Medical Specialty >> Orthopedics

Doctors Lounge - Orthopedics Answers

Back to Orthopedics Answers List

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately. Doctors Lounge ( does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, products, procedures, opinions, or other information that may be mentioned on the Site.

DISCLAIMER: The information provided on is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her physician. Please read our 'Terms and Conditions of Use' carefully before using this site.

Date of last update: 10/01/2017.

Forum Name: Spinal problems and back pain

Question: pinched nerve/ruptured discs (cervical)

 Janice - Wed May 25, 2005 1:06 pm

I am confused. I have had severe pain in my left arm, shoulder and shoulder blade area as well as the middle of my back from the shoulder blade up to my neck. I had an x-ray and an MRI and was told that I "had a pinched nerve and was ruptured big time and it was going down my spinal column and I needed to see a neurologist right away because surgery was the only option I had". I went to see a neurologist who looked at my MRI and my x-ray and gave me medicine (cortizone & scalaxin-- might not be spelled right), had me do cervical traction at home, and exercises for my left arm and my neck. I had to stop the traction because it made the pain around my shoulder blade and middle of back more painful. The doctor told me to stop if it hurt.

My confusion is that one doctor stressed a sense of urgency to see a neurologist and told me my only option was surgery. The neurologist tells me to do the cervical traction, take the medicine, and do the exercises and that I don't need the surgery unless I just want it. He is more than willing to do the surgery but only if I say it's necessary. I told him that he was the doctor and I needed to go by his expertise as he knew more about what was going on inside me than I do (no one has fully explained it to me nor explained what would be involved if I had surgery). I was told by the first doctor that my 5th and 6th discs were in bad shape (or it may have been the 4th & 5th) and my nerve was probably being pinched in that area and that I have spurs. My question? Who do I listen to--the one that tells me surgery is my only option or the one that tells me he'll do the surgery if and when I want him to because he treats the patient and not the x-ray?
 Theresa Jones, RN - Wed May 25, 2005 2:26 pm

User avatar Hi Janice,
It sounds as if the neurologist wanted to attempt a more conservative approach (medications, exercises etc.) first, prior to an invasive procedure. However, since the current method has not improved your symptoms I would suggest a re-evaluation. Make a list of questions prior to your visit so that you will be well informed.

| Check a doctor's response to similar questions

Are you a Doctor, Pharmacist, PA or a Nurse?

Join the Doctors Lounge online medical community

  • Editorial activities: Publish, peer review, edit online articles.

  • Ask a Doctor Teams: Respond to patient questions and discuss challenging presentations with other members.

Doctors Lounge Membership Application

Tools & Services: Follow DoctorsLounge on Twitter Follow us on Twitter | RSS News | Newsletter | Contact us