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  1. #1
    Registered User rowe513's Avatar
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    Herniated Disc, C6/C7 with pinched nerve, recovery ?'s

    I suffered a herniated disc doing seated military press on 10/08/12. The pain lasted for about a month, numbness in left hand and forearm and basically paralyzed my left tricep. Two days prior to injury I hit 405 for 10 reps on bench....a week after injury I couldn't even bench 135 cuz my tricep wouldn't do the movement, it wouldn't do ANY pressing movement or tricep exercise.

    I sought help and treatment from a chiropractor...who verified my injury with an MRI and began treatment. The pain and numbness have since subsided, however the strength is no where near what it was. My left tricep is noticeably smaller than my right. I never quit going to the gym after my injury, just did different exercises and more cardio than I care to do! Lol! I'm hoping my strength returns soon, it's depressing going to the gym and struggling to lift weights that only a couple months ago I would warm up with.

    Anyone have experience with this or suffered same? I have competed in Strongman and Powerlifting, but have been plagued by injuries that have required surgeries; i.e. shoulder, hand and bicep....I don't want to have another surgery if I don't have to that's for sure!

    Thanks for all replies and input...stay strong and lift heavy!
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    Have you consulted a physician? Referral to a neurologic specialist may be beneficial to you.

    When you have a pinched nerve(s) like you did there can be lasting effects including numbness, pain, and/or strength loss. Nerve healing and regeneration is very slow. Hopefully there was no permanent damage in the month that you were experiencing the pain and numbness. A neurologic specialist will be much better at assessing your situation IMO.
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  3. #3
    Registered User Jrob69's Avatar
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    See a doctor before it gets worse. Any doc you see will tell you to stay away from chiropractors with this sort of injury. Spine injuries could take a year or longer, if ever, to heal. Its not something you want to push through hoping it will get better.
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    Registered User rpay10324's Avatar
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    i have the same injury...have had it for over 4 yrs now...it sucks...also did the MRI...physical therapy...the last option is to have surgery or just live with it and work around it, which i am doing...but i cannot do many exercises due to the weakness in my left arm...i have to use smith machine for shoulder and chest if i need to go heavy to balance the arm weakness..using dumbells i can only use 50's or less because my left arm gives out...i may look into surgery but for now i just deal with it.
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    Originally Posted by rpay10324 View Post
    i have the same injury...have had it for over 4 yrs now...it sucks...also did the MRI...physical therapy...the last option is to have surgery or just live with it and work around it, which i am doing...but i cannot do many exercises due to the weakness in my left arm...i have to use smith machine for shoulder and chest if i need to go heavy to balance the arm weakness..using dumbells i can only use 50's or less because my left arm gives out...i may look into surgery but for now i just deal with it.

    4years?! Man, that's NOT what I was wanting to hear at all! Wow....well if this doesn't improve in the next month or two, I will be making an appointment with an orthopedic for sure.
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    Registered User rpay10324's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by rowe513 View Post
    4years?! Man, that's NOT what I was wanting to hear at all! Wow....well if this doesn't improve in the next month or two, I will be making an appointment with an orthopedic for sure.
    let me know what he says..i know that fusion surgery is an option, but only a 20% success rate...not willing to roll that dice yet...i have been reading alot on this injury, and i am trying a few things at home i never really gave a full effort with trying to heal this or make it better at home...i could deal with the arm/scapula pain, if only left arm strength would come back i will let you know my progress...
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    Originally Posted by rpay10324 View Post
    let me know what he says..i know that fusion surgery is an option, but only a 20% success rate...not willing to roll that dice yet...i have been reading alot on this injury, and i am trying a few things at home i never really gave a full effort with trying to heal this or make it better at home...i could deal with the arm/scapula pain, if only left arm strength would come back i will let you know my progress...
    You may want to research more. 20% success rate of what? A fusion? Complete recovery? The only stenosis that may get better over time is from a bulging disk. If the herniated disk ruptures I promise you that lifting will be the least of your concerns.
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  8. #8
    Registered User rowe513's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by rpay10324 View Post
    let me know what he says..i know that fusion surgery is an option, but only a 20% success rate...not willing to roll that dice yet...i have been reading alot on this injury, and i am trying a few things at home i never really gave a full effort with trying to heal this or make it better at home...i could deal with the arm/scapula pain, if only left arm strength would come back i will let you know my progress...

    Like I said in my original post, I've never stopped working out, I've consistently made it to the gym since my injury. I trained arms about three days ago, did it like I have done in the recent past, only this time, my left tricep was actually sore from the workout! That hasn't happened since before my injury! I also noticed that it was the back part of the tricep that was really sore, not so much the frontal part...I hope that this soreness is because something is continuing to heal.

    I should also share that my chiropractor was able to get me a traction type device that I TRY to use 15 minutes a day...I hope it's working
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  9. #9
    Registered User srydell81's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by rowe513 View Post
    I suffered a herniated disc doing seated military press on 10/08/12. The pain lasted for about a month, numbness in left hand and forearm and basically paralyzed my left tricep. Two days prior to injury I hit 405 for 10 reps on bench....a week after injury I couldn't even bench 135 cuz my tricep wouldn't do the movement, it wouldn't do ANY pressing movement or tricep exercise.

