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Should I get a second opinion??

tc23ttc23 Posts: 5
edited 05/15/2013 - 6:06 PM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I've been dealing with bulged discs since 2008. I'm 29 yo. MRI in 2008 diagnosed DDD, bulged disc, and mild bilateral stenosis in C4-C5-C6.

6 years, 30 months of which were in combat, and my symptoms are getting worse.

My right arm is going numb. I have sharp pain in my inner right elbow. My middle finger and index finger are randomly getting "cold" like if they went "asleep". My headaches are still occurring. My range of movement is severely degraded, and I can no longer run or do neck related exercises like sit ups. I can't carry anything heavier than say a 20oz coke in my right hand with out pain and my arm going numb. If I shrug, or raise my arm up above my say mid chest, it goes numb and hurts.

Finally in the last year, the pain is starting to go to my left side of my shoulder blade/neck area.

I've been on every NSAID there is out there. Been on Gabepentin. I've done 3x rds of nerve blocks (stopped being as effective second time around)

I just got a new doctor and he ordered a new MRI.

I got the results back, and he basically said it's "just arthritis", I don't have DDD, gave me celebrex and said come back in 30 days.

I'm tired of taking NSAIDs or any pills period. I've developed IBS from it, and it's seriously degrading my work and personal life.

I feel like he just looked at the first sentence of the results and that's all he had time for....

Anyways, the new MRI results say the following, should I get a second opinion?

It says c4-c5 intervertabral level showing mild facet arthrosis and uncovertabral joint degenerative changes. Small posterior disc osteophyte complex without significant associated central stenosis. Mild to moderate bilateral foraminal narrowing.

C5-c6 intervertebral level again showing mild facet arthrosis and uncovertabral joint degenerative changes. Small posterior disc osteophyte complex with mild associated central stenosis. There is moderate bilateral foraminal narrowing.

C6-c7 intervertebral level also demonstrating mild facet arthrosis and uncovertabral joint degenerative changes. Small posterior disc osteophyte complex. There is mild to moderate left foraminal narrowing.

At c7-t1 intervertebral level showing mild left foraminal narrowing


  • Hi tc23, my opinion is yes, it's always to good to get a second opinion even a third and forth if need be. I/we are not a doctor nor am I experienced in the spine as so many here are. Shortly someone will come along with more information. I do know the value of more than one doctors opinion. Priceless.
  • There are clues that correlate with your symptoms, the multi level mild foraminal narrowing (stenosis). I would get another set of eyes on the images, not just someone reading the report. There are non surgical and non NSAID treatment options to treat moderate cervical foraminal stenosis.
    Severe DDD, Severe neural foraminal stenosis at 2 levels, moderate canal stenosis at 2 levels, significantly impaired left shoulder & arm function. Chronic moderate compression fracture at C6.
  • I absolutely agree that you would need at least a second opinion. I would see a neurosurgeon and not an ortho. This is because Neuros are more nerve-focused, unlike an ortho. I swear, some orthopedic surgeons are clueless when it comes to spine injuries!

    Also, thanks VERY much for serving for us!! :-D

  • tc23ttc23 Posts: 5
    edited 05/16/2013 - 5:06 PM
    Thank you all,
    I have a buddy who is a radiologist. He looked over it, and said no way it's "just arthritis". He says I have at least 2 discs that are completely dehydrated. I also have no curvature, forgot what he called it

  • RangerRRanger on da rangePosts: 805
    edited 05/16/2013 - 5:22 PM
    The normal curve of the cervical spine is Lordosis, the opposite or when the c-spine straightens is Kyphosis.
    I had the latter until 2007 when I had a fusion of C4 thru C7, the curve in my spine never look so good after that.
    Good luck to you on your findings.
  • tc23ttc23 Posts: 5
    edited 05/17/2013 - 5:29 PM
  • jellyhalljjellyhall Posts: 4,373
    edited 05/18/2013 - 2:23 AM
    Welcome to Spine Health where you can find information on all sorts of spinal problems and talk to others with spinal problems here on the forum.

    I assume that your doctor looked at the pictures of the MRI scan and didn't just look at the report.
    As spine problems progress, the symptoms can change from pain to numbness to weakness.

    Pain tends to get the most attention because it hurts!
    After weakness, there are no more warning signs so most doctors will want to act in someway when a patient has that.

    As none of us here are doctors but just other patients, if you are not happy to wait another 30 days and see how things progress, then I suggest that you do get another opinion.

    Have you found that the Gabapentin has helped you? I found that it did relieve my nerve pain but made me put on weight.

    I also assume that you went to see this new doctor because you were hoping for some help. If you don't feel like he gave helpful answers to your questions nor gave you a plan to help with the pain and numbness, then you could get another opinion.

    It is good that your report doesn't say that anything is 'severe' but even moderate problems can cause pain and mean that your life can be affected.

    Good luck
  • Hey there, the new doctor was due to military move. Military bounces is around every 2 years.

    He did not look at the pictures. Just the report. :-/.

    Gabepentin did work, but it made me put on 20lbs. And that is not compliant with my job.

    Thank you all for the advice.

  • I came off the Gabapentin because of the weight gain and am now taking Nortriptyline which makes a big difference to how much pain I am in.

    Can you go and see a spinal specialist doctor/surgeon?
  • Have to ask my PCM, the one who didn't read the MRI.

    Have to get a referral. I'm going to try this week.

    I woke up this morning in so much pain :-/
  • Cynthia00CCynthia00 Posts: 1
    edited 05/31/2013 - 4:26 PM
    Go for a second opinion if you are not satisfied with the present doctor.

    URL Removed. No advertising on the forums.
  • RickilalasRRickilalas Posts: 559
    edited 05/31/2013 - 1:46 AM
    Yes always get a second or third opinion
    Keep in mind the report with your MRI may not be correct and a good spine surgeon
    will read the films not the report.
    A nuro missed a major cervical issue I had going when I went in for lumbar pain
    My ortho spine specialist found the cervical issue and saved my life.
    Do not worry about it being a nuro or ortho worry only about them being a spine surgeon.
    Spine surgeons have years more education then others to work on the spine.
    It does sound like you need to stay on this before damage is done which will not be able to be reversed..

  • RangerRRanger on da rangePosts: 805
    And I do agree with Rick, I had the mentality that a neurosurgeon was my best option to see regarding my cervical spine issues and the nerves that were being affected due to stenosis. After my second and third opinion I am now working with an orthopedic spine surgeon that I have total confidence in. You brought up a very good point Rick.
  • CAhh yes the miltary medical what fun that is. Are you active duty? Are you on shore duty? I've had my experience with military when my my condition was suddenly disabling. I was a military wife. At that time we lived where I had no choice but to go the military facility. Every time I went which was during tests and getting the results was a new doctor. Only one was interested in helping me, the rest simply wrote it off as Migraines...or a headache....My MRI's showed up fine to them and my blood work was done over and over again with practically each docotor. They all missed it...The one doctor who really tried to help me is the one who sent me places for different tests and even though he was dumbfounded...He kept searching for ways to help me...Until he retired. He was in his 80's. Anyway, I understand as a military wife what I alone went through. My Hubby had to go a different route which was not any easier. Luckily he was and is a very healthy man without many issues except for a series of ear infections... Gosh, If you can get a second and thrid opinion, I wish I had gone outside of the norm and found the surgeons. I may have prevented the disabitily and pain I am in now.

    Also look up NUCCA, read up on the C-1 and C-2 and how that can affect the rest of your spine.

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