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The Big File All issues not easily categorized in the above forums are here. Comments on general health, diet, "getting comfortable," and more are here.


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  #1  
Old 02-06-2017, 03:28 PM
c4c7 c4c7 is offline
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Default Living with DDD, looking for others with similar MRI as mine

ADR Support,

Long time lurker. 31y-o with a banged up neck (horrible whiplash when I was 20, C7 herniated).. Still haven't gone under the knife (although I've thought about it multiple times). Every surgeon I've seen keeps telling me to wait if I can stand the pain. Most said they would start on C5-7 with MobiC's, then see what happens after that.

I think what I'm looking for is to those of you with similar MRIs as mine, how long did you wait until you went through surgery (I know people experience pain differently). I have no idea at the speed spines degenerate, and can't get a good answer. I live a pretty conservative life, no intense exercise, I'm careful what I lift, etc. Can a spine like mine stabilize and be fine for another 10 years? I keep hoping some type of newer tech will come around and I won't have a completely fused neck.

My major symptoms: Moderately painful flareups every few months. Being on a computer makes the worst. Arm pain, numbness in hands, etc. It always comes and goes, and various on sides. There's somedays where I am begging for surgery, and others where I barely notice. If I sleep the wrong way, or sit in a chair for too long, that's the worst.

C2-3: Mild desiccation with focal 1.5mm central disc protrusion. Abuts thecal sac no cord abutment. no foraminal encroachment.

C3-4: Unconvetebral osteophyte formation on the right with minimal foraminal narrowing. No findings for foraminal nerve root impingement. Cord abutment was noted.

C4-5: Focal 2mm disc protrusion which abuts the thecal sac and slightly abuts the ventral cord. Bilateral uncoverebral osteopyte formatin is noted. Foraminal narrowing, but no findings to correlate with foraminal nerve root impingement.

C5-6: Central right paracentral 2mm disc ostephyte fomplex. Abuts ventral cord with some cofrd flattening. No significant foraminal encroachment.

C6-7: Disc desiccation with broad based central 1.5mm disct ostephyte complex. Abuts thecal sac but no cord abutment or definite findings for foraminal encroachment.
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  #2  
Old 02-06-2017, 10:29 PM
Gorrito Gorrito is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by c4c7 View Post
ADR Support,

Long time lurker. 31y-o with a banged up neck (horrible whiplash when I was 20, C7 herniated).. Still haven't gone under the knife (although I've thought about it multiple times). Every surgeon I've seen keeps telling me to wait if I can stand the pain. Most said they would start on C5-7 with MobiC's, then see what happens after that.

I think what I'm looking for is to those of you with similar MRIs as mine, how long did you wait until you went through surgery (I know people experience pain differently). I have no idea at the speed spines degenerate, and can't get a good answer. I live a pretty conservative life, no intense exercise, I'm careful what I lift, etc. Can a spine like mine stabilize and be fine for another 10 years? I keep hoping some type of newer tech will come around and I won't have a completely fused neck.

My major symptoms: Moderately painful flareups every few months. Being on a computer makes the worst. Arm pain, numbness in hands, etc. It always comes and goes, and various on sides. There's somedays where I am begging for surgery, and others where I barely notice. If I sleep the wrong way, or sit in a chair for too long, that's the worst.

C2-3: Mild desiccation with focal 1.5mm central disc protrusion. Abuts thecal sac no cord abutment. no foraminal encroachment.

C3-4: Unconvetebral osteophyte formation on the right with minimal foraminal narrowing. No findings for foraminal nerve root impingement. Cord abutment was noted.

C4-5: Focal 2mm disc protrusion which abuts the thecal sac and slightly abuts the ventral cord. Bilateral uncoverebral osteopyte formatin is noted. Foraminal narrowing, but no findings to correlate with foraminal nerve root impingement.

C5-6: Central right paracentral 2mm disc ostephyte fomplex. Abuts ventral cord with some cofrd flattening. No significant foraminal encroachment.

C6-7: Disc desiccation with broad based central 1.5mm disct ostephyte complex. Abuts thecal sac but no cord abutment or definite findings for foraminal encroachment.
This is a recent MRI report, right? It seems a little unusual in that it does not read as sounding too bad. Most radicular type nerve pain is nerve root pain and the roots go through the foramina so one would expect to read about severe nerve root impingement/compression etc.

While surgery can typically "fix" situations, I think one must be sure of cause and effect in terms of what is producing your pain. Have you had a good exam from a neurologist? Was an EMG done? How old is that MRI report? Are the docs sure that you aren't having flare ups from undiagnosed carpal tunnel syndrome (since you mention bilateral symptoms, worse when on the computer)?...what fingers go numb and how long does the pain crisis last? Is the pain a deep bad aching pain, or more of a bad annoying tingling?

