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C4-C7 Herniations with Spinal Cord Compression/Stenosis

I am a 39 y/o F that started having severe pain approx. 1 month ago. It was originally diagnosed in the ER as a pinched nerve and I started chiropractic treatment, yoga and steroids. It progressively got worse with spasms and numbness and tingling in my left arm. I could not get adequate treatment in the very small, rural town I currently live in so on a visit to see my family in Jacksonville,FL, I went to see my old doctor. He ordered an MRI . did several other tests and put me back on steroids , Soma and Loratab. I also have a friend that gave me some Lidocain patches and I tried them for the first time last night and it was wonderful relief! Prior to this, I never had any medical problems, car accidents (2 in my early 20.s w/no complications), etc., just had my arm go numb about a month ago and then intense pain in my left arm
My MRI results came back last week and revealed the following:
Disc Herniations with thecal sac compression and cord impingement C4-5, C5-6 AND C6-7
Annual tears C4-5, C5-6, C6-7
Multi level degenerative and hypertrophic spondilitic changes througout the cervical region as outlined
Multi level thecal sac compression with foraminal narrowing/ stenosis as described
There was also mild ventral cord compression at C4-5 and C6-7

The nurse at my doctors office told me to restrict all activity until I see the Neurosurgeon as they felt they would want to do surgery immediately.
The Neurosurgeons office set me up for an appointment/consult on August 13.
I am concerned about what precautions I should currently be taking.
My aunt is a physical therapist and told me to go about my normal day, as to not atrophy the muscles but no lifting,etc., and my sister in law is a PA and I sent her my MRI to review.
I have to tried to review the boards for similar diagnosis. I am not going to hesitate to have surgery if it is recommended due to the potential for paralysis. I was wondering if anyone had any similar diagnosis and of so, what treatment did they receive and how is your current progress?


  • JoydancerJJoydancer Posts: 463
    edited 07/29/2013 - 10:01 AM
    Shaytay, I have similar issues C-2 down to C-7, with thecal sac compression on two mid levels to lower levels. I describe it that way, as Im post-surgically fused C-3/4 into C-5/6 where first compression is showing the other is at C-6/7 into T-1/2 levels and I have hypertrophy, spondylosis, stenosis, most severe lower levels C-6 into T-1/2 "severe advanced" with most recent MRI and CT.

    I have other conditions u did not mention (scoliosis upper two levels fused at birth) my assessment in 2010 and again in 2011 spine surgery assessments for lowest levels, was assessed as not good prognosis, based on the whole picture so keep that in mind, with what I share.

    Re: My C-Spine into T-Spine Decompression Assessment - Previous Surgical Plan - No Surgery Done "Living With" at 64 yrs Old = Better ? Choice
    my surgeons were highly experienced 35+ yrs at medical universities out-of-state from where I live now, almost all agreed not for me to do second surgery (previous surgery ACDF C-3-6 without hardware) only when radiculopathy progressed to neuropathology (not for pain only but consistent deminishing mobility/function) even when thecal sac compression was beginning I was told to wait for cord compression because of my complex unique areas of c-spine (upper deformed), mid-area post-surg changes degeneration, lower levels (priority requiring intervention surgery). FYI my lower levels were requiring anterior two levels from front, ACDF with plates/screws, with posterior surgery (from back) plates/screws C-5/6 and then rods/wires into T-2/3.

    Re: Assessment(s) I would recommend you get more than one opinion on surgical assessment and that it include a full detail discussion of prognosis ratio including risk/possible improvement, etc. Get the best orthopedic surgeon and neurosurgeon your health insurance and financial situation can allow.

    Re: ?'s on restriction of activities - - my comment I can say as I have had for past year with compression nerve roots and sac more than cord.....what I did/do walking = yes, yes, yes #1 as much as possible, muscle stretches/ exercise legs, arms (in bed a must for me, stops the stiffness) with pillow support for under legs, lower back. listen to your body and what you can do without bringing on worsening symptoms of pain/numbness, keep muscles & good circulation :) A real must for me is limiting grocery bags, very lightweight, gallon water/milk one at a time, nothing else = my neck, shoulder arm muscles told me what was too heavy (under 5 lbs. for sure). I wld imagine your issues hv told you by now on that ! Find new ways get assistance when u need it - curtail/restrict until u know more :)

    Wish you well with you upcoming appt. Write down concise concerns, questions for the dr., do not expect 1 appt. to address assessment/prognosis/readdress addtl ?'s was more typical to be more than 1 appt. for such important, high risk/ major spine surgery (being more than 2-3 levels) as mine was.

    p.s. My "living with vs. major 2 procedures, anterior/posterior 16 hrs. of surgery (high risks low prognosis)
    I have upper extremities greatly diminishing, left forearm, hand, fingers myleopathy with muscle atrophy and wasting limiting functions. My right shoulder, issues with right arm and right hand is now progressing, all since 2011 surgery re-assessed to be not best scenario, vs. living with "better" less risk and my who spine complex issues, 2012 I was in a mva bringing on left to the worst stage and right arm/hand now failing. Sadly that was not poart of the plan.

    Keep faith, learn as much as you can, lots of support and true spiney understanding of those on the path, wish you well in your assessment phase, and wish you well with your upcoming appt. & get acquainted more with all of us - - it will help lots in processing and adjusting to new normals that come with this assessment phase, pre-surgery and post-surgery, treatments.

    DDD, spine compression can be a challenge and for some of us life-altering, but you will see what brought you here was for you to walk with others and not being alone in any of it :)

    Knowing others will share as well :) Keep us posted on how things are unfolding for you !
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