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Cervical Cord Impingement

CRASH21CCRASH21 Posts: 139
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:19 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Has anyone had cervical cord impingement? What has been your outcome. From what I have read, the only cure would be surgery. What are your thoughts?


  • Yep. I've had 2 surgeries this year and I'm doing better since the last one. I have leg weakness and bladder problems but hopefully those will clear up with time. My cord was not only impinged but was also being stretched due to the kyposis in my cervical spine. That is partially corrected so it's a waiting game now.

    I do think that once the spinal cord is involves that it is imparative to get it done as soon as possible. There is no sense in playing russian roulette with your ability to walk.

  • Taking meds keeps me functional. However, masking the pain makes you think twice about surgery. Especially when you read the pain and horror stories. Would like to hear more about cord impingement and what other drs have said. The more I hear, the more confident I am with the surgery decison.
  • At C4-5 my cord was compressed 50%. My legs from knee down were going numb while laying down. My left leg would tingle often and sometimes walking was difficult...it was like I couldn't lift my leg at the knee. By the time I got to surgery I had urinary urgency.

    At 1 1/2 years post-op I still have tingling with my left leg when laying down. Sometimes my calf feels numb. I also get mild poking pains in my leg when laying down. It stands to reason that the nerve damage may be permanent at this point. I haven't had that tested and don't see any reason to. What's done is done and what gets better with time will get better.

    Take care!

  • Obviously, I will discuss this with my NS a month from now. Am I risking paralysis by not having surgery?/having surgery? I am so scared of making the wrong decision. I was thinking of going off my meds so I can see how bad I really feel. I never was one to take medicine. I feel like crying a lot lately. So tired of not feeling "normal". But afraid of making such a big decision.
  • I have neck, shoulder, upper back and arm pain. Numbness in three fingers. Pain is manageable with meds most of the time. Had scheduled injections but both NS decided that it would not be a fix and would need surgery at some time. Also, was injured in lumbar spine. NS want to do surgery on L5-S1 also. But cervical first. No matter how many times I have heard this, it has not really sunk in yet. That is partially why I am here. I guess I need more convincing that surgery is what I must do. If I wait, am I risking injury to my spinal cord?
  • RangerRRanger on da rangePosts: 805
    Hey Crash,
    I had a laminectomy of L4 thru L6 in 2006. I had a discectomy, corpectomy,
    multi-level fusion of C3 thru C6 with hardware both anterior and posterior approach a year later in 2007. My symptoms were tingling, numbness, and pain. Surgery was my only alternative as the risk of incontinence and paralysis was not an option. My results were successful as I'm basically doing what I did pre-op.
    Yes, things are a little different now and I have to be a little more careful as
    to how much I lift but no complaints here. Listen to your Dr's, keep a positive
    outlook, and you will do just fine. The longer you wait that tingling and numbness could result in permanent nerve damage. I may have waited too
    long myself.
    Take care,
  • Did you also have vibrating in your foot?
  • Not in my foot, but I do feel that in a spot on the lower part of my neck. Kind of warm, vibrating feeling. I think it must be a muscle spasm.
  • I had vibrating in my lower legs after surgery. It went on for months. I have to say that I haven't had that feeling in the past 2-3 months now. I figured it was just the nerves trying to heal.
  • yup i had it. C4-7.I had so many symptoms.tingling and numbness in my arms and hands numbness in my feet and near the end from my right hip down to my foot.massive pain all over my body. right sided weakness from top to bottom.my hips would completely give out on me and i would fall to the ground.that happened over twenty times. a few times i lost the ability to move my legs.i had urinary frequency everytime i fell but after about a week or so it would go back to normal.i had neurological symptoms,trouble staying focused on anything for two long,i had difficulty understanding people when they spoke to me.if i was in a crowd i couldn't pick out the voice of the person who was talking to me from the other people in the room. i would have trouble remembering peoples names even my own childrens.now after the surgery all the neurological symptoms are gone. most of the numbness there are a few spots that have remained and a couple that come and go.as far as the pain. some has gone away but i'm still on gabapentin for nerve pain. I've tried weaning down on it but got just about half and started getting bad burning sensations and pain so i had to go back up to max. doseage for now.my cord in my neck was being completely flattened by the disc herniations.i also had bone spurs.the surgeon said he had to use a magnifing glass and pick out splinters from my nerves,but he said he got all of them.spinal stenosis is nothing to sneeze at it can be and was a life altering experience. I'd never want to live through that a second time. good luck to you.

  • Cord compression is very serious, so it is important that you follow whatever your doctors are telling you. I think you should ask your doctors the same questions you are asking here. Only he/they can tell you if you are risking further damage by delaying the surgery. Ask your doctor to show you on your films where the compression is, and have him explain what happens if it gets worse. Each of our situations are different, and some may have been risking further damage, while others here may not have been.

