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Crevical stenosis

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,670
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:28 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical

I was very glad to come across this site. I am very confused as to what step to take. These are the symptoms that sent me to the DR. in the first place.I experienced a sharp burning pain at the back of my skull along with numbness across my left check bone. I made an Dr. Appt and he sent me straight for a MRI. The Mri showed a rightward herniation of disc C3-4 and C5-6. Severe spinal stenosis at C4-5 with disc bulge, disc/ osteophyte complex and narrowing of the right foramen. Minimal diffuse bulge at C6-7. (This straight from the MRI). My primary care Dr. sent me straight to a Neuorsurgeon he said that he would not touch my neck. The neurosurgeon is the best in our area. He was very strightforward about my MRI. He stated that Physical Therapy, cortizone shots or decompression were not an option. Either I have the surgery or be in pain.He also stated that I a higher chance of becoming paralized if I were to slip in a water puddle.The nubness has left my face but my neck is still hurting. I do have an appt for a second opinon but feel the answer will be the same. All the web sites I have checked really does not give any answers. If anyone has any information please give your input.



  • MetalneckMetalneck Island of Misfit toysPosts: 1,368
    dump the neurosurgeon and find the best orthopedic surgeon around. Most of us have bone structure problems causing neurological symptoms ... not neurological problems causing boney structural problems.

    A neuro under-treated me the first go around ... an orthopedic surgeon has at least given me half a chance.

    Good luck and Dr. hunting,

    Spine-Health Moderator
    Welcome to Spine-Health  Please read the linked guidelines!!  (Click on Welcome to Spine-Health)

  • RangerRRanger on da rangePosts: 805
    "dump the N/S" ?
    Sorry you had a bad experience "d" but that is an unfair assumption.
    I had a cropectomy, discectomy, and fusion of C3 thru C6, with a strut, cage,
    plates, rods, and screws installed from the anterior and posterior sides.
    I had the same choice, get it done, or risk paralysis and/or incontinence. My
    6 hour procedure was by a neurosurgeon who was highly recommended.
    I am 18 months post-op and would do it again tomorrow if need be. I'm not
    stating a preference to either an orthopedic surgeon or a neurosurgeon as there are a lot of well qualified professionals in the field. Sorry you had a failed outcome, I'm sure it is upsetting. Take care and I wish you well.
  • Your surgeon told you the truth about your situation.Only surgery can get rid of stenosis.Therapy might help the pain for a while but its not going to cure you.If he feels that he's not the person to the do the operation then you need to find yourself someone confident in helping you.Either neuro or ortho.If stenosis is left a long time it can have very serious outcomes as it advances and yes slip and falls can paralyze you.Good luck finding yourself a good surgeon.What other questions did you have that you needed answered?
  • I would trust your Dr. and do the surgery. I am now going
    for a second opinion on my neck and have at least one bad
    disc and stenosis at C5-C6. I am getting another MRI Tues. and am hoping the Dr. I'm seeing does surgery asap because I've been suffering now for 7 months and not able to function at all. I've had 2 surgeries on my lower back
    starting in 97 and the last one 3 yrs ago. I've had
    3 steroid shots before and 3 steroid shots after surgery and steroids have never worked for me they just prolong the outcome of what needs to be done which is surgery. I can't
    even do any stregthening on my neck with PT bec. my neck
    is so bad. I have nerve pain down both arms and into my
    fingers and get it on my face too sometimes. I understand
    how you must feel. Its very scary having this kind of pain
    around your head.

    I hope you get the care you need and everything works out
    for you.

    Take Care! Christie


    I'm 39. microdiscectomy L4-L5 in 97, totol disc replacement L4-L5,L5-S1 bec. of collapsed discs, stenosis, segmental instability, spondylosis, herniated discs surgery 05. now have atrified calf no reflexes but can walk, moderate nerve damage in 4 nerve roots that cause chronic pain.
  • Your MRI sounds very similar to mine. And like others said, PT, meds and alternative treatments may decrease inflammation temporarily and help with the pain, but the bony changes are not going to magically go away. After my MRI I consulted with an orthopedic surgeon and two neurosurgeons and was given all my options. I didn't hesitate to schedule surgery. Like you, I could have potentially paralyzed myself with just the right kind of trauma. And after talking to several other people that had similar surgeries, none of them regretted having the surgery, and if anything they were sorry they waited so long before doing it. The longer you wait the higher your chances of permanant nerve damage that no surgery can fix.

