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Osteoarthritis, Bone Spurs, Surgery or Epidural Injections?
Hello Everyone - I am so glad I found this site! Just reading the threads has helped me feel like I'm not so alone in this. I'm a 49 year old female. I've had a "crick in my neck" and headaches in the bottom of my head/top of my neck, ringing in my ears for I don't know how long. About 3 or 4 months ago my right thumb also became numb. At work and when driving, my right arm will sometimes get numb/tingly; to the point that I switched my computer mouse to the left side. I get relief when I hold my hand up above my head. I have gone to a chiropractor (didn't help-actually felt worse so after a few visits I stopped going). He took x-rays and told my that I have DDD and spondylosis.
My PCC ordered an MRI which showed dessication of the disc material at all levels; discogenic spurring and moderate right foraminal narrowing at C2-3, spurring and moderate right & mild left foraminal stonosis at C3-4; Discogenic spurring and a disc protrusion resulting in severe right foraminal stenosis and moderate degenerative left foraminal narrowing at C5-6; and finally, a minimal midline disc protrusion with mild degenerative bilateral foraminal stenosis at C6-7. She (PCC) told me that she believed that surgery was in my future, albeit maybe not the immeidiate future, and referred me to a neurosurgeon.
The Neurosurgeon told me that PT and injections would not help me as a bone spur is compressing on one of my nerves. I needed surgery, ACDF on C5-7, and he said I needed it now, rather than later. When I asked him just what that meant, he replied - "just have the d**n surgery". Needless to say, I will NOT be going to him for surgery. I didn't care for his attitude. I have gone to another spine center and seen a Physiatrist. He agreed that PT would not help me; but said that it wasn't unreasonable for me to want to try Steroid Epidural Injections. He said that I should know after the first injection whether that would help or not. I plan to have the first injection in a week. If this doesn't work, I will be referred to another Neurosurgeon and I think I will ask about foraminotomy opposed to an ACDF surgery.
I am so confused. From all my research, it sounds like what I am basically dealing with is arthritis of the spine. Although I am only 49, and most articles I have read say this usually first occurs in people over 60.
I have tried prednisone, flexeril, ibuprofen, naproxen, tylenol. None of these seem to help.
It is odd, but the numbness in my thumb has all but gone away, and haven't had any numbness in my arm for a few days. The pain in my neck is constant; sometimes a dull ache, sometimes a sharp pain. Also have pain at my right shoulder blade.
I would like to hear from others that may have similar issues. I don't even know whether I should have injections now that I have virtually no numbness. Or maybe I should "just have the surgery".
Thanks for listening.