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Just diagnosed with cervical spondylosis and stenosis and frightened

MeMMe Posts: 2
edited 08/15/2014 - 8:06 AM in New Member Introductions

I am 39 and have recently been diagnosed with cervical spondylosis and stenosis via MRI. My doctor gave me next to no information as to what this is but told me that I would need surgery and gave me a printout of the MRI report. Whilst I was there she was on the phone transferring my records to a hospital and calling the spinal surgeon. I drove home in a bit of a daze and began googling to find out what exactly this report meant. I realised it was a degenerative condition. The 2 page report listing the damage to my cervical spine is horrifying to me but to keep it brief the conclusion is :

1. Advanced multilevel spondylotic changes in mid cervical spine as described with consequent high grade stenosis of both C6 nerve root exit foramina

2. There is also stenosis of the right C5 nerve root exit foramen.

My doctor mentioned there were also changes in my thoracic spine and other problems regarding the shape or curve of my spine.

I can see on the MRI films that this is all touching my spinal cord and that is why I am in so much pain. Pain for me began approximately 4 years ago, beginning in my chest and later extending through my armpit and down my arm. I can feel it go all the way down to my ring and pinky finger. I often had difficulty breathing and I was frightened that I may have lung cancer as I had been a smoker. Doctors x-rayed my lungs and when they came back clear they stopped looking for the source of my pain and the reason for my intermittent breathing problems. I think they thought I was imagining it, or something. The pain was often so bad that I would have considered cutting off a piece of my chest and right arm to stop it. I also suffered from bad sciatica following a car accident. There are other symptoms but probably too much to list here. Fast froward to now and here I am, relieved to know what is causing my problems but dreading the future.

If this is a degenerative condition and is already advanced does this mean that little can be done and it will continue to get worse? How much worse can it get? Can i loose the use of limbs? Are there activities that I should be avoiding? Is there anything I can do to help myself?

If only my doctor had given me more than five minutes and explained even just a little to me because I am now frightened.

I hope somebody here can take the time to tell me a little bit about what this all means and what is in store for me in the future.




  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • hi! welcome to the forum! :)
    "When do you think people die? When they are shot through the heart by the bullet of a pistol? No. When they are ravaged by an incurable disease? No. When they drink a soup made from a poisonous mushroom!? No! It’s when… they are forgotten."
  • Thankyou Liz and IamMonkeyDLuffy for welcoming me!!
  • While we understand your fears and concerns, the primary is not the best equipped to explain what was found on the MRI, or discuss options for treatment with you. That's why he referred you to a spine surgeon. He will examine you, test your reflexes and strengths, go over the images and results/report and then discuss the options with you.
    Don't stress too much into what you read until you actually discuss the findings and treatment options with the surgeon. He is the best equipped to explain the condition to you, the likely options and then go from there.
  • I joined this site about a month ago and so far it is the most informative by far. I would say that the neurosurgeon would be better at explaining all of this also. They have more knowledge in that area that your PCP. My diagnosis was given to me by my chiropractor. He was good at explaining the most serious part but did not explain it all. I am still waiting for my turn at the neurosurgeon place and I hope that he can give me a more in depth diagnosis and understanding.

    I hope you get your answers soon too
    Tracie C
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