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Old 08-02-2006, 10:22 AM   #1
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Cervical Problems

Hello all!
This is going to be a little lengthy. I appologize. I also posted this on the spinal cord problems board but only two answers. I had an MRI without contrast on my cervical because of my left arm aching and my left hand going numb. Here's the results. would appreciate any feedback since I do not understand them.
Findings: Alignment of the cervical spine is within normal limits. the vertebral bodies are normal in height and marrow signal. Degenerative end plate osseous spurring is identifies from C3-C7.
The craniocervical junction appears normal.
C2-3: There is no herniation or protrusion, neuroforaminal or canal stenosis.
C3-4: There is a mild generalized bulgding disc associated with mild uncovertebral joint spurring with the combination leading to very mild contact of the ventral cord without compression. Neuroforamina are patent.
C4-5: There is a mild generalized bulging disc associated with mild uncovertable joint spurring, with slight right-sided predominance. This results in mild contact of the ventral cord without cord flattening. There is mild right neuroforaminal narrowing. The canal measures only approximately 9-10 mm at a C4 level indicative of mild congenital stenosis.
C5-6: The combination of a right-sided predominant generalized bulging disc and a small focal contained subligamentous disc protrusion with secondary elevation of a posterior longitudian ligament. The combination results in mild canal stenosis and mild cord flattening praticularly centrally in the region of the C6 nerve root exit zone. The left neuroforamen is only mildly narrowed and the right is mild to moderately narrowed.
C6-7:There is a mild to moderate left-sided predominant generalized bulging disc associated with mild paravertebral joint spurring. This results in mild contact and subtle flattening of the ventral cord at the C7 nerve root exit zone. The neuroforamen are patent. The canal measures only 9-10 mm at the C6 level.
C7-T1: Normal
Incidental note is made of a moderate sized bulging disc at T2-3 and a left predominant protruding disc at T3-4. There is a right foraminal protruding disc or herniated disc at T4-5, contacting the exiting nerve.
Impression:
1. Multi-level degenerative disc disease with disc osteophyte complexes at C3-,C4-5,C5-6,and C6-7.
In this patient with left-sided pain, the greatest degree of left- sided neural involvment is a left-sided predominant bulging disc at C6-7 which midly indents the cord at the ventral C7 nerve root exit zone.
3. The largest bulging disc is the irregular bulging and protruding disc at C5-6 with slight central and right sided precominance.
$. The small bulging discs result in a slightly greater degree of cord flattening than expected based on the patient's small tecal sac, likely due to congenital short pedicles resulting in a mild degree of long segment canal stenosis.
5. Multi-level bulging and protruding discs inthe upper thoracic spine.
Well thats it. I have had 3 back surgeries on L5-S1 the last being a fusion with hardware. I am still in pain for that. So when I seen the results for my cervical mri it scared the $%^% out of me. If anyone can help me understand what all of the results are I would appreciate it. I go back to the Neuro spine surgeon this week. But I would like a little heads up on what I am facing. Does anyone think he will want to fuse me. Thanks so much and I hope you all have a blessed day!! TINCAN
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FUSION L5-S1 WITH HARDWARE
FBSS
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Old 08-03-2006, 04:51 AM   #2
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Re: Cervical Problems

keep in mind Im not a doc (none of us are) but from the bits and pieces I gleaned researching my own MRIs you have a few spots that have bulging discs plus DDD at C4-5-6. they are pressing lightly on your spinal cord at C3 and 4 with no cord deformation, pressing slightly harder at C5, 6 and 7 resulting in a mild spinal cord flattening and also a nerve being contacted at C6 where it exits the spine.

at T3-4-5 there are herniated discs, one of which which is contacting the nerves at T4

also there is some bone build up (stenosis) in your vertibrae that is narrowing your spinal canal.

those results are consistant with the hand tingling going numb as the nerves that exit the spine at C6 control the thumb, index finger, biceps and forearm (plus more I sure).
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Last edited by zeroman; 08-03-2006 at 05:01 AM.

