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Really confused. Spondylosis - Stenosis - Central Disc Bulge

process_xpprocess_x Posts: 35
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:45 AM in Chronic Pain
Hi again eveyone,

I was recently diagnosed with cervical spondylosis as well as a central disc protrusion in c4/5. The disc protrusion was noted in 2007 but I just found out about it and I am wondering if it may have ruptured which is why I feel like someone set me on fire? I also saw a chiropractor recently who said that I have 9 compressed discs in my c-spine, thoracic and lumbar ranging from .5mm to 5mm. Is this considered spinal stenosis? I am 29 and have had 3 mva's. I am going to assume that these are not normal signs of aging. I went to the county hospital yesterday and was given vicodin and lorazepam but the vicodin is not helping very much. I still feel like someone set my head, legs and arms on fire. Any advice/information on my condition? I am a little confused as far as if this is stenosis or spondylosis or if you can have both in different parts of your spine. Any help again would be much appreciated. So glad you guys are here!


  • I'm all too familiar with the awful burning pain you describe, as I have it too. It can be difficult to pinpoint what exactly is causing certain types of pain sometimes. I've been told by doctors that both severe spondylosis (basically osteoarthritis of the spine) and neuropathic pain can feel like your whole back is on fire, so I'm often not sure exactly which condition is causing my own pain. I also have severe lumbar stenosis and, as I understand it, the type of pain that causes is more a deep squeezing, aching pain accompanied by weakness and pain in the legs when walking. I'm not sure what the symptoms would be for cervical stenosis. You can certainly have spondylosis and stenosis in different parts of the spine.

    I can understand the Vicodin and lorazepam not helping much with this kind of pain. I'm finding that my own burning pain is becoming harder and harder to manage as well, and I'm actually seeing my pain doc about it soon, hopefully to get my medication adjusted and see if there is any other kind of treatment that might help. Perhaps you need your meds adjusted, too? Anticonvulsant medications can sometimes help with neuropathic pain, so if some of your pain is nerve-related, that might add some relief. Opioids can also help with neuropathic pain, but the degree of effectiveness tends to vary from person to person.

    I've found that finding pain relief is a very tricky balancing act. You need to find a good doctor who is willing to work for you, and then it is often a matter of trial and error until you come up with the best possible treatment, usually including medication, some form of exercise or PT, and other things that may help like TENS or acupuncture or injections.

    I think your best bet may be to try to find a good neurologist and go over all your symptoms with him/her. Good luck in finding more answers and relief!

    (Obviously the above is just my own personal experience and thoughts, for what they're worth.)
  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,110
    I also had the severe stenosis of the cervical region. The description that Huggy has given you of a squeezing sensation could not describe it better. The burning I also had. It took surgery and a few attempts of medication tries to finally get it right. I currently take Neurotin 3x a day for the burning and it helps tremendously. It is a medication I couldnt live without.lol. As I was told the burning is caused from either damaged nerves or compressed nerves. Remember as I tell you this .....this is my experience.
    Do you have a appointment with a specialist?
  • I had that compression type of pain and also burning and various other sciatic symptoms and nerve pain in my lower back, buttocks, legs and feet. I couldn't stand or walk slowly for long (minutes) before I had pain and needed to sit down.

    I had lumbar fusion 14 weeks ago and I am just so much better. In the main, the pains I was getting in my legs have gone, and my back feels much better too.
    I am still recovering, so if I overdo it, I hurt, but I am so improved. :D

    I don't think compressed discs are the same as stenosis. I think they have just lost height, due to ageing. Stenosis is when the cord and/or nerve roots are being compressed.
    The disc protrusion could cause stenosis. None of us are doctors though, so do get your diagnosis from a trained medical professional.

    There are some very good articles on this site, written by trained medical people, in the conditions section.

