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Fifteen years ago I needed to have neck surgery 4=5=6 it was successful now I have a herniated disc on top of the disc 3-4 I have had it for 2 years and it has gotten progressively worse I can't sleep without sitting up. I am not having the same pain that I had with my other surgery I had pain in the neck and side of th neck but radiation down my right arm/hand to the point that I couldn't use my right hand. Now my pain is the left side the entire neck in the front and left side of face feels numb muscle tension hurts to chew severe headache hurts to go over bumps in the road my neck is in unbearable pain. I am on heavy pain pills and muscle spasm meds. Mu question is there a difference in symptoms between 5-6 and 3-4 what is the difference in where pain is???? I hope I got this written so u can understand it My pain now with 3-4 is not the same maybe worse it is all upper no arms and hands . Could I have something else wrong with me???

Thank you for your info in advance for your help


Hi Kelly - I can only tell you from my experience and what doctors have told me, but realize I am NOT as a medical professional. The "referred" pain is based off of the location of where herniations are in your cervical spine. You nerves exit the spinal column at different areas. C4-C5 herniations with external bulge (meaning the bulge does not press inward on the spinal column - called spinal stenosis) will cause pain and seizing of what's called the serratus anterior muscle group (best way I explain it is fingers with a really tight grip on your rib cage under your armpit). A C5-C6 herniation with external bulge can put pressure on the ulnar nerve which will affect the bulging side's arm, hand and fingers. C6-C7 will have symptoms in the triceps, latissimus dorsi, pronator teres, etc.

Your specific herniations are in what's called the cervical plexus. If you were to track what can be affected by herniations in this area, it would be a line across your jaw bone from the front of your chin to back of jaw, over the ear area and then straight down. The area is everything below that line down to your shoulders.

As a research point for you, you can look into the effects of compression on the lesser occipital nerve, the great aricular nerve, the transverse cervical nerve, the supraclavicular nerve, the ansa cervicalis group, phrenic, and the anterior and segmental branches which affect your anterior and middle scalenes (the tight muscles in the front of your neck).

I'm NOT advise diagnosing yourself, but I can tell you from experience that researching muscles and nerves that are affected and understanding a diagnosis helps a TON when speaking to a doctor. They don't understand what is going on in your body ACTIVELY. They can only go by what you understand. There have been many times I have gone into a doctor's office and saved him/her time by explaining exactly what muscle groups and nerves are being affected by my neck injury. It also informs you in order to make the right surgical decisions for yourself.

Best of luck to you!