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Will cervical stenosis cause sciatica

inotechiinotech Posts: 7
I was just wondering if anyone had cervical stenosis and later they also had sciatica? About a year ago I flipped my atv and landed on my head. It has caused lots of pain in my shoulders, neck, and headaches. I went to the pcp and he took xrays and said I had ddd in the neck and sent to pt. Pt did not help! The pcp thought I was a drug seeker so he got fired!!! Ha! Got another pcp and he got me an mri! Piched nerve in c5-c6, mild stenosis and pituitary tumor/empty sella were the results. Got a esi and made it worse. Then prescribed meds and thats what I have been living with. I had some side affects from narcotics I think so I stopped taking them. Then I hurt my back lifting and now have sciatica. OMG! Let me know if anyone has had similar symptons?


  • Welcome to Spine-Health. You'll find a lot of articles and videos on this site that can offer you valuable information and insight into what you're going through. And the forums have many members who are friendly, knowledgeable and supportive.

    I have both lumbar and cervical problems and have not been through what you've been through.

    However, with that being said, I know of some people here that have had problems with their legs due to cervical problems, tamtam being one, but I know there are others.

    Have you had your lumbar spine looked at also now that you say you've hurt your back? You also don't say whether you've had an MRI on your cervical spine, just x-rays, so I'm wondering about that also.

    Good for you on firing your PM - that's not uncommon. Sometimes it takes a few tries to find the right PM, where you can establish a good relationship. Good luck with that.

    Take care and please keep us posted.
  • Thanks for your reply! What kind of problems are you having?

    I have had mri on my neck and I just injured my back at work lifting something about 100lbs. I have sciatica, concervative treatment so far. no mri just xrays to check for degenerative discs. The doc that is checking my back is a workers comp doc not my normal one. I have been off for about 4 weeks and I was feeling better but I started moving up on activities and wow that didn't work out to good, ouch! Doc checked reflex at my knee+ankle and there was little! My wc adjuster is looking at medical records to make shure that it is not from my neck! I don't know and I am sure it is up the the doctor reviewing my records. I just hope it goes away so I can go back to work soon. I can deal with my neck but I sit in a van 4 hrs a day, so sciatica will not be good.

    What caused all the problems in your spine? I read all the suff on the bottom of your reply but don't really understand all of It. 8}
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  • Sorry to hear that you are hurting and going through all this. Normally issues at the neck will not cause Sciatica. You said that you hurt your neck lifting 100lbs at work? If lifting things is common, then activities such as that may have caused it. Like your neck, the disks in the rest of our spine can only take so much abuse. :)

    So if lifting is the big thing you do at work, I would take a deeper look at that possibility. If you were fused - we change posture, how we walk, activities etc. cause an effect through the whole spine. If you hurt an area conversely, could also cause problems as we adjust or modify how we do things, adding stress elsewhere in the spine. See what I mean about how it could now be connected? E.g., via activities. Please keep us posted. Take care.

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • Thanks for reply. What I meant was I hurt my neck on a atv a year ago and 4 weeks ago I was lifting my welder 100lbs and hurt my back causing sciatica. But I understand what ur saying! I have bad posture and I think it might have something to do with it! Thanks Brenda :)))
  • Wow, it's so different dealing with your regular doc for the cervical vs. WC for lumbar. I've heard so many horror stories about working with WC that I'm glad I'm not having to deal with that.

    To answer your questions, my problems started with my cervical spine (neck) in 2008 with muscle spasms in my mid back. I went to my PCP, got x-rays, she said my neck looked pretty bad and sent me to PT. That worked for a couple of weeks but after six weeks, I was hurting just as bad as before I'd started and had additional problems, such as tinging and numbness 24/7 in my right arm and pain and weakness in my left arm.

    My PCP said that my neck was too bad to try anything else and told me to find a spine surgeon. So I found one, a fellowship-trained spine surgeon (ortho) who specialized in severe cervical spine problems. On my first visit, he said that he could try ESIs, but it would only be a bandaid and that surgery was a matter of when, not if. So, being September, I decided to get the surgery done so I could heal (and wear a hard brace) during the winter. He said he'd have me back on the golf course by April. I had an ACDF - anterior cervical discectomy and fusion. That's where they go in from the front of the the neck to access the spine, remove what's left of the discs (I didn't have much left), put in donor bone with some growth materials, shave off the bone spurs, and then put on a plate with screws into the bones. Mine was done on three levels - C4/5, 5/6 and 6/7. So I have plate with 8 screws in my neck.

