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Old 04-26-2010, 08:21 AM   #1
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posterior disc osteophyte impinging on cord

I had an MRI last week for hand numbness (when I lie down) and neck pain. I have a long history of neck pain due to whiplashes. My Mother had a bone spur in her neck 4 years ago causing a Brown Sequard Spinal Cord injury (she makes too much uric acid and makes calcifications).

My MRI results:
C4-5, a moderate sized posterior disc osteophyte complex is impinging upon and mildly deforms the cord. The neural foramina are widely patent.

I have been doing some physical therapy at home (my husband and I are both in the field) and getting acupuncture for 2 months. My primary care physician interprets the results as overall good news and is recommending formal physical therapy. My doctor feels like this is quite common. My question: Has anyone had a similar diagnosis and has seen someone more specialized in the spine? I feel like I need a specialist to review this. Or, has anyone had a diagnosis like this and did fine with conservative approaches?

Obviously I am worried because I watched my Mom go through a terrible ordeal and I am wondering if I am over-worried. Thank you for any responses.

 
Old 05-07-2010, 06:06 AM   #2
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Re: posterior disc osteophyte impinging on cord

Do not mess around with your spinal cord. I had a bulge posterior at levels C4/5 and then after a minor rear end accident within days I hurt and was back at the doctor and now I had a anterior bulge moderately impinging my spinal cord. Unfortunately workman's comp drug their feet. It took 18 months to get the fusion at C5/6. I have permanent damage to the nerves. It wasn't a year that I had a failed laminectomy at C6/7 and had to have that fused and again had to wait wait wait. Now I have FMS and Chronic Pain Syndrome. If your doc says he thinks you need surgery then get the best spine doctor around and have it. If the bulge was not poking the cord it would maybe be different but not when it is on the cord. The spinal cord remembers.

 
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Old 05-16-2010, 01:18 PM   #3
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Re: posterior disc osteophyte impinging on cord

BackintheSaddle,

Thank you so much for your response First I want to say I am so sorry for what you went through and how incredibly frustrating for them to be dragging their feet. As a physical therapist I have seen this done before and it is disheartening to say the least. I am sorry you have chronic pain I really agree with your answer - I was looking for some confirmation and I thank you for that

I felt the same way- I don't like that I have something pressing up against the cord. I would not like a peripheral nerve (like a disc) pressed against, but something up against my spinal cord doesn't sit well with me....despite what my PCP said.

So I tried to see one local doctor and the waiting list was September (ugh). Then the acupuncturist suggested I see my Mom's surgeon. I called there (it is in Boston) and the secretary said send my MRI results and he will review them...then he will decide if I need to be seen earlier than when they usually see new patients. He reviewed my MRI - knows my Mom's history, and got me in for June 1st (which is earlier per the secretary). So I am feeling like I did the right thing advocating for myself. I DID NOT start formal physical therapy as per suggested by my PCP...I talked to other PT friends and they agreed that there should be physical therapy precautions written of what the PT can or cannot do....such as "no traction" or "no hyperextension" etc.

If I see the specialist and he says go to PT- no surgery, then I know I am OK. He was fabulous for my Mom...did amazing surgery for her. I am feeling like it was a great suggestion.

Thank you for the reply - it makes me feel like I am doing the right thing. Sometimes it is hard to advocate for yourself...I seem to be able to advocate for all of my family members with no problem! LOL

Since I last wrote the numbness has gone into my hands (was originally in the last two fingers) - so I am happy to be seeing a specialist. It only happens when I sleep and flatten my spine - and turn my head. I sleep with a neck brace so it happens less.

I will post after my June 1st appointment.

 
Old 05-16-2010, 01:19 PM   #4
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Re: posterior disc osteophyte impinging on cord

BackintheSaddle,

Thank you so much for your response First I want to say I am so sorry for what you went through and how incredibly frustrating for them to be dragging their feet. As a physical therapist I have seen this done before and it is disheartening to say the least. I am sorry you have chronic pain I really agree with your answer - I was looking for some confirmation and I thank you for that

I felt the same way- I don't like that I have something pressing up against the cord. I would not like a peripheral nerve (like a disc) pressed against, but something up against my spinal cord doesn't sit well with me....despite what my PCP said.

So I tried to see one local doctor and the waiting list was September (ugh). Then the acupuncturist suggested I see my Mom's surgeon. I called there (it is in Boston) and the secretary said send my MRI results and he will review them...then he will decide if I need to be seen earlier than when they usually see new patients. He reviewed my MRI - knows my Mom's history, and got me in for June 1st (which is earlier per the secretary). So I am feeling like I did the right thing advocating for myself. I DID NOT start formal physical therapy as per suggested by my PCP...I talked to other PT friends and they agreed that there should be physical therapy precautions written of what the PT can or cannot do....such as "no traction" or "no hyperextension" etc.

If I see the specialist and he says go to PT- no surgery, then I know I am OK. He was fabulous for my Mom...did amazing surgery for her. I am feeling like it was a great suggestion.

