Thursday, July 10, 2008 Pat, Community Member, asks

Q: I have degenerative disc disease at multiple levels with disc bulging at c4-c5

I had an MRI due to neck and back pain, It showed degenerative disc disease at multiple levels with disc bulging, neural foraminal stenosis and a small right paracentral protrusion at C4-C5 as well as uncovertebral spurs and posterolateral osteophytes at C5-C6. I am schduled for an epidural next week. what do you think my recovery time would be for this type of injury or will I alway have some kind of pain problem from this?

Thanks Pat

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Answers (4)
heidelue, Community Member
8/12/08 1:09pm

Hello, I have bulging discs at c3,c4,c5 the pain go's down both arms ,down my back to the bra line and around to the front of my body it also go's up my neck to my forehead. I see a chiropracter 3x a week to have my neck cracked and i have therapy also three times a week their I get tens to my neck a message to the shoulders and upper back I also have traction to my neck, and exercise. I take 100mg of ultram every 6 hrs. I have been doing this for 1 month and I do see some relief my chiropracter says their is a 82% chance he can heal me. Any thing not to have surgery. Like I said I do see some improvement.

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patttycakes1957, Community Member
7/11/08 8:22am

Hello Pat,

I am no doctor of course, but being that I have major problems with my cervical spine, C/5 and C/6, for the last eight years, I have a bit of experience with your type of problem.  I had a herniation, that surgery made worse, and also have multiple discs bulging now along with bone spurs.  The surgery they did on me, they put in a cadaver disc with a titanium plate and screws.  Within one year of the surgery, my pain had gotten so bad that I could no longer make it trough the day muchless the night.  I could get no help from the surgeon who said I was fine and accused me of just wanting drugs.  I made nine trips to ER in ten days.  I had no choice, the pain was so bad that if someone had not helped me soon I would have killed myself.  On that ninth visit I got a doctor to do an Xray in exchange for me signing a request for them a drug test.  It confirmed that something drastic had changed as I had told every doctor at every hospital I had went to in those ten days.  The titanium screws that were in my neck had broken, leaving me in severe pain.  I could not hold my head up, nor could I sit, the pain was so bad that I could not stay in the bed and could not stay out of the bed.  You would think that you would be devestated to hear such news, of course I was not happy but though atleast I would get some care at that point.  The care has been very inadaquate at times since then, and last year I had a morphine pump implanted.  It has given me the most relief since I found out the screws were broken.  I have read about many unhappy people with pumps, but would guess it is because when people are unhappy about something they complain more than someone would who is happy about something would discuss their happiness.   

 

As for you, I would love to tell you that you will get better, but I would guess that you are in guarded condition.  If I knew what I know now about cervical surgy, I would use surgery only as an emergency option.  I took medication before the surgery, but only a fraction of what I was or am on now.  I would stick with pain management and not let a surgeon touch me unless the bulge were pressing on the spinal cord!  That would be an emergency situation.  I hope I have helped you in some small way, and please remember what happened to me before you let them put metal in your neck!

 

May god bless you and keep you,

Patty   

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spirithunter007, Community Member
7/11/08 2:30pm

Hello,

         I  have had a injury in my lower back, L-4 - L-5 disk. I have had three surgeries on my lower back. The first one was to take out the ruptured disk, and replace it with a piece of bone off my hip, and plates & screws, called a fusion.

My pain in my leg got better, but my lower back started hurting real bad. I went back to the Nero-Surgeon who had done the surgery.

He told me that I could be having some problems with the plates & pinniacl screws that hold the plates in place, but I am a large guy...6ft. 3in. tall & 320 lbs. He said he could go back in there and remove the metal out of my back, but I would have to wait a few more months, to make sure the bone fusion was healing good.

He ended up going in there, and took out the plates, and said one of the screws had come loose, but I no longer needed the plates because my fusion was taking hold.

I too have the degenerative disk in my back as well, and bulging going on.

My L-3 - L-4 decided it would herniate so bad I had to go in for another surgery, for a fusion again. But this time they got bone out of the bone bank, because the first time when the surgeon took the bone off my hip, that hurt worse than my back. So, I had that fused as well.

Later on, my left arm started hurting bad, and ended up getting to the point where I couldn't sleep, so I went to my family doctor because I thought that maybe I was having a heart problem, with it being my left arm, but it wasn't, and I was sent back to my Nero-Surgeon, and he had a MRI done, and found out that my c-6 was ruptured, so I has another surgery, and had that fused with plates in my neck. Knock on wood, its been a few years, and I have only had minor pain in my neck, my arm got back 80% of its strength & feeling.

So currently, my L-2 / L-3 disk is Herniated  & Bulging, and causing pain. I have gone a couple of times getting that shot in my back, but that hurts like hell when that needle goes in, at least for me.

If I ask myself the Question, Am I Better Today than before surgery, I would have to say yes. When I first went to the Doctor I couldn't take a step without crying. I am on a daily dose of pain medicine taken twice a day, and that does not take care of it all, but it allows me to be able to function. Just go in there thinking about getting better, not 100%, but better than before... 20% less pain is better than 0%. Good Luck on the procedures you face...  It sounds like we have alot of the same things going on...Laughing               

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Liz, Community Member
10/20/08 10:56am

My husband had a severe disc bulge at C5-6 with pressure on the spinal cord.  He had a block done but only got relief for about 24 hours.  The pain was so bad that he was not able to sleep as there was not a comfortable position that would help the pain.  The pain radiated down his arm and the top of his head was numb. He saw a Neurosurgeon and had a cervical fusion and had the disc removed, a bone graft and a plate with screws.  The surgery was a success.  He had instant relief of the pain and numbness and has not had any problems since.  The surgeon did not have him wear a collar and he did not have a drain in his neck.  After 6 weeks he returned to full duty at work. I have worked in this field for years and I think it is imperative that you see a Neurosurgeon when you are having work done on the spine and an Anesthesiologist for any kind of nerve blocks. 

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By Pat, Community Member— Last Modified: 06/15/12, First Published: 07/10/08