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SEVEN right side cervical facet joints in a row are degenerated! How to fix??

A year ago, my cervical MRI showed a c5-6 herniated disc that I have had for 3 years. Now my most recent cervical MRI shows 6 total bulging discs in my neck from T2 up, and 7 right side facet joints are severely degenerated from T2 on up. I have had no trauma injury or car accident or anything in the last year... In fact, due to my lower back issues I have really spent a good part of the last year on bedrest! I have no idea how this could have happened and it has just blown my mind.

It certainly explains the severe mind-blowing pain and migraines and sinus pain and ear ringing problems along with left arm pain, shoulder pain and left scapular pain I've also been dealing with.

This past Friday I underwent a cervical ESI that I knew if anything would just be a "bandaid" until the docs figured out how to fix it, if there is a fix for it.

I've tried to research it and find what they do for this, but haven't found much. Has anyone encountered this problem? What do they do when you have sooooo many in a row? My doc said she has never seen this before outside of a trauma situation such as whiplash or a car accident. She is consulting with the spine surgeon right now.

Any insights and/or encouragement would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much! :)


  • Hopefully if all that happened inside of one year that your doctor is running other test on your blood looking of osteopenia or something to that effect? In addition to if they have had you on roids which are known to break bone down, which surprises me they put them in you with a rate of degeneration, that fast. However you surgeon should know what to do. Keep in mind that all bones show some issues, the difference is some radiologist read reports in more detail than others. So if you comparing the reports you might not be comparing apples to apples for instance if read by different radiologist. Also Your surgeon should know exactly what to do about your neck issues, now he/she might decide that surgery would not help at this time or it is not bad enough to warrant surgery. But surgeons see this stuff day in and day out and from my experience the minute they see the films it is second nature for them to decide what to do. For example if you have kids, when you wake up you already know what you have in the house to make for breakfast. Irregardless of which way he/she chooses I would get second opinions. Wether they say surgery or not. If for some reason you feel uncomfortable with your surgeon trust your instincts and seek someone else out. Be sure you are seeing someone who has completed a spinal residency program and has plenty of spinal surgery under their belt. I have seen some who use a ortho who hasn't had training in spinal surgery which a completely different beast than say operating on a knee. Obviously some of these things I am sure you know, but then again I never like to assume. Hopefully they will have answers for you very soon. When is your follow-up appointment?
  • I have an appointment with the surgeon for a consult next week. He is a very well-known spine surgeon, so I'm not worried about his experience. I am quite impatient with this "not knowing what to expect" feeling before going in there. I like to do my research and have a working sort of knowledge before I go in so I know what the doctor is talking about and I know all my options to ask him about in advance.

    I do have an osteoporosis/osteopenia issue already since I had a hysterectomy a few years ago. No steroids other than the ESI injections they did, so, not enough to break down my bones like this.

    In researching, I see where they have posterior replacement devices for facet issues, but you need healthy bone above and below to attach, so those devices are really only for if you have one vertebrae that is an issue. I'm just not finding any other solution options. I don't know where else to even look. I just want to be as informed as possible before I go in there so I have my questions ready.

    Anyone else have any ideas? Thanks so much!
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