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Scared: Herniations at c4-7 with compression at c5-6

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Unread 02-18-2013, 02:03 PM   #1
ChelKB
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Default Scared: Herniations at c4-7 with compression at c5-6

I had an MRI 2 weeks ago with the following results:

The craniocervical junction is unremarkable. No significant disc herniation seen at the c2-3 and c3-4 levels. At the c4-5 level, there is a large broad based central and right paracentral disc herniation noted attentuating the ventral thecal space and impinging on the exiting nerve root and causing some narrowing of intervertebral foramina on the right at this level.

At the c5-6 level there is a very large broad based herniation extending posteriorly and causing compression of the cord with the AP diameter of the spinal canal reduced to approximately 5 to 6 mm at this level, There is some increased signal in the cord suggestive of myelomalacia.

At the c6-7 lever, there is a moderately large central and right paracentral disc herniation also noted attentuating the ventral thecal space and abutting onto the ventral aspect of the cord. The cord is tilted slightly to the left.

The neurosurgeon that I saw recommended 6 weeks of physical therapy and traction. I just had an EMG test done this week and the neurologist thinks that herniations as large as mine will not resolve without surgery. She told me a fall or accident could be very bad. Needless to say, I am terrified. Also, my blood pressure is through the roof - 158/80 the last time it was checked. I have asked my primary to send my information to a different doctor for a second opinion. Do you think it will take long to get in to the second doctor? Should I be scared? I have 2 young children. I want to be fully active in their lives.
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Unread 02-18-2013, 03:56 PM   #2
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[HI ChelK

Yes you MRI shows problems c4 thru c7---Just a little background im fused at the same level. Prior to surgery I had pain for several years in neck always in enough time allowed it went away until 2010 every month pain was there 24/7 --took Docs 6 months before I even got MRI---I had 4 disc pressed against spinal cord -- I started to go parlyzed on the right. Yes with this type of surgery always seek 2-3 consults the other type of Doc would be a orthopedic spinal surgeon --its what I chose but I researched him alot before i even chose him. Yes I agree always try conservative treaments first p.t or esi (epidural steroid injections). I think alot depends on your pain level currently as well are you having numbness in hands and fingers pain going down arm --in shoulder and scapular area?? I will tell you this dont be terrfied. Concernedn yes its spinal surgery-- and there risks involved. That all being said I got to a point pain was so bad I actually looked forward to the surgery. I have no regrets at all it gave me my life back. Im not 100% perfect but i would say 90% improved and Im happy with that outcome.Please let me know if you have more ?? I will be happy to try to answer the best I can. Please dont fear it I wasted so much time fearing it ---i was home from surgery in 24 hrs and the pain after surgery for me was not even close to the pain prior to surgery. I was much better during the recovery period.
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Unread 02-18-2013, 04:28 PM   #3
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Default Hi ChelkB

I am a spine patient too. Welcome to Neuro Talk. I came here just as you did searching for answers and knowledge. Before you select surgery, make sure you get two more independant evaluations.
I do think you have reason to be concerned about the large herniations, which are impeding proper cord function. Anytime there is compression on the cord, and or nerve root, it hurts, alot.....
I was in the same position and am fused C3-7. I had two surgeries, for me well worth the pain I went through. I am sorry that you have these issues, but you did find a great place to help you through it. I was hysterical and crying when I first found NT. Pain was horrible. Just make sure, you have several docs. that concur with the dx. I will be here for you and so will NT. Leesa is the best in my opinion about reading the MRI in clear language. I hope she responds to you and can help with the MRI report. ginnie
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Unread 02-18-2013, 08:23 PM   #4
ChelKB
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Thanks so much for replying to me mg neck prob and ginnie. it's comforting to find people to talk about this...who understand. I'm sorry you are here but grateful at the same time.

It started 2 years ago. I had pain near my shoulder blade on my right side. I was sent for an x-ray which showed slight disc degeneration. I was sent to PT for 4 weeks and sent on my merry way. The pain eventually went away and as I said on my other post, I was actively running and using kettlebells. In early December, I had really bad shoulder pain and the next day, I had partial numbness in my right thumb and index finger. It tingles and burns sometimes as well. I went to my doctor who ordered an mri and an emg. The day I had my mri, I went back to my office and received a phone call from my doctor wanting to go over the results. I thought I was going to be sick to my stomach. They had me sitting with a neurosurgeon 2 days later. He decided that I should do 6 weeks of PT and traction (which I did traction for the first time today). But as I said, my primary and the neurologist I saw for the EMG were very surprised by that. They both told me it will probably only resolve with surgery. That is when I decided to ask for another opinion.

