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your experiences with osteophytes

flowerfflower Posts: 460
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:47 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
would like to hear of your experiences with cervical oteophytes pressing on spinal cord. im worried. also who has had balance issues , where you fall / stumble to the left or right side , was it from lumbar or cervical issues ?


  • Yes - have been able to see them on my xrays since I was 20 or so. Each 5 years, increased imaging, allowed for more conclusive results.

    I now have issues from lumbar thru thoracic and cervical. I have daily occurrences of numbness in my hands. I know where it is, because it relates to the actual nerves at C6 and C7, depending on what part of my hand is "offline".

    I have had occasions of my legs just dropping out from under me, but these have also been times of very acute pain, and obviously an injury had just occurred.

    I have to maintain things, by easy stretching and very mild movements. Gentle muscle movements, allow me to recognize when I am holding a muscle, that needs to relax and when I have not pulled one up, that should be to move correctly. Its like the computer has some faults in its code.

    I find that they cause a lot of local pain, and as the day goes on, it is like the area are on fire. The only thing that helps - is rest periods - along with movement periods. It is about finding a balance!

  • I am having an MRI scan done on my cervical spine tomorrow. I'm not sure if that will show up any osteophytes I may have, as I am not sure that it will show bone detail.

    I know that an x-ray of my thoracic spine a couple of years ago, showed osteophytes on my thoracic spine.

    Something is going on in my neck. I hope I don't have to wait too long to find out what it is. My GP suspects cervical stenosis.
  • you know if the legs giving way is related to your cervical or lumbar issues and yes rest , rest and more rest for me. cant do much or walk very far. :''(
  • for your replies.
    centurian i too have had these osteophtyes in cervical and lumbar with stenosis beginning 30 years ago, i have no doubt they in thoracic too! that have been increasing in size over that time as well as severe stenosois , severe ddd and severe djd

    i have had limited movement of my neck for past 30 years

    wat im worried about ( CORRECTION , ONE OF THE ISSUES ) is that the osteophytes are pressing into my cervcal spinal cord at C5 - T1 bulging posteriorly, and the lateral nerve roots at these levels as well
    also narrowing of exit foramina with osteophyte encroachment compressing the nerve roots at C5-t1, on both sides

    C 1 - c 2 also degenerative changes ( this is not good)

    MY ct says advanced degenerative changes , this is not good !
    narrowing of all cervical disc spaces and damage to facet joints , no cartlidge

    i have excrucaiting cerviogentic nerve pain headaches that start at the back of my neck and go up the back of neck , down over my top of head , all over top of head and down to my eyes. i literally pack my head in ice to try numb the pain .
    now im getting pain in my skull wen i do a little cough. have for quite awhile have some weakness in arms and hands and difficulty raising hands above head to wash haair as an example

    my ns says i need a lumbar fusion as its a mess ( his words) i have very severe limitations due to lumbar (need more consult re cervical)

    would appreciate anymore experiences others have with similiar

    Jelly , hope your cervical aint too bad , guess your waitng anxiously, its a bit much , when the whole spine is breaking down , as many on here can relate too, its just not fair! i do hope your scan shows nothing too much!
    will look out for your post to see wwhats happening .
    good luck

    would appreciate anymore experiences others have with similiar

  • all this mess in our spines, i couldnt help but laugh at your perfectly paired bird beaks :)

    u no ive often thought the same ,had a mental picture of beak like things pressing hard into cord and nerve roots :SS

    we seem to have similiar issues. yes i also have the crunching /crack sounds too !
    sounds very bone like sorta crunch / crack , oh dear , my dear , wat to do.
    brenda, what plan has your surgeon re your cervical

    i see you have C5-C6 fused then later C6-C7, ive been holding off on surgery, but no it will have to happen, really concerned about the osteophytes pressing on my cord.
    at present my ns wants to fuse lumbar , but im concerned as havnt got into my cervical with him, have also been holding off on the lumbar , you no the fear factor :? thanks for your reply hugs flower
  • Flower,

    I have osteophytes in my Thoracic and Cervical. My cervical has been more problematic with them. Mine have all pretty much been focused on foraminal narrowing on the nerve exit zones. My disks seem to herniate rearward onto the cord. The worse level of them is between my C2/3 - as is described as a large osteophyte 'complex', and it is pushing the disk to the right and rear towards (not on) the cord.

    The ones at my C7/T1 are crowding the exit zone to the left. Some of the 'crack' noises I hear at the base of my skull *I* think are from the spurs grinding on each other, yet my surgeon hasn't said one way or another to that theory! MRI wise, the most interesting ones to 'see' are in my Thoracic. The bottom of T8 and the top of T9 are perfectly paired "bird beaks!"

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Yeah the Thoracic between T8/9/10, those disks are solid black, and then there are the beaks! (G) I try to avoid thinking too much into it, as I do have daily pain from that area, and knowing there isn't anything they can (thank goodness sort of...heheh Nasty surgery) do, I just deal with it.

