) but the swelling pressed on the anterior root while the injury was acute causing strength loss. When the swelling subsided I got my strenght back but I was told about a year post injury that if the tingling hadn't gone away, it probably never would.
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