Neck Injury

I'll address a couple of points here. First, it's not really appropriate for people to come on the Internet and make blanket statements like, "Whatever you do don't let the doctor do.....whatever." Different injuries require different treatment protocols. No one on the Internet can be familiar enough with someone elses case to give advice against what a physician that has been hands on with the patient says. Just because someone "has a friend" that has a specific procedure done and they didn't have positive results does not mean that the specific procedure in and of itself is never warranted as a form of treatment. About 8 years ago I had to have back surgery. Prior to the surgery I had no less than 15 people tell me not to have it done. Everyone had a horror story and thought they knew better than the surgeon. Well, I researched things, weighed my options and had the surgery. After months of incapacatation I walked out of the hospital the day after surgery and was back at the gym within two weeks. So, please...explore your options, do your own research, get a second or third professional opinion, BUT listen closely to the professionals and not someone that, "has a friend" that the procedure didn't work for. Chances are that their case is markedly different than yours even if the outward appearance is the same.

OK now, (steps off of high horse)...Jason Reinhardt, I'm a bit confused about you saying that you're having an epidural to see if the pain is coming from your facet joints. Epidural injections are a form of treatment and are not diagnostic in nature. Are you maybe having a nerve conduction test and not an epidural? Or are they maybe doing an epidural and if it's not effective they will assume it's a joint problem? If you can clear that up it will help me be able to answer better.

The heating of the nerves to block the pain is not really a fix of the problem, it just makes it so that you won't consciously realize that something is hurting. That's usually a form of treatment that is used when everything else has failed since it doesn't fix anything but rather just takes away the pain.

It is of some significance that you mention that heat and motion alleviate pain. This often indicates that the problem is stemming from some sort of soft tissue injury (muscle, ligament, tendon, cartilage). You already say that the MRI didn't show any discal problems and you didn't list symptoms that typically are associated with nerve injuries. So, that leaves joint problems leading to chronic muscle spasm, or chronic muscle spasm that can lead to facet joint problems. What you really need to do is get an accurate diagnosis. Without proper diagnosis a specific treatment plan is hard to come by. Personally I'm a big believer in Osteopathic physicians. They're kind of like having a medical doctor, a chiropractor and a physical therapist all rolled into one.



Lastly, traction. It's a treatment that has mixed results. However, if it's done properly there is a VERY low risk of making anything worse so it's certainly worth a try. Basically it is good for a couple of specific conditions. First, people with degenerative disc disease almost always LOVE traction because it opens up the space between the vertebrae and relieves pressure on the nerves. This is normally the job of the discs, but when the discs fail traction helps. Second, people with disc herniations may have good results with traction if the disc is not "to far gone". Basically when you're in an upright position the weight of your head is pushing down on your cervical spine. If a disc is injured it can squeeze the internal disc material into the spinal canal and press the nerve against the vertebrae. If the disc is not to far gone then the traction takes the pressure off the injured disc and allows the material to move back into the center of the disc and this relieves the pressure on the nerve(s). Sometimes it works and sometimes not.

Best in Health and Training, J. R.
Edited for spelling.

DagwoodDogwoggle, I see you're in Denver. I may have asked you before, but where do you work? Where do you train? I live in Lyons, work in Estes Park and teach in Westminster. I go to almost all of the fights in the front range area. Maybe we could meet in person at an event.

Anyway, on to your question. My epidural was done in Longmont at the Front Range Orthopedic Surgery Center by Donna Mitchell, MD. I believe she is an anasthesiologist. She was awesome. Not only did she squeeze me in after office hours because of my severe pain, but she was scheduled to leave for vacation the day of my procedure. She called me twice during her vacation to check on my progress. Also, my laminectomy (8 years earlier) was done by Dr. Samuel Smith, also of the Front Range Orthopedic Surgery Center.

Best in Health and Training, J. R.

Backs along with knees and shoulders, suck.

JRS, Your right. I agree with you on saying things like "whatever you do don't let a Doctor do this or that" I just have been told and all the resaerch i've studied and read, (not to mention my own personal experience) that Fusing the Cervical spine is bad, if you can avoid it through minimal invasive surgery, where you can maintain a portion of your original disc. This is what i had done, and i had 2 of the largest herniations the Nuerosurgeons had seen in the Cervical. But you are right, everyone is different. the CED surgery worked well for me, on my neck and i just think it best to avoid fusions. however, i do know a couple fighters who have had Fusions on their neck and they are still fighting. So, i don't know, maybe a fusion isn't all that bad. I do agree with you though. Everybody's situation is different. I just know the pain i've been dealing with and nobody should have to go through it. It's absolutley miserable.

As far as the Epidural for me. Man, i've been told by the Doctor in my hometown,(pain center) that he had to do an injection in my Facet joint (epidural) to see if it releives the pain. He said if it does, then he knows my pain is coming from the Facet joint??? Man, i don't know where to turn. I would be willing to travel across the country or the WORLD to get releif, and get correct answers!!! Nobody can give answers to whats wrong. They either blame it on early onset of Arthritis (i'm too young) or they say it's coming from the facet joints?? what should i do?? Heat helps tremendously, and then i'm back to normal 45 min. later. I just want some releif so i can fight a lot in 2004, and get on with my life. Chronic Pain effects your everyday sense of inner peace and well being. I never understood how depression can be directly related to Chronic Pain, but i fully understand now. I will do anything to go see the best Doctor in the Country. Can you give me any?? I have great insurance through my wifes work.

