I have just been diagnosed with cervical retrospondylolisthesis, degenerative arthritis and have herniated discs . I wondered if anyone else has this problem and if they had received a prognosis yet? I have received no other treatment yet and am in constant pain and discomfort.
The following user gives a hug of support to janhad: trackjack (12-19-2011)
I have a very similar situation along with bone spurs. My neck itself hurts ,but the worst part was that I had terrible problems in the top of my shoulder and in the scapular/trapezius region, along with all of the clicking and cracking every time I turned my head.
Since you have not started treatments,you still have a lot of possibilities to try.Although most of the things did not help me,they may help you. Usually the doctor will start with NSAIDs and muscle relaxers.You can also try physical therapy,traction.trigger point injections,TENS unit, neck exercises, shouder exercises,cervical epidurals.
I tried all of the above in search of a solution.None of it really worked,or if it did,it was only temporary.It was also expensive.This whole thing started over a year ago.
The good news,is that after all that time things have improved.The clicking is gone and that horrible pressure feeling in my shoulder/back is gone.My neck itself still hurts(but not all of the time).The only thing I can contribute it to is the neck exercises.It was the one thing I kept doing.I started last fall and continue to do them til this day.The improvement was so gradual,that I hardly noticed.Then one day,I realized that my neck wasn't clicking as much and that the pressure wasn't so bad.By the time I realized there was an improvement,it had been over 6 months of exercise.I hope this information is helpful and that you find relief.Regards.Donna
Thank you so much for your message. Its been quite hard coping with the constant pain. Saw my doc earlier this week as I have now started physiotherapy. As a result of the physio massaging my back (she can't touch my neck yet as she said my muscles in my neck are like planks!) have now been prescribed Tramadol 200mg Slow Release. Just hope that these start to help me. Feel as if my life is on hold at the moment. There are so many daily things that I can't do. On very bad days I struggle to even lift my head off the pillow as the muscles in my neck seem to not want to work. I experience constant headaches, muscle spasms and pain in my neck, shoulders and hands. Extreme tingling and pins and needles along my arms and into my fingers. Some days my hands don't work so well. I call these my clumsy days. My physio said she will continue to treat me for a few weeks more and if my condition does not improve she will recommend accupuncture. Hopefully this will help. Have you experienced this treatment? I have to return to see the orthopaedic surgeon in 3 months time. Last time I saw her in March she was very keen on fusing and decompression surgery. She said if I was older she would recommend surgery straight away, but as I am only 48 years old she wants to see if alternative treatments will help. Its good that there is somewhere you can write about your thoughts and feelings, as I feel that my nearest and dearest don't really understand what I am experiencing. Feel a lot older than my years at the mo. Has anyone else degenerative arthritis causing spondylolisthesis? If so, would love to hear from you.
I am so sorry to hear about the severity of your symptoms.From what I understand arthritis can cause spondylolistesis. I developed my problem 1 year ago when I was 49.I have a lot of your symptoms,excluding the nerve problems.
I also took tramadol 200mg slow release.It helped the pain, but made me feel bad (loopy).This was odd,since I usually tolerate medication without any problems.I tried switching to a lower dose that was not slow release and this helped with the "loopy' feeling, but did nothing for the pain.I do know of several people that use it and it works great for them. 6 weeks of therapy did not help.I thought at the time I might have been getting a little relief from the traction portion of therapy,so I bought my own machine to use at home.I had mixed results with it. My Dr. is on the same page with yours regarding surgery.He said that a fusion only last about 10 years, so considering our ages,we should use it as a last resort.At my worst of times I really considered it.My main hold back was that I knew too many people that had it done and didn't get better (or even felt worse).Anyways, here I am over 1 year later and I feel so much better.My improvement came on so gradual,that I didn't even really notice at first. From your post I gather that this is relatively new to you.If you can hold on,I would try everything possible before having surgery.I was at a point where I was going to live with this until it was unbearable (not much of a life),when much to my surprise things got better. I don't want to throw too many things at you all at once.Just remember there are a lot more things for you to try. As far as acupuncture goes,I would try it.If it works great,if not you can move on to something else.Keep us posted about the tramadol/accupuncture.