    I do feel for you. Spine surgery is a very big deal, and not to be taken lightly. But if you need it, then be assured that there are many qualified surgeons out there. Just choose someone with a lot of experience doing the procedure you will have done. There are risks with all surgeries, but you have to weigh the benefits against the risks. I have had two c-spine surgeries. One turned out not so good, the 2nd has been good. I was scared to go back in for the revision--frightened would be a better word. Now that it is over, I am kicking myself for waiting so long. So I would just say check out all your options, ask many questions, make sure your doc is the best in the area, and pray to know what you should do.

    Good luck!
    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
  • Crash,

    My husband has been going through the same thing since Feb. Even though the ortho said PT wouldn't help, he went through 25 sessions. He was told he HAD to have the surgery to protect his spinal cord. He has severe compression at C6,7. Without surgery, he is a risk for paralysis, if he were to be in an accident or fall.

    I know the shock you are going through---it took us 4 months to finally realize the inevitable. Dave is having ADCF 2 weeks from today.

    I could be wrong, but I heard this surgery has a high success rate. One neuro told him 95%.

    In Dave's case, he doesn't have a lot of symptoms or pain now. I'm worried that this is going to open a can of worms. But, I guess pain is a better option than paralysis or incontinence!

    Linda MI
  • To tell you the truth, I am not sure if the word "myelopathy" was used at my NS appt or not. I am taking someone with me on my next appt. I think I was a little startled at my last visit that I didn't take in as much as I should have and did not ask enough questions. It is just now sinking in and I am preparing a list of questions for my next NS visit. I welcome any suggestions. The NS said I will be a "2fer". 2 level cervical fusion and 1 level lumbar. What a mess, I feel too young for all this!
  • Hi. I had cord impingment/cord compression at my c6/c7 I went to a neuro-surgeon and the top spine doctor at **edited** in Philadelphia and was told to have surgery. The spine doctor said the herniation was one of the largest he has seen. I suffered terribly for almost a year....didn't sleep for about 3 months could not lay down for about 6 months was losing strength in my right arm and had weird sensations in left foot. Now pain is managable with 1 to 1&1/2 hydrocodone a day. I usually take 1/2 at a time of 5-500. I'm glad I opted NOT to have surgery because sometimes a whole other host of problems can occur. I couldn't recieve epidural steroid injections due to the size of the herniation and the Dr. said no room for needle or medicine they inject. Too dangereous. At the height of my pain 1500 mgs. at a time of hydrocodone was barely taking the edge off the excruciating pain. They said my spine was unstable due to the cord compression and that a sudden jolt or accident could paralyze me. By the Grace of GOD, I am doing much better, and have regained strength in my right arm. Some days just have knawing pain in neck shoulder and minor nerve pain in hand/arm sporadically...definately managable. I have full range of motion of neck back so all in all I am glad I made the decision I did. To not have hardware on my spine I am thankful, however, I know each case is different. Just wanted to let you know even with cord compression you can get better without surgery.

    Doctors name and contact details removed by forum Moderator (paulgla). We do not permit publishing specific doctor's or institution names and contact details
  • Can someone explain this to me please!
    My report states, Type 2 and 3 acromial morphology with articular cartilage changes at the AC joint?

    Central disk protrusion with slight anterior cord impingement is present at T7- T8?

    Mild disk protrusion at C2-C3 on right causing severe effacement of the right lateral recess and anterior lateral cord flattening?
    In addition, there was mild disk bulging and spondylosis at C3-C4 with bilateral forminal stenosis greater on the right?

  • hi guys, i am in a same situation as yours even my husband is indicated for a spinal surgery.I am worried about outcomes of surgery as well.Due to pain he just feels like sleepin whn he gets back from work as he is taking tylenol with codeine on and off .Whn he gets back from work he falls asleep due to that.I am worried if after suregy he will be better or not????would he be etting into more pain madications or he will be better then now?
  • I am scheduled for multilevel ACDF with plating next Wednesday (9/23). Have been to three surgeons and found one that I feel I can trust. He said surgery is needed soon if I want to avoid not being able to walk in the future. (I posted MRI results in an earlier post). Would someone comment on what the recuperation is really like for this? Will I really not be able to work for 6 to 8 weeks? I think that I will go out of my mind. Also I worry about the pain of this procedure.
    Any info or encouragement is welcomed...I am so scared!
  • I have just been diagnosed, and will be having surgery when a neuro surgeon can be found who isn't too busy.

    This is at C5/6 both sides. My main symptom was pain in my L shoulder, weakness in my L upper arm, tingling in my L hand.