Anyway, to be honest i'm nervous as hell about getting the RF surgery done, although they say it's relatively safe?? However, your nerves are their for a reason, and if they just clear my symptoms, i still have my problem, whether it is mechanical, muscular, tendons, ligament sprain. Thanks for any advice! Sincerely, Jason Reinhardt

JRS, if you could help me get with the right Doctors who TRULY know the back, i would be forever grateful!! I just want so bad to continue with my fighting career. I will do whatever it takes.

I had two herniated discs in my neck. Hurt so fucking bad. I did it training, but it was probably from when I moved. I did it all myself from the fifth floor of my building, no elevator. My neck was locked in a weird angle, I had to get pain killers, pills to shrink the discs, and physical therapy on my neck.

The pain is there off and on, I have full range of motion and have no problem training. Except I do have to loosen my neck up quite a bit. It took a few months before I could train. It's been recommeded to me to have the back of the discs shaved down, to free the pinched nerve that I still have, I'm considering it, any advice?

I had the MRI's, and saw a neurologist and a physical therapist for treatment. They are saying that I have my range of motion back, which I do (I couldn't move my neck at all) and the pain is a tenth of what it was, but to get pain free they have to free the nerve.


I bought a Saunders cervical traction unit. If this is the course of treatment you Dr. is recommending and you have to pay out of pocket for this, try Ebay. My insurance had a $500 deductible and of course it was at the beginning of my plan year so I would of had to come out of pocket 100% for this. I *think* they are around $500 anyway. I found one on ebay for about $200. Of course I just did a search for you and found one for $99. My typical luck:) THere are also traction units that are cheaper than this. They are the over the door type units. I'm not an expert but my PT said these can give you TMJ (jaw problems). Research this with your doc.

JRS makes a great point about keyboard doctoring. I hope that I haven't given anyone the impression of what they "should do" to fix their neck problems. Obviously I'm not exactly an expert on the matter as I've had pain for about a year. THe only thing I would suggest is to keep all options open and try the interventions a cert. medical professional recommends in a progressive manner (don't go straight the most invasive surgery if it isn't needed).

Best of luck to all of my broke-neck-brothers! Thanks again for the input.


Thanks for the info on the traction unit. That is very helpful.

My injury is not severe. After two MRI's, the doctor is calling
it a "mildly herniated disc." I stopped training shortly after I
noticed symptoms, and seem to be making slow but steady
progress in my recovery. When I went in to see the doctor
for a progress check last week he mentioned getting a
traction device, but with the way health care is these days he
didn't have time to elaborate on exactly what he was talking

Thanks again Baldilocks and good luck to everyone with this


I feel your pain about getting any significant amount of time with a MD, especially a specialist. Pun intended! Of course when I leave I always remember 4 questions I forgot to ask because I'm always speed talking to try to get everything in w/in a few minutes.

Out of curiosity, do you or anyone else have significant strenght loss... especially pressing motions (bench, military)?

I'm hoping it doesn't take 2-3 years to get back to normal strength.

Oh, the "over-the-door" type of traction machines is basically some weights and a head harness attached by a cord. The weights are on one side and your head on the other. There's more to it than that but that's the basics. Sadly enough, I guess the machanics involved resemble being hung.

"Out of curiosity, do you or anyone else have significant
strenght loss... especially pressing motions (bench, military)"

I had serious strength loss in my left arm. At my worst, I
couldn't hold myself up on the dip bars, and could only bench
a 20lb dumbbell with my left arm. That was pretty

One thing that I haven't seen mentioned here is A.R.T.
treatments. This is kind of like super deep tissue massage as
you articulate the joint. I've had about ten treatments and
have felt a big improvement. In my case I think that some of
the disc problem was being caused by scar tissue in my neck
and traps from using my head on double legs and doing
knee sparring/head clinching in MT.

I just used the neck traction device at my PT's today. Today
was the first time that I could tolerate it. Previously it made
my symptoms much worse. The PT told me that I should try it
in the office a few more times and then if it helps I could get
my own.


Yeah, I think the A.R.T was going to be my next post. I've read a little up on it and it sounds good but wasn't sure if it was just good marketing or effective treatment.

Has anyone else had this? It's active release therapy that's conducted by a chiropractor.

Next post will be, who else is about broke from doing neuro, chiro and pt co-pays? My insurance just went up to $40 per visit copay. Injuries aren't only painful but just financially burdensome.

Thanks again!

I might have to check his training schedule. I don't think I'd be able to make it from NC to Colorado. I think there are some "certified" people in ART in this area.

Currently in 3 months of c-collars and a c-5, c-6 fusion, I feel better everyday. I still get some numbness and tingling. The symptom that put my surgeon over the edge was wwhen I told him that when I lauged, coughed, sneezed it felt like I was holding an electric fence 3 times the power. I do not have that anymore. 3 more months and some crossfit and i will be back on the mat.

DagwoodDogwoggle, sorry to hear the injections didn't take care of things. Best wishes with the discectomy.

J. R.