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Cervical Stenosis

SandiZSSandiZ Posts: 6
edited 06/11/2012 - 9:01 AM in Spinal Stenosis
Hi - I was recently diagnosed with cervical stenosis, but I've had symptoms for a while. I had two herniated disks five years ago - C5 and C6. I am 49 years old.

I saw a Neurosurgeon yesterday who clearly stated that surgery was necessary. I swore I'd never have this procedure, but after listening to him and looking at the MRI, I feel there is no choice. He told me that I have an osteophyte that is so embedded in the spinal cord that a fall or car accident could sever the cord and cause paralysis. I have surgery scheduled in a few weeks.

The whole procedure makes me squeemish so I didn't ask too many questions. I do know that it's an anterior procedure using a cadaver bone.

I also have Lupus which is complicating the situation since I have many symptoms and side effects from medications. I am still working full time but not sure how much longer I can do that. I'm barely hanging on.

I guess my questions are:

Has anyone had improvement in extremity strength after the procedure?

Has anyone had improvement in balance and coordination after the procedure?

Has anyone had problems with concentration and fatigue along with stenosis? I'm not sure if these problems are caused by the stenosis or Lupus or medication. I can't sort anything out any more.

Sandi
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Comments

  • Hi, my husband had cervical fusion from an anterior approach for herniated discs. We were told any neurological insult always seems to result in a lot of fatigue. Other symptoms included poor balance, insomnia, generalized pain, limping and urinary problems. His condition was very advanced when they found the stenosis and the surgery only halted the progression, rather than improving his symptoms. However, we were told if we had found it sooner the surgery might have reversed the symptoms. We felt, like you, that there was no choice. The problem was progressive, so waiting would have only made matters worse. Good luck with your spine and also your Lupus.
  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,111
    I also had severe stenosis of the cervical area. My balance was restored following surgery, the god awful dizzy spells went away and reduction of pain. Good luck keep us posted
    susan
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  • It's interesting (to say the least) how similar problems can cause different symptoms. In my experience weakness wasn't a significant symptom for me. Balance and coordination should come back after surgery. However, for me I don't think it would have improved without a lot of dedication. I credit the post-op yoga classes with my success at regaining balance and coordination. Concentration and fatigue could just be caused by the pain meds and your preoccupation with what's happening to your body (understandably justified). In that case it should improve post-op, but could take a few months.

    I was afraid of surgery too, but very glad I had it done.

    Take care!
  • Thanks for the help. Weakness is pretty bad, both in legs and arms. I can barely lift anything. I also can't stand the constant spinning; I've had two days of a lot of nausea and I'm not sure if that is related.

    I've been on these same pain meds for a long time so I don't think I'm having side effects from those.

    My problem with exercise of any type is that I'm just too tired when I get home from work. I can barely move. Maybe energy will improve after the surgery. I'm hoping the damage isn't too bad.
  • The whole procedure makes me squeemish so I didn't ask too many questions. I do know that it's an anterior procedure using a cadaver bone.

    I also have Lupus which is complicating the situation since I have many symptoms and side effects from medications. I am still working full time but not sure how much longer I can do that. I'm barely hanging on.

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  • SandiZ said:
    Hi - I was recently diagnosed with cervical stenosis, but I've had symptoms for a while. I had two herniated disks five years ago - C5 and C6. I am 49 years old.

    I saw a Neurosurgeon yesterday who clearly stated that surgery was necessary. I swore I'd never have this procedure, but after listening to him and looking at the MRI, I feel there is no choice. He told me that I have an osteophyte that is so embedded in the spinal cord that a fall or car accident could sever the cord and cause paralysis. I have surgery scheduled in a few weeks.

    The whole procedure makes me squeemish so I didn't ask too many questions. I do know that it's an anterior procedure using a cadaver bone.

    I also have Lupus which is complicating the situation since I have many symptoms and side effects from medications. I am still working full time but not sure how much longer I can do that. I'm barely hanging on.

    I guess my questions are:

    Has anyone had improvement in extremity strength after the procedure?

    Has anyone had improvement in balance and coordination after the procedure?

    Has anyone had problems with concentration and fatigue along with stenosis? I'm not sure if these problems are caused by the stenosis or Lupus or medication. I can't sort anything out any more.

    Sandi
    to Spine-Health forum. I can understand your concerns with facing a cervical surgery and thought I would share my experience with you.