 
Old 08-04-2006, 07:37 PM   #3
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Re: Cervical Problems

Hi Tincan,

I haven't posted anything for about a year..... I have almost exactly the same cervical problems as you do. I have had 5 MRI's, and I usually go through an inflammation every couple of months where it gets really painful. I have gotten really good at keeping the inflammation down, and I just do not use my left arm (which is no way to live). My arm has gotten pretty weak over time, and I can't really do anything anymore. I have stopped gardening, and working out like I used to, and etc..... I am an exercise fanatic, and I went from running 40 minutes + 20 minutes of toning to 40 minutes on the eliptical strider with my arms behind my back (to keep my neck from getting irritated) to now barely being able to walk on the treadmill for 40 minutes.

I have seen many different doctors, and most of them tell me that I need surgery, but I have a family friend who is a great neurologist for strokes, who says that I have to be careful, because they cannot do a lot about degenerative discs... I also have facet disease, and stenosis, and degenerative discs on several levels (about the same as yours), and bulging discs on 3 levels. Oh yeah one of my discs is pretty much completely gone. At lease looking at it on my MRI, it is all black, and does not have any white around it. I just do not know when or when not to have surgery or is this serious or not, and which doctor is better a neurologist or a spine doctor?

The inflammations are coming more frequently, and since it is cervical I get smashing headache/migraines every day. I take Midrin pretty much every day. I have tried about anything and everything to take care of the inflammations, and hope that they will go away, and stay away, but something always happens to make them come back. For instance I went to a pain management doc a while ago, who talked me into getting an ESI approx. 2 months ago. For the first couple of days it was great, and it was pretty numb, but then it triggered a lovely inflammation. I was so mad at him for talking me into doing one.

Also my husband doesn't understand, and says that I have tried everything, but now it's time to do something about it like surgery. Easy for him to say. I am late a lot to work in the mornings, because I wake up all messed up, and with a pounding headache, and I don't think that my co-workers understand either. I sit there with Ice packs or heating pads. Does anyone have the same problem?


Tincan, please keep me updated, and let me know what your neuro doc says. Have you gone to a lot of different doctors?

~Annette

 
Old 08-05-2006, 04:03 AM   #4
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Re: Cervical Problems

same problem. cervical : 3 bulged disks with some DDD. lg. bone spur and stenosis at C7. just started to see PM dr. will start therapy on tues. ortho and PM dr.'s have both told me i will probably need surgery or it will cause some real problems some day. right now i believe i am still a candidate for artroscopic surgery. i would rather do it now than be faced with fusions somewhere down th road. that really scares me. headache almost everyday. if i don't strain my neck or arms in any way i am usually pretty comfortable. low level of pain always. i try to be careful not to hurt it again beucase then there is a flare up that doesn't quit. i have been out of work for 3 months since this is a work injury and do feel better not lifting all day.

 
Old 08-05-2006, 06:11 AM   #5
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Re: Cervical Problems

ICC,

Thanks for letting me know that I'm not crazy, because sometimes I feel like I am..... I'm sorry to hear that you have been out of work for 3 months. I have been going through this for the last 3 years, and it started out as a work injury, although I think that I have had neck problems for a long time now. Usually PT helps the inflammation, because my muscles get soooooo irritated, and I get nots everywhere, and shooting pain. Which one is the artroscopic? Is that were they use laser, and shrink the disc?

Hope you get some pain relief soon!

