I am now 62 years old and I suffered cervical damage in a surfing accident 35 years ago. The problem became more evident when I was attempting to paint a ceiling a few years ago. The symptoms were neck pain and mild numbness in both hands. The resulting MRI summary was as follows:
“Degenerative spondylopathy with multi-level degenerative disc disease. There is the impression of bilateral neuroforaminal stenosis C5/6 and left sided C6/7. The respective neuro anatomy could be compromised especially during hyperdynamic circumstances.”
I was subsequently referred for an EMG and the result was “There is evidence of C5/6 and to a lesser degree C6/7 rediculopathy.” My surgeon recommended fusing C5/6 and C6/7 stressing the risk of potential paralysis in the event of a jolt such as car accident. I have decided to use surgery as a last resort. Most mornings I wake up with a mild headache, but I have learned to live with the headaches and I seldom require medication for these headaches. The range of motion of my neck is very limited but, here again, I have learned to live with it.
I am concerned that the nerve damage will soon result in weakness of the arm muscles – I feel that the muscles have weakened in recent years. Being an active person (I play golf, cycle short distances 4 times a week and spend 10 minutes each day on an inversion table) I would like to make an effort to counteract the arm muscle weakness by doing exercises with weights.
Has anyone had similar symptoms and can comment on types of exercise recommended. My questions include what specific exercises should I be doing (such as arm curls) and how often? Is it possible at my age and in my condition to increase arm muscle mass or will the exercises merely maintain the muscle mass and eliminate or delay the muscle weakness? Should I be doing any stretching of neck muscles? Any other advice will be most welcome.