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  • cervical CT scan - any thoughts??

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    Old 02-20-2008, 04:39 PM   #1
    julie10
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    cervical CT scan - any thoughts??

    Just a little history: I had ACDF surgery in Jan 07 on C5-6 & C6-7. Took a fall about a month ago, and have been having neck pain, thoracic pain (I have spondylosis throughout) and my low back is killing me. Numbness in my legs, burning feet - but that's been going on for months - nothing new there. I ended up leaving work early yesterday, cuz I was so uncomfortable. Came home and took a vicodin, which helped.

    Here's what the current CT scan showed:

    "There is levoscoliosis of the cervical spine and beginning calcification of the right carotid artery. There is spurring at the anterior aspect of C4-5. The prevertabral soft tissue is widened in the region of the metallic plate. No fracture, dislocation, or destructive lesion. The thecal sac, neural foramina nerve roots appear normal. The intraspinal structure would be better evaluated by MRI."

    I also had a cervical X-ray done showing spurring, spondolysis, and an anterior sublaxation of 1 mm at C4-5.

    Anything there appear to be a reason for another surgery? I am concerned about C4-5, since prior to ACDF done on C5-7, my NS did indicate there were some early warning signals suggesting that perhaps it would require fusion as well. He wanted to wait to see how it reacted to the fusion, due to the added stress.

    I have cervical, thoracic and lumbar MRIs on 2/25/08.

    If anybody has any comments, it would be most appreciated.

     
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    Old 02-21-2008, 10:34 PM   #2
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    Re: cervical CT scan - any thoughts??

    Hi there, I have been off the computer for a few days resting as much as possible since I was having a bad flare up. I read this days ago and wanted to respond. Remember I am not a doctor, only a patient just like you.

    It doesn't have a grade % on the levescoliosis, but anytime you start a curve (like yours is left) you do want to be talking to the drs. about that.

    In general the other disc and spur stuff doesn't seem that bad when compared to lots of people that post. Anterior subluxation is pretty common at the C5/6 level and since you are fused it is putting a little pressure above at C4/5 it seems. 1mm is a small subluxation. It is common for subluxations to occur in a step manner in level order. Subluxation occurs as the result of Facet Joint disease, another surgery isn't going to fix facet disease.

    The item I did see that you probably want to discuss with your primary care dr is the early carotid artery calcification. You've been given a gift in that this is identified very early. This is an atherosclerotic change of the carotid arteries. This can be an early marker that you might have a higher risk as you age for stroke/TIAs. If you smoke you might consider stopping since they think cigarette smoking is a risk factor of atherosclerotic change . I am not an expert on this, but it is probably a question you want to ask the dr. about that calcification and if you should have a consult and general workup for other atherosclerosis changes. Just discussing it I am sure the doctor will give you ideas that can help you to head off problems. This is something you could be doing to proactively protect your health!

    I wish you good luck.

    Last edited by PNo; 02-21-2008 at 10:38 PM.

     
    Old 02-22-2008, 06:02 PM   #3
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    Re: cervical CT scan - any thoughts??

    Thanks for your reply.

    I am concerned about the increase risk of stroke, definitely. While I am not a smoker, I do have high blood pressure, and have controlled it with meds for about 10 years now. (I'm 45 now). I do need to lose weight, exercise, and eat better. All the things that I have found it hard to do since my neck surgery and the ongoing battle with pain.

    I am hoping that I can get some answers to why my feet are burning, and I have weird tingling and numbness throughout my body - also I get sharp pains all over, like someone was using me as a pincushion!

    I'm curious what you mean by a "flare up" ....?

    Thanks again for taking an interest!

     
    Old 02-22-2008, 08:39 PM   #4
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    Re: cervical CT scan - any thoughts??

    I didn't remember your story so I went back and looked at your old posts.

    I see you keep checking about MS as well as the spinal stuff. You need to keep seeing the doctors until you get some satisfactory answers to your questions.

    I read that pre-surgery you had severe cord compression, you know that can really mess with you, talk to Feelbad on this board. Even after it is fixed we can continue to have symptoms. Surgery isn't a repair of everything - it is a measure to try to prevent anything further from happening. That's no guarantee either - if you have bad DDD and spinal osteoarthritis (like me and looks like you have some too), then it just keeps deteriorating. Sometimes we are lucky and some stuff goes away, but lots are left with left over symptoms - and new symptoms after they fix it. My theory is it's like another change, they relieve the compression and then another set of stuff crops up.

    By flare - I mean I go through very bad cycles of pain coming back. It is stabbing, aching, shocking, burning, spasmodic. Never as bad as before surgery, but bad enough where I had to change my life. I have been told I suffer from pain "wind up", you can read this and there are actually some good animations out on internet that show how it works. My particular problem might have not happened if I had sought surgery immediately, I was left in a very high pain state for too long. These things called NMDA receptors are formed after the spinal cord is bombarded with pain for an extended period of time. They can amplify the pain signal to your brain even after the "injury" is corrected. I had some very bad nerve root compressions, they have been relieved but they are damaged and sending pain signals. So is my remaining stenosis and my other levels (I am fused C4-7). Because of this pain wind up thing, they say it is amplifying those signals. In researching it I found this happens to many patients - its where a majority of the research on pain is being directed.

    I hope you find a good neurologist that really wants to figure it out.

    Last edited by PNo; 02-22-2008 at 08:43 PM.

     
    Old 02-23-2008, 07:18 PM   #5
    julie10
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    Re: cervical CT scan - any thoughts??

    As I read about your flare, I wonder...how often does this occur?

    Now I'm wondering if my fall in January might have initiated a flare for me.

    I was told that my tests ruled out MS. I guess if I hadn't had neck surgery, I would be further inclined to think that it might be MS. I had the oddest numbness Friday at work: it just spread throughout my left torso, and felt like someone was grabbing me on that side. Then it went up over my head, too. Now that reminded me of some of the symptoms I'v read for MS...

    Anyway, I'm going back to see the neurosurgeon who did my fusion on C5-7, on Mar 7th. Hopefully the new MRIs I'm having done on Monday will tell us something.

    If I had to guess at this point, he's going to refer me to pain management. Unless he says he wants to fix C4 now.

    We're flying to CA this coming week and while I'm not looking forward to the flight, I am looking forward to the warmth and sunshine - should at least help my attitude if nothing else.

    I sure appreciate your responses, NP. Someone who understands is such a blessing! My boss is a good guy, but in a brief discussion on Friday, he suggested that maybe all I need is a chiropractor!

    Thanks so much!

     
    Old 02-25-2008, 08:45 PM   #6
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    Re: cervical CT scan - any thoughts??

    The flares occur all the time after any activity. Sometimes they calm down right away with some rest, other times they go on for days. I have a routine that works for me that allows me to keep my symptoms managed, but sometimes I flare without much activity or anything.

    Keep track of your routine for a while, make either a mental diary or write it down and see if you can make any sense of when your symptoms are the worst.

    Last edited by Administrator; 08-23-2010 at 09:53 PM.

     
    Old 02-26-2008, 02:51 PM   #7
    julie10
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    Re: cervical CT scan - any thoughts??

    I mentioned to my husband that I feel like I have colic or something, cuz I hurt the worst at the end of the day - 5 p.m. comes, and I become a couch potato!

    My thoracic region hurst by the end of my work day - I spend a long afternoon usually on the computer. I really need to find a way to interrupt/change that routine!

    I had my MRIs yesterday and am anxious to see what's what. Hope to have copies by tomorrow.

    I thought I noticed another thread where you were having a particularly difficult time - hope that "flare" is gone!

     
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