I really think a good neurologist needs to figure out your pain.
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Right C6 facetectomy (foraminotomy) 09/24/2015
2 level ADR C5-C7 with Prestige LP 01/09/2017
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  #3  
Old 02-07-2017, 11:52 AM
annapurna annapurna is offline
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c4c7,
As you mentioned, everyone experiences pain differently. It's also true that it's very hard to correlate the results of an MRI to the pain level that a patient experiences.

I can't say when you should get surgery but I'd suggest taking a very hard look at your life. When you're sustaining your pain-free episodes by deleting activities that you really want or finding that you're dropping out of stuff that's important to you because you can't be sure that you can do it without pain or be sufficiently pain-free to participate, it's probably time to find a surgeon and get serious about moving forward. With an episodic pain like you describe, it'll likely be quality of life that drives you to making a decision rather than just rating the pain level you have.

Laura's L5S1 Charite decision was like this: Prior to surgery she had mostly pain-free days with painful flare-ups. The decision was pretty clear when her flare-ups started interfering with driving home from work; 1/2 hour in the car was enough to trigger a flare-up and, even then, I ended up having to push her a bit to recognize how much of her life was on hold due to the pain.

To balance the advice you've gotten about putting this off: when you're sure that your situation is definitively going downhill, it might be smarter to talk with a surgeon then and not put off the discussion. While the technology is getting better, delaying can lead to damage to your spine that will eventually limit what can be done to repair it. If you delay indefinitely, you'll eventually reach the point where fusion, or even autofusion, is the only option available due to the extent of damaged structures. It doesn't mean that you have to immediately go from that talk to a surgery date but it's smart to understand where you stand once it's clear that surgical intervention will be needed at some point.
__________________
Laura - L5S1 Charitee
C5/6 and 6/7 Prodisc C
Facet problems L4-S1
Knee, Shoulder, Toe, Finger, Elbow Problems

Jim - no spine problem but lots of other fun medical challenges

"There are many Annapurnas in the lives of men" Maurice Herzog

Last edited by annapurna; 02-07-2017 at 04:21 PM. Reason: Added last sentence for clarity of intent
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  #4  
Old 02-14-2017, 12:27 PM
c4c7 c4c7 is offline
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Thank you for your responses. The numbness typically varies. It will start with neck pain, then I'll get numb in the fingers, then it will go back to neck pain, etc etc.

The MRI is from last April, but I've had these symptoms for the past 6 years (I had a big C6-7 herniation then).

I made the post because I looking for others going through similar situations, where there are a lot of DDD symptoms, but they're not bad enough for surgery. I think I'm going to wait it out and see what happens in the next few years.
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  #5  
Old 02-14-2017, 02:21 PM
Gorrito Gorrito is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by c4c7 View Post
Thank you for your responses. The numbness typically varies. It will start with neck pain, then I'll get numb in the fingers, then it will go back to neck pain, etc etc.

The MRI is from last April, but I've had these symptoms for the past 6 years (I had a big C6-7 herniation then).

I made the post because I looking for others going through similar situations, where there are a lot of DDD symptoms, but they're not bad enough for surgery. I think I'm going to wait it out and see what happens in the next few years.
Pain comes and goes. But if you develop constant numbness (lack of sensation) or weakness, those are usually indications for surgery. Numbness that is constant can be permanent if left alone untreated too long. Bother numbness and weakness can progressively worsen. If something like that happens, you should then seek medical attention and a new MRI.

In terms of pain, some people have benefitted from epidural steroid injections.....
__________________
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Right C6 facetectomy (foraminotomy) 09/24/2015
2 level ADR C5-C7 with Prestige LP 01/09/2017
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  #6  
Old 02-14-2017, 07:31 PM
annapurna annapurna is offline
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ESIs aren't a good idea to use just for pain control unless you're waiting out some short delay before a permanent repair. The steroid can do a fair amount of damage by itself; not likely to be a severe problem if you're trying to buy a few months but problematic if you're looking to delay for a year plus. Gorrito is right about the numbness - that is neuropathy and can become permanent if untreated.
__________________
Laura - L5S1 Charitee
C5/6 and 6/7 Prodisc C
Facet problems L4-S1
Knee, Shoulder, Toe, Finger, Elbow Problems

Jim - no spine problem but lots of other fun medical challenges

"There are many Annapurnas in the lives of men" Maurice Herzog
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