Thank you for the reply - it makes me feel like I am doing the right thing. Sometimes it is hard to advocate for yourself...I seem to be able to advocate for all of my family members with no problem! LOL

Since I last wrote the numbness has gone into my hands (was originally in the last two fingers) - so I am happy to be seeing a specialist. It only happens when I sleep and flatten my spine - and turn my head. I sleep with a neck brace so it happens less.

I will post after my June 1st appointment.

 
Old 05-16-2010, 04:22 PM   #5
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Re: posterior disc osteophyte impinging on cord

Hey Cuppa....who are you seeing in Boston? I see my neurosurgeon June 9th....Eric Woodard at New England Baptist.

From what I can see, depending on how compressed the cord is(it can take a good 50% compression...I was down to 6mm.) you might be a candidate for the new laminoplasty they do. Instead of the old laminectomy they rebuild the back of the vertebra and make an enlarged canal opening so the cord can move away from the osteophyte. But the spine is closed up with bone grafts so the cord is still protected. No fusion is involved.

My PT is the wife of a spine surgeon(and patient) and it makes such a difference when your PT has the knowledge that comes form knowing the spine so well. Now you'll have that kind of knowledge and appreciation for the spine....it will make you a great PT!

good luck................Jenny

PS Have you been tested for crystal formation? I just went through being tested for all forms of it...clear!

 
Old 05-16-2010, 07:44 PM   #6
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Re: posterior disc osteophyte impinging on cord

Quote:
Originally Posted by jennybyc View Post
Hey Cuppa....who are you seeing in Boston? I see my neurosurgeon June 9th....Eric Woodard at New England Baptist.

From what I can see, depending on how compressed the cord is(it can take a good 50% compression...I was down to 6mm.) you might be a candidate for the new laminoplasty they do. Instead of the old laminectomy they rebuild the back of the vertebra and make an enlarged canal opening so the cord can move away from the osteophyte. But the spine is closed up with bone grafts so the cord is still protected. No fusion is involved.

My PT is the wife of a spine surgeon(and patient) and it makes such a difference when your PT has the knowledge that comes form knowing the spine so well. Now you'll have that kind of knowledge and appreciation for the spine....it will make you a great PT!

good luck................Jenny

PS Have you been tested for crystal formation? I just went through being tested for all forms of it...clear!
Hi Jenny Thanks for responding!
No, I haven't been tested for the crystal formation (I told my PCP my Mom has a condition where she builds "crystals and bone spurs and that is what worries me...if I have the same thing...she said "you do not have the same thing as your mother" (she never met my Mom! LOL)...I think that might be why he wants me in earlier to see if I'm like my Mom. Glad to hear you are clear! My Mom (and I....will) see Dr. Yao at Tufts Med Cntr. The Baptist has a GREAT rep- good for you

My Mom had the surgery I think you are talking about! They built like a "window" in the column so the spinal cord has room to move(this is how she explained it to me) - they didn't even touch the bone spur because it would risk sci. Sounds the same I believe Mom was basically paralyzed from the waist down (it happened overnight!) and left the medical center walking with a walker. Now she doesn't even use a cane. She still has symptoms, but the prognosis was wheelchair bound or walker at the most. So happy for her

I may have to have you PM me that PT's info (if you are comfortable!) Yes, it does make a difference because I am always worried when my Mom goes to dentists or hairdressers. And when I treat her I am careful to keep her spine flexed Just like not all doctors or surgeons are the same- it is like that with PT's. My husband is better with sports, I am better with people that are older or with chronic pain.

I didn't even know the spine cord could handle 50% compression. Thank you for the info. Would love to hear how your appointment goes on the 9th...I'll be sure to write back about mine on the 1st.

I am really glad I am going to see a specialist. If anyone has a "gut feeling" that they should see a specialist, I say - go with your gut. It can't hurt. Maybe my PCP is absolutely right...but if she isn't, I am not willing to risk injury to my spinal cord. It's not like I have a rash or an ingrown hair or anything-LOL

Thanks Jen! Hope all works out with you too

 
Old 05-16-2010, 08:14 PM   #7
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Re: posterior disc osteophyte impinging on cord

If you want a second opinion, I can tell you who NOT to see in Boston....Groff at Deaconess/Beth Israel. Idiot. Told me that 50% loss of thickness of my cord wasn't all that bad and I could let it get worse. My neurologist hit the roof. She later told me no one was using him...way too conservative for anyone. Made me wonder why he waited so long.....were his recovery stats that not good so if he waited too long he could blame the patient?

I'll open the PM function if you want to message me.

Jenny

 
Old 05-17-2010, 03:41 AM   #8
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Re: posterior disc osteophyte impinging on cord

Hi Jenny,
That is AWFUL - thanks for the heads up. And BI is a good hospital...just shows you never know...that's why word of mouth is the best

I am new to the forum so I don't know how to use the PM function...I can go to try to figure it out Thanks again!

 
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