~Annette

 
Old 08-05-2006, 06:17 AM   #6
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Re: Cervical Problems

annette------like you i think i have had neck problems for years. i slipped and fell on the ice in 2003 and suffered a two month concussion. my chin hit my chest and i whacked my head back really hard. i think that's the first time i hurt my neck. nobody listened though when i said my neck hurt. it was all about the concussion. i've gone on every spine sight i could find and keep coming up with this arthroscopic surgery, can never remember what it's called but it without fusions. they say one of the problems it really helps is bone spurs. if i knew that's the way it would be done i would have it done now but i am so afraid of more instense surgery because it seems it works at first and then somewhere down the road you have mor eproblems. right now i am going to try PT and injections if i have to unless both dr. stell me i can do this short procedure and then i will have it done as soon as possible. i have this horrible swallowing problem going on since right after the injury and ithink it's coming from my neck. they can't find any other reason. you're no crazier than the rest of us. dr.s sometimes just don't listen. they hear what they want to hear.

 
Old 08-05-2006, 08:44 PM   #7
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Re: Cervical Problems

Annette:

When I read your post where you mentioned your pain and limiting the use of one arm I just wanted to let you know that surgery can help. I find it interesting that a neurologist would say that they can't do much for degenerative discs. Many of us here have had surgery for that very problem. A neurosurgeon would be preferable over a neurologist and you can also consider an Orthopedic Spine Surgeon (which is what I chose).

I had disc problems (degenerative discs and herniated discs) and had an Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion (ACDF) 5/18/06 - this procedure is often done for the sole purpose of problems related to discs. They remove the discs and fill the space with bone - it relieves the pressure on the nerves and spinal cord almost immediately. Although the prospect of the surgery was scary I a SO glad I had it done. I used to have problems with my left arm (numbness, tingling, pain, etc) and I felt 50% better the moment I woke up from surgery. Some people have seen Neurosurgeons and I had, but I was referred to an Orthopedic Spine Surgeon who specializes in the neck and he was fantatstic.

I was in the hosptial for 2 nights and out of work for 6 weeks. I've been back at work full time for 4 weeks and am actually just about to change jobs (I made sure to check with my OSS to make sure I could make the change).

I just didn't want you to think you had to live with the symptoms, for me it was a quality of life decision and I couldn't keep going with the level of agony, frustration and limitations I was experiencing. I'm just about to turn 40 and I wanted to make sure I entered my 40's feeling better than the last 3 years!

Karin
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Old 08-05-2006, 11:29 PM   #8
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Re: Cervical Problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by ICC
annette------like you i think i have had neck problems for years. i slipped and fell on the ice in 2003 and suffered a two month concussion. my chin hit my chest and i whacked my head back really hard. i think that's the first time i hurt my neck. nobody listened though when i said my neck hurt. it was all about the concussion. i've gone on every spine sight i could find and keep coming up with this arthroscopic surgery, can never remember what it's called but it without fusions. they say one of the problems it really helps is bone spurs. if i knew that's the way it would be done i would have it done now but i am so afraid of more instense surgery because it seems it works at first and then somewhere down the road you have mor eproblems. right now i am going to try PT and injections if i have to unless both dr. stell me i can do this short procedure and then i will have it done as soon as possible. i have this horrible swallowing problem going on since right after the injury and ithink it's coming from my neck. they can't find any other reason. you're no crazier than the rest of us. dr.s sometimes just don't listen. they hear what they want to hear.



ICC, Wow this is better than any pain killer that I've had in years! It's so nice to talk to people that completely understands you. Sometimes I'll be in a lot of pain at work, and my friends keep asking me "what's wrong?" even though I told them several times, but unless you've had it before you just don't know how aweful it is. I also fell on the ice when I was 8 months pregnant with my 3rd son, and my husband at the time was on active duty in the military, and was in Korea for a year. I was walking around the back of the apartment building at night with a wet load of laundry in a basket in the middle of winter when I suddenly slipped on ice. I fell on my back, and hit my head on the ice, and the wet load of laundry fell on top of me. There was no one around so I layed there until someone heard me yelling, and this actually put me in premature labor..... not too fun. I think this is where my pain started. I also mountain biked for a lot of years, and that's not a real great position for your neck.

