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

Greetings to all, any advice? (cervical stenosis)

Do you know when surgery is indicated? I'd be grateful for any advice.

Moderate tingling/burning in both hands about 2 months ago. More recently it's pain, numbness and intermittent "electric shocks." Finally got an x-ray and was directed to a spine surgeon. My symptoms during the neuro exam: Extremely stiff/immoble neck, pain in both hands, weakness in on. Failed the tandem walking test, positive Babinksi response. Clumsy, wobbly legs, bad balance.

MRI today shows mild spinal cord compression at C 4-5, C 5-6 due to mild/moderate disc herniations, osteophytes and vertebral instability. Moderate spinal stenosis.

So the MRI seems pretty benign mostly mild). But my symptoms are quite bad. The wobbly walking has been around about 3 years, after a burst fracture at T-12. That was successfully treated surgically. No one could understand why I had such trouble with walking/balance, it should not have happened. Now I am concerned my "wobbling" and gait abnormalities could be the spinal cord compression. Can even mild compression created so many problems? Would love to hear your thoughts/experiences, thank you!



  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832

    There is nobody on the forum qualified or permitted advise on an MRI scan this is something you need to discuss with your doctor



    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • I was diagnosed with severe cervical stenosis C3-C7. I had symptoms similar to yours, but also had bladder issues and hyperreflexia. Had cervical laminoplasty in October 2009 which gave my spinal cord lots of room - I am left with some permanent changes but also gained back in other areas. My own opinion is that spinal stenosis in the cervical area, no matter if moderate or severe, is quite serious, and my neurosurgeon made it clear to me that surgery should occur ASAP, I am glad I listened to her. Good luck with your decision - PM me if you have any questions.

  • I have/had moderate cervical stenosis and my legs felt very heavy and my hips and buttocks hurt a lot when I walked before my C6 fusion. I am four months out now and still have pain in my hips and legs. It's like the quads are very tight as well as the hamstrings. Some muscles, the periformis muscles in my buttocks are so sore if I walk very far. Before surgery, I struggled to walk on some days and alerted my surgeon's PA, but she said I did not have that bad of a case!!! My radiologist diagnosed the condition via MRI and said that my leg issue was due to the moderate stenosis on cord. So I have been frustrated. My surgeon never addressed the stenosis, but just fixed the herniated disk. Now, I am left with this leg pain. Very frustrating because I cannot walk very far without flaring it up. I am on hydrocodone and have been for four months now. The arm pain is getting better at least. One thing that I noticed pre and post surgery is urgency---bladder urgency. Before surgery, I was waking up three times a night and barely making it to the bathroom. Now, I wake up once or twice per night and I do not worry that I may get there too late! That is improving. I wondered if you had such issues withyour bladder? Did you have leg pain with your stenosis? Mine is from the muscles being used incorrectly pre-surgery. I had somewhat of a spastic gait some days worse than others. Tell me your symptoms regarding leg pain and bladder issues. Sometimes I wonder if I am imagining this, and yet it is not at all normal! I hate it. I THINK it is improving since surgery, but very slowly. It IS much better than before surgery. I just hope I am not stuck this way for life. Thanks!
  • Brauchtworst
    Quick question...did the herniated disc at C5-C6 cause the moderate canal stenosis, and therefore your surgery fixed it? Or do you have continued stenosis resulting from other issues that weren't treated during surgery? I had severe canal stenosis mainly because I had congenital spinal stenosis. My spinal canal was narrower than typical so when I started having issues with bulging discs, etc. there was no leeway in the space, and my spinal cord was immediately squished with no spinal fluid getting past it. The laminoplasty created a wider spinal canal throughout my neck, so my cord is no longer "squished". I did have bladder urgency problems prior to surgery that I put down to aging and three pregnancies, but when I first saw the neurosurgeon she explained that the nerves that provide bladder control are on the outside of the spinal cord so are often impacted early by stenosis. I had times where my legs felt heavy, and I think my gait was (and is) more awkward, but I haven't had leg pain. I do have low back pain now, intermittent and brief, but that may be a lumbar issue (haven't even looked there yet :) I also had headaches prior to surgery all of my life that are now gone. I have hyper-active reflexes in my legs as a leftover bonus from the stenosis, and I do have chronic pain in my neck/upper back muscles due to the surgery, in addition to pain due to cervical foraminal stenosis on a couple of levels that will require surgery at some point. Not sure if I answered your questions - please don't hesitate to ask more. Good luck and I'll be thinking of you.
  • My central canal is wide enough and I have no congenital narrowing, but the disk in my neck compressed the C6 nerve root and then also, the spinal cord---moderate stenosis of the canal. I think the abnormal gait that I had pre-surgery caused the muscles in my hips/buttocks and low back to become painful due to the abnormal gait. I also get the low back pain fairly often which seems to set off the hip/periformis muscles. My legs do not feel normal, though they are WAY better than before surgery. I was told that it would be six months to a year before I was better. But some days when it gets bad, I freak out. I have been in pain for so long that I feel overwhelmed. Before the stenosis affected my legs, I could at least go for a walk and I was fine, but then the heaviness started and the aching. I wish I could have had surgery sooner. I could not get the surgeon's PA to acknowledge the central stenosis, though it was on the MRI report. She told me that I was not that bad off! She thought it was just foramen stenosis on the nerve root.

