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Very confused about cervical stenosis

cazjaxccazjax Posts: 4
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:50 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
As much as I have been reading about my condition, herniation at every disc from c2-t1 with foraminal stenosis also at each and spinal stenosis at c5-c6. My situation involves mid-upper back pain that has lasted 7 or so years. A recent mri was conducted as I have been having shoulder weakness and numbness/tingling going down my right arm. The arm situation feels strange but only rarely causes pain in certain positions that despite not having experienced it can liken it to having the inside of my arm on fire. I am seen one neurosurgeon who wants to do an ACDF on c5-c6 but, understandably can not tell me if the back pain I am experiencing will be alleviated. I see a second surgeon this week but anticipate similar answers. Has anyone experienced a pain that feels more muscular in nature in their back. It is a feeling of constant tightness/stiffness. Oddly enough it is relieved occassionally when I crack my neck or back. I can never be sure where it is cracking but the relief is immeadiate but unfortunately short lived as the pain returns with a few moments. Any ideas or thoughts would be appreciated? Also if you have heard of something like this any questions you think would be beneficial to ask my neurosurgeon when I seen him would be great. Thank you all so much for your help and dedication to reducing the misery so many of you have been through or are going through.


  • Hello and welcome to Spine Health. You have found a great place to get information and support from others who are going through similar pains to you.
    Take a look at the various articles on this site, and you will learn a lot about spinal problems.

    Sounds like you are suffering from your cervical problems. Although foraminal stenosis can cause pain, the stenosis on the central canal is more worrying.

    Have you had an MRI scan which included your thoracic spine? I have heard that cervical problems can cause pain in the upper part of your back, but wonder what the state of your dics in the thoracic spine are like. Especially as you have so many herniations in the cervical part of your spine.

    Do take a list of questions to ask your surgeon when you visit. If you read some of the articles on this site, have a pad of paper and pen with you to write down the questions as you think of them.

    None of us here are doctors and so can't advise you medically. You must rely on medically trained people for that, but we can share our experiences and sympathise with you.

    There are lots of others here who are also suffering cervical problems and pains. Some have already had surgery (a lot of those are no longer here as they are back to their lives again), and others are trying other ways to help.

    I am waiting for the results of my MRI scan, although I have had a lumbar fusion for stenosis at that level and spondylolisthesis.

    I do also get a tightening band around my chest, which is caused by my herniated thoracic discs.

    I'm glad that you found us and look forward to getting to know you better.
    Let us know how you get on at your appointment with the second surgeon next week.

  • Welcome to Spine-Health.

    My cervical problems began with major pain in the middle of my upper back. The pain came from muscle spasms, but of course, yours may not be. Have you tried muscle relaxants? I have a bad cervical spine also and muscle spasms are a very common problem for me in my upper back still.

    Keep us posted.
  • Hi Ratback,

    First let me say welcome to spine-health. Have a look around and you will find many of us dealing with cervical spine issues, including myself. One of the major symptoms I have always had was pain in my mid back. The reference word your looking for is referred pain. You can use the search feature at the top of the page and look up cervical radiculopathy and also cervical stenosis. Also under the FAQ section is a article preparing to meet with a spine surgeon you might find useful.

    A particular question I would be asking in your case is, sense you have so many herniations about adjacent disc disease and or failure by performing the one level. Also I would be asking what specific they would be using for the bone grafting material with the number of herniations you have. I would further make a detailed list of what type of pain you are having and where it is at.

    Just thought I would stop by and welcome you to spine-health. If i can be of any assistance don't hesitate to pm me. Take care and keep us posted on how your meeting goes.
  • Thank you Cathie for your response. I have a couple questions I would love to have your input on. The first regarding muscle relaxants. I have tried many of the 6 or 7 years leading to my current situation and never find much if any relief. I currently am on flexorel (not sure on spelling) and again the back pain is quite severe and uncomfortable. I have not taken any sort of narcotic for the pain in well over a year as I found myself depending on them too much. Now compared with everything else I have done (injections, physical therapy, non-narcotic pain killers and so on) they worked. I was working a 60 hour work week in sales and could function with some normalcy. At the time my doctor was terrible. Each visit left me with the same result- an increased dosage of percocet, more physical therapy, and a promise he was working to get the insurance company to approve an mri. 4 months of therapy, an increase to 30mg percocet every 4-6 hours, no mri, and no relief or even improvement with my condition. My final visit where I expressed my concerns and frustration about my lack of improvement provoked my doctor to schedule an x-ray (I am sure I had 4 over the course of a year including one he called for two months earlier, where of course they say nothing) and believe it or not, a script of a larger dose of percocet. I know I said I had a question and its coming, I promise :). I went back to my primary care doc to get a referral to someone else (he originally sent me to dr. percocet as he would be able to have an mri approved easier than my primary could). I also made the decision to stop taking the percocets at which time I embarked on a 3 or 4 day adventure of pain, confussion, depression, nausea and every other possible discomfort one can't imagine until they are in that spot. The last to neurosurgeons I have seen have both proposed I go back to the percocet but I am hesitant. It's been a year and a half since I stopped taking them and despite a few different mucsle relaxants over that time can not find any relief. Sleep borders on impossible and I am out of work as I can not function effectively fulfill my duties due to the back/neck/arm pain. So, here is one of those questions I mentioned some babbling ago: have you found any muscle relaxants that have helped with your back pain? Did the pain in your mid/upper back go away after your cervical fusions? Thanks for listening, as i am sure you'rer aware its tough to find insight from those who can not directly relate. One final question (promise), i find my back pain feels like a build up of pressure, as if youneed tocrack the joint in that spot. Oddly, if I can manage to "crack" that area it does provide relief. The relief only lasts a few seconds but it is a very welcome moment. How would you describe your back pain and did you ever find a relief from the pain in a similar manner? Thanks again.
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