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Is spinal cord impingement a guarantee for surgery?

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Old 03-13-2007, 10:50 PM   #1
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Maine
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maineclam HB User
Is spinal cord impingement a guarantee for surgery?

I have been having pain in my neck for a long time due to an auto accident I had about 10 years ago. At the time I was told i had severe whiplash and underwent PT and massage therapy. It never really helped. Flash forward to about 3 years ago and I had an MRI and is showed my C3-C4 was bulging along with my C4-C5 and C5-C6 I went to see a NS who told me it was normal and referred me to PT again as well as a Neurologist and a pain clinic. The NS commented on how hyper my leg reflexes were and I was sent to a Neurologist who Dx'd me with peripheral neuropathy and I have been in pain management ever since. So, about a month and a half ago I felt this weird pop sensation in my neck and since then my pain has been HORRIBLE. I have also had severe headaches, nausea, vertigo, shortness of breath and pain in my shoulders, shoulder blades and deltoid muscles. when I exercise the vertigo and dizziness get worse. I then had another MRI and this time it showed that my C3-C4 was now a protrusion and it was impinging slightly upon the anterior aspect of the cervical cord. My C4-C5 and C5-C5 show mild bulges. So I have been referred to another NS but I was wondering if this new MRI will mean surgery? I also wonder if this is what could be causing the Peripheral neuropathy and my leg problems as well.

I apologize for such a lengthy post and I thank you all in advance.

Last edited by maineclam; 03-13-2007 at 10:51 PM.

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Old 03-14-2007, 12:04 AM   #2
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Location: Sydney, Australia
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rob_zzz HB User
Re: Is spinal cord impingement a guarantee for surgery?

It could definitely be causing a whole host of symptoms including peripheral neuropathy type symptoms, vertigo and leg problems. Though I thought with peripheral neuropathy there was a nerve study they could do to distinguish it from spinal causes.

(though what is peripheral neuropathy anyway? seems like they come up with names for these things and it makes them happy and saves them from having to look for an actual cause).

Old 03-14-2007, 06:04 AM   #3
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 3,260
Re: Is spinal cord impingement a guarantee for surgery?

good morning all ---- No I don't believe this is a definite surgery. I have 3 bulged disks, bone spurs on 2 of them indenting the cord, stenosis and a pinched nerve at the C7. Spine Specialist has told me he doesn't see me ever having surgery UNLESS I re-injure my neck. PT has helped greatly and so has resting it. I have an impinged rotator cuff also that I will be having surgery on. Most of my neck pain that remains is on the side of the bad shoulder so the SS and the shoulder surgeon believe this will help to relieve most of the pain that's left. No guarantees and everyone is different. This is just my story. Best of luck.


Old 03-14-2007, 07:27 PM   #4
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Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: PA
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smiley94 HB User
Re: Is spinal cord impingement a guarantee for surgery?

From my experience I would say depending on the severity of the impingement, that yes you will need surgery. I am 9 wks post-op ACDF C5-C6 I had severe cord impingement with the same symptoms that you are describing, vertigo, headache , severe pain down shoulder, numbness & tingling arms& legs. My NS said that with the cord involvement that surgery was necessary because down the line it could impinge further and cause paralysis. I am only 30 so it wasn't something that I wanted to wait out. Since surgery the vertigo has resolved and my headaches have improved significantly. My pain has also decreased. You will find here that there are many differing opinions and doctor recommendations so I just wanted to share my story with you. Best of luck!!!!

Old 03-15-2007, 08:26 AM   #5
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Location: Bellingham, WA USA
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monarog HB User
Re: Is spinal cord impingement a guarantee for surgery?

I think Smiley is right, probably depends on each individual case. I have a disc herniation with cord compression at C6-7 and am scheduled for ACDF in 10 days. I have been dealing with all the symptoms you've described and then some for about a year. In my case, my NS seems to think it is the only way to go in an effort to start feeling better. I am hopeful to get my life back - vertigo, off-balance, tingling, twitching, numbness in arms/legs is getting old. The whole hyper-sensitive nervous system thing is just wearing me out. I'm willing to give it a shot. Just thought I'd share with you my journey so far. Hopefully, I can report back with a good outcome from surgery. Best of luck to you. Mona

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