Skip to main content

Hi folks.

Well my DH (59, diabetic, heart disease, bad low back, chronic pain issues) recently developed severe pain in his shoulders and tingling/numbness down his right arm. He's been in a cervical collar and on muscle relaxers for over a month. Traction didn't help. Since it's been over a month, he went to a neurosurgeon last week (including travel, a total of 5 hours out of our day for a 15-20 minute handshake meeting). So early, early tomorrow he will have an MRI on his neck to see what's going on.

Asking for prayers that whatever it is can be fixed, preferably without surgery.

I'll try to update when we know something.

Thanks for listening,
Original Post

Replies sorted oldest to newest

My thoughts and prayers are certainly with you and your husband...hoping all goes well. How does he feel about acupuncture? Seriously...I was never one to believe in it, but just went through two months of it, degenerating disc disease and major problem in my lower back, L5/S1, sciatica, talk about pain...anyway, I can tell you that it didn't cure anything, but it indeed DID HELP, but...he has to be open to it.

I went to a Chinese gentleman who practices acupuncture along with a type of manipulation - not of the spine, but the muscles surrounding the spine. There was some pain involved, not with the acupuncture needles, but the muscle manipulation. I was NOT a believer going in, but I am now. My pain is not gone, but much, much better.

Again, sending warm and healing thoughts your way for your husband and hoping you have the strength to handle all, dear angel,
Warm regards,

Thanks so much for the warm, positive thoughts.

The MRI went well. It was the open type and they had adequate padding so he had little discomfort. He even got to wear headphones with music, though he said the machine was so loud he could barely hear the music.

The results? He's got a bulging disc on the right side at C4-5, which the dr said is consistent with his symptoms. So we discussed options, and got a very graphic description of what the surgery would be, if we chose that route. (You can always tell a surgeon who really loves his job when he gets all happy describing the minute details to us mortals...)

We're opting for the very conservative "wait and watch" approach, with a better cervical collar and cheaper muscle relaxer, with follow up in about a month.

This new collar has an air pump that acts like a portable traction device. The hope is that taking pressure off the disc may help it slip back into place. He gave us a list of symptoms to watch for that would indicate that the nerves are getting damaged - in which case surgery becomes a more attactive option.

One of the things he did say that I wanted to pass along is that epidurals and Plavix don't mix. There is an increased risk of a complication that leads to paralysis. Since it's the disk and not a bone spur, he said an epidural wouldn't help, anyway.

Miriam, DH has the degerative discs and severe stenosis in his low back - L4,5,6 - so I totally understand your pain. Sometimes, when he stands up, you can see how crooked his spine is - one hip cocked to one side. We were relieved to hear that this neck problem looks nothing like that... except for the bulging disc, everything looks healthy.

Acupuncture, huh? Hmmm. We ruled out chiropractic (bad experience there). I'll mention it, but I'm doubtful he'd go for it.

Wishing all of you the very best.
Hi Barb,
I had the surgery - C5/C6 almost 20 years ago, a microdiskectomy with bone taken from my hip to replace the disc removed. I think nowadays, you can opt for cadaver bone, but it wasn't being used "back then." Surgery was very successful, but recuperation was long - 9 weeks, couldn't do anything, except I was allowed to walk, had to wear a cervical collar and not move my head at all, to allow the bone to set in place. You are wise to take the "wait and see" approach. I waited a year and a half, but couldn't take it any longer, the pain was just too much, especially at night, for some reason, keeping me awake.

I completely understand his feelings about chiropractic and acupuncture, believe me, I wasn't sold on it, but it did help, to a degree, didn't cure all, but helped. Other issue is does your insurance cover it...mine did not so another reason I stopped going. I will continue to send good healing thoughts and prayers your way...
take good care,
Minor update:

DH had his six-month cardiologist visit today. We brought him up to date on the neck problem and also a recent respiratory infection (doing better, thanks). He was pleased to hear we were being cautious about surgery. He asked to be kept in the loop - especially if surgery looked more likely. The medical community here is pretty close-knit - so I have no doubt that, as in the past, if we need to rally the troops medically, they'll be there for us. Fortunately, the need is not there right now.

My faraway stepson called this morning. We'll be getting a visit from them this week... I don't know for how long or who to expect just yet. But I know he wants to spend some quality time with his dad. It's been about 3 years - before hurricanes and heart surgery. He has to split his time between about 4 family groups (isn't divorce wonderful?), so maybe we'll get to see him for a whole 24 hour period or so.

Hugs to all,
Morning Barb,
Ah, yes, divorce...we like to call it "blended family." I have one son and two stepsons, none of which live in this state. My two stepsons' wives are both due to have babies very soon...within one week of each other, both baby boys, and we are just over the moon!! Well, getting back to divorce... Because there are so many "parents" that will soon be grandparents, and the fact that they all live close to my stepsons, we have decided to take a step back and wait for about a month after the births to go and visit our new grandsons.

In any case, I hope your husband enjoys his time with his son. I'm sure he will cherish every moment they spend together.

Be well and try to stay cool,

Add Reply

Link copied to your clipboard.