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C4/5 disc pressing on spinal cord - chance of healing without surgery?

Hi everyone

I have had neck pain for almost two years, very recently diagnosed with a herniated disc at C4/5 which is trapping my nerve on the left side. I have pain in the left side of my neck, in my left arm and in my left little finger. I also have shoulder and clavicle pain, which according to my physio is muscular due to the amount of time I have been trying to self manage my symptoms. I get headaches in the back of my head, and strange shock/pain sensations in my left scalp.

My consultant confirmed from my MRI's that over the last year, the herniation has got noticeably bigger. It is also now pressing on my spinal cord, although he does not believe I have any spinal cord damage. If I do get any symptoms of this, I am to go straight back to him as they will not be reversible. However, my physio said that spinal cord damage is more of an A&E situation so I'm a bit confused. Can spinal cord damage symptoms be slow and progressive?

I was offered ACDF but I would like to avoid surgery. The consultant said that even after two years, there is a chance my disc could heal itself, but as it has steadily worsened over the past year, as have my symptoms, I am in serious doubt of this. I have re-started physio and am due to have an injection in my neck at some point.

So, my question is this: have any of you had a worsening disc herniation heal with physio etc, even after several years? Do you know anyone this has happened to? I can't help but worry that the pressing on my spinal cord is going to get worse and that surgery may end up unavoidable, so I'm hoping for some positive answers!


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