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Old 05-31-2007, 06:24 AM   #1
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Symptoms with Cervical Sponylosis -- and other possible spine issues?

Good morning, everybody! I've come here once again for your expertise. Apologies in advance for the length! I started a thread about a month ago titled "Back Injury Problems -- or MORE?" (well actually, I just realized the typo so it reads "Back[B]y[/B] Injury Problems -- or MORE?", LOL!). Your responses were very helpful in encouraging me to press for more answers. I was diagnosed with MS a few months ago but just felt innately that some of my symptoms might be due to something other than that, possibly an injury I sustained to the left side of my lower back. My neurologist (MS specialist) had seemed very quick to attribute everything to MS and it left me uneasy. Here is the excerpt from that original post that concerned me and first brought me here:

[B][COLOR="Blue"][I]"Again, my injury was on the lower left part of my back -- and MOST of the symptoms are on my LEFT side of my body, aside for some tingling in my right hand and foot. Before I became aware that there was tingling on the right (granted, this MS diagnosis has made me ULTRA-aware!) the more prominent/passing "falling asleep" episodes were noticable on my left. My left arm went limp twice (thankfully only for a period of about a minute or two) and the front of my left thigh is reddish -- like the veins are more pronounced toward the surface. The hot/cold sensations I feel seem to pretty much be limited to that left leg -- when I get out of the shower the left thigh is noticably hot and the veins/reddness is more pronounced. Other times there is kind of like an "inner draft" -- a kind of cool shot."[/I][/COLOR][/B]

I had previously had just a brain MRI and was just about to go get one of the c-spine (all MRIs ordered have only in consideration of looking for MS related lesions). I thought it made sense to contact the neuro BEFORE the MRI to see if it made sense to do a FULL spine one instead of just the c-spine so I wouldn't have to keep going back. Long story short, tried to contact my neuro with a detailed message about my concern that some of my symptoms might not be MS related and about the back injury and my thigh. (I had also seen my regular doctor who described the thigh discoloration as looking like some sort of "livedo" and agreed that inquiring about doing an MRI of the whole spine was a good idea.)

No response from the neuro before the c-spine MRI so I had it done. Went to the neuro yesterday to get the results and check in. Good news for the MS part of this is that there were no lesions on my c-spine. Brought up the thigh discoloration and sensations and he didn't even want to LOOK at my thigh. Talked about the back injury and again, he was dismissive. He DID say it wouldn't be a bad idea to get an MRI of the thorasic spine because MS lesions can be occur there. So I left with the MRI prescription and not a lot of answers.

Even more disconcerting than that visit was that I read the radiologist's report on the way home and saw this for the first time:

"At C-4-5, C6 and C-7, disc osteophyte complexes are identified, most notable at C5-6 which results in mild central canal and foraminal stenosis. There is effacement of the ventral subarachnoid space at this level without cord compression or intrinsic cord signal abnormality." Also noted "There is dominant osteophyte/disc material extending to the left resulting in moderate left foraminal stenosis at C5-C6." The conclusive impression was noted as:
"Multilevel cervical spondylosis, most notable at C5-6".

I don't get the impression that this is very severe and no compression is noted but when I started to look up cervical sponylosis, it at least seemed that this can in fact cause some of the symptoms I've been having like tingling and my left arm going limp. (I know it doesn't explain the livedo or sensation on the thigh and everything else.) I would greatly appreciate any input on the MRI results, what this all really means (now and for the future) and if there could be presenting symptoms with this condition.

Regardless, I think these results would have have been worth him mentioning in my appointment, even though it's not MS related. If I hadn't requested a copy of the report I never would have known and that just seems very wrong. I feel that I STILL should do that lower third spine MRI (lumbar?) and not just the thorasic.

Thanks in advance for any input and once more, sorry for the long post!

Last edited by Bearygood; 05-31-2007 at 06:57 AM.

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Old 05-31-2007, 03:17 PM   #2
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Re: Symptoms with Cervical Sponylosis -- and other possible spine issues?


