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Back Problems Message Board

Back Problems Board Index

Hi Jacquie,

Really sorry about the severe attacks of vertigo you're experiencing. Not knowing the cause makes it even worse for you I'm sure. Have they found any medication that helps you during these? Without knowing the cause - it's most likely difficult to prescribe medication