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Old 01-22-2013, 05:20 AM   #1
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Unhappy Cervical bone spurs/osteophytes

I've had degenerative disc disease for about 15 years. I had a 360 degree L-4, L5L5-S1 Spinal Fusion in January of 2002, with no relief. Actually, my pain became worse, and is now much worse. I also have severe degeneration at L-3, but no surgery there. Now my cervical spine is in bad shape. The thing that is scaring me really bad is the following: A medium-sized anteriorly bridging osteophite (which I know is a bone spur) spans the C5-C6 intervertical disc space. Then it says: C5-C6: Mild to moderate spinal stenosis from a mild broad-based posterior disc protrusion (midline thecal sac AP dimension of 7.5mm). There is also mild bilateral neural foraminal narrowing from uncinate spurring. Note: C3-C4 has central protrusion mildly effacing the thecal sac. C4-C5 has mild central spinal stenosis broad posterior disc protrusion (midline thecal sac AP dimension of 9mm) and moderate right and left neural foraminal narrowing from uncinate spurring. C6-C7 has mild to moderate central spinal stenosis from mild central disc protrusion (midline thecal sac AP dimension of 7.5mm). Am I going to go paralized or lose my ability to breath and swallow if I don't have surgery. It says that the surgery is massively invasive. And what if it doesn't ease the pain? I'm scared to death. A surgery like this could paralyize me from the neck down. I can't put my family through something like that. Note: I have also posted this thread in spine problems yesterday but still haven't received any replies.

 
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Old 01-22-2013, 05:57 AM   #2
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Re: Cervical bone spurs/osteophytes

I would just like to comment on your lumbar fusion. Obviously I do not know your specific details and why you are no better off than prior to the surgery, but I wanted to mention, especially since L3-L4 is degenerating, that it may be that L3-L4 is the cause of your pain.

I was originally fused at L4-L5, a medically successful surgery that left me in the very same pain I had prior to surgery. After two years of searching for answers, various doctors felt I was unstable at L5-S1. A number of diagnostic nerve blocks later, my surgeon decided to do a three level revision. When he got in there, he was shocked to discover that I was unstable, but it was at L3-L4. The facet joints at that L3 level had completely worn away and there were just little nubs left. This was allowing my spine to move in ways nature had not intended, and the nerves were being pinched everytime I moved.

This discovery was a big surprise to my doctors. This area had appeared more or less normal on all the MRIs I'd had done and there was nothing to indicate the facets were basically gone. So, he removed the hardware at L4-L5, and then added new screws at all three areas, connecting it with two longer rods. Within four days, the radiculopathy/nerve pain I'd had in my legs for six years was gone.

Your situation may be completely different, but I wanted to mention my story. If you have only consulted with the doctor who did your surgery, you might want to get a couple more opinions to see if L3-L4 is actually causing your pain. Doctors always try to do as little as necessary surgically to resolve the patient's problems, and it may be that L3-L4 has been a pain generator all along.

I'm going to let the cervical spineys on the spinal cord disorder board respond to your questions about cervical surgeries. There are a couple people there with a lot of personal experiences that will be able to help you.

Last edited by teteri66; 01-22-2013 at 06:00 AM.

 
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Old 01-22-2013, 01:20 PM   #3
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Re: Cervical bone spurs/osteophytes

Hi survivor, I know what it is like to have pain "incompatible with being alive" after 4 lumbar back surgeries, pain for 30 years. I entered pain mgmt in 1998, my neurosurgeon retired, & i had no reason for pain except failed back surgery syndrome. I continued on with this uncertainty until 2012 when finally told that i have adhesive arachnoiditis which is causing the pain, nerve weirdness or neuropathy started last year also & it is progressing until i have major numbness, "buzzing" all over & i just sit by & watch because 3 NS wont touch me. So, i can sympathize & empathize with your nerve compression symptoms. Also, i have a bone spur shaped like an arrow poking spinal cord @ C1 but deep tissue myofascial massage helped me so that i never have symptoms anymore. I understand that you are afraid of permanent nerve damage & totally "get it" why you are scared to have a fusion on neck. If i were you i would get the opinion of 2 or 3 complex spine surgery neurosurgeons or orthopedics that have a practice limited to spine issues , not brain surgery or joint replacements & see what they recommend in such a complicated case as your own. I truly hope that you find an answer that will provide you with relief! Welcome to the backboard please let us know how you are doing,
what the drs recommemd, support, venting etc Have you ever looked up a dermatome map that shows which spinal nerve corresponds with which area of the body? I think that you will find it helpful & may answer questions that you have posted. God bless you,
survivor.