    I sought help and treatment from a chiropractor...who verified my injury with an MRI and began treatment. The pain and numbness have since subsided, however the strength is no where near what it was. My left tricep is noticeably smaller than my right. I never quit going to the gym after my injury, just did different exercises and more cardio than I care to do! Lol! I'm hoping my strength returns soon, it's depressing going to the gym and struggling to lift weights that only a couple months ago I would warm up with.

    Anyone have experience with this or suffered same? I have competed in Strongman and Powerlifting, but have been plagued by injuries that have required surgeries; i.e. shoulder, hand and bicep....I don't want to have another surgery if I don't have to that's for sure!

    Thanks for all replies and input...stay strong and lift heavy!
    I had the exact injury in September 2011. I went to an orthopedic doctor, had a MRI, & my doctor put me on physical therapy. The only way to truly fix the disk is fusing them together with surgery. My doctor said I was way to young (31) for that. I went to physical therapy twice a week for 3 months. I also did the therapy exercises on my own the other 5 days a week. After 3 months the pressure on my nerve from my herniated disk was relieved & I had full function of everything. I have not had an issue with it since then. The disk will always be herniated so you just need to be careful & pay attention to what you do in the gym.

    I just had my left bicep tendon reattachment surgery a few weeks ago, so now I have a whole other situation to deal with lol.

    Hope this helps.
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  10. #10
    Registered User rpay10324's Avatar
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    thats great news...im going to continue my home exercises everyday and hopefully make some progress
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  11. #11
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    I think its case by case on this.

    I blew out a L disk and got lucky because an MRI showed a lot of room for the nerve to pull away from the disk inside my back. Doc said many people don't have much room and the disk basically compresses the nerve all the time.
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  12. #12
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    Originally Posted by srydell81 View Post

    I just had my left bicep tendon reattachment surgery a few weeks ago, so now I have a whole other situation to deal with lol.

    Hope this helps.


    I had that surgery on my left bicep Jan. '11! Have a giant 4.5" scar from it too!
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    Don't you guys in the USA have any other surgery options besides spinal fusion?. Other and more advanced methods are available, like disc replacement.

    I personally know 2 people who had disc replacement surgery and are fully recovered, with no residual problems. One guy is back to deadlifting 240 pounds after having his L4-5 disc replaced. The other guy, although he does not lift weights or exercise, is free of any back related problems or pain.
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    Registered User srydell81's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by rowe513 View Post
    I had that surgery on my left bicep Jan. '11! Have a giant 4.5" scar from it too!
    My surgery was Dec 26th. I get my stitches out this Monday. I guess I'll see what my scar looks like then haha! This def sucks though. I have six more weeks of wearing the immobilizing brace.
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    Originally Posted by rowe513 View Post
    Like I said in my original post, I've never stopped working out, I've consistently made it to the gym since my injury. I trained arms about three days ago, did it like I have done in the recent past, only this time, my left tricep was actually sore from the workout! That hasn't happened since before my injury! I also noticed that it was the back part of the tricep that was really sore, not so much the frontal part...I hope that this soreness is because something is continuing to heal.

    I should also share that my chiropractor was able to get me a traction type device that I TRY to use 15 minutes a day...I hope it's working
    Is it healthy to lift weights in this situation? I found out that I had a cervical herniated disk at C5-C6 level last month. Since then, I stopped training and let it get better. I don't have any weakness in any part of my body. I experienced a sharp pain in my neck.

    My question is 'IS IT POSSIBLE TO LIFT WEIGHTS FOR SOMEONE HAVING HERNIATED DISK WITHOUT MAKING HERNIA WORSE' ?
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    I have 3 bulging, herniated, degenerating discs in my lower back that were causing severe sciatica and nerve damage to my right leg..

    OP I would go talk to an orthopedic surgeon ASAP so you don't end up with a permanently weak arm that you can't use. If your nerve is damaged enough, it will get to a point to where it may not recover and will be permanently weak.

