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.