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Institut Chiari & Siringomielia & Escoliosis of Barcelona

Carmen Reyes Barranco. Right cervicobrachialgia secondary to right cervical C5-C6 disc herniation

Surgery date: March 2012

Hello to everyone. My name is Carmen Reyes, I am 32 years old and I live in Cartagena, Murcia.
I have to tell you that I have undergone surgery for a Herniated Disc in the C5-C6 vertebrae with irradiation to the arm (right Cervicobrachialgia) and I have the need to tell all those people who suffers from this type of hernia that there is a very good solution.
In 2005 and 2010, I was hit in a traffic accident, since then, I had discomfort in my neck and shoulders, typical muscle contractures that used to appear once or twice a year, without having other major consequences than to suffering 15-20 days with pain in the neck and shoulder blade, which with anti-inflammatory treatment went well.
But, in October 2011, I woke up overnight with a terrible neck pain, at first I thought that I had been sleeping with a bad neck position, I spent three or four days like this; I also felt my right arm heavy, as if it had a weight tied on my forearm. My arm didn’t hurt but it was very annoying. I spent a week taking muscle relaxants, anti-inflammatories and acetaminophen, in addition to the occasional metamizol. As the pain did not stop, I went to the GP but he was on leave and there was a substitute who, without getting up from the chair, told me that it would be contractures and I had to take tetrazepam at night for a week, paracetamol and anti-inflammatories every 6 hours. I said I had already been taking that for a week because it was what I was prescribed when I had the accidents. So he told me to go to a physiotherapist, if possible private, because  through social security it would take me at least three months.
I went to a physiotherapist, I explained my story and, without asking me for a MRI or medical test, he began to massage and twist my neck in all directions. After an hour, I was told to put on ice and that was all. After five days, the pain in the arm intensified and I couldn’t move my neck so I went to a private clinic and I was told I had cervicobrachialgia just by telling my symptoms. He gave me an injection and prescribed me corticoides for a week. The next day, the pain was unbearable and I went back again for injections. The doctor who was there asked me “does it hurt so much? Let’s see what’s wrong”. I explained my symptoms and he said “come on . I am going to give you a cocktail” and he gave me two shots. After, he asked me how I was doing but I was not good. My arm was still aching and I even noticed the first electric currents that were going from my neck to my elbow. He sent me home and told me I had to come back the next day to get the corticoide injection. This was just the beginning.
I spent the whole afternoon with electric currents, pain and a lot of heaviness in my arm, in addition to a burning in the back of my neck. The pain was so strong that at 5 AM of 15 October 2011 I had to go to the Hospital. They immediately took care of me and started to give me intravenous serums. It was getting worse, throughout the morning, they gave me two injections of morphine in each arm but they only left me with pins and needles in the area of the puncture and a lot of sleepiness without being able to sleep because it continued to hurt. It was like I was wearing a tourniquet that continuously pressed me, having pressure intervals and when I pressed hard my arm, it was horrible and I didn’t know how to position my head.
My doctor told us that I had to be hospitalized because they have to discover where the focused pain was coming from, and they couldn’t do anything else so they brought me to Santa Lucía Hospital. I was hospitalized for 45 days with all kinds of medication, specially dexketoprofen, morphine, and more morphine in addition to the dexamethasone to be able to calm these pains. The 15th day, the neurosurgeon of Murcia, Dr. Alarcón did a medical examination, he asked me how old I was, I told him 31 and he made me squeeze my fingers. My husband asked him if it was mandatory to undergo surgery and his words literally were: “look, this surgery is very delicate and to give you an idea it is like going on a trip. You know the day you leave but not if you are going to arrive. What does this mean? You can stay in a wheelchair or paralyzed from the neck down. She is very young. We are going to wait another week to see if the medication is working”. He did not give me another option to choose, on the one hand I was glad, I am quite fearful of the surgery theatre, but on the other hand that much pain was not normal. That week turned into another month of suffering terrible pain, cramps, spasms, elelctric currents without being able to stand up from the bed until 43 days later. It was a neverending spiral and after I was another month and a half at home with medication (the shopping list, like my GP said). I had withdrawal syndrome, a week with sweats, chills, body pain, anguish, nausea, etc.
After two months only needing Ibuprofen, Paracetamol and Lyrica, in March, the nightmare of the first 14 days returned. It was a back and forth of pills that were not working anymore. I went to Santa Lucía Hospital and they put me on a tramadol infusion with anti-inflammatory and metoclopramide. The doctor asked me how it was going and I said my neck seems ok but not the arm and he prescribed me tramadol pills and voltaren and if in three days things had not calmed down, I would had to go back to the hospital. That night was not good at all and the next day, I had to go to the emergency room again. They gave me another infusion and nothing, just when they were putting me to bed, Dr. Victoria came and told me that they were going to start with soft medication and increasing the dose. He was paying attention all night but it was still the same, so he told us about Dr. Royo (an excellent neurosurgeon) and he was sure that if Dr. Royo were to perform surgery, I could be calm and fine in a month.
Immediately, on the early Sunday morning, Dr. Victoria contacted Dr. Royo and that same Sunday we went to Barcelona. Early on the Monday, and just with a physical check-up, Dr. Royo told me that it was mandatory to undergo surgery because, in addition to the herniated disc, the nerve of the arm was pressing on the spinal cord. He said that undergoing surgery would solve my problem. I have a lot of respect for the surgery rooms but Dr. Royo gave us the security and calm we needed and he spoke really well about Dr. Victoria. I will never be tired of thanking Dr. Victoria, because he threw himself totally into my case and without him I would not know Dr. Royo. I had to tell you that I underwent surgery on 20 March 2012 and now, 7 weeks later, I am like new. You cannot even imagine. It is incredible how good is to live without any pain.
I sincerely hope that all the people who suffer from what I had, can meet Dr. Miguel B. Royo.
Thank you very much Dr. Royo, I send you my warmest regards.