    As for the neuro vs ortho surgeon thing, I talked to colleagues and former patients of all three doctors and found out the orthopedic surgeon had the lowest success rate for this type of surgery and more of his patients had long, painful recoveries. Both neurosurgeons got rave reviews. I went with the one that seemed the most honest and straight-forward. He is at a university teaching hospital and has several decades of experience. His specialty is cervical spine surgery so I felt very confident in his abilities. I had one disk removed, a lot of osteophytes taken out and C5-C6 fused with cadaver bone and plates/screws. My shoulder pain and arm numbness were gone immediately, I was back at work part-time at two weeks, full time at four weeks, pain free at two months and this weekend (4 1/2 months post-op) I went skiing and it feels like I never even had anything done to my neck.

    If I were you, I would probably plan on having the surgery, but find a doctor you trust and feel good with (whether its an orthopedic or neuro surgeon). Also check out the facility where the procedure is being performed. You may have a great surgeon, but if the staff sucks, it will not be a good experience. The staff are the ones you will have the most interaction with and they are in charge of your immediate safety and comfort.
  • I was told the exact same thing by the first Neurosurgeon I saw. He was kind of a jerk, so I went somewhere else. I am now at a spine center with ortho doctors and I'm very happy with them. I've done the PT, ESI, and nerve blocks. Nothing has worked with the pain. In fact, it all made the pain worse. I'm now scheduled for an ACDF on March 3rd. I really like the surgeon and I've heard a lot of good things about him from several different people.
  • Sounds like you need surgery. Stenosis and narrowing of the foramen will only get worse. BUT SHOP AROUND until you find the best surgeon for the job. The surgeon is the difference between a good outcome and a redo.
  • Hi, I have just about the same as you. Went to a Neurosurgeon and was told that he could not help me. Went to a Orth. Surgeon and he has scheduled surgery on my neck for March 12th. I did not want a temporary fix, I wanted it fixed for good.

    Good luck to you and let us know how you do.

  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,875
    you have more facts so that you can make a educated decision.
    Of all things do NOT drop your neurosurgeon, there are the experts on the spinal column and nerves. Orthopedic Surgeons are more speciliasts in bone procedures.
    Many times both the Neurosurgeon and Orthopedic surgeon work together on an operation.

    Stenosis in many ways is aging of our spines. Not take it lightly, but lumbar stenosis is a bit easier to address than
    cervical. In many but severe lumbar stenosis, it can be treated similar to the way Degenerative Disc Disease is treated. Cervical stenosis is more serious then lumbar only because how close it is to the spinal cord main nerve root

    Definitely get a second or even third opinion. You want to make sure that all the doctors are in agreement as to your options. You dont want to have one doctor saying one thing and another something different.

    Good luck
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • I am a daughter of a doctor. So from the trenches...doctors only have as much knowledge depending upon how hard they stretch themselves to learn more!!

    My doctor has been telling me for years that my disherniated have not show sighs of change in years.........but, my back is killing me, cant sit long, bend, do cant start exercise. Oh yeah..I'z got a full life!!!

    My neck, I have four bone spurs which is interfering with the spinal stenosis...mre pain, more inability to do things.

    So what now??? More oills? More theraoy? chiropractic What?