I am not sure about your lower leg symptoms, but per the MRI, you do have stenosis in your cervical spine (which causes compression on nerves and/or the spinal canal) , and it's moderate in some areas. So you have bony overgrowth and a herniated disc in there, which can cause pain (though not always) and can also cause numbness, tingling, and nerve pain, which can refer to your shoulders, arms, and hands. Since several spine levels are involved, you probably have DDD and/ or cervical spondylosis. But it's also possible you could also have these issues in your lumbar spine. I personally had lumbar stenosis (central canal due to bony overgrowht & ligament thickening and buckling) severely in L3 to L5, mild to moderate in L1 to L3. For some people the stenosis may stay as is and not progress, but for others it can progress to severe pain & disability. I am not sure if cervical issues can affect the nerves in the legs, but I do know that lower spine problems can affect the legs. And problems in the cervical spine, if they get bad, can cause alot of nerve damage or even possibly paralysis. Not to scare you, but just letting you know the possibilities that I know of.

Of course I'm not a doctor, but in my opinion, I think you should try to see a spine specialist to look into all this further for you and perhaps try to get a lumbar MRI to check for any stenosis or DDD in there.

Old 05-31-2007, 05:54 PM   #3
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Re: Symptoms with Cervical Sponylosis -- and other possible spine issues?

Baybreeze, thanks so much for the reply. I know I'm not crazy to at least consider (and check out) that this just isn't simply MS. I really appreciate you sharing your knowledge. I am really unfamiliar with back/nerve compression issues.

Two questions -- does it seem reasonable that my next step would be to go to a regular neurologist instead of a back specialist right away? Also, what is DDD?

Again, many thanks!

Old 06-01-2007, 03:22 PM   #4
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Re: Symptoms with Cervical Sponylosis -- and other possible spine issues?

Hi, you're welcome! The people on this board have alot of back related experiences, opinions, and great ask any question you have anytime!

Well, there are usually 2 types of spine specialists....either neurologist or orthopaedist that specialize in spines (this is basically all they take care of). My spine surgeon is an orthopaedist who specializes in adult spine disorders, such stenosis, scoliosis, and spine injuries. But there are also neuros that specialize in spine. Personally I think seeing a doc with this sub specialty is best b/c that's all they deal with and have alot of knowledge in it, but you could probably start with any neuro or ortho if need be.

Sorry about all the abbreviations. The DDD stands for degenerative disc disease, which in many people can start in their late 20's or 30's, though not everyone gets it and not everyone gets symptoms or pain from it. It has to do with your discs losing their water content and shrinking, flattening, tearing, herniating, etc...the discs herniating can cause one kind of stenosis b/c the disc can come out and squish into surrounding nerves or even way out into the spinal canal which can cause alot of pain and/ or nerve compression. I have sciatica right now & pretty sure I have one or more herniations again...and this caused horrible pain plus from the bottom 2/3 of my calf, into my outer ankle, and toes went completely numb. And all this is probably due to my "DDD". I just HOPE I don't have any more new stenosis or some developing more elsewhere. I think you mentioned you have osteophytes, which is bony overgrowth, or spurs and that will never go away on it's own...a disc hernation is possible to resolve itself over time. The stenosis may never worsen, but it's also possible it can.

So if I were you, I would try to find a neuor or ortho spine specialist to look into all that for you. THere are many different options of treatments to try. Though depending on the severity, sometimes treatments don't work , or wear off after a while. But it's still worth having it all checked, b/c you may have MS plus other spine issues going on.....let us know if you have any other questions.

Old 06-02-2007, 07:18 AM   #5
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Re: Symptoms with Cervical Sponylosis -- and other possible spine issues?

Thanks, Baybreeze. I spoke to my internist last night and he agrees that I need to pursue this and is giving me a referral to a regular neurologist The impression I had was that the MS specialist didn't want to look at my thigh because he assumed it was MS realated but it turns out it was because he DIDN'T think so! While it would have been nice if he had told me personally in addition to the conversation he had with my regular doc, at least I now know I'm not crazy. At the very least, it looks like I might be on my way to finding out if ALL the neuropathy is definitely MS or if there's something else I need to be tending to. I'm not doing the MRI of the thorasic until I know for sure I don't need to do the lumbar as well.

We also discussed the c-spine results, I had requested the report be sent to him and he told me that it wasn't severe and that this kind of reading usually shows up to a certain extent in people over 40.

Again, thank you for the reply!

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