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Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Message Board

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My spine.
May 14, 2011
Hello Everyone,

I posted here a couple days ago. I was basically a hysterical mess. I had a few symptoms that really made me worry. I still have a muscle twitching mainly in the right calf muscle. I today it started to feel kind of limp and numb-like. I did have a bit of a foot drop. I do understand though that my symptoms don't come on that fast. Maybe I just didn't notice it..

I went to the hospital a couple days ago and got some blood work done. My b12, potassium, magnesium, vitamin D and electrolytes were fine. Then I got some x rays done of my spine. I would like to tell you all the results

There is a reversal of the normal cervical lordosis with mild kyphosis centred in the lower cervical spine.

There is moderate to severe left C4-C5 and mild left C3-C4 neural foraminal stenosis. Remainder of the disc spaces, vertebral body height, ailgnments and neural foramina are normal

CONCLUSION: dominant finding is left C4-C5 neural foraminal are normal.
There is mild dextroscoliosis centred in the mid thoracic spine. There is increased kphosis in the thoracic spine. There is no fracture, no focal bony lesion

CONCLUSION: scoliosis and kyphosis
There is mild levescoliosis centred in the mid lumbar spine. There is moderate disc space narrowing at L5-S1. Remainder of the disc spaces, vertebral body heights, and aligments are well maintained. There is no spondylolysis, fracture no bony lesion. SI joints are normal.

CONCLUSION: scoliosis L5 S1 DDD- degenerative disc disease.

The doctor was really shocked. He said I was really young to have this. It may have been a birth defect. She said that i basically had arthritis. It does run in my family. It was a great birthday surprise . I'll be 22 on Sunday.

I was wondering if any of you had any spinal problems before ALS diagnosis? I'm scared out of mind. I'm scared that my legs are the first thing that are going to go.

It just confuses me that someone my age has degenerative disc disease and such major scoliosis. My doctor said that I'm so young to have these things. If i have the surgery I hope it helps. I'm so sad. Stenosis is also caused by degeneration most of the time too

I waiting to speak to a surgeon.
Re: My spine.
May 22, 2011
Denise, I wouldn't be depressed at this point. Many people are born with scolosis and live without serious problems; as for DDD everyone will have it at some point (or at least 80% of us eventually have DDD). As for the difference in Xray results between the local clinic and the hospital, this is not unusual and most likely not cause for concern; ask for copies of the films any time you are having a repeat test (or having additional tests such as the MRI). That way you can have the films compared and explained to you, and you reduce your exposure to the radiology by not having to have the same xray done over again. My personal opinion, Local walk in clinics are fine for some minor have to remember though they treat patient after patient all in a short amount of time - the doctors are often overworked or short staffed (rushing and such). That said, many local walk in clinics own radiology equipment which is old and out dated - it's not uncommon for a local walk in clinic to miss a small fracture in someone...happens all the time people are seen in a local clinic, told they have a sprain; later when still in pain, they go to an ER ...guess what, they have a fracture.

My best advice, save your concerns for when you see a specialist.....maybe the ortho. Be sure to ask the ER for copies of your films for comparison; the ER can forward them to the ortho - all you have to do is ask them. You may want to get the films from the local clinic also.

As for having to have back surgery, you have many options before that, options which are noninvasive. If it gets to a point a specialist (not a PCP)says you need surgery, certainly have a second opinion. You'll definately want to have a spinal surgeon perform any surgery needed.

I think you have many choices other than ALS. You are 22, don't worry so much. As someone said, I think someone on this said posts, get a journal and start documenting your symptoms - how severe, when you had them, what you tried, etc. A journal is especially helpful when symptoms come and go or when new symptoms develop you can say when. Journals are also helpful when (and if) you see multiple doctors - who said when and what. A journal is also a great place to jot down your questions; then when you seeing a doctor you'll remember to get answers.

Good luck and I hope your back feels better

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