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I am a 37-yr. old male bodybuilder (lifting weights for 23yrs) who got out of bed on 7/15/98 and heard a noise in my neck. Going on 3.5 weeks of discomfort and pain have learned through MRI that I have a small herniated disk in the C4-5, severe/large herniated disk in the C5-6, and herniated disk in the left C7, spinal cord compression at C5-6 and C-7, I additionally have neurological dysfunction down my left arm and am not able to extend the arm to a straight position. I have lost significant strength and size in my left biceps/triceps area and my left elbow area is in constant sharp pain. I have constant knife pain in my neck and elbow. I sleep with a cervical soft collar on top of a feather bed pillow. I have tried ten different sleeping approaches and am convinced this is the best one for me. I have no pain in my left deltoid, right side of body, and or legs, or lower back, or head. Only in the neck and left bicep-tricep-elbow area � top of left forearm and sometimes tingling in 2 fingers. I have taken the medrol dose pak 6-5-4-3-2-1 of predisolone and different narcotics to sleep at night. I now take tylenol pm at night and tylenol extra strength throughout the day.

I have been to numerous neurosurgeons and orthopedic surgeons (with spinal training). I have been to 3 chiropractors. I have been to one acupuncturist. One physical therapist (McKenzie certified). I have purchased a home traction device for over the door. I am scheduled in five days for an epidermal injection of Kenalog and Sensorcaine into the cervical area. I considering canceling this because I have been alerted by several cervical disk patients that this was temporary relief and did not permanently solve the inflammation or disk herniation and is a dangerous risk of permanent paralysis if the anthologist inserts the needle and injects the corticosteroid in the wrong place. I am not interested in temporary relief � I need a permanent relief through a successful management plan that is proven to work in order to avoid surgery. I have been told my several physicians that my chances of avoiding surgery are around 50-60% because of the dysfunction factor in my arm. The surgeons said there is an 85% chance of recovery and avoidance of surgery in non-dysfunctional arms/legs when the disc is herniated in the neck only and no radiating pain but this is not my case.

Every physician has recommended a different management plan, criticized and the other physicians. One orthopedic/spine physician said that I need an anterior cervical disectomy of the C5-6 with fusion and a titanium plate. The surgeons can't agree on the surgical approach (some want to do 2 level fusion).

I have come to the conclusion that the chiropractors are a fraud and can do serious permanent physical damage to you if you allow them to treat you with this condition (adjustments or pushing into the neck/spine).

The acupuncturist was a waste of time and money and is slightly less of a fraud then the chiropractors.

I have used the traction device on 2 occasions for 20minutes with 5-7 pounds of water sitting directly under the pulley. This feels like it may offer some relief and I am willing to continue to use this device if somebody out there can give me specific suggestions and additional information regarding the use of a home traction device (ie: how much time to use, what weight, what angle etc). I would like to hear from cervical herniated disk patients who have radiating pain in the arm.

I would like to continue with the physical therapist who specializes in McKenzie exercises and would like I would like to hear from cervical herniated disk patients who have radiating pain in the arm who has utilized a Physical Therapist who does McKenzie techniques/exercises and hear the details of their treatment/experience.

Is there a nationally recognized Neurosurgeon or Orthopedic spine surgeon or Neurologist who specializes in the treatment of cervical disk herniations?

My Ortho/Spine Doc, and others, have told me that I can do it one of three ways. 1) Fix what hurts now, knowing that it will set me up for more surgeries. 2) A four level fusion. Not being sure how they will get to C7toT1, which is massively herniated. and 3) Go until it has changed my life to the point where I just can't take it, and/or when my pain meds lose their effectiveness.

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