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  1. #1
    Registered User Tkdterp8's Avatar
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    Exclamation Disc Extrusion (Herniation) between C5 and C6

    Three weeks ago today I woke up unable to move my head at all (in any direction) and ended up in my doctor's office where he gave my 5 injections of novocaine. He thought I had bad upper back spasms on the right side. I went to his office 7 times. He gave me 7 more injections into the upper back muscles on the right side because of the intense muscle spams. I also had Matrix therapy which is a machine that has several black suction cups that are placed on the effected area and emit electrical currents into the muscle and massage. The neck pain and spasms put me in bed for 10 days straight. My spasms started to subside and then nerve pain began from my spine, through the backside of the shoulder, in front of the shoulder, down through the bicep, into my elbow, throughout the forearm and ending at the wrist. Never in my life have I experienced pain like this! The last time I saw him, I insisted on a MRI scan.

    Last Friday I had the MRI scan done and my doctor shared with me via phone that I have suffered a disc extrusion between C5 and C6.

    Has anyone else had this type of injury and what was your experience, treatment and recovery? I want to get back into the gym so bad but even regular walking is a chore with the horrific nerve pain shooting down my right shoulder and forearm. :-(

    I will go see my doctor again tomorrow morning to discuss what is next. I am terrified of surgery but need to get back to work and back into the gym.

    I train martial arts three days per week, weight lift three times per week and also do cardio workouts. Now I am literally out of commission with this injury and it's "killing me!"

    Thank you for your responses.
    Tkdterp8
    "I know that God will not give me anything that I cannot handle. I just wish He didn't trust me so much!" -Mother Teresa of Calcutta
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  2. #2
    Registered User lcamino's Avatar
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    I feel your pain.

    I have been dealing with a bulging disk and bone spurs in the same place for two years. It all started with a pinched nerve that has left an empty spot where the the long head of my tricep used to be. I have been off and on in the gym and lost about 20 pounds. There are no easy answers to this situation. There are two types of traction that may help, but certainly follow your doctor's nstructions on the subject. The first is straight traction. They make collars and your physical therapist may have a Saunders machine in their office. I have a home Saunders with a pump to slide the collar up and down. The other type is called Dakota traction. I have a foam wedge with a notch for my head that allows me to hang my head back with a band over my forehead. This stretches the ALLs, which are the ligaments in the front of your neck that will now try to pull your head forward as the muscles in the back have become weakened.
    I would beware of any tingling and numbness in your fingers. I believe it may strike one of your index fingers, depending on which side the disk may be applying pressure to the nerves. If you do experience these symptoms, it is best to attempt to alleviate them as quickly as possible. There is a small window to avoid any permanent damage, maybe as little as 12 weeks. The best way I can think of to describe it is like a carpet. You know when you have a heavy piece of furniture on a carpet, and you move it. There is a depression where the furniture was. It may return to normal, but it all depends on how long that piece of furniture was there. If the nerve becomes impinged, initially it will feel like you have put your arm in a pot of boiling water. It really sucked. I wish this wasn't such a gloomy response, but I have been dealing with it for a while now. They might suggest a little cortisone injected into your neck, but you can only get like three epidurals in the area total.
    Try physical therapy, find a good forward thinking chiropractor and most of all take it slow. The surgical options really only consist of removing the disk and inserting a piece of hipbone to fuse the vertabrae together. This is guaranteed to reduce mobility permanently. I have been doing everything I can to avoid it in the hopes that eventually they will come up with a reliable alternative. They are experimenting with artificial vertabrae, but they have yet to be fully accepted and will not be covered by most insurance plans. I have done a fair amount of research on the subject and would be happy to share with you any time. I feel for you, it is not a pleasant or comfortable situation.
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  3. #3
    Registered User Christine_23's Avatar
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    Go to a neurologist. I's surprised your dr. didn't send you to one right away. Epidurals (injections into your spine) and physical therapy will probably be the first treatment tried. I agree with the other poster in that you should try to avoid surgery.

    I do not think you should go to a chiropractor. They are OK for people without acute injury, but you should not get the kind of spinal manipulation a chiropractor does when you have a herniation. A physical therapist is a much better choice. They can do small adjustments like a chiropractor, but they focus more on your long term health rather than short term pain relief.

    Herniations are serious injuries, and can cause partial or even full paralysis if untreated and exacerbated by movement. As yours is at C5-C6, your entire body from the neck down would be effected.

    I don't think your doctor know much about spinal injury, and I would not rely on what he tells you at your next appointment, unless he refers you to a neurologist.

    ~Christine~
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  4. #4
    Registered User TDE's Avatar
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    damn, that sucks, i'd hate to be afflicted with that. Are there anyways to prevent this?
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  5. #5
    Registered User lcamino's Avatar
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    Neurologist is a good idea.

    See as many people as you can. Certainly assess the severity of your situation before you seek any course of treatment. A neurologist will determine the amount of impingement and potential nerve damage. Any way you slice it, take it slow and smart. Maybe you should find a specialist in sports medicine in your area. They will understand your goals and can act as a referral source for your condition. I always found it is best to find a doctor that can incorporate your end goals into your course of treatment as opposed to one who will only treat your current condition.
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  6. #6
    Registered User Tkdterp8's Avatar
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    Tkdterp8 had surgery

    I had surgery on June 5, 2007. The surgery was 6 hours long. The damaged disc was removed from my neck, a bone was taken from my right hip and put in the place of the damaged disc. My surgeon then used titanium screws and a plate to secure everything together so my hip bone can fuse with the C5 and C6 vertebrae. This has been pure hell. No other words for it. I've not even thought about working out as I cant but pray that someday I will be able to return to the gym and do my workouts again. Naturally, baby steps will be all I can do.

    I just stopped using my walker a few days ago as the incision and pain from the bone removed from the hip made it impossible to walk without one. I have to wear a hard neck collar (called a Miami-J collar) for 8 weeks...at all times so the bone fusion can start to happen. Thanks to everyone who replied to my post. For me, the surgery was a success! All of my original nerve pain and numbness is gone except the very tip of my right thumb. I am satisfied with the imediate results from the cervical fusion performed on my neck.

    Peace be with you.
    Tkdterp8
    "I know that God will not give me anything that I cannot handle. I just wish He didn't trust me so much!" -Mother Teresa of Calcutta
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  7. #7
    Registered User lcamino's Avatar
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    Wow

    Let me know how it goes please. This is in my future, I am doing everything I can to put it off. Did they go in through the front or back? I am very curious to know to what extent the neurologists, if you saw one, determined the nerve damage was if any. I wish you a lot of luck and a speedy recovery.
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