Thanks for your message and the good advice contained within it. Had a visit to the physiotherapist yesterday and she has now referred me to another colleague who treats patients with accupuncture, so now have an appointment next Tuesday at 9.00am. My physio has now said that she can't see any improvement in any of my symptoms and this I agree with, so now its time to explore the acupuncture. I am not bothered, will try anything at the mo. Have now been taking the tramadol 200mg slow release since last time I messaged you, they seem to be helping a little bit, but feel a little "spaced" out. Not sure if this feeling is the pills, or my hormones as I am experiencing bad hot flushes at the mo also, because of the menopause. You can't win sometimes can you!!!
Was also thinking if the surgery only lasts for 10 years what are the options after that when they have operated on you - what other forms of treatment can they possibly recommend if all else has failed. Is it a case of just grin and bear it, so to speak. Would love to hear from you on this.
Was so pleased that you now have relief from a lot of your symptoms, its good to hear that sometimes nature is wonderful. Keep in touch and best wishes for the future.
Hi Janhad--definitely material for the spinal cord board. You can read up on Jenny's posts and others as to answers about surgery and follow-up surgeries and how they maintain.
About the acupuncture; I tried this about 4 years ago, for spine problems and found such relief after the first session, I was eagerly looking forward to another treatment. This was not a good idea. The second time it really hurt and was painful after. From what I can figure out, it really helped to loosen up those tensed up muscles, but it irritated the arthritic inflammation, something you don't want. There is also a debate about whether the acupuncturist was qualified as she was well-trained in North American and not Eastern methods. Try to figure that one out but I believe if you try this, don't love it so much that you go back again too soon and stir up some very painful, fiery inflammation in those already sore joints.
All the best with your adventures in finding relief,
My Dr said that after surgery ( 10 years or so),if things started to get bad again, they would have to do more surgery.I am not sure if he meant to the exact same area .I know sometimes after a fusion,the levels above or below can become a problem. The tramadol slow release really made me feel bad and the side effects lasted for almost 2 days.I had trouble organizing my thoughts and my heart was racing.That is why I messed around with lower doses that were not slow release.At any rate,it wasn't a good choice for me. I have had better results with over the counter excedrin or when things get really bad I take 2 excedrins and 1 50mg demerol.I have also had mixed success with mobic (meloxicam).I would love to hear how the acupuncture goes.I do know of a few people that had good results with message.I wish I hadn't wasted so much money on therapy or I might have tried that.My physical therapist barely touched me. I know my problem is in my neck,but the real manifestation is in my shoulder.It is as hard as a rock and feels like a frozen slab was stuck there.Sometimes I get my husband to rub that area pretty deep.It hurts "good" if you know what I mean. Keep in touch and let us know if your making any progress with any of your treatments.Regards,Lell
Hi Lell - thanks again for your message. My appointment for accupuncture was cancelled on Tuesday morning. The therapist's grandfather died suddenly, so she has now gone on personal leave. Now awaiting another appointment! Will let you know how I go on etc. Didn't feel quite so bad yesterday, so decided to do a little gardening - now wish I hadn't. Can hardly move my neck and arms today. I suppose I should know better, but life has to go on doesn't it? Felt really strange last night after my two hours of weeding - nauseous and in tremendous pain in neck, back and shoulders. Is this as a result of the pain relief (tramadol slow release 200mg) or wonder if it is just my body saying don't do anything like this again? Know for sure that I will just have to grow weeds for a few months!
Its good that your husband helps you when your shoulder is bad. My partner is very clumsy with massaging so doesn't help at all. But at least he does try. Anyway, take care and I will let you know if the accupuncture helps.