On a good note (I think), my primary, the neurosurgeon, neurologist and my pt guy all say that I present much better than what the mri shows. They say that my range of motion is pretty good except I can't really bend my head down. Lately, I have been developing new symptoms, such as numbness in my left hand as well as most of my right hand. I get tingling in my face and on the bottoms of my feet. When I called the neurosurgeon's office to tell them, I feel it was taken very lightly. My primary knows this and so does the physical therapist. He even told me today that he is happy I am getting another opinion. I obviously want this taken care of, even if it is surgery (though that scares the daylights out of me). I've never had surgery in my life. Thanks for listening to me ramble on.
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Unread 02-19-2013, 02:13 AM   #5
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ChelKB,

It is great to have you come and be with us. You will fine a great number of dear friends to listen when you are in need of ears. You will find out we are supportive and relaxing place.

Please keep us up to date on your situation. Again welcome, looking forward to seeing you around. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
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Unread 02-20-2013, 07:48 PM   #6
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Hi ~ I'm really glad your doc ordered physical therapy. That's a good conservative approach, and I do hope that it helps. I'm not so sure about the traction, but it could be helpful.

I'm really concerned about the C5-6 level with the cord compression and reduction of the canal. I also don't like the suggestion of myelomalacia!. With any luck at all, the therapy will help with this, but I'm not "up" on that so I really don't know. I'll certainly pray about it !!

Of course you have other issues too, but the C5-6 is the most serious from what I can see. I wouldn't want ANY of them! I'm sorry you're having such troubles. I hope you get at LEAST 3 opinions, counting the one you already got. It's important to get them so you have different ideas on what should be done, and you can make an educated choice on what to do. But TRY to take the most CONSERVATIVE route you can take, as surgery is ONLY for mechanical problems. Surgery is NOT for pain. After surgery, you will most likely still have the same pain or worse, as you did before surgery. Plus with surgery, there is always the "domino effect" -- the levels above and below fail because they've had to take on more of the load. And that means more surgery.

So best of luck! Keep us posted, okay? God bless and take care. Hugs, Lee
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Unread 02-21-2013, 05:40 AM   #7
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[Just make sure your doctor wants traction or anything strenous before you do that. I had traction, and it was a bad decision on my part. I did it without a specialist recommending it. Not good. Conservative is good to try but not at the risk of more permanent damage.
Also on another post, it was mentioned not to ask about chiropractic to your PCP. I disagree with that. If you can't talk to the person who is in charge of your whole care, you defeat the reason why you see that professional. I tell my PCP everything. Not all PCPs disagree about chiropractic and or traction.
The more we trust them, that trust is returned in kind.
Thinking about you today, and hope all goes will. ginnie
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Unread 02-21-2013, 08:23 AM   #8
ChelKB
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Thanks for all of your advice and kindness. I will be getting my second opinion today and we will see how it goes. The only reason I would ever get surgery is because of the cord compression and the permanent damage it could cause. I don't care about the pain. I can live with that. I don't want to be paralyzed. I have an almost 8 year old and a 4 year old. We just had over a foot of snow since last night. I live in fear of falling or having an accident. I'm tired and I'm scared. I will update later to let you know how today's appointment goes. Again, thanks for your support.
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Unread 02-21-2013, 08:45 AM   #9
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You are very right. No surgery unless there is cord compression and that you have a risk of being paralized. I was in the same boat, scared, in tears, and found NT. I am fused c3-7 and it did help me. I had been told I could be paralized without it. I will be waiting to hear what your doc. says. Try to bring a friend with you, just incase so much information is given to you that you could forget some part. Bring your pain chart, and former records if you can. I wish you all the best and will be thinking about you at this appt. I remember that fear quite well. NT and me too, we are here for you. ginnie
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Unread 02-21-2013, 08:47 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChelKB View Post
Thanks for all of your advice and kindness. I will be getting my second opinion today and we will see how it goes. The only reason I would ever get surgery is because of the cord compression and the permanent damage it could cause. I don't care about the pain. I can live with that. I don't want to be paralyzed. I have an almost 8 year old and a 4 year old. We just had over a foot of snow since last night. I live in fear of falling or having an accident. I'm tired and I'm scared. I will update later to let you know how today's appointment goes. Again, thanks for your support.
Im glad you seeking a 2nd consult ---its true surgery is avoid perm damage but in some and many cases-- not al---l it does often pain reduction as well. Im my case it did reduce pain 90% .Do your homework on the surgeon I did mine --and new a few people that used him also and gotten great results. The have a web site Rate MD---its for all states and people write on there experiences. I wish you the best of luck and please update hoe it goes.
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