I sympathize and understand with the horrible swallowing problem that your having, and that no one listens or understands. I have noticed that I have a lot of pressure over the bridge of my nose, and the left side of my nose is always irritated, and painful (which is the side that my disc problem is). I have gone to ENT's, and have had a catscan of my sinuses and so on and so on......, and they think I'm nuts. I have noticed that everytime I get an inflammation that my nerves get so irritated, and I get shooting pain in my jaw ear, and over my head so I'm pretty sure that the sinus thing on the left side is also connected to my disc problems. We are all wired differently, and just because a doc has never run into those symptoms before, does not mean that they do not exist.

PT has always helped to get those crazy knots out of my back, and neck. At least for a little while. Let me know how your therapy is going, and the injections if you can.

We can all hang in there together.

 
Old 08-06-2006, 12:20 AM   #9
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Re: Cervical Problems

Quote:
Originally Posted by kross426
Annette:

When I read your post where you mentioned your pain and limiting the use of one arm I just wanted to let you know that surgery can help. I find it interesting that a neurologist would say that they can't do much for degenerative discs. Many of us here have had surgery for that very problem. A neurosurgeon would be preferable over a neurologist and you can also consider an Orthopedic Spine Surgeon (which is what I chose).

I had disc problems (degenerative discs and herniated discs) and had an Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion (ACDF) 5/18/06 - this procedure is often done for the sole purpose of problems related to discs. They remove the discs and fill the space with bone - it relieves the pressure on the nerves and spinal cord almost immediately. Although the prospect of the surgery was scary I a SO glad I had it done. I used to have problems with my left arm (numbness, tingling, pain, etc) and I felt 50% better the moment I woke up from surgery. Some people have seen Neurosurgeons and I had, but I was referred to an Orthopedic Spine Surgeon who specializes in the neck and he was fantatstic.

I was in the hosptial for 2 nights and out of work for 6 weeks. I've been back at work full time for 4 weeks and am actually just about to change jobs (I made sure to check with my OSS to make sure I could make the change).

I just didn't want you to think you had to live with the symptoms, for me it was a quality of life decision and I couldn't keep going with the level of agony, frustration and limitations I was experiencing. I'm just about to turn 40 and I wanted to make sure I entered my 40's feeling better than the last 3 years!

Karin



Hi Karin,

I just struggle with the surgery, because I can get my inflammation down enough to where I can function, but then again I cannot use my arm at all. I just don't know when to have surgery? Do you have surgery when you have more frequent inflammations or when you cannot use your arm, because if you do then it will cause an inflammation? My biggest hernation is a moderate one on C5/6, but that is also the one that has virtually no disc left. Is Facet disease anything to worry about?

Did your inflammations come and go at first or did it never go away? Were the mornings harder for you, because when I wake up I always have a smashing headache, and my neck hurts. I am now waiting to see a doctor who my neurologist friend highly recommended. She said that he will not operate unless it will help. This is the longest that I have ever waited for a stupid appt. My appt. isn't until October 4th, and I had to go through some dumb phone interview with the nurse first, and then they set the appt. up. The receptionists in that office are really rude, so that makes me not want to go there, but if he is a good surgeon....... then I should probably at least have him take a look at my MRI's.

I don't know if I can ask this or not, but does anyone know a good neurologist/orthopedic doctor in Utah? Also what worries me is that once I have the first surgery I will end up having a second one.... You just never know. For some people it seems to work great, and then for others it doesn't.

I just turned 40 last February, and other than the neck pain I am doing great!

~Annette

 
Old 08-07-2006, 08:56 AM   #10
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Re: Cervical Problems

I just thought I would chime in.

There is a point where your quality of life becomes so bad, that surgery is the only option.

In my case, I wish I would have had the surgery sooner.

There are ways to improve your chances of not needing additional surgeries due to the "dominoe" theory.

