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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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Comments

  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 10,045
    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 Spine-Health System Administrator
    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.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 10,045
    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 Spine-Health System Administrator
    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 - 9:41 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?
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 10,045
    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 Spine-Health System Administrator
    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: 10,045
    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 Spine-Health System Administrator
    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 - 3:56 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 - 3:18 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.
  • Hey Guys.. I received my report and images. They also included the xrays as well. Honestly.. I'm not doctor..but I can't see any arthritis at c6/c7 on these images either. The MRI report was completely normal. It said minimal disc bulging and no spinal cord adnormalties. Ron-Is there any way I can post a picture of my xray images here?
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 10,045
    Take at look at our Forum Help, Troubleshooting, etc

    Our FAQ also shows you how to do this.

    But, just so you know, even if you post the X-ray, it is a forum violation if anyone provides you with any advice based on those images.

    In my years I have view so many MRI and X-ray images that I think I know what I am looking at. Its so hard to distinguish anything. The best
    I do , is to compare the same area from a previous image. With Arthritis, I can see when its a bone on bone situation or where bone spurs exist.

    Your report sounds good, no immediate problems found.. Now the question what about your pain?
    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
  • I just typed a lot of info and didn't save now it's all gone. Great news. Did you take your X-ray and MRI to a neuro surgeon? Did you have the MRI with contrast? I will tell you this VHDUDE you could see the narrowing of my disc and what looked like fluid and the actual indentation of the cord on my xray. Another clue was the weakness I had on my right side due to the spinal cord compression which I was told would never come back since that was irreversible but they could stop further damage. I am hoping they can come up with some answers for you. Keep doing your own research.
    Vicki
  • Hey guys. My original MRI was done without contrast. I'm happy to report the past couple of days I've been feeling much better. The stiffness has depleted, I'm not nearly as dizzy, and I can actually put my feet together and not sway. So the chiro treatments may actually be working. I'm still going to my primary doctor today to get his opinion on the "neck arthritis". I'm not sure if it's something that just started developing, but I can't see any arthritis on my xray.
  • VHDudeVVHDude Posts: 47
    edited 08/06/2015 - 12:03 PM
    I saw my primary care doctor today. He laughed and said, "I highly doubt you have arthritis... If you do..it's probably so minimal it won't show on the xray. I wouldn't worry about it. You've improved a lot since I saw you six weeks ago. Continue to see the Chiropractor. I'm sure you're fine."
  • Hey folks. After my chiro adjustment today.. the burning is gone...I can stand with my feet together without swaying..but my neck feels very stiff but I have full range of motion The chiro said In a month I'll probably be as good as new and he'll take more xrays. He said it seemed like I was healing very well. I'm starting to get some positive results.
  • Hey Folks. I had another adjustment today. That is my seventh and seeing some improvement. The weird thing is..when I shrug my shoulders up my chin can touch my chest without a problem. When they're at normal posture, It's tight when my chin touches my chest. Is that due to the tightness in my trap muscles or is that collar bone related?
  • Gene001GGene001 Posts: 4
    edited 08/10/2015 - 7:04 PM
    Ron,
    I am 36 years old and just had a ct scan done on 7/30/2015 at the ER. I saw an NP who practices at a spine center. He told me I had arthritis of the cervical spine, and it is severe for my age. He said I will need injections but thats all he said. The radiologist reports on the ct said "Degenerative disc disease with moderate to severe right foraminal narrowing at c4-5 Reversal of cervical lordosis can be related to positioning, muscle spasm, and posterior soft tissue injury".... what does this mean? Should I expect surgery later on? I had popping and crackling in my neck for about a year then suddenly it was very painful for a few days and I went to the ER. I have a seriously high tolerance to pain.

    Welcome to Spine-Health
    Please click on link for helpful information! ~moderator, savage
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 10,045
    I am not a medical professional, therefore, I really cant give you any formal medical advice on your situation.

    To me, it sounds like you have two things going on.. The cervical arthritis and the situation at C4/C5.

    What has your doctor told you in terms of action plans? Physical Therapy, Injections, etc

    You should take a look at Cervical Foraminal Stenosis
    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
  • Ron,
    hey thanks for the info. My NP wants to do just injections. However, I feel that this is not acceptable. In the video you showed me it basically said the only treatment is surgery (thats my assumption) . Am I correct? A little more info is that my mother had the same condition 9 years older than I am now, and had to have immediate surgery or be paralyzed for life. I am seeking a second opinion. Can you give me your opinion on what to do?
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 10,045
    edited 08/11/2015 - 3:51 AM
    is to seek a second opinion.

    Anytime the idea of surgery is involved, you want to have at least two doctors that agree on your diagnosis and also agree on the action plan.

    Also curious, why do you feel injections are not an option?
    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
  • I am trying to seek a second opinion, but the Nurse Practitioner I was seeing refuses to do an MRI which the new office requires before they will take me. They tell me to get the MRI request from the NP. The NP tells me to have them request it. I sent the NP an email explaining my situation and half hour later he personally calls back being all argumentative because I want another opinion.
    As far as the injections I have been missunderstanding I guess that they won't help. I guess they will, but now after arguing with that NP and being called a liar about my family history and all I am done. I give up on my health completely. If I become paralyzed or worse, oh well.
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