    Hope that you manage to find a way to relieve your pain. :-)
  • I have a lot of different types of pain originating from different areas in my spine. I got a referral to neuro surgery so hopefully they can help me. Does the neuro help with medication? It's mostly my neck, head, arms, legs and lower back that are burning. Well, I guess that about covers all of my body! LOL! My chiro noted disc spacing at .5mm to 5mm throughout my spine. I have 9 compressed discs. Is this considered stenosis? I was on neurontin and it was horrible for me. Made me feel drunk:(
  • I am only 29 so I dont think this is the normal ageing process to be honest. I am glad your surgery went well and you are feeling better. I may need to go under the knife as well. I have to wait and see what the neuro surgeon says.
  • Process_x,

    As Jellyhall stated, and I also mentioned this to you last night in chat. Stenosis "is a narrowing", it can be of the cord or where the nerve roots exit. Can be caused by bone, disk material, scar tissue etc., - it compresses, chokes, makes skinny the area if you will. Your doctor will of course tell you exactly where this is happening and why - and if needed, what action(s) need to take place to fix it.

    By example, I have stenosis at my C2/3 level due to a large chronic complex of osteophytes (bone spurs), but it isn't at a level that they feel they need to go in. I had stenosis at my C5/6 on the exit nerve root due to the bone growing in the exit hole. Was fixed in surgery. Some here have it in the main boney support of their cord - harder to fix, more delicate!

    What you should do if you aren't already? Write down *all* your questions and concerns, this way when you see your Neurologist or surgeon, you can get straight shot answers without the guesses that we are giving here. You obviously know we aren't doctors, so we are going on past experiences, self learned education (via our docs, and research) and care and support. We are here for ya woman! Please keep us posted. Take care. *HUGZZ*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Thanks lady:) Just confused as to if stenosis causes the discs to compress or if stenosis can only be from spurs or in the foramina. I have all of my symptoms written out but they never want to look at them. Maybe I should write my questions down too and be more pushy with them. New to all of this. Thank you so much for your support and kind words! See you later on chat:)

    - Dez
  • i would never go to a chiropractor for back pain. go to a back surgeon, orthopedic or neurologist for advice. most chiro's will say you have something wrong. how does he know you have these problems? most doctors don't trust chiropractors either. i would make an appt with a neurosurgeon or an orthopedic surgeon that specialzes in backs. if you want your back snapped or cracked, use a chiro. they do not do surgery or any other medical problem. i don't think they can prescribe some drugs either. if you want to stick with this guy then do it but i would never do it. have mri's cat scans, disography, nerve tests etc done first then see a back specialist
    it's up to you
    I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.
  • No problem on confusion. We've all been there at one time or another, h3ll hehehe, some of us still get there! I am with my Neuropathy. This site is great in that we are all mostly patients of one type or another and each others support system!

    Disks degenerating and such, is normally a 'disc' thing. The stenosis is a narrowing of nerve spaces if you will. Can they happen together, sure they can. Now for instance a disk herniating into a foramina space, that is a stenosis of sorts, but on an MRI or CT, it would be worded something like "Protrusion into the right exit xxx from the C5/6." So the disk material is limiting the nerve space, but not in a permanent fashion. Normally stenosis is more of a permanent (unless removed surgically) cause such as thickening of the bone or spurs. I hope that makes sense. Stenosis in itself doesn't cause the disk to fail, the status of the disk (its condition) causes it to fail.

    I agree by the way with Terrors post. If you are seeing a Chiropractor with known disk or stenosis issues, you are doing so with possible great risk. I love my chiro, but once herniations were shown, I didn't let him touch those areas. You need to move this diagnostic region to (as Terror said) a Neruo, Ortho etc., folks that *medically* specialize in the spine and related issues. *HUGZ*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I am not letting the chiro adjust me until I have a clear idea of what is going on. However, he is rated one of the top 10 in the US and virtually all of my friends see him. I will definately get an opinion from a neuro first which is why I have not started therapy with the chiro yet, but I hope to start sometime in the near future just to see if it helps.
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