Dennis

 
Old 08-07-2006, 09:08 AM   #11
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Re: Cervical Problems

good morning everyone---------this is better than pain killers. it actually relaxes the mind knowing that we are not alone. i agree on both points regarding surgery. if you have no quality of life and the surgery will rectify the problem i say go for it. i am not there yet but probably will be soon. the pain is bearable most of the time. if i am told that this swallowing problem is from my neck it would prompt the surgery faster. no dr. has told me what kind of surgery they are talking about just that it is a real possiblity someday. from what i have read I am still a candidate for surgery without fusions since my disks aren't the problem this big bone spur is. I am just starting PT tomorrow so i don't know what help i will get from that. have seen every other dr. and had all sorts of tests that are all fine so i am leaning towards this neck problem causing the swallowing problem.

 
Old 08-07-2006, 11:05 AM   #12
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Re: Cervical Problems

TinCan,

My understanding of the surgery is that they will take the disk(s) when they go in to clean up bone spurs. I had bone spurs, and they took my disks. The only one that might leave the disk(s) is minimally invasive surgery, which most here who have tried to get it have not had much success. Only a very few docs do it.

ACDF = anterior cervical discectomy with fusion

discectomy = surgery to remove disc

I had ACDF with donor bone and bone growth hormones on C5-6 and C6-7 in June of 2004.

Last edited by dennisgb; 08-07-2006 at 11:06 AM.

 
Old 08-07-2006, 01:28 PM   #13
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Re: Cervical Problems

Hello, Please forgive me for butting in, but I am so glad I found all of you. I have the same problems as all of you and while I'm sorry you are all suffering--it's nice to find people with the same type of problems. I usually post in the pain management section but decided to check out this area and I'm so glad I did.

I've been suffering for over a year with a neck injury that is affecting my hands and arms more and more every day. My pm finally got my headaches under control with topamax What a relief, I thought they were going to be the death of me. We did an esi on June 6th, what a mistake!! I woke up a few weeks later in so much pain it was unbearable, and now I can't even open a water bottle and it feels like my arm is being stabbed. It also feels like my right shoulder is out of it's socket at times. Does this happen to any one else? It brings me to tears and I just want to die.

My pm thinks my neck is getting worse and I'm finally getting another mri on friday and my wish is to finally get to see a neurosurgeon. I'm on work comp so I have to do what I'm told.

Thanks for listening! Good health to you all

 
Old 08-07-2006, 02:20 PM   #14
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Re: Cervical Problems

bluesteam--------i'm on WC also. i was injured in early may and it has taken this long to get the right dr. i start PT tomorrow so i have no idea if it'll help all the body parts injured. my neck and ankle are the worst and both will probably need surgery. just going to take it slow and see where i get. wish you luck.

 
Old 08-07-2006, 06:07 PM   #15
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Re: Cervical Problems

Well all,
Well I saw my neuro spine surgeon last week. He said that I had three options. One:ESI'S Two: PT Three:ACDF. I asked him all kinds of questions. But the decision is eventually up to me. Here is my thinking. One I don't like ESI'S I had them for my low back and they did not do squat!!!! I also think all they do is mask the problem for a while. Two I do not think PT will help me since the two disks C5-6 and C6-7 are pressing on my spinal cord. I trust this Doctor he is the doc that helped fuse L5-S1 on me. I know he not knife happy. I totally trust his surgical abilities. I asked him how he does it and he said he will go in and remove the disks and put bone plugs in where the disks were and then the Ortho spine surgeon (who helped him fuse my L5-S1) wil come in and put in the hardware. I asked him if this would release the pressure on my spinal cord and he said yes. I am leaning toward the surgery.
Please any input please reply. I HOPE YOU ALL HAVE A BLESSED EVENING. TINCAN
LAMINECTOMY L5-S1
DISCTECTOMY L5-S1
FUSION L5-S1 WITH HARDWARE
FBSS
BONE SPURS
MEGA SCAR TISSUE
DDD UP TO THORASIC AREA AND CERVICAL AREA
STENOSIS
SPONDYLIOSIS
DISK BULGE L4

 
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