  • Thank You guys for all the input. I have scheduled a Dr.s appt for a second oppion on March 19th. My fear is having ongoing pain after the surgery. Right now it justs feels like I have a crik in my neck. I have read a lot of stories from people that say they are in more pain now then before their surgery. The nerosurgoen I saw is the best in the Charlotte,NC area. The neurosurgeon is wanting to fuse the vertabrea and use titnamium rods in my neck. He is also telling I should not be ride my horse now or even after surgery. I am 48 years old and back in school studying to be a Vet Tech. I love my animals and to think about not riding makes me cry. I have a TWH and showed him till he hurt his back leg kicking the stall and now we both love to trail ride. It is nice and quite and we both are able to relax. My surgeons words were I was swinging snakes and waiting to get bit. I will see a neurologist on March 19th and see if he is in agrrement with my surgeon. I guess I wish someone would say it wasn't necessory. Even though I am smart enough to know that I will have to have the surgery I would like to wait till later this summer.
  • Sound like you are doing the right thing. My neurosurgeon actually was the one who sent me for a second opinion. Once he had the input and advice from the 'second opinion' surgeon, along with nerve conduction studies from my DO, several MRI's over a couple months, he decided on 4 level laminectomy.

    I've been in pain a long time. But I do appreciate my neurosurgeon took the time needed and the diagnostics needed to make an informed decision.

    Ken GreyEagle
  • As you see from my stuff below, I have a lot of stenosis, buldging discs, etc. After my ACDF and I was healed up, my neuro-surgeon told me I could go back to riding. I used to love to cut cows & barrel race, but confin myself to trail riding. My surgeon told me my neck was stronger now than it ever had been. I have had no problems riding. It did make my lower back hurt, but I was willing to suffer for a few days to have the pleasure of riding for a few hrs. Unless there is some reason they can't relieve the nerve impingment, I don't see why you couldn't ride, after your recovery. Just my 2cents. Take it for what its worth........oh, in today's economy, it's now -10cents :))( Good luck.
  • I have had the same story by trying to find the right doc to do the surgery. I've been too three different ones and they all tell me that they know I have a severe case of chronic pain in back but they will not touch me!

    I'm praying I found the right one this time. My lawyer said he was a great surgeron and if something happen to him he would want him to fix him so I asked could I get a appt with him and I did its' next month and I can't wait!

    Dr told me that I have three disc herination, annular tears that were pretty bad, and (Severe) DDD and I've tried the ESI's and they really didn't do me any good but only made it worse for me too.

    Gotta go my neurtion is messing with me right now!

    C yall tomorrow have a blessed week to everyone!
  • Hey Guys,

    Thought that I would give an update. I visited a neurologist yesterday(3/19/09). I will say that he gave me a through exam to see weather I had any nerve damage. And it come back as some nerve damage. He is also in agreement with the neurosurgeon that I do need the surgery. I asked how soon and he suggested as soon as possible. One of the reflex test he did on my arms showed that when the reflexes on my arms where hit my fingers turned in.The longer I wait the more nerve damage there will be. The damamge I have already may not come back but it will stop further damage from happening.I will return to my neurosurgeon wih a list of questions before scheduling the surgery.I know that C3-C7 has herinated disc's and C4 has severe stenosis with narrowing of th spinal cord. I know that he is talking about fusing and placing rods in my neck. If scares the dickens out of me. Any questions that you have that I may ask my neurosurgeon would be great. I am still in shock and can not think what I need to ask.

    Thanks for listening to me ramble.

  • i too have had the same type diagnosis as you almost three years ago. I would not consider an orthopedic dr. for a stenosis situation especially cervical. There is no room for error when dealing with the spinal cord. according to my neurosurgeon, i had the worst case of stenosis he had ever seen. multilevels and a laminectomy was done with rods, plates and screws. I am a professional window cleaner and most of my work involves upper body motion. I have gone from nearly paralyzed to working full time again. I am 54 years old and i do have some permanent nerve damage resulting some left side weakness in arm and leg. I take pain meds usually twice a day and a muscle relaxer at night before bed, but life is a hundred times better now than before the surgery. Do not take a chance on riding your horses or anything else that might jar the spine, as this could result in paralysis.I was in the hospital one day after surgery, but i did not work for about 6 mo. I do not have the strength or range of motion I once had but i am not paralyzed so the surgery saved my life as the stenosis had begun to shut down my vital organs and the risk of severing the spinal cord from just sneezing too hard was a possibility. my prayers will be with you and your family as you recover..rickd.
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