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I'm 19 and have always been fairly active, but I have been recently diagnosed with 2 herniated discs and some disc degeneration along most of my cervical spine.

A couple months ago I had to quit all physical activity because of the pain and numbness that resulted in my left and right arms due to what the mri reports said to be moderate to severe canal stenosis at C5-6 and C6-7. I lost a lot of my arm strength during that time too.

After a couple of weeks the numbness and tingling went away, but I still occasionally get pain that shoots down my left arm. I was going to get surgery this December but I got scarred, and so now i am waiting to meet with another neurosurgeon to hear another opinion.

I'm in physical therapy right now but it doesn't seem to be helping at all, and frankly some days it gets worse because of it.

So I guess i was just wanting to know what anyone's thoughts on this were. Should I get surgery this summer, or should I wait it out a bit longer to see if physical therapy helps? I've been told that because of my age getting surgery now would mean that I would probably have to get surgery again. I've also been told that the extent of the herniated discs are that they wont fix themselves and that the longer I wait to get surgery the more at risk I am putting myself to get permanent nerve damage.

Any reply will be helpful.


Hi melinese,

Have you seen that new NS yet?

My answer to your post is I believe you were told right. The nerve damage can become permanent if the compression lasts too long. As for PT, I have not seen anyone who has had this problem benefit from it for any extended period of time. It just cost me a lot of money with nothing good coming from it. Some days during my PT I thought it actually made me feel better but in a few days My troubles came back. Then other days, just like you said, it made me hurt more.

As far as should you do the surgery or not, that is totally up to you and your NS. It does sound to me like you need it though. And that comment comes from my talking to many doctors over the last 6 months. One other option is to try Cortizone Injections. That was one of the lesser intrusive attempts to solve my problem and from what I was told, they(doctors,NS and such) want you to try just about everything else before opting for surgery unless you are so severe that they have to do it soon.

I hope some of this helps.


Hello, I know what you're going through. I have 2 herniated discs in my cervical spine, and the pain gets so sever at times that it makes me want to scream and I'm 37 years of age. At one point, the pain went away for a month after physical therapy. I've had it for 9 months thus far. I hate the idea of taking narcotics for pain for the rest of my life,and before I do that, I'll have surgery. I'm gonna try the cortizone injections first. I have severe pain in my rear shoulder blade near the middle of my spine, on my left side that goes down my shoulder to my for arm. I still have muscle strength but I don't know for how long. I'm an active person and I cannot stand to think of not being able to run, jump rope, shadowbox, etc. I have been getting in touch with my inner Spirit and my attitude is shifting from a touch of depression as a result of this. if I can be of help to you, I'd gladly communicate with you as a means of support. Take care.