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Neck Arthritis

Hello everyone. For about 3 months I experienced issues with my cervical spine. Stiffness, poor range of motion, slight burning, dizziness, balance problems, fuzzy vision, and sciatica. After battling neurologist's and orthopedic doctors who couldn't find out what was wrong with me and tried to prescribe pain meds, (Which I won't take) I went to a very well known chiropractor in town. She said my atlas was way out of alignment and it was causing some arthritis around the c6-c7 area. I'm really worried about the arthritis. She said the damage was minimal and could be reversed with the proper chiropractic care. She said they had to get some curve back in my neck. I've always been very active and live a health lifestyle. I love to weight lift, run, hike, play sports with family and friends, ect. Whenever I do any strenuous activity, my neck begins to burn, I get dizzy, my balance is poor and my vision is blurred. I told her and she told me to lay off the weights and strenuous activity for a month to see how I feel. I expressed my concern and she told me not to worry since minimal damage was done. She said it's reversible. I'm really worried as I thrive on being healthy and living and active lifestyle. I feel like if I had restrictions on my life at the age of 27, I would slip into a depression. I really don't want my health to deteriorate. I started eating a high protein/fat low carb diet with plenty of fish oil and glucosamine. Has anyone had good results with chiropractic care as far as neck arthritis? Any advice is greatly appreciated!
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13

Comments

  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 10,613
    Personally,
    I think chiropractors do an excellent job in muscular-skeleton issues.

    But when it comes to the spinal cord, potential disc problems, I would not go so a chiropractor. I would only allow a spinal specialist to treat me at that point.

    Arthritis is a bit tricky. But if it is degenerative enough to bone on bone, than no chiropractor other doctor is going to make you feel better. That is when surgery is generally required.

    The Atlas being a bit out of alignment seems to be more of a term that chiropractors use and sites that offer spinal type devices (or gimmicks)

    Side note: If you dont want to take any narcotic pain pills, what do you do to manage your pain?
    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Hi Ron..thanks. It's not bone on bone. She said I did have some disk narrowing..but it wasn't significant. I had about 75% left. I had two orthopedic doctors and two neurologists tell me I'm fine or I have some nerve irritation that will heal. I'm really not in pain.. Just some slight burning. More balance, stiffness, range of motion is the problem. That's why I want to stay away from narcotics. I don't want my body to rely on that.
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  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 10,613
    If you can manage your condition without any pain medications, that is great, stay with that.

    Sounds like you have a good amount of bone remaining. There are some exercises that my therapists have given me over the years to help deal with arthritic joints (not sure about the neck though). I have found that aqua therapy seemed to help me the most. But everyone is different and no two conditions are alike.

    So, from what you are saying, it appears that your condition is not directly spinal related. Just to make sure, what diagnostic tests have you had so far (ie MRI, CT-Scan, X-rays, etc) to help identify your problem.
    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Thanks Ron. I've had several xrays and an MRI done on my cervical spine. I also an MRI on my lower back for the sciatica. I have some degeneration at L5..but the neuro said I was probably born with it and not too worried. The chiro also picked that up as well and said that it's probably been there for a while. She believes the sciatica is coming from my neck. I've had CT cans and MRI's on my brain to rule out MS. I really wish I could post my xray's here.
  • VHDudeVVHDude Posts: 47
    edited 08/03/2015 - 10:41 AM
    I just want to add a few details Ron. I read your medical history..woo wee man. You're definitely someone to look up to here. I'm sure you're fairly knowledgeable after those extensive surgeries. This all started back in March when I began having arm weakness, tingling, pain along with some neck irritation. I went to my doctor and he ordered physical therapy. No tests. Therapist said it sounded cervical. Did some therapy and felt much better. They discharged me. That went on for about a month or so. I went back to the gym light weight for a few weeks. Did pretty well. Then when I started moderate weight..the scary symptoms came on. It was BAD. Hand/eye coordination, VERY tight neck, sciatica and cramping in my right leg, dizziness.. you name it..I had it. My primary care doctor blew me off and said pretty much told me you lift weights deal with it. I went to an orthopedic doctor and he said it sounded like spinal cord compression. He took several xrays and said they looked fine. He ordered an MRI and said it was normal. My symptoms were getting worse and he sent me to a neurologist. The neurologist looked at the images and report. He performed his exam and said, "I think you're fine..but we'll check for MS." MRI on my brain was clean. He said, "You're fine..just take it easy. You probably have nerve irritation." I thought maybe I had a vestibular problem and went to an ENT. He said it sounds neck related. I went back to my orthopedic doctor and he ordered physical therapy. I saw two different therapists at the time. One of them thought I was crazy and the other therapist said it was from sitting behind a computer working all day and lifting weights. She said, "You may have to deal with this for the rest of your life..but these exercises will help." The exercises did help a little..but my sciatica was still there. They just blew me off and discharged me. I got fed up and went to another neuro. He reviewed the images of my cervical spine and brain and said it they looked ok. He ordered an MRI on my lower spine and found the degenerative disc. He said, "You were probably born with that..other than that everything is normal." That's when I went to the chiropractor desperate for answers. I will say..my symptoms have died down MUCH more since visiting the chiropractor and physical therapy. Although, I'm still very unbalanced (sometimes you can actually see me swaying while standing or sitting.) Before visiting the chiropractor..I began developing stiffness in my hands and fingers. That has gone away.... it rarely re appears. My legs used to be incredibly ache and stiff but have returned back to normal. I occasionally get sciatica. The only symptoms I have right now Is balance, occasionally burning around the lower part of my neck, a very dull pain at the base, middle of skull, and occasional tingling my arms, occasional sciatica in my legs. I'm just worried I took a wrong path out of desperation. I know healing sometimes takes a while. Do you believe I should still get another opinion from a specialist?
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  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 10,613
    As long as your insurance will cover that, I think having an additional opinion might be in order.