    Are you expected to recover fully?
  • My surgery was almost five years ago so no more improvements expected. You, though, will still make changes for awhile so hang in there :)
  • That's too bad that you have not improved anymore. This is such a hard thing to deal with. When I get up in the morning, my hips/SI joints hurt. Or my low back. My legs (quads) still feel weak. I have to lift my leg into the car sometimes. I think it is the weakness in the legs that makes my low back hurt. The muscles are always strained. My arms get very fatigued if I do much. They are fine for basic stuff, but today I began trying to go through some old paints and did a lot of arm motion and the unscrewing of caps to see if the paint was dried up. Now I am getting the old familiar pain back again that I sort of thought was gone. I have tingling/hypersensitivity at the base of my neck. I am not the suing type, but there are days that I ponder it. Because of the incompetency of two neurosurgeons last year, I am in much worse shape than I would have been had they done my surgery last year. I did not have the leg issues at that time. I am sort of scared.

    Thanks for the re-assurance that there is still hope for this mess I am in. Otherwise I suppose it will mean pain meds for forever. They do help me a lot, though not with weakness. Do you require pain meds?
  • Since it sounds like the disc causing your stenosis is no longer squishing your spinal cord, symptoms probably won't get worse, and maybe better? My first cervical MRI was ordered by a general surgeon who went on to do a carpal tunnel release on me and never mentioned the obvious stenosis. A year later, due to new symptoms, I was seen by a physiatrist who took quick action after looking at the year-old MRI. Makes me wonder if I'd be in better shape now. It is what it is, though, and could have turned out much worse. I am in pain management for upper back and arm/scapular pain,much of which comes from foraminal stenosis in neck, although some is due to laminoplasty procedure. I am on Butran patch, muscle relaxor, Cymbalta for nerve pain, and Nucynta..also credit my magnesium supplements.
  • A friend who worked as a PA at the neurosurgeon's clinic a few years ago told me to not get excited yet since it takes up to a year for the tissues to heal. I am much better, but I would be in bad shape without the hydrocodone every day. It does give me a life for now. The stenosis affected my legs and that bothers me the most. My thighs feel fatigued if I walk far. It's abnormal fatigue. Wonder if a muscle relaxer would help that. I hate those things because they are depressing!

    Thanks for the note. Too bad that moron waited a year on your behalf. Same for me. Scary out there. I was sent for a nerve conduction study and they told me I was fine other than some carpal tunnel on my LEFT hand --not even my dominant hand!!! The study was a farse!. I have the arm/scapular pain, too. It's not too bad if I behave. Much better now than before my surgery but still bothers me.
This discussion has been closed.
Sign In or Register to comment.