Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

Cervical stenosis with myelopathy and radiculopathy at 24?

I've been having odd neurological symptoms in my arms and hands for nearly a year now--tingling, very mild pains, brief spasms, a general feeling of clumsiness (even though I still appear to be able to type 150wpm). Over the course of the past six months or so I've also been having problems in my legs--basically the same symptoms I'm having in my arms, along with a distinct sensation of weakness. It feels like I'm no longer able to recruit all of the muscle fibers in my calves, hamstrings, quads, etc. I become fatigued too easily. I feel unsteady, although my balance seems to be fine for the most part. Above all else it seems like I'm losing fine-touch sensitivity in all of the affected limbs, while temperature and pressure seem mostly normal.

I saw a neurologist (this was at about the time I began noticing the symptoms in my legs) wondering whether I might be experiencing the beginnings of MS. An MRI was done and no signs of lesions were found. It was discovered, however, that the vertebral discs in my cervical spine are almost completely degenerated. I have mild scoliosis, and at 16 I sustained a moderate neck injury which could very well have set the stage for such degeneration.

The neurologist ended up dismissing my concerns entirely, and dismissed all of my symptoms as psychosomatic. Oh how I wish that were the case. She also told me that there was no reason to believe the degeneration in my cervical spine could be causing my symptoms. Our interaction ended with a recommendation of psychotherapy.

I did my best to put my allegedly irrational worries behind me. However, for all this time things have seemed to be getting worse. I went on a four-mile hike the other day, and I've noticed that my leg muscles don't feel "sore" the way muscles do after strenuous exercise. Instead, they just feel very strained in limited areas (presumably in the areas of the muscles that are still being recruited, and not in the areas that are no longer properly being recruited). I don't seem to be recovering properly; instead my legs just feel weaker.

I finally mustered the courage to research my condition, and given the confirmed degeneration of my cervical spine, cervical stenosis with both myelopathy and radiculopathy seems to fit my symptoms remarkably accurately.

I don't have any serious pain. The nerve pain has all been very minor and almost always transient--several seconds of pain that registers 1 or 2 on a scale of 10, and then it's gone. I don't even have any significant neck pain, although once or twice I've had bouts where my neck is moderately painful for a day or two and I'm unable to get comfortable, even laying down for sleep. My neck's often mildly strained because I sit and stare at screens way too much, but I've done that for most of my life and it's never really gotten better or worse.

I know that I need to see a specialist as soon as possible. I don't think I'll ever opt for surgical intervention. I read somewhere that wearing a neck brace for several months might stop the progression of and potentially reverse my existing symptoms.

What do you guys think? Am I just insanely neurotic? Could this really be happening to me? One of the only things I really care about in my life is the piano. For me this diagnosis would be a death sentence. I appreciate any input or advice.


  • The known can be quite scary, unsettling and even alarming. I was diagnosed on 12/9/13 and had surgery 12/11/13 for Cervical Stenosis with Myelopathy. Like you, my Mom (whose career is a nurse) and some friends all thought I was had MS. Please go see a specialist and if they recommend surgery, I would consider it before your symptoms become worse. My symptoms increased quickly over a three or four month period, I went from tingling in my finger tips to walking with a cane.

    After my surgery due to the severity of the condition, I may never fully recover sensation in my limbs, my walking ability may always appear that I am walking like a slap footed drunk, but I still function each and every day. It isn’t the end of the world, but you should take action now before things become worse.

    I wish you the best of luck in your journey.
  • and can lead to tetrapelgia if left untreated, depending on the severity of it......there are times when it comes to dealing with the various spine conditions that you can wait, or postpone the idea of surgery for sometime with little consequence, but when it comes to other conditions, such as ones where the spinal cord or the nerve roots are involved, that prolonging surgery or refusing it, is taking risks that you may not be able to undo later.
    No one wants spine surgery, but IF in fact, this is a serious compression of the cord , there are serious repercussions to not having surgery that you can't imagine down the road.....
    A consult and evaluation of the actual status of your spine, the cord, and any compression that may or may not exist is vital to knowing what your actual condition is, what your surgeon recommends and w .hy......if you want to continue to play piano, the longer you wait, the more you are putting that, and your mobility at risk......I would find the largest city, medical center in your state, and then find at least two board certified spine surgeons who specialize in cervical problems, and make an appointment.