    Oddly I have 2 levels in my lumbar where the disks are on nerve exit zones and L2 is odd in that is squishes out both sides, and too back on the thecal sac. The "oddly" part? No spurs noted in my lumbar region!

    As for my lovely (NOT) neck. I should know within 6 months what the new game plan is. Since many of the symptoms are back (plus C7 nerve issues), I am pretty sure they will do a revision and add C7/T1. C2/3 he is "concerned" with as there is a 9mm bulge and those osteophytes which of course keep growing, and aren't going away. :) So I anticipate by years (12 months from now) end, I will be fused at C2/3 and C5/6/7/8 (T1). I've already got permanent nerve damage, so I am sort of "with it" as far as that goes. I just keep a pain log now along with a "symptoms" paper for my doctors.

    I like the pain log the best, as *I* too can see the ups and downs, and too trends if any. Additionally, I can see more rapidly what changes. Flower, surgery, many of us on here have worn those shoes. As long as you know in your heart you've done all you can do, and too further delay *would or might* cause damage, then I see it as 'better technology' is developing all the time. Yeah never know!! *HUG*

    Oh, and I too am holding off Lumbar as long as I can - to me my neck has taken center stage yet again! (G)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • yeah , i dont like to think too much about the thoracic either. I think i might also be getting the C 2- T1 , gawd , sorry that may be in your future too.
    Yes, i too , have my thoughts on when technology advances some more, but ns says now :''(

    Your right there , those osteophytes just keep on keeping on growing , so its not a question of if , its like they come off soon! there on my cord , gawd !! My pcp said to me once something about "there researching seaweed , and may be something for cervical, but i wont hold my breath on that one! lol. hugs to you , take care

    ps there are some awsome researchers out there doing some amazing things
    oh about the seaweed, that was said to me a few years ago, i was in a bit of shock at the time, so i didnt get into with him. hope this post isnt too disjointed , cause i havnt slept all night, so brain rather fuzzy
    the pain/symtom log a great idea , good for us and to show the docs
  • Let me make sure I understand "where" your osteophytes are at - physically ON the cord??? And your PCP wants to do something with seaweed?? *Shudder* !!! You don't want ANYTHING on your cord Flower.

    Have you seen a spine specialist about this? If so, what is he/she saying about this? A lot of spurs can be taken care of with minimally invasive surgery. Sorry, just real nervous if this "bone" outgrowth is on your cord. My thoughts of course.. *HUG*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • im laughing ,because of the mix up , gosh that sounded so funny. no, my pcp doesnt want to put seaweed on my cord, imagine that! lol

    yes this is serious , but that was funny

    yes im nervous too and thankyou for your concern , ill PM you with more info
  • Hi there, I found this website whilst looking up information on C5/6 osteophytic encroachment.
    This past two weeks I have been experiencing tingling in my right thumb and fore finger and also going up my right arm.

    I have had a CT scan done and was told that there is compression in my C5/6 area. About 22 years ago I had an neck injury which gave me grief for a while with migraines and such then it subsided. Two weeks ago I used a whippersnipper and the pins and needles started pretty much after that. My Doctor thought it might be carpel tunnel, but that was eliminated by the CT scan.

    I am going to see a surgeon soon only to discuss my options for the future as at this stage it isnt unbearable even though I feel it most of the time.

    Can anyone tell me how far they went with the condition before they had surgery and what was the aftermath of it.

  • Howdy Keepsmiling, and Welcome to Spine Health!!

    I see you had a CT scan which is great for bones and such, but no MRI yet? The MRI is the best for the soft tissues - to see what the status of your disks are as well.

    I have no idea when my osteophytes started to grow, so hard to answer your question. I know the ones at my C2/3 have been there (growing slowly) since at least 2002. The problem with them in the last 2 years is they are pushing the disk aft out of the space! That is concerning my surgeon. Hoping to be getting new MRI's next month for the neck and lumbar.

    For my C5/6 from discovery to surgery (I was the one that delayed surgery - due to fear) just over 2 years, similar symptoms to what you describe. I did have some osteophytes in there, but the herniation was back on the cord and even a small car accident could have paralyzed me. I woke up when "that" word was thrown at me and had the surgery.

    My next level was 6 weeks from hernia to surgery. This was to hopefully prevent permanent nerve damage, but unfortunately the damage was already done - we just didn't know it at the time. So I guess the short answer will be 'it varies' case by case. Welcome aboard!!

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • CsietamCCsietam DenmarkPosts: 1
    I had a surgery in the neck when I was 21. That was my first time with osteophytes. Second time was fore years ago, in the thoracic th9-10 and I had a surgery last year (2015 april) after six months they started growing again and I am having a new surgery th9-10 July 13th 2016. This will be my 6th surgery in my back in total. 
    I live in Denmark. 

    Regarda Christina Sietam 
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