    Well, the surgery went well, but I started having pain in my back, hips and down my legs in February and went back to him in June. After an MRI, he found stenosis (pinched nerves due to narrowing of the opening caused by arthritis), facet joint problems (spine joing swelling and loss of lubrication) and spondylolisthesis (offsetting of the spine, one joint offset from another). We tried injections, which didn't help, so I ended up with another surgery, lumbar this time. I had a TLIF - transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion - where they went in from the back, fused my facet joints, shaved off bone spurs, and then put in two vertical rods, each secured with two screws into the bones.

    All of my doctors believe that this was all caused by a horrific car accident I had almost 30 years ago where we were hit headon and I was thrown forward into the windshield. Why it took so long for my symptoms to show up is anyone's guess, but it's happened to many members here. Unfortunately, by the time they discovered my problems, my neck was a mess and of course, then the lumbar thing. But I'm now having some issues above my fusion in my neck and I've come to believe that I'm fortunate I didn't break my neck in that accident.

    Anyway, sorry for such a long post, but I wanted to explain thoroughly what happened and what each thing I had done meant. I hope you don't end up knowing all these terms and what all the different treatments are. :-)

    So what are your next steps? What are they doing for your neck or what are they planning?

    Please be sure to keep us updated. Take care,
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  • Ya I am in the first stages of wc. They are reveiwing my med records to see if my neck/atv accident is causing sciatica. So I am scared their will be a big fight with them. Oh well! It is what it is!
    As far as my neck goes, my physiatis wants me to see a nuero. I told him that surgery wasn't an option for me. Reason being that I can't be off work for a long time. I would lose my house. So I have been dealing with pain so far. Also since I am 30 yrs old they said I might be to young. ~X(

    Wow! That is crazy that they didn't see anything wrong with your spine until 30 years later. I hope you feel better and get the help you need. sounds like you have been through a lot. Do the plates and screws bother you at all? How long did it take to recover from surgery's?
    Hope your neck feels better!
  • You are only 30. Just think of all the great things you still have coming your way --- that is sarcasm if you missed it. lol

    I know it's hard but try not to guess what will happen. It would be quite a stretch for WC to say that the sciatica was from the ATV accident. You functioned for a year after that with no problem. If it was a few weeks latter I could see them being suspicious.

    What you haven't mentioned is what pain you are feeling in your back and what tests have been done. I'm just wondering if they have correctly identified your problems.

    Is worker's comp letting you use a doctor of your choice? And what type of doctor have you seen. Sometimes they can limit your care so you have to be careful.
  • I love sarcasm! Lol! I did work for a year with no problems other than the shoulder,neck,arm pain. It didn't really slow me down that much. I was taking meds though. They were helping a lot.

    As far as my back, Initialy I had lower back pain with shooting pains down my butt to my ankle. Low reflex at my ankle and knee. Know 4 weeks later my back isn't as bad but my butt,leg,ankle are killin me! Just doing pt and tens! I am only seeing wc doctor no specialist or my own doc.

    What kind of back problems are you having. I am new to this stuff and would appreciate any help I can get.
    Doc really don't tell me much other than take it easy and we will see ya next week.
    Thanks Scott
  • Scott my problems are neck and upper back so I really can't tell you much about what you are feeling. I have had some experience with my husband and WC. What type of doc do they have you seeing? General practitioner, orthopedist, neurologist? And what tests have they done - xray, mri, ct, emg? If you are not seeing a specialist and have not had at least two of those tests I would call WC and tell them that you are still in significant pain at 4 weeks and that you are afraid that there will be permanent nerve damage so you need to see a spine specialist (ortho or neuro). That should put a little fear of lawsuit in their minds. You can't sue your employer in most states but you can sure the WC carrier for failure to provide appropriate care if there is permanent damage that could have been prevented.

    I don't want to scare you but I do want to see you get competent care. My husband is lucky because he can see any doctor he wants and doesn't even need a referal. When he has needed surgery they worked with me to get it scheduled fast. We both wanted him back to work as fast as possible :)

    Another thing to keep in mind about WC is the payments. THis may vary by state and the WC insurance company but in general an amount is set by the state for each body part. This is the maximum amount that WC wants to pay for all costs associated with the injury of the body part. So if for example a knee is worth $25,000 they first decide what your % of permanent loss is and adjust the worth. Then they add up all the lost wages, surgery costs, and medical costs and deduct that from the adjusted amount. When you are all done they should offer you this amount as compensation for your loss. Of course if your lost wages and expenses are more you get nothing. And I can tell you from experience that if you get to the point where they are paying out more they will start checking up on you. We had private detectives watching the house.

    I can't wait to hear what the WC doc has done so far. Hopefully you don't have any serious damage and it will resolve on it's own. But if it is more serious you don't want to wait because the longer you wait the more issues there can be.
  • Have they done EMG it can tell if it is a old or new problem that is if there is any neave issues that is cause the problem
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