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Neck problems / MRI report

Hi my name is Jill. I am new to these boards. I started having neck pain back around the late 1990,s. Years ago I took care of a quadriplegic doing a lot of lifting obviously. I started having neck pain on and off back then radiating into the left arm. It wasn't constant. It would come and go and occasionally flare up. After a real bad flare up I finally found a doctor that did a MRI in 2000. I had two small disc herniations at c4-5 and c5-6 indenting the thecal sac without cord compression. Only mild degeneration in those two vertebrae. Mild to moderate foraminal stenosis at the c 5-6 level without inmiegment. Surgery was not recommended but a job change was. My jobs for the next few years were easier on the body.. No more heavy lifting etc. my neck would only give me trouble here and there if I did something to flare it up. Only had been to the doctor a few times over the years after that for it. It was always pretty tolerable unless like I said I did activity so that caused a heavy aching at that bone area right under the neck. Would take ibuprofen and lay down and then it always felt better. Well about a month ago I was doing about 2 weeks of cleaning for this lady. She lived in an apartment and I would have to walk about a half a block to throw her garbage out. It got flared up so bad I would have to take ibuprofen every time I was there and come home and lay on ice. I told my employer I can no longer do that cleaning job for her. Well it got worse then I had pain along the side of my neck going down between my scapula under armpit area where it connects to chest and tight arm with very stiff elbow. When I shower to wash my hair or do my hair I always get pain in those areas now. I never used to. Also get tingling on and off in upper back shoulder area. Anyways had a MRI Nov. 18 th. This MRI scares me! I now thirteen years after my first MRI have multilevel moderate degeneration at C3-4,C4-5,-C-6-7. I have tow disc protrusions,herniations at C3-4 and C5-6 that are mildly flattening the cord. Also there are annular tears. Loss of disc height and space and loss of hydration at three levels and reactive endplate changes at three levels that say irregularity. I have borderline cervical stenosis at two levels and at C5-6 I have moderate spinal stenosis measuring 8 mm. I foraminal narrowing severe at 5-6 and moderate to severe at 4-5. And mild at 3-4. I have at a couple levels marginal osteophytes and at one level uncinate spurring or maybe that was more levels, so bone spurs too. Nerve impingement at C-5 and 6 roots and possible impingement at C-7. I'm a quite scared! I am still waiting for call from neurosurgeons office for appt. my doctor referred me too. Any light activity is irritant it now. Has anyone else had these many issues going on inside your neck? If so I would like to hear your story. Thanks!


  • RangerRRanger on da rangePosts: 805
    It is obvious from reading your post that you have done your research and are well aware of your issues. The best advice I can give you from personal experience is keep doing everything to be your own advocate. Try to seek out more than one opinion from either neurosurgeons or an orthopedic spine surgeon.
    Tingling and numbness should be a red flag and if it is long term there is no time to waste as it could result in permanent nerve damage. You were smart to career change when you did to try and preserve your vertebrae from further damage.
    I had a 360 degree major rebuild to C4 thru C7 back in 2007 now I am scheduled for additional fusion within a few months.
    Feel free to PM me and I'll answer any questions I can to the best of my knowledge.
    Take care & be safe.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,853
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    Ron DiLauro


    Cervical problems have always baffled me. It seems that once one of the C-discs have been identified as causing some problem, down the road they require surgery to correct the issue. Its a matter of how far that disc has gone. Jill, in your situation, it appears that the doctor did not think surgery was in order. Who is to say if that was the right or wrong thing to do. Hindsight is always easy to do. What would have happened IF you did have that surgery back then, would all of your cervical problems been eliminated? Without the surgery, it sure sounds like there was a ripple effect in your neck.

    One thing I can say for sure, that my ACDF surgeries were fine! They corrected the problem that required the surgery in the first place. And yes, the first one (1996) was C-3/C4 and C4/C5, Four years later, C5/C6 C6/C7. Another fusion, but a good titanium plate to span the discs. My surgeon does believe that because of my previous lumbar surgeries and the cervical one, that I was placing more stress, therefore, down the C-span the problem went. But now, I have zero cervical issues (I do have some range of motion limitations)

