I have a long history of cervical bulging disks, and more recent history of low back issues. Over the past couple of months, I have been getting more severe symptoms, including weakness in the arms, disruption to my gait (stumbling, "catching" my foot on the ground), increased numbness/pain shoulder arms and hands (more right than left), inability to do anything requiring arms at or above shoulder height for very long.
Had MRI day before yeseterday -- lots of bulges -- most no big deal, but here are the salient findings:
C4-5: Mild decrease in disc height. Spondylitic protrusion with presence of foraminal disc-osteophyte complex that results in biforaminal stenosis, right greater than left. Centrally, the spondylotic protrusion mildly effaces the ventral cervical cord, primarily on the right.
C5-6: Broad based central/left paracentral HNP having an AP dimension of approximately 4mm. This mildly effaces the ventral cervical cord. Extrusion of the disc inferiorly is noted. The protruding disc also encroaches into and narrows the neural foramina bilaterally. The degree of disc protrusion has increased since the previous examination.
L5-S1: Disc dessication. Disc height narrowing. Approximately 8 mm anterolisthesis of L5 relative to S1. Broad-based pseudobulge. Bilateral spondylolysis. Facet arthropathy. The findings result in severe biforaminal stenosis with compression of the exiting L5 nerve roots. The facet arthropathy on the right effaces the lateral border of the thecal sac. Ligamentum flavum hypertrophy contributes to central canal narrowing with narrowing of the transverse dimensions of the central canal. Arthropathic cysts are noted in the face joints.
OK, does not sound good from here, as I have enough background on some of this to understand what is involved. I have had prior epidural injections, without effect, and mountains of PT. From those experienced with such things, what's next? How likely is surgery? Any info would be helpful.
If nothing is helping you anymore I would go to a surgeon to start looking at other options which may or may not include surgery, he/she can probably help you understand how servere things may or may not be.
I would get in soon though, especially if you feel like you are getting worse and worse, because, like with my case, I go worse rather rapidly and in a way it was rather sudden and steady progression and sometimes it takes a while before you can even get into for a first visit with a surgeon so the longer you wait, the longer you may be suffering depending on how fast you go down hill. Hopefully you'll be lucky though and stay stable as to where you are. But being that you don't know if a fall or a car accient could leave you paralized or something... Its just my opinion and concern, but I'd get in. But there may still be other options that I'm not aware of that might help you before having to undergo surgery. Good luck to you and many blessings, keep us posted.
Like Pearldoves has said, if nothing is working anymore, I would definately have it checked out.
What type of Dr. are/have you seen for this? I would recommend that you try and get a referral from your Pm, to see either an ortho or neuro spine specialist, with a spine fellowship. With all that you have going on, I wouldn't trust just a Pm dr. or therapist.
Beings that you have some spinal cord compression and other issues, getting worse and not getting better with alternative therapies, in my opinion and I'm not a doctor, it looks like you will probably need some type of surgery.
Good luck to you and please keep us posted on how you are,
Thanks for the posts -- it is really early in the process (at least THIS round of the process) -- had the MRI on Wednesday, got the results Friday, so will hear from my PCP on Monday or Tuesday, which will undoubtedly be a referral to a neurosurgeon.
Frankly, the pain isn't as troubling to me as the loss of strength in the arms and the "dead" feeling in my legs. At this point, I would stand on my head naked and sing "I'm a Little Teapot" downtown at noon if I could have just one day where I felt like a "normal" person.
Hi. I'm post op from a Sept. L4/L5 fusion, Lam and Disc. In August I had an MRI on my neck. I have three herniated discs, three bulging discs and arthritis. I'm 42. I went because of issues with my elbow and wrist. I just had an EMG. The results were that all the nerves are fine. He said he would not recommend having surgery on the neck since the nerves are okay. There are days the pain is really bad but not sure if caused by the back. I'm still having back pain. My elbow has been really painful so just had MRI on that. I have a tear in the tendon and need another surgery. It never ends. I've done therapy a million times too. Never had injections in the neck but did in the back with a nerve block also. Only the nerve blocked helped a few months. The MRI says alot of things but when you go to the dr. they say it is not bad. That is my experience. Feel better.