Last edited by gmak; 01-22-2013 at 01:31 PM. Reason: typo, wording

 
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Old 01-29-2013, 04:00 PM   #4
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Re: Cervical bone spurs/osteophytes

I had my Lumbar fusion in 2002 and the L3 happened in 2004. It is bulging due to a fall in a Target store and has nothing to do with the fusion. It is not degenerated, but the c-spine is degenerating. My pain never got better. I have bad pain from my L3, but the L5S1 has started causing pain due to focal disc protrusion and nerve damage. There's no going back in there. Once you have a fusion that's the end. Pain in left upper hip and down front of left leg to the knee. The L3 pain is causing pain in the area of the disc, but I don't think it is contributing to my hip and leg pain, but who knows? But thanks everyone for the talk. I appreciate it! Oh and my hardware was removed 10 months after my surgery because I was fused and they thought my pain was being caused by the hardware because I was so thin.

Last edited by fmgal; 01-29-2013 at 04:11 PM. Reason: something else to say.

 
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Old 01-30-2013, 08:10 AM   #5
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Re: Cervical bone spurs/osteophytes

Revisions can be done for a fusion. I had one a couple years ago and it completely resolved my pain issues. The point I was trying to make in my previous post is that if there is any nerve compression from L3 or L4 spinal nerves, it very well could have been there prior to when you had the fusion surgery. There is a somewhat subjective decision when the surgeon decides what is the pain generator and how many levels should he include in the fusion. I am suggesting that perhaps the L3-L4 segment should have been included at the time of the first surgery.

When you have pain running down the front of the leg, it is almost always caused by the L3 nerve...and yes, it could be causing the hip pain too. Take a look at a dermatome map which you can find on line. It will show you the general pattern that each spinal nerve innervates.

Regarding your cervical issues, it is difficult to judge how extensive the cord compression is from the report. I believe it is described as "mild" which should indicate that you don't have to be too worried about the potential for paralysis at this point.

The foraminal stenosis is less of a problem. It can be painful but it is not impacting the spinal cord the way central canal stenosis would. For your own peace of mind, a discussion with your surgeon should help.

 
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Old 01-30-2013, 03:40 PM   #6
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Re: Cervical bone spurs/osteophytes

Quote:
Originally Posted by teteri66 View Post
Revisions can be done for a fusion. I had one a couple years ago and it completely resolved my pain issues. The point I was trying to make in my previous post is that if there is any nerve compression from L3 or L4 spinal nerves, it very well could have been there prior to when you had the fusion surgery. There is a somewhat subjective decision when the surgeon decides what is the pain generator and how many levels should he include in the fusion. I am suggesting that perhaps the L3-L4 segment should have been included at the time of the first surgery.

When you have pain running down the front of the leg, it is almost always caused by the L3 nerve...and yes, it could be causing the hip pain too. Take a look at a dermatome map which you can find on line. It will show you the general pattern that each spinal nerve innervates.

Regarding your cervical issues, it is difficult to judge how extensive the cord compression is from the report. I believe it is described as "mild" which should indicate that you don't have to be too worried about the potential for paralysis at this point.

The foraminal stenosis is less of a problem. It can be painful but it is not impacting the spinal cord the way central canal stenosis would. For your own peace of mind, a discussion with your surgeon should help.

 
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Old 01-30-2013, 03:47 PM   #7
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Re: Cervical bone spurs/osteophytes

Yes, I have every intention of discussing my issues with a surgeon. I'm not going back to the one who did my first fusion. The reason that L3 was left alone was because I had no degeneration in that disc in Jan. of 2002 when I had the fusion. I still don't have degeneration per se; it is a disc bulge that occurred 2 years after my fusion surgery. I will not have spinal fusion again and no one will talk me into it. You have no idea how many people that I have talked to in the past 10 years who also had no pain relief from spinal fusion surgery. One of cervical osteophytes was considered moderate and was 9mm in length. I wish so much that they were posterior instead of anterior, but what I wish and what is true are two different things. By the way, my cousin had the exact same spinal fusion surgery that I had and she died on the table. Maybe you can understand better my reluctance to do fusion again when it didn't help me the first time.

 
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