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What to expect

First, my name is Karen, 43. I live in South Texas, have 10 children ages 2 - 20 and am a part time photographer.
I'll try to make a long story short. I've had lumbar problems since I was 13 but my neck started acting up about 10 years ago. I've had chiropractic and PT a few times with short duration relief but over the last couple years it has gotten significantly worse. I have relied on nighty cyclobenzaprine and lots of ibuprofen to get by. A few months ago I started up with some neuro symptoms such as fasiculations, myclonic jerks and hyperreflexia in addition to the pain radiating beyond my neck and shoulders down to my arms. My right hand cramps and spasms but I have a lesion on my right ulnar nerve so it is unlcear if anything with that hand is my neck or ulnar nerve. I finally went to my GP who noted the hyperreflexia and 3 beats of clonus on the left and ordered an MRI and gave me Vicodin for my pain. My neck and shoulders can get so miserable that I'm taking 2 5/325 Vicodin, 800mg of ibuprofen and 10 mg flexeril at once just so I can function.

Instead of typing up the entire MRI report I'll try and summarize:

relative straightening of the cervical lordosis

bilateral facet arthropathy at every level except C1-C2. moderate to mild, usually noted as worse on the left

mild to moderate degnerative narrowing on every level but C1-2 and C2-3

mild to moderate foraminal encroachment in conjunction with uncoverterbral spurring on every level but C1-C2, C2-C3

mild to moderate ventral cord deformity at 4 levels

mild ventral stenosis at C6-7, broad based midline disc protrusion with reactive osteophyte, and mild ventral deformity

discogenic disease with minimal cord deformity C4-5 and C5-6.

I have an appt with a physical medicine and rehab/pain specialist (my own decision) and my GP has sent my films to a neurologist and told me I'll need surgery.

Reading on the internet it is clear as mud what I can expect to happen. Some reading seems to say that I need a lot of PT, traction and some injections, other says that since I have myelopathy and cord compression it is surgery for sure.

Any input?


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