  • BrauchtworstBBrauchtworst Posts: 38
    edited 06/04/2014 - 3:59 PM
    I messed myself up with yard work about 17 months ago. Because I am an overweight middle aged woman, I could not get anyone to take me seriously. I had horrific pain down both arms and spasms after a chiropractor gave me shoulder exercises (and now I know it was from the bad disk that I had the spasms). I was sent to a neurosurgeon and a spinal surgeon. Both said there was nothing wrong (though I could even see the disk pressing on the cord and the compression in the foramen on the right side. Just incompetent! So I was sent for physical therapy, which put me in screaming pain (trapezius stretches and all sorts of arm exercises). I got on 40 mg. of hydrocodone a day for six months and then they all said there was nothing wrong with me. So I had to taper off the drugs while my nerves were pinched. It was horrific. I almost wanted to die. It took six months after that for a PA to send me to another doctor for a new MRI. He told me that the disc was pressing on the cord and that I should not carry anything heavier than a gallon of milk. I also had a compressed C6 nerve root. Surgery was done three weeks ago. I felt great on the steroids afterward, but because my walking had become so difficult before surgery, my hips/legs and SI joint are all out of whack now. I kept telling the surgeon's nurse how bad my legs were getting, but she didn't believe me. Now, three weeks later, I still have some SI joint problems and my legs feel strained at times. They are better, but not 100% and my arms still bother me if I try to cut back on the gabapentin. I dropped from 900mg. per day to 600 and it caused me some grief. I hate the weight gain on that stuff!!! But if there was no white area in the cord or edema four months before my surgery, hopefully I do not have permanent damage to the cord??? I hope. Anyone have an idea?

    And speaking to the first person who posted (I am new to the forum and this is my first post)----do not wait. When it hurts to walk and it is hard to go up and down stairs, it is scary. My legs work so much better since my neck surgery, but nonetheless, had I waited much longer, maybe my weakness would be permanent. I hope it is not going to be long lasting. It takes the joy out of most daily tasks and fun events. Just an effort to do anything!

    I feel deeply angry and hurt that my doctors pegged me for a nut and a druggie last year and then made me suffer off the drugs while my nerves were pinched. I am beginning to think that some of the doctors should experience nerve pain so they can understand how their patients feel. I'll bet they would change a lot of things!!
  • BrauchtworstBBrauchtworst Posts: 38
    edited 09/12/2014 - 4:24 PM
    Hi Sandi,
    To tell you the truth, I am very afraid. I am four months post C6 fusion. I had moderate central stenosis too, and two EDITED told me there was nothing wrong with me last year, so I did not get surgery for a year. My walking began to deteriorate and I told my surgeon's PA, but she did not believe me. I could have had surgery three months sooner if she would have listened to me! The other two EDITED last year really allowed me to disintegrate. My arm pain is getting better. I don't have too much pain in my arms or shoulders unless I do a lot of stuff---overdoing the basic stuff in my small world these days. But my SI joints are inflamed due to walking weird for six months prior to my surgery. I don't think I walk weird any more, but my quads feel weak and almost painful some days and so do my gluts. I am afraid I will never regain my life again because of those two EDITED last year. One was even abusive and treated me like a drug addict. I have written him and his supervisor a letter to tell them that I had surgery and that they missed the boat.

    My MRI said that there were no abnormal intramedullary high signal intensity lesions or signs to suggest syrinx or hydromyelia in the spinal cord. I assume that means that I do not have actual damage? Which means I should recover? I have been told six months to a year for recovery, but then I wonder if they don't say that to everyone to shut them up!!!

    Thanks for the welcome. This is new territory for me. It makes me very angry that I had to suffer so long and no one would give me the time of day until May of this year, when I got my surgery. I am really messed up from what I used to be before all this happened. I guess there are a lot of us?!

    Posted edited. Bashing of physicians is not permitted on Spine Health.
  • I suffered with this for years. Everyone who saw me thought I had MS. So sorry that I did not have my Cervical Fusion done sooner. Had to have it done quickly when the myleopathy started to progress to the point that they were afraid of paralysis. I had an anterior fusion with cadaver bone. It was painless. You are home in one day.
    Take care and God Bless,
    Mary Anne
This discussion has been closed.
Sign In or Register to comment.