    I was also in my 40's when I had my 3-level ACDF C-3/4, 4/5 and 5/6 in which my NS removed three bone spurs one on each level encroaching my spinal cord. I had active degeneration for about 6 yrs bringing me to it advancing from numbness in my hands for longer periods of time and then suddenly without warning progressing into where I began experiencing sporadic numbness on the whole left side of my body. head, face, arms, legs and feet going numb sporadically for 20-30 minutes at a time and then suddenly without movement feeling returning.

    I was very glad to receive an excellent NS's assessment in 1995 to know and explain I must do surgery for high risk of damaging my spinal cord, with a slight fall and certainly with a rear-end mva with those kind of symptoms showing spinal cord involvement !

    Re: Your ? about extremities
    With surgery, I immediately had no further symptoms of the whole left side of my body numbness, post-surgery I had a few months of numbness in my hands, which was off and on, but told that should improve and it did once the post-surgery inflammation was gone and I was 75% fused in 5 months and totally fused in 7 months.

    Re: Weakness
    With the 3-level compression and encroachment in 1995 I did not have any extremity weakness all my symptoms were numbness and periodic disabling while numb, but not what I would describe as weakness.

    however, fast forward I have more degeneration going on past 5 yrs on C-6/7, T-1/2 and neuro-muscular damage (neuropathy severe on the left side) and it showing on my MRI very clear being severe compression; on the right side it is moderate, but also have neuro-muscular issues beginning involving weakness as the neuro damage progresses.

    Re: Your Plan for Surgery

    Sandi, my heart goes out to you in having to deal with Lupus overlapping with your cervical spine issues. I had a friend who had Lupus and know it can be challenging itself.

    Challenging, but not impossible :) ! And it can make all the difference in setting a Sandi's Plan, focusing on your needs in how to support yourself with what may occur with your Lupus, flare-ups, remedies you know always brings you your comfort and relief.

    Equip a plan to have all the tools in your toolbox equipped to use as you need it. Things to support yourself on all levels, physically, emotionally, spiritually (music, inspirational books, telephone no.s of people to call) list of people you can PM here, you can add me to that list !

    Be sure to discuss your surgery and pain medications with both spine surgery and your primary doc and doc who treats your Lupus, if other than PDr. Have a journal of things to do and prep with tips here on the forum for prepping your room and home and family for surgery. Have a plan for what if's and your high concerns/fears with what you know can help/support you.

    A Plan and knowing you have support and know what you can do is if is 80% of getting thru it and eliminates much anxiety and stress.

    AND you know you have Spine friends to support you every step of the way.

    Keep us posted on setting up your plan and the prep for your surgery, we're here for you Sandi, you can get thru this necessary surgery >:D< You are not alone on this journey :)

    Joy
  • Wow - a plan for surgery? I thought I just had to show up that day (lol).

    I really have no clue what to expect. The NS said I'd be off of work for 2 to 4 weeks, so that's the plan with work. They are prepared to lose me for that long. I am hoping that there are no complications, especially throwing Lupus into the mix and being on strong immunosuppressants.

    My fears are that the hospital will ignore the fact that there are two antibiotic types that I cannot take. I am also afraid to stop taking my aspirin since I have a slight risk of blood clots and heart attacks. I always have a need to know every drug that is put into my body and I'm afraid someone will slip me something when I'm out of it.

    Can someone tell me how recovery is? Again, I have no idea what to expect.

    Part of my plan is to just be left alone except for my husband helping out. Right now, the thought of just being able to sleep when I want for a week or two is wonderful. I've been needing that for years!
  • Thanks Joy and everyone else!
  • Hi Sandy, looks like we're peas in a pod. I have severe neural foramina (on the right) w 5 herniated discs AND lupus TOO! I have balance issues (weeble wobble a bit), a radiculopathy that keeps acting up every few months, numbness on the side of my head, some incontinence. I have an appt with a neurosurgeon this week. I've had the cervical splondlyosis worsening for about 4 years now and have had cortisone, nerve blocks and radiofrequency ablations, but they aren't working like they used to and the new symptoms are kind of serious...I also have other nerve problems, peripheral neuropathy, compressions, cranial neuropathies, recurring bells palsy, trigeminal and geniculate neuralgia, temporal arteritis. Likely inflammation in nerves..I'm prone to it with my lupus... I've been on Cellcept now for the last 3 months and doing VERY WELL considering I had a TIA at the end of June. Anyway PM me anytime. NIce to meet you, I'm Julie. :)
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