    Spinal fusion is NOT the only way to solve the problem. My surgeon cut out a small portion of my disc and made that nerve canal larger so my nerve was not compressed and had plenty of room to heal. I am still recovering from the injury/surgery, but I am back in the gym and pain-free. On top of that, I am quickly regaining strength in my right leg.
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    Originally Posted by srydell81 View Post
    My surgery was Dec 26th. I get my stitches out this Monday. I guess I'll see what my scar looks like then haha! This def sucks though. I have six more weeks of wearing the immobilizing brace.
    I was in a hard cast that had my arm bent at almost 90* and it went from my knuckles all the up to my shoulder! Torturous!! Good luck bro!
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    Registered User rowe513's Avatar
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    I found a very highly recommended spinal doctor here in my area...going to make an appointment as soon as his office opens up.
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    Originally Posted by rowe513 View Post
    I found a very highly recommended spinal doctor here in my area...going to make an appointment as soon as his office opens up.
    Solid plan. Your central nervous system is priceless.
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    My appointment with the specialist is on February 5.....will post more after the appointment.
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    Rowe, thanks for posting, I have a similar problem. In December I had severe neck/shoulder/triceps pain after doing some barbell military presses (usually stick to dumbbells). Pain lasted 3 weeks while I was traveling over the holidays, returned to gym in January and bench went from 305 in December to 150ish??? WTF. Left tricep was 50% of normal strength and I couldn't contract the tricep or left pec muscle. Searched the Internet, saw this is a symptom of herniated c6/c7 and went for MRI. Meanwhile primary care doc put me on prednisone last Thursday and after 2 days of that I can contract the muscles again. MRI reveals herniated c6/c7, just went to neurosurgeon today. He wants to operate Thursday. Said the loss of strength is a nerve problem and the faster I correct it the more likely I will be able to recover. Said if I put off surgery it may or may not recover, but if it does not recover then it will likely be too late for surgery to help due to permanent nerve damage. The surgery is screwing a cadaver bone into c6/c7 and removing bone spurs through front of neck. This is the same surgeon who suggested not operating on my 3 bad lower back discs (herniated, bulging, clipped) in 2010 and I fully recovered with McKenzie type exercises/stretching. Good luck to you, hope this helps!
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    @AbleBonus

    After reading your post, I hope I haven't waited to long to get this problem fixed...my strength "seems" to get better, but not certain if its other muscles just getting stronger because they're compensating for the non-working ones. I'm expecting the worst case scenario, which is its non reversible and it'll be like this forever....I'll see what the doctor says next Tuesday.
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  23. #23
    Registered User AbleBonus's Avatar
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    I had the surgery yesterday, back home this morning. Doc says he thinks 90% chance of full recovery. A little pain today but not too bad, have to wear a neck collar for the next week. I had the old disc removed, a donor bone put in, and metal plate screwed into c6 and c7. The c6, c7, and donor bone are supposed to grow together over time. I hope the nerve isn't damaged and I hope yours works out too. Feel free to PM me if you have any specific questions.
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    Registered User rowe513's Avatar
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    I just had my Drs visit this morning. Having surgery next Monday...Dr said he wanted to do a disc replacement surgery, but is concerned my insurance won't cover it, so he will most likely fuse after removing damaged disc. He also said I should get 90-95% of my strength back! So that is wonderful news!

    Have to go back tomorrow for more pre-op consulting and another MRI....will keep updating as I get more info
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    Registered User rpay10324's Avatar
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    great to hear Rowe im seeing my Dr on the 25th so i am going to get some answers...so are they fusing c6/c7?
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    Registered User rowe513's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by rpay10324 View Post
    great to hear Rowe im seeing my Dr on the 25th so i am going to get some answers...so are they fusing c6/c7?
    Yes...sounds pretty much like what AbleBonus had done...he's going in from the front of the neck, removing the damaged disc, replacing with a cadaver bone that will be held in place with a titanium plate and 2 screws. I was at the Drs office today doing lots of pre-op prep and everyone that was there said my Dr was the "best", " the neck god" "very good" ect.....so that was nice to hear....ready to get it over and start my recovery so I can start training hard and heavy again!
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    Registered User rpay10324's Avatar
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    how long until you can train? 6 months or so? i mean cleared to lift with liberty
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    Rowe, I hope it goes well. I had my follow-up today. No more neck collar as of today so back to normal. Went straight from surgeon to gym. He said gym is fine as long as I take it easy. Today - calf raises, hamstring curls, wrist curls, and stretching, ha. Cleared for any and all activities after 3 months. I had no real pain after the operation, I ended up taking 5 of the prescription pills since the operation and that was it, no pain or soreness at all since Sunday. FWIW - my surgeon mentioned synthetic disc replacement as an alternative to donor bone but said they can wear out after 20 years and since I am "only" 40 and very active the donor bone is the better choice.
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  29. #29
    Registered User rowe513's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by rpay10324 View Post
    how long until you can train? 6 months or so? i mean cleared to lift with liberty
    My Doctor said that activity is HIGHLY encouraged! Told me to limit any overhead presses for a couple months, but said that anything I feel comfortable doing would be fine....he said the activity circulates oxygenated blood to the repair sight/new bone and that expedites the healing process. So that was good news also!
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    Registered User rowe513's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by AbleBonus View Post
    Rowe, I hope it goes well. I had my follow-up today. No more neck collar as of today so back to normal. Went straight from surgeon to gym. He said gym is fine as long as I take it easy. Today - calf raises, hamstring curls, wrist curls, and stretching, ha. Cleared for any and all activities after 3 months. I had no real pain after the operation, I ended up taking 5 of the prescription pills since the operation and that was it, no pain or soreness at all since Sunday. FWIW - my surgeon mentioned synthetic disc replacement as an alternative to donor bone but said they can wear out after 20 years and since I am "only" 40 and very active the donor bone is the better choice.
    Able, did they go through the front of your neck? If so have you had any problems with sore throat or troubles swallowing? My Dr said that could be an issue post op
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