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Flattened Cord, Osteophyte Complex

spinepa127sspinepa127 Posts: 1
edited 04/14/2013 - 3:52 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I am having extreme pain in my right shoulder, down my right arm, and often my fingers. My hand is always cold and is often tingly.

I have seen my primary care doc and a neurologist. The neurologist was following me when I had my original MRI's last year (had a lumbar and a cervical). These results are from my most recent cervical MRI (ordered by PCP not neurologist) for your reference to my situation.

Last year, I had a "scare" where I fell down and could not get up (literally, couldn't move my back/legs to get myself off the floor. Luckily, my husband works within walking distance and I called him to come help me. He came home and tried to get me to the car to take me to the ER, but I screamed in pain the entire time. It was a real "freak" thing and nobody knew what was up. I ended up staying in the hospital overnight (this was Oct. 2012) because I couldn't walk. I had an MRI the next day, but the only results we ended up getting were that I had "Spinal Stenosis" and it was apparent (?? according to doc) that I had a bulged disc (this was all Lumbar). There was not really much follow up and I was able to walk... things were fine for a while. Then in January of last year, I had major issues with my neck and shoulder and arm (same thing I'm having now). I do fatigue easily (unable to carry a PURSE because my "arm" is tired...??)

Fast forward to now, I got a recent Cervical MRI (last week) and the results are listed below. I feel somewhat relieved as it seems like there's something in there that would be the cause of the right arm/hand issues (flattening of cord, bone spurs, etc.) Before I got my MRI results, my primary care doctor prescribed physical therapy to me. I don't want to start physical therapy until someone tells me that's the only option to fix my arm/shoulder. I have NOT had good luck with PT in the past. I am constantly laying on my arm or putting it behind my back because it's asleep or in pain and that's the only solution. Pins and needles are common. My hand is swollen (you can tell, it looks super fat) in comparison to my left hand.

I've googled "Flattened spinal cord" multiple times... and it seems that surgery is a common option.... I was curious if there are different levels of flattened spinal cords? Or if a flattened spinal cord is a flattened spinal cord? I am 30 years old, an active special ed teacher, I teach severely autistic kids in a very intense, hands-on setting (I am almost a principal, finish my program in June)... and don't want to have a weak right arm to the point of dropping my purse for the rest of my life. Any suggestions here? Can PT really solve something like this? I am open to surgery if it is necessary and actually would rather it happen sooner than later (before I get a principal job, before we have children). Should I be looking for a neurosurgeon to talk to? Go back to the neurologist who didn't do much last year? Thoughts, input?

(not looking for interpretation of results, just looking for guidance with my particular situation)
CLINICAL HISTORY: ICD-9 code 723.1, 719.41 & 782.0. Right upper thoracic and scapular pain. Paresthesias of fingers. Right upper extremity weakness .

COMMENT : Technique: The cervical spine was scanned in multiple planes wi th a variety of pulse sequences without contrast.

Comparison: 01 / 18 / 2012 Findings: There is nonspecific cervical straightening. Cervical vertebral body height, bone marrow signal and alignment are preserved. Visualized spinal cord is normal in size and signal. Cerebellar tonsils are normal position. Cervicothoracic alignment is preserved. Degenerative changes are seen at the following intervertebral levels:

C2-C3: Central disc protrusion. No significant central canal or neural
foraminal narrowing.

C3-C4: No significant central canal or neural foraminal narrowing. C4-C5: Disc osteophyte complex coming eccentric to the left. This effaces the left ventral thecal sac. Mild to moderate left foraminal stenosis from uncovertebral hypertrophy.

C5-C6: Disc osteophyte complex eccentric to the right. This effaces the ventral thecal sac and flattens the right ventral cord. There is mild to moderate central spinal stenosis. Mild right foraminal stenosis.

C6-C7: Right subarticular recess and foraminal disc herniation. This flattens the right ventral hemicord. There is mild to moderate central spinal stenosis. Mild to moderate bilateral foraminal stenosis from uncovertebral hypertrophy.

C7-T1: Normal.

IMPRESSION: Far right disc herniations at C5-C6 and C6-C7 which flatten the right hemicord. Degenerative changes are similar to the prior.



  • LizLiz Posts: 8,835
    edited 04/14/2013 - 3:46 AM
    I am sure that you will find your time on Spine-Health very rewarding. This site is a powerful and integrated system that is dynamic and continues to grow.
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    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery

  • First I would say that mild to moderate spinal stenosis is a better condition to be in that severe.
    I would say that there are different levels of cord flattening.
    Cord flattening is worse than the nerve roots being compressed. The problem is that the spinal cord doesn't recover well from severe compression and having permanent damage could be serious.

    I am 5 months post a 2 level ACDF for cord compression which was done because I was told that if I had a fall or was in an accident, there was a danger of having permanent cord damage or even becoming paralysed. I was warned that I may be left with my symptoms but they should not get worse. I do seem to still have most of my symptoms! I hope it is not from waiting too long before having surgery. I had a full spine MRI done of Friday and am waiting for the results. As I have symptoms in my arms and legs and also around my abdoment, the surgeon wanted an up to date scan done to try to see what is going on. I have already had a lumbar fusion but wonder if the level above is now going. It was already degenerated before my fusion. I have thoracic problems too. I have a congenitally small spinal canal so have problems quicker than if there was more room.

    I think a review by a spinal surgeon would be a good idea, particularly because of your fall when you were unable to get up again. If you have arm and/or leg weakness that is thought more serious than pain and numbness and should be investigated.

    Do let us know how you get on and ask any other questions you have. There are many people here who have had similar experiences and just being able to chat with us is a support. Good luck :-)

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