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Cervical Spinal Stenosis

chrisdlcchrisdl Posts: 4
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:59 AM in Spinal Stenosis
I was diagnosed with cervical spinal stenosis after I had my first seizure when I was 27, which was 12 years ago. I was dealing with the seizure issue and it didn't seem to bother me so it was never quite real to me. Then recently I was playing tag with my daughter on a restaurant playground. I was under the platform of the equipment and I saw her peek her head over the side of the slide. I took a step and launched myself in an effort to tag her and collided head on with the bottom of the slide. The collision knocked me to the ground and caused my left arm to go completely numb.

Two days after the collision I ended up in the ER with tingling in my hands and feet. They told me I have four bulging discs in my neck and would need surgery. They then consulted with a neurosurgeon who said my condidtion was chronic and that I didn't need surgery.

For a couple months after the surgery I dealt with tingling and numbness in my arms and legs, balance and coordination issues, and off and on heavy legs. I progressively got somewhat better and had several days in a row where I felt normal. The symptoms always returned though eventually.

I finally got in to see a neurosurgeon and he told me that my narrowing was moderate and he did not recommend surgery. He didn't seem too concerned about it which was a relief. I left thinking that I would just progressively return back to normal and that I would have to be careful. Now I'm not so sure.

All of the numbness, tingling, and balance and coordination issues keep coming back and it made me come to the realization tonight that I might never return back to normal. I know my case isn't as bad as a lot of peoples but that realization that I might just get progressively worse has hit me pretty hard tonight. Everyone I talk with just tells me I am worrying too much. I wish I would have thought to ask the Dr. if I would get progressively worse and I didn't think of it. Is it likely that I'll always have the tingling, numbness, and balance problems and get progressively worse?

Thanks, Chris.


  • :H
    In some ways I am in a similar position to you, except I am older. (I am in my 50s)

    I have also been told that I have cervical spinal stenosis, due to a small spinal canal and also to degenerative changes. I have 2 discs compression my cord (C3/4 and C4/5) and most of my neck has spondylosis.

    I have the tingling, occasional numbness, pain in both my arms and legs, frequent headaches and occassional balance issues. I also have spasticity (involuntary tightening spasms in my legs and around my abdomen and back).

    My neurosurgeon is doing careful 'watching and waiting' which means he reviews me every 6 months to check how I am progressing. We have been doing this for a year so far. I have been told that I will almost certainly need surgery (2 level fusion) at some point. I believe that they are waiting as long as possible because of the risks of cervical surgery (I had lumbar surgery in March 2010) and because of the risks of a fusion meaning that the adjointing levels will go and need further surgery later.

    Is your neurosurgeon keeping an eye on your progress? I would think that he should be.

    I can certainly understand how worrying this is, with a feeling that you could be at risk of permanent damage if in an accident. Have you thought about getting a second opinion? My GP is referring me for a second opinion because she is worried about this spasticity that I have.

    Do let us know how things progress with you.
    You will find that there are lots of people here who have had surgery on their neck and also others who, like me, are still waiting.


  • Thanks for the repsponse. I understand the waiting. If it comes to that for me I'm definitely going to try and wait as long as possible.

    Do your tingling, numbness, balance issues, spasticity come and go or is it pretty constant?

    I have had some good days. I had 5 good days in a row at the end of January. Now everything has been back for almost two weeks. It comes and goes on most days but is pretty constant today.

    The nurse for the neurosurgeon I saw said if I didn't need surgery then he won't see me again, although he told me himself to come back in two years. Anyway I went and saw my neurologist. She said my strength was good and I'm just dealing with inflammation. She said it could take a year to go away but she thought that it eventually would. I pray she is right but I don't really seem to ever improve too much.

    Let me know how your 2nd opinion goes?
  • Hi,

    I started experiencing pain intermittently as flare-ups after injuring my neck/shoulder area in high school (~15 years ago). I never pursued an MRI, but over the years I did get an xray or two of the shoulder. Never occurred to me to have them at least xray the back.

    When one of the flare-ups started in July 2011, I thought all the pain would go away within a few weeks like before but a month or so later it hadn't. A month after that, my right arm was partially numb and almost always felt like it was tingling. A month later the numbness and tingling had spread into my right leg. Now, as of the end of January, the numbness and tingling is constant in both right and left limbs. My right side is weaker than my left (although I am right handed), though both are exceptionally weaker when compared to last summer. I think my right calf is getting smaller because of the limp I have developed in the right leg. Plus all the pain I experience on a daily basis.

    SO in my case, it has been a degenerative process. No treatment yet, my latest consultation is on Tuesday. Hoping for some relief. My history has all the specific MRI details of my cervical spine, but to sum it up, multi-level DDD with severe stenosis, spinal deformity, osteophyte, and 4 bulging discs.

    Good luck! :)))

  • My tingling, numbness, balance issues and spasticity come and go. The tingling tends to only last a few seconds at a time, but repeatedly throughout the day.

    The numbness tends to last for a few hours at a time. This is mostly in my hands; the ring and little finger of my left hand (especially when I wake in the morning and when holding a phone) and the thumb, pointer and tall finger on my right hand the finger tips go numb for a few hours about once a week.

    The balance issues are more rare. I had it this morning for a few hours, but I feel fine now, 6 hours later.

    The spasticity generally happens every day, especially as I wake in the early morning. Both of my legs go very stiff and sometimes my back arches up off the bed. My right foot especially, turns inwards and my big toe sticks up. I also get this if I have been sitting for an hour or more, when I first stand up. Then the stiffening then is in my legs and around my abdomen and back.

    Last week, things seemed to improve and I felt encouraged by that, but they are worse again now.

    My second opinion appointment is next week. I hope that we get some explanation of what is going on!

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