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lincslady2 08-29-2009 10:22 AM

Severe neck pain-bulging discs, questions
Hi, I've had three spinal surgeries in the past, the first time two thoracic discs ruptured, it was emergency surgery, and I was very lucky to regain the use in my leg etc. I then had a thoracic fusion, with titanium rods etc. I have DDD and my last MRI (eight months ago) showed some disc bulges in the cervical spine. The last few weeks I've been getting increasingly severe neck pain, which radiates up the back of my head. I've also been having lots of bad headaches, vision problems, with pins and needles / numbness in my hands and fingers.
Could this be caused by the discs, and what are the signs to look out for with cervical disc rupture please?

jennybyc 08-29-2009 07:18 PM

Re: Severe neck pain-bulging discs, questions
Hi Lincslady2 and welcome to the healthboards. Most of us "cervies" are down at the Spinal Cord Disorders board but I come here too as I have lumbar and thoracic spine problems as well.The big thing with the cervical spine is cord compression. There is less room in the cervical vertebrae for the cord than in the thoracic and lumbar areas of the spine and the compression is painless. The pain we all get with back problems is from arthritis....especially arthritic facet joints....and from nerve compression to the nerves that exit the vertebrae and go out to the body. But like the brain, the cord has no nerve endings and so when compressed, you don't feel it. But it is seen in your body in things like clumsy hands and a gait that is staggering, numbnes/tingling in areas of the body, and muscles that just don't want to work right. My first symptom of neck problem was numb toes followed by stiff legs, especially my thighs...walked in baby steps.

The problem with cord compression is not only the progressive paralysis that slowly but slowly develops but the fact that one wrong move can stop the blood flow to the cord and everything below that level becomes paralyzed, instantly. So if you have cord compression at C6, you are looking at paralysis from the waist down and both hands and wrists. It's rare, but it is a factor.

So if you have a neck problem, most docs will insist on an MRI so they can see if you have spinal cord compression and can measure it. Believe it or not, you can live with your cord less than half normal size.

So I invite you to join me at both boards and learn about the spine. We're all about education as a way to empower you.

gentle hugs................Jenny

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