I'm a male, 28 years old graphic designer who spends a lot of his time working on a computer. 185cm, 79kg.


I started exercising and working out only a year ago. In mid-May this year, after I woke up I experienced sharp pain in the neck which I thought was a muscle strain. I couldn't really relate it to any exercise in particular. The only thing I did differently was that i added 32kg kettlebell farmer walks in my weekly routine after my training. The pain didnít subside for several days and I started to do some neck stretches that were very painful and probably irritated my neck further. Two weeks after that, during warming up on bench press I realized that I have lost strength in my right arm. It felt like my right tricep didnít want to contract properly. The strength had diminished. I couldn't understand why was that happening because I didn't feel any pain during my exercises. The strength did not return in the following week. Then I started to feel muscle twitches in my right tricep, latissimus dorsi and pec. The pain started radiating down my arm. A few weeks later most of the pain subsided and it was replaced by numbness in my index finger and thumb with occasional tingling sensation radiating from right tricep, through forearm to index and middle finger. The numbness and tingling was mostly dependent upon position of neck and head with upward position causing most of the symptoms. Also, nerd neck position when in front of PC or using my phone aggravated symptoms. Soon after, I noticed that the muscles affected by these symptoms (right tricep, pec and lat) have become softer and smaller as if they were atrophying. Ability to flex them has also diminished. To this day (4 months later after initial symptom) the weakness and numbness remained, though numbness is almost gone now and I only feel it slightly in the tip of the index finger. I am not in any pain but I feel discomfort and tension in my lower neck and trapezius. I continued to train through all of this because I didn't know if it was something serious and I didn't feel any pain or discomfort during my training. Only 15 days ago I stopped when I saw the results of MRI.
Also, if itís relevant, about a year and a half ago I fell off my bike and slightly hurt my head, but my left shoulder endured the hardest impact. However, the pain in that shoulder disappeared a month after the fall.


15 days ago, I did MRI of cervical spine and it showed c6-c7 disc extrusion and c5-c6 disc bulge. After that I did EMG and there were indications of chronic c7 radiculopathy. The neurologist told me something like third of triceps motor neurons have died. And he said that it was irreversible.

Doctor opinions

I live in a third world country with universal healthcare and I don't have much confidence in doctors here. Plus their opinions differ greatly. Some of them tell me that I should do the surgery but some of them want me to to physical therapy first and then redo EMG and reassess. Muscle hypotrophy is something that is most concerning for them. I only stopped going to the gym 15 days ago when I saw the results of MRI so I don't think PT will make much difference, because I'm not in any pain, and I am very mobile. One of the neurosurgeons suggested that I should try treating it with dexamethasone and antirheumatics. Also some of them said that I should wear cervical collar, so I have been wearing it for few days now (even though I think it's pointless because the injury occurred 4 months ago).


After MRI, all of the doctors said that I shouldn't have trained and that I could have made it much worse.
I am still relatively new to training and I've probably made some mistakes. But could weightlifting really cause all of this damage? Or I am paying price of the years of sedentary lifestyle and maybe crappy genetics? Even after injury I broke my PR in DL and squat but all of the pushing exercises seriously lag behind with bench press being the worst. Currently I am waiting for further consultation and I am not going to the gym. It's killing me, because I really like it and I am very enthusiastic about my training. I am not ready to forgo it. And if the sedentary lifestyle was a thing causing it, wouldn't the discontinuation of my training make it even worse?

What are your experiences with surgery. Is that the way to go? What about training? Should I be training in this condition?