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Can cervical stenosis cause right leg weakness?

Murrayr1MMurrayr1 Posts: 2
edited 03/12/2015 - 3:47 AM in Spinal Stenosis
Hi all. I'm a healthy 24 year old female. I went to my GP last year after I had been experiencing a few odd symptoms.

I was getting pins and needles in my hands a lot and would often wake up with dead hands in the night. I felt that I was very clumsy, dropping things and I can't play the Piano as well as is used to. At night when I'd wake up, I often wouldn't know "where my hands are" unless I moved them. I think this is proprioception and would often walk into things like door frames and other obstacles as if I wasn't able to judge the space. I was also experiencing a burning sensation underneath my right shoulder blade. I have never had neck pain, but it would often be stiff, can only tolerate very flat pillow and sore muscles around the neck and shoulders.
After lots of blood tests that were normal my GP sent me for MRI that was also normal.

A few months later, which was last week, I got my first ever severe headache. I have never had a headache before this. It was awful. An hour later my vision became slightly blurry and then I felt very dizzy. My hands got pins and needles, My speech was very slow, poor concentration and weakness in the right leg. I was admitted to emergency. Bloods normal, ct brain normal, LP normal, urine normal. By that night, my speech was back to normal and he headache subsided. The next day I went for MRI brain, c spine and lumbar spine.

Neurology gave me the all clear by ruling out stroke, tumours and ms. My right leg remains weak in hip and knee and scored a 4 with neurology tests. I'm now using a crutch.

Since coming into hospital, I developed slight numbness in the skin around my right jaw and maybe my scalp but I find it hard to tell.

The MRI showed that I had cervical stenosis at c3,4,5,6 and a bulging disc between 5 and 6.

My doctors agree that this can explain all the symptoms I had before that I complained to my GP about and possibly the episode last week. They reckon the stenosis gave me a severe migraine which affected my speech for a few hours and the pins and needles.

The only thing is, they're not sure if the cervical stenosis could cause my right leg weakness.
Physio don't seem to be too surer either. I'm being referred to a spinal-ortho surgeon where I hope to get more answers. I'm worried about the leg because it will delay me getting back to work And driving.

My question is:
Can cervical stenosis with a bulging disc cause unilateral leg weakness?


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    Welcome to Spine-Health

    Use that above hyperlink to help you get started with Spine-Health and navigate through the system.

    If there are any questions, you can always post them here, send Liz or myself a private message or contact Ron rdilauro@veritashealth.com

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • Sounds like you need to have a new MRI of your lumbar spine, this will show if you have any nerve damage. That should show what is causing your leg pain. You said you play the piano, if you sit a lot, you may have some damage in your lumbar spine. Talk to your Dr ASAP.
    L3-L4, L4-L5, L5-S1fusion. DDD, Spinal Stenosis, Sciatica. Scattered schmoral nodes throughout thoracic spine. Herniated disc's C6-C7, C7-C8. Fractured Hip and torn labral ligament. (I Have gone thru 13 spinal surgeries)
  • RstubbensRRstubbens Posts: 51
    edited 03/12/2015 - 2:55 PM
    Murrayr1 I am herniated from C5-C7 and I am now experiencing right leg weakness, pain, and it is starting to fall asleep. I am having surgery soon and the Surgeon said he is not 100% sure if it is coming from my neck or if it is a different issue all together. He said once I start PT after surgery we will be able to rule out where the symptoms are coming from. I will keep you posted with what is going on .

    Hang in there :)
  • Thanks for the info guys. I've since been been discharged from hospital. We've established that the cervical stenosis probably gave me an episode of acute ataxia, which effected my speech, memory and made me feel foggy for a few hours. I've also discovered that cervical stenosis can cause weak hip flexors and abductors which is what the physio said I had. But it's strange that it's only effecting one side. I have a torn disc in the sacral-lumbar spine but that should cause any problems with the leg. They never MRI'd my thoracic spine so I'm wondering if they did, would it have she'd more light? I'm still using a crutch and I'm hoping to get an app with a specialist ASAP as I can't drive or work at the moment. I'm hoping he'll offer we surgery ASAP and I want a quick fix so I can get back to work.
  • Murraryr1, glad to hear you have some answers. Just keep in mind that when it comes to the back, there are no "quick fixes", please do not rush into surgery, make sure you have explored all options, ie injection, spinal cord simulator and so on.... If I were you I would see at least 2-3 more specialists to get second and third opinions. Its never hurts. You should also do a little research of your own, and make a list of questions to ask the dr. when you have your appointments. Ask about procedures and medications. Hope things start to look up for you!
    L3-L4, L4-L5, L5-S1fusion. DDD, Spinal Stenosis, Sciatica. Scattered schmoral nodes throughout thoracic spine. Herniated disc's C6-C7, C7-C8. Fractured Hip and torn labral ligament. (I Have gone thru 13 spinal surgeries)
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,846
    I am glad that you are getting some answers. Honestly, I couldn't imagine cervical disc problems could cause leg weakness.
    But , heck our bodies are a strange complicated piece of equipment (not the best word) and we are built as steroes. So what impacts one area will in turn impact another area.

    But one word of caution...
    murray1 said:

    I want a quick fix so I can get back to work
    In the world of our spines, there is no such word/action/treatment that can be classified as a quick fix All of this takes time, and it does take a toll on our bodies. That is not meant to scare you, but I just wouldnt think it would be right if you thought that surgery was going to fix it all.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
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