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Pinched nerve at c5 and c6.
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By Geoff G
From Vail, Colorado
Dec 29, 2011

I've got a pinched nerve at c5 and c6 due to a bulged disc. I've had two cortizone injections and currently doing therapy. Still hurts to look up any ideas? Thanks Geoff


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By Brent Apgar
From Out of the Loop
Dec 30, 2011
Me and Spearhead

Curious to know how you managed to damage 2 discs in your neck... usually that's not an easy feat.
If you can at all avoid surgery... do it. Fusing vertebrae is not a good idea, but fusing C-spine segments is REALLY not a good idea.
If you're not getting too many radicular symptoms and you can manage the pain the best thing to do is find a good massage therapist, PT or Chiro and see if you can't weather the problem. Most discs tend to heal in about a year, I know that's not a short time frame; but it's better than the surgery alternative.
Please be careful w/ the Chiro (and I am one) option, they can be super helpful w/ disc problems but I've heard more than a couple horror stories about careless D.C.'s fucking up people w/ disc issues in the neck and it just shouldn't happen.

Sorry I wasn't more helpful but finding a good therapist will probably be the best bang for the buck since disc issues can be fixed but they do take a little time and persistence to let them heal.
Good luck on the road to recovery,
BA

Scariot brings up a good point, if you haven't been shopping around for an orthopedic spine surgeon it might be worthwhile to find one you trust. If the neck goes south it's better to do the surgery and deal w/ the ensuing mechanical issues than risking loss of function in your arms/hands.


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By C Scariot
Dec 30, 2011

hey geoff. having had similar issues, although at c6-7, i would second brent's advice. i had the surgery and wish that i hadn't. ultimately it may have been inevitable in my case, but regardless, i wish i'd spent more time pursuing other avenues of treatment. i was impatient and maybe paid for it. also as brent said, be cautious with chiros (no offense to chiros). a good friend, also w/ similar issues, is one of those horror stories. my advice, fwiw, is find a super reputable pt who has a lot of c-spine experience/credentials. feel free to contact me if you have any other questions, although i can only speak from experience (not credentials). best of luck.


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By Chris Weber
From Boulder, CO
Dec 30, 2011

search pro active chiropractic in Boulder. was a total skeptic, but it saved me from many more cortizone shots.


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By Mark E Dixon
From Sprezzatura, Someday
Dec 30, 2011
At the BRC

I know it's only a bandaid, but you might want to try the belay glasses with a prism. Lots of folks with neck issues seem to love them.
Mark


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By Geoff G
From Vail, Colorado
Dec 30, 2011

Folks thanks for the info. Geoff


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By Matt Marino
From Georgetown, MA
Dec 30, 2011
Haul Bag

I have compaction of my C3-C6 and have done the following:
Pain Theraphy (injections)- doesn't help much and doesn't last long.
Physical Theraphy: helped with mobility but not so much with pain, recommend it.
Traction: As part of PT I used a traction machine, helped a lot when used regularly. The machine the PTs will have are great but chances are you can't go that often. My insurance got me a home traction unit that was pretty good and I can use it every day. Of course when I switched insurance they wanted to charger $2,000 to keep it. Instead I found it on Amazon for about $350.

www.amazon.com/Model-ComforTrac-Cervical-Traction-Device/dp/>>>

Highly recommend giving it a try, if you can seperate te vertebrae a little you might get some relief on the pinched nerve. That being said... I still have pain everyday. You learn to live with it, I know that's not the answer you really want but it's the truth. Good luck.


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By Geoff G
From Vail, Colorado
Dec 30, 2011

Matt, are you able to look up and belay people as well as scout routes, etc? I am trying to buy a similar traction device it seems to work. Also how often and what duration do you use your traction device? Geoff


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By Matt Marino
From Georgetown, MA
Dec 30, 2011
Haul Bag

Geoff G wrote:
Matt, are you able to look up and belay people as well as scout routes, etc? I am trying to buy a similar traction device it seems to work. Also how often and what duration do you use your traction device? Geoff


I can lookup and belay without much of an issue, and scout routes as well. Hurts a little the day after a wall but that's what ibuprofen is for (and whiskey). Make sure you find the right helmet that doesn't block your vision so you can look up with your eyes more and bend your neck less. Also experiment with how you stand and you might find some positions are less irritating than others. As for the machine I have an older model of the link I sent you and use about 35 psi for 10-15 minutes 2-3 times a week. I used it every day for about a year when I first got it and between that and the exercises the PT gave me it made it manageable. I had been doing traction for a few years before I started climbing, before that I would have been in a ton of pain trying to belay someone. I can probably outline the PT exercises for you if you want those to, mostly basic stuff.


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By Geoff G
From Vail, Colorado
Dec 30, 2011

Matt, what your describing sounds familiar and possible. I hadn't thought about the helmet though. I'll look into that. Thanks again for all the info I feel super positive. Geoff


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By nbrown
From western NC
Dec 30, 2011
Top of Shortoff with the Bonsai

Geoff,

I know exactly how you feel, I had a herniated disc between C6 and C7 myself a couple years ago. Like several have already said, be conservative and try to avoid surgery if possible (and most of the time it is possible). If it does eventually come down to surgery, be aware that there probably are different options. Depending on the direction that your disc has herniated in, it's not always necessary to have a fusion. And, obviously it's better to avoid that if possible, because you can always do it later, but you can't undo it.

My original incident was incorrectly diagnosed multiple times which resulted in me going 5 years without the correct treatment before I finally herniated an additional portion of that same disc. The first incident was tolerable, but after the second, the radicular pain became, for the most part, unbearable. Anyway, to make a long story short, I had the ortho doc refer me to a spine center. I had the surgery and it was a huge improvement.

Also, those belay glasses are well worth the money!


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