    Lets see, so far all of your tests, etc have indicated that there is something wrong, but nothing wrong enough to cause you worry or take on any aggressive actions.

    But in the meantime, you still are not where you want to be. There are so many conservative treatments (ie Physical, Aqua Therapy, Tens Unit, Massage therapy, Acupuncture, Trigger point injections, etc) all which may give you some relief.

    To me, I want at least one doctor to look at me and say I see you symptoms and this is your problem From that point on, you can always figure out the best course of action.
    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Thanks for your input Ron. I'm going to the orthopedic doctors office to receive my MRI images and report and I'm going to look for another spine specialist to get his opinion. I just can't believe nobody pointed out the mild arthritis on my xrays and MRI. I'm a little scared out of my witts because of this. If anyone has experienced this issue or has any additional advice please let me know.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 10,613
    but before you get yourself all worked up, find out what they have to say.

    I think based on everything you have posted so far, you have some problems, but nothing that is going to need immediate aggressive actions.

    That alone is a good thing

    Arthritis generally does not show up that well on MRIs, X-Rays do a much better job. Why they missed things? Perhaps it wasn't significant enough, who knows, I can only speculate. Main thing, get those reviews so you can have peace of mind.
    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • grammaof9ggrammaof9 Posts: 263
    edited 08/03/2015 - 4:56 PM
    I had similar things happen like you VHDude but they found cervical arthritic stenosis that was that was impinging my spinal cord with mylemalcia and ortho recommended a tens unit and neuro recommended surgery due to the cord issue. I also had went to a chiropractor and they would not do any adjustments anywhere near my neck but I was looking for anyway out of surgery. Funny the ortho also checked for MS. In fact that's what they originally thought. The burning was not tolerable. The tens unit helped but I basically had to use all the time. I had seen 2 orthos and 2 neuro's. 3 of the four agreed on what needed to be done. I found this site at the time. Never experienced any sciatica and with my L5/S1 herniated disc that was sitting on my nerve. That's original reason for opinions. Ortho wanted to fuse L5/S1 and Neuro wanted the 4 level cervical fusion. The symptoms sure mimic the cervical issues I had which since being fused I now do not have any of those problems but different issues. Also aggressive artrithris of my spine which probably would be greatly helped by alieve or ibprophen or Mobic and my stomach can not tolerate plus interaction with other meds. That drug helped the best. I personally would never be able to survive without my current pain meds. Could for you for not wanting to go that route I had no choice. I will be interested to hear what the other opinion has to say. My MRI was with contrast. It was explained this way to me from my physiatrist ( Ortho concern is the bones. And Neuro concern is the nerves). I'm guessing the difference in opinion. I was told flat out that without surgery I would loose the use of my arms and legs. So decision time it was.
    Vicki
  • VHDudeVVHDude Posts: 47
    edited 08/04/2015 - 4:18 AM
    Thanks Vicki. I woke up this morning in some mild pain...pretty much everywhere. Right now I have numbness in my legs, dizziness, some burning in my trap, my grips are weaker,and I have nausea. I'm going to the orthopedic office to pick up my images and I'm calling the neuro that ordered the MRI brain. He only took a week to see as the other neuro took 2 months. The chiropractor told me my symptoms may seem worse some days while adjusting..but this is getting too risky.
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