    Good luck and welcome to Spine-Health
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Jill728, Your symptoms appear serious enough to warrant surgical intervention. That being said, you ought to research Artificial Disc Replacement. If you research ADR you will find patient testimonials which overall are more favorable than those from people who have had fusions.
    Grayslake, IL USA
  • RangerRRanger on da rangePosts: 805
    edited 12/01/2013 - 2:56 PM
    More favorable? I think that would totally depend on the situation and who you talk to. I also would say it is pre-mature to say Jill728 needs surgical intervention at this point.
    In all due respect senior41 we can't advise anyone on major decisions such as above. If you had an ADR and it was successful I think that is great. Some of us can not have an ADR due to multi-level issues or simply our insurance companies will not approve it.
    I hope I shed some light on this controversial subject.
  • kristikkkristik Posts: 11
    edited 12/01/2013 - 5:47 PM
    Ur MRI is almost identical to mine! Except I do have severe bone spurring at C5-6 and C6-7. I've known and been in a great deal of pain for a cpl of years! My GP has been trying treat my pain but has been unsuccessful and now has FINALLY referred me to a pain management clinic for injections. I've tried the steroid injections b4 with no success except for a bunch of major side effects and had to discontinue them. Im going to the PM clinic tmrw for a consultation on injections without the steroids! And I also have an appointment with a neuro surgine on the 19th. So keeping my fingers crossed that the ball is finally rolling and I can get my pain atleast under control! So believe me I know wat ur going through girl and my heart goes out to u! Hope u find some answers soon!
  • Kristik, what are all of your symptoms? Anything that helps you get some relief? Thanks for the response!
  • Jill...I have a stiff neck daily can't hardly bend my neck to look down it pulls all the way from the top of my head to my rib cage on both sides if this is the only pain I have its a very good day bc the other symptoms come and go and I nvr know wen their gonna surface! I get a huge knot btw my spine and shoulder blade, my right shoulder and arm hurt all the way down to my thumb and index finger cramps up and feels like one big muscle spasm this pain occasionally wraps around to my chest! The pain is very deep most of the time! Once in awhile it does the same thing on the left side but not as often! My neck constantly grinds pops and creeks wen I turn it in any direction! Wat about u? And have u had any recommendations on wat to do? Or are u like me and just keep running into a dead end?
  • Jill728JJill728 Posts: 27
    edited 12/03/2013 - 5:31 AM
    I go to the neurologist Thursday. I will see what they say then. Yes this last month it seems way worse with even the slightest activity. That's when the symptoms start. Believe me I wake up stiff. I goes mostly on the left side down to the scapula and in left arm and hand to collar bone, cheat area too. And it's scary because right beneath the neck where that bone sticks out is where I get that heavy aching and if I move certain ways it feels like something is pulling in there or going to rip. Do you know what I mean by that? I have a physical job and they won't let me come back until I have a doctors clearance but I'm also afraid to go back because of how it flares everything up. Lots of worrys here lately. You said your MRI was almost identical to mine. Do you mine telling me everything it said? It makes me feel not so alone in this even though I dont wish this crap upon anyone. Have they recommended surgery for you or what are you doing for the pain?
  • Forgot to tell you when I take a shower and get ready then it really flares up. I suppose because of all the arm movement? Do you you have that problem too. The boyfriend told me shave my head so I don't have to do my hair. Haha real funny!
  • with ya but on top of all this spine attack stuff I've had some sort of virus! Anyway I have to get another copy of my MRI report bc wen I went to the pain management clinic last week he kept my MRI report. But I'll give it to u word for word as soon as I getit next week. I also have an appointment with a neurosurgeon the 19th of December, so I'll keep u posted on that if u wld like? Right now the doctors are just tryin to manage my pain with Norco 5mg and Valium which really doesn't help much! I try to get deep tissue massages once a week thats a temp fix for a few hrs but better than the pain meds. I'll post again real soon with the results of the MRI. Take care
  • Jill728JJill728 Posts: 27
    edited 12/07/2013 - 8:08 PM
    Hope your feeling better with that virus thingy! Take care and thanks!
  • Kristen, I am new to this as well. I have severe stenosis C5-6-7. They have started me in PT but my symptoms are rough and I have a tough desk and field job. I don't know how long they'll let me go with this until trying to fix it
  • RangerRRanger on da rangePosts: 805
    Most doctors try the conservative approach such as starting you with PT unless you have blatant issues that compromise your safety and spine. Years back I had severe stenosis in my lower lumbar region and went thru a similar protocol until a laminectomy was done to repair the problem. That was 7 years ago and it still hasn't given me any more problems in that area.
    Now my cervical spine is whole different animal.
  • But sometimes won't physical therapy just tend to further irritate the problem? I know when I went years ago it aggravated it more than helping it. And I dint have near the problems in there that I do now.
  • RangerRRanger on da rangePosts: 805
    My experience with PT has been really good but that has been mostly post-op. You bring up a valid point that in some cases it may make the problem worse. I guess like most things it would depend on the attending physician, they all have their different ways.
    Hope you can get better soon and put those neck issues to rest.
    Take care,
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