    Now I am wondering are the night time urine incontinency and also night time severe calf muscle cramps all part of this?

    Would anyone be able to give me an idea of time in hospital, recovery time, please. I don't know anyone who has had this so haven't any way of getting information so was pleased to find this site.
  • I have, MRI IMPRESSION: CERVICAL SPONDYLOSIS WITH FORAMINAL NARROWING, CORD FLATTENING... C-4 Through C-7 has moderate bulgings and herniations, with mild cord flattenining.. I am due to see a Neuro-Surgeon in a week and i am pretty sure that they, may want me to have surgery, but i would rather explore my other options and i know that there are a few.
    I guess it just depends on just how bad your personal case is, AM I RIGHT??? Such as a Pain Management Clinic or DR.
  • worse at C-7 into T-1/2 and now experiencing myelopathy symptoms since truck hitting me on ridge side (impact not bad but wrenched neck to the right)

    positional myelopathy when sleeping 8 hrs in am wobbly and cramping in left calf leg & ankles weaker

    balance is worse in a.m. as well

    I am on gabapentin (remediation almost completely of right arm/hand fingers nerve pain)

    2007 broadside collision worsened all stenosis symptoms but surgery put on hold spinal cord symptoms only

    surgery assessed: anterior C-6/7 into T-2 plates/screws; posterior C-4 thru T-2 rods/wires
    not one surgeon would address prognosis ?'s except initial surgeon for 7 yrs prior to my move to FL

    St.Louis surgeon = set above plan for surgery then 2 wks later prior to doing pre-surgery tests; reassed doing surgery, not good prognosis for left arm hand/fingers (advanced neuropathy all nerves muscle atrophy since his assessment) and recommended in Jan 2011 for me "best to live with it"

    So reassessing now with positional myelopathy symptoms on reclining (sleep 8 hrs compression)

    NS in state not a candidate for surgery

    let's chat further - - good post

    p.s. both hands - nerve damage (spinal compression of nerve roots) left hand 90% disabled; right hand 30% and progressive disability strength and muscles cramping

  • I had compression of my cord at C4 after a fall and develpoed Central Cord Syndrome. I had trouble standing, atypical reflexs in both arms & legs. Trouble with memory& concentration, partial paralysis of L arm, radicular pain, also. The majority of my symptoms were relieved with surgery. It took several months for all the healing.

    Cord compression can be very serious and the urgency of whether or not to have surgery depends alot on the cause. I am grateful to be walking.

    The surgery takes time to heal from, and depending on how long the cord was compromised usually will tell you whether or not the possibility of permanent nerve damage exists. Make lists of questions and write down the answers and/or take someone with you to your appt. to help you out.


  • compression can be complex; at least it is in my case.

    I have spinal cord being affected when sleeping now and I get up in a.m. with wobbly legs and disconnected feeling from my body.

    I reviewed the symptoms with an OS recently who is urging 2-approach separate surgeries for my C-Spine T-Spine complex instrumentation.

    Nope I am probably not going to go there - - spinal cord symptoms and multi-level nerve root compressions are not simply fixed by instrumentation my opinion is based on knowing spine surgery is interventional and traumatic and continues to baffle patients with post-op problems.

    This is my opinion and where I stand with a "convinced to have surgery" the risk to having the surgery MUST be weighed in - - surgeons minimize discussing this factor IMO !!!
  • sapp9038ssapp9038 TennesseePosts: 1

    CRASH21 said:

    Has anyone had cervical cord impingement? What has been your outcome. From what I have read, the only cure would be surgery. What are your thoughts?

    My Husband had a Fall while at work, he ruptured/herniated c2-c7, because it was workers comp nothing was done for two years during which time he developed severe neurological issues that were similar to MS. he had spinal cord damage between C3-and C4 that was pressing on the nerve roots. the damage had gotten so bad that he now has neurogenic bladder, gastroparesis and a myriad of other health issues. Three years post op and he is in electric wheel chair because of continuous falls. The prognosis for him will not get any better than this, He is now an incomplete quad and 100% disabled I suggest if your doctor recommends surgery do that post haste long term waiting is very detrimental.
  • I'm new to this forum. I have signs of mobility/motor function and balance so forth. I have four herniated discs. Two cervical and two lumbar. Congenital facet stenosis, spinal stenosis and ddd. I have a disc herniation impenging on my spinal cord in my cervical spine and it is causing stenosis and I also have a bone spur at this level. I have one physician wanting to operate right away to avoid the paralysis point and one suggesting an injection to help with pain and sugesting he will operate soon. What is the reason behind an injection first if I'll need surgery in 6 -12 months or sooner? 
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