Hi Choc and thanks for your reply. Sorry to hear that the accupuncture didn't help with your problems. I think it is just down to the individual - you hear that it helps some people and that others aren't helped at all. Will have another look at the spinal cord disorders board. Regards. Janhad
I was out of town,so I am just reading your latest post.I think all of the gardening you did aggravated your neck. I doubt your symptoms are from the tramadol. I did some light yard work this past weekend and it bothered my shoulder.I did 2 sessions of at home traction and it helped.Have you tried traction? For me,it is hit or miss.
I had a cervical epidural last fall.The Dr. doing the procedure asked me if I was doing any neck exercises.I said yes and showed him what I had been doing.He said that the exercises that I had been given by the physical therapist were to strengthen my shoulders,but were not specific to my neck muscles. He suggested the Mckenzie Method,which targets the neck.I found some of the exercises online and eventually bought the book from ebay.There are only a few basic moves that you do several times a day.I didn't have much hope for success,but eventually things got better.I didn't even notice an improvement until 4-5 months later.I can't swear that this is what helped,but it was the only thing that I did religiously (and still do everyday).Before I started the exercises,I asked my Orthopedic surgeon for his opinion and he said that he thought the method was for back pain.I found out that there were 2 different protocols:1 for backs and 1 for necks.Anyway,maybe you could ask your Dr or therapist if it might benefit you.Keep in touch and let us know how the accupuncture goes. Lell
Hi lell and thanks for your kind help. Have not tried traction yet as the physio said she now does not want to touch my neck as it is too inflamed. Perhaps it is something I can try when it all settles down (hopefully!).
Had my first acupuncture appointment on 16 June and then the next day had to visit the dentist as my left back molar had been grumbling for a while. Had to have this tooth removed and then have spent the last 10 days in agony with an absess - earache, gumache and neck pain. About 15 years ago I had to have impacted wisdom teeth removed and as a result my jaw was damaged and I had to have an arthroplasty on the right hand jaw. This has left me with trouble opening my mouth very wide, so it was a struggle removing this molar. Anyway a little better this week, but has definitely inflamed my neck also. Had acupuncture yesterday and the therapist said this had aggravated my neck also - sometimes you just cant win can you? Have another acupuncture booked for this thursday and another next tuesday, then the therapist will assess to see if it has helped at all and to see if to carry on with this treatment.
Feel a little like I am sleepwalking at the moment. Over the last month or so I feel as if my legs don't want to do what I want them to do and feel very heavy. Dont know if this is anything to do with my neck but am going to discuss with my family doctor this week. Will keep you posted.
Hope you are feeling okay at the moment. Keep smiling. Best wishes. Janhad.
I am so sorry to hear about your dental problems.That's got to be tough having to deal with that along with your neck.Changes in the cervical spine can also affect your legs(weakness,numbness and heaviness),depending on how severe your spondylosis is.Of course that doesn't mean that your neck is definitely causing your leg heaviness,just a possibility.Is your physiotherapist a doctor? In the U.S. we have physical therapists (not doctors) and we also have doctors that specialize in pain management and physiotherapy..The physical therapist carries out the instructions of the referring doctor,but the others(doctors) come up with a treatment plan suited for you, either on their own, or with consultation with your original doctor.Just wondered how things were done in your country. Hoping you get some relief soon. Regards,Lell
Thanks for your help and advice. I am just finding out that problems with your cervical neck can affect your legs and feet and other parts also. Don't know if this is the case with myself but think it is something I should bring up when I next see my consultant (orthopaedic surgeon). In the UK we usually have to visit our family doctor in the first instance if we are having any health problems. If it is a problem that the doctor cannot deal with they will refer you to see a consultant who specialises in the area of your health problem. In my case I first went to see my family doctor in the summer of 2006 with problems with my neck
etc. She then ordered xrays to be taken at our local hospital. The results (cervical spondylosis) were then sent back to her at the surgery. At that time my symptoms were not as bad as they are now and she then referred me to a local physiotherapist who recommended exercises etc. I had to wait quite a few
months to see the physio by this time my symptoms were getting worse so she then referred me to see an orthopaedic surgeon at Gobowen Orthopaedic Hospital, Oswestry. I then waited another few months to see the consultant at Gobowen, who ordered mri scans of my cervical neck. I then had to wait from December 2008 until March 2009 for these results (waiting lists are a big problem with our national health service). If you can afford it you can go private, but need health insurance for this, which is something that I do not have. I was then diagnosed with degenerative arthritis, herniated discs and the retrospondylolisthesis.
In our country physiotherapists are not qualified doctors and as far as I know any mechanical problem relating to bones etc are referred to orthopaedic surgeons and not neurosurgeons, although I could be wrong, I just know from my own personal experience of being referred to see the consultant orthopaedic surgeon at Gobowen Orthopaedic hospital etc.
On my last visit to the consultant she ordered a nerve root block injection into my neck to be followed by hands on physio at the same hospital. To date I have seen one physiotherapist who referred me to another colleague who treats patients with acupuncture as she did not want to touch my neck as it was too inflamed.
This is where I am at the moment - still really waiting for some light at the end of the tunnel. I feel at this moment in time that I just now want the surgery as I am really fed up with all the pain etc. Just wondering how long it takes to recover after any neck surgery. Perhaps you will be able to let me know.
I apologise if I have already asked you this, just that my memory is not what it was (think the medication is not helping either!) Trying to keep cheerful. Take care and hope to hear from you soon. Jan.
The reason I am worried about surgery is that I don't know of too many people that have had success.I have heard that necks do better thank backs.The surgery you would most likely have is a ACDF (anterior cervical disectomy with fusion).They take a bone graft from your hip,or in some cases they use sterilized donor bone, and they put that in your neck.It is usually accompanied by a plate and screws.If you haven't already looked,please do a search on this board or other internet sites for ACDF.You will find a lot of info. regarding success rates and post op expectations.I worry about anyone having this surgery,but some time there is no choice especially if you are having a lot of nerve problems or the situation is compromising your spinal cord.You really need to see your Dr again so he can re evaluate your situation to see if things have deteriorated.Just know that whatever you decide,you will find lots of support from this board.Good Luck. Lell
Hi Janhad, I didn't go all the way back through this post to see if you mentioned specifically your MRI results, but the length of your recovery would depend to a great extent what and where your problem is located on the C-spine. It also depends on what you mean by the phrase recovery time.
I had ACDF surgery just shy of 3 months ago. I felt pretty good immediately after the surgery as far as pain and numbness goes. I was tired for a little while, but that does get better. I would say that I was feeling pretty good and rarin to go. My NS told me that it usually takes 6 - 9 months for the fusion of your spinal bone to the cadaver bone to take place. This process can be sped up with some newer treatments, but I don't think it works for same for every person.
I really didn't have much choice when I had my surgery as the pain was so severe I couldn't even find a place to put it at night when I tried to sleep without having excrutiating pain. (I didn't want to keep living on Vicadin and Soma.) I also had numbness in my index finger and inside of middle finger and thumb. My NS said that the only thing that would take care of it was surgery because it was due to the extra bone (calcium) build up that was pinching the nerve root at C5 plus other stuff that resulted in the C5 - C7 fusion and a plate.
I would absolutely do it again in a heartbeat if I had the same pain and/or numbness, but I do know that not everyone has as good an outcome as I have been blessed to have. It is a major surgery and it is the spine, but it sounds like you've about reached your limit in pain tolerance. That's where i was.
I do hope that you get to see your specialist again soon.
ACDF C5 - 7 with plate
Thanks for your message. Have now finished my course of acupuncture and have to say that it has not helped at all and it has on the last 3/4 occasions made the pain and discomfort much worse. The therapist treating me with the needles does not want to do any more and has now said that I need to make an appointment to see the first physio (long winded!). Have now made an appointment to see this therapist for next Wednesday (think its the 22 July). Anyway will stress that I now want to be referred back to see the original consultant I saw in April (this consultant is an orthopaedic surgeon) as I am not happy with the treatment. The care has been really good, its just a shame that nothing seems to be helping me at the moment, even the pain meds aren't helping me. Really feel that things have deteriorated to such an extent that I think surgery is the only answer, as I can't live my live like this. Anyway will post again after Wednesday. Take care. Jan
Thanks for your help and advice. Feel that I don't know enough about these cervical conditions and to hear from someone who has had a good surgery makes me feel a little better. You hear some horrible stories of things that have happened during surgery, or perhaps the surgery making things much worse etc. Am glad that your surgery was successful and you now feel a lot better. I would now have the surgery without a doubt because of the pain levels - like you I now can't find any comfortable positions in which to sleep, so think that I need to stress about surgery when I next see the consultant. The only downside is the length of time it takes for the bone to fuse, just suppose you need to limit what you do physically and listen to what your body is telling you. Anyway will post again when I have any further news. Thanks again. Jan.
I have neck injury and C4-5, C5-6 and C6-7. Remarkable for intevertebral disc space narrowing. Anterior marginal ostgeophytes. Mild disc dessication. Disc bulge indents secal sac and contact spinal cord at c4, c5-6 with spinal cord compression. foraminal narrowing. Mild central canal stenosis.
Cervical spondylosis with central disc protrusions at C5-6 and C6-7 which compresses the spinal cord.
Small central disc bulges at C3-4 and C4-5 contact the spinal cord.
I have seen a neurologist who wants to do a myelogram, but I am scared because I have worked as a paralegal and hello... everything in your body is below your neck so it is risky procedure not to mention surgery. This is all from auto accidents which became a legal mashup and no decent lawyer to sort it all out. I am in constant pain in both my neck which radiates down my arms, but the insidious part of the whole mess is that the sharp stabbing most debilitating pain is under my right scapula. As soon as I start my day, if I lift a toothbrush, it is like a dagger right in the mid region of my back with the popping in and out which feels like someone pulled my right arm out of the socket. If I use my left hand and place it along my spine the clicking is at that location and the muscle spasms are agonizing. My doc told me I have the neck of a 90 year old woman. He said I could let anyone touch my neck. PT I tried but when they went to put my neck in tractionI asked them if they were trying to paralyze me??? My brother was a paraplegic so this is a very sensitive issue with me along with all the back surgery med recs I've read in my career that were not remedied by invasive surgery. What mystifies me is that all the pain is referring down to that part of my back. I have Darvocet which helps a little, but every day I sit on heating pad. The range of motion in my neck is limited of course, but stiffness more than pain. The horrible pain is further down my back where I believe I have another bulging disc and I am wondering if this is the culprit rather than my neck even though that is the tipping point of my injury. I'm confused and want to see ortho but have to go to hoops at medicaid, etc. I have filed for disability because now I am unable to drive, ride public transportation for fear of paralysis if the torqueing motion. I have also had injections in the middle of my back which again, stopped the pain for 6 mos. That is why I am confused. The next time, this pain management doc put the needle in my neck and it was a waste of money. I asked him why he didn't put it in the mid back area and he said there was a danger of collapsing a lung???? Sheesh.
My question is then can a chiro do anything without touching my neck, and/or what about acupuncture??? I just feel like the solution temporarily is to inject at the mid back region or isolate the nerve that is causing the muscle spasms. I am merely guessing. I'm in constant pain and it is major effort to get to any appointment and when nothing helps, I loose motivation to do anything but turn to meds. A glass of wine really helps, so that makes me think it is muscle related spasms?????
With all my experience doing med chronologies on back injuries I'd be better informed. This is a paradox and is ruining my life -- I'm 60 in November so I guess what's left of it. Another consideration because of convalescing after neck surgery I think would be prudent to wait until hopefully I get the disability. I can't work so this is driving me nuts psychologically - major depression because I am a "need achiever" and have always enjoyed my career. I just feel like I am going in circles. HELP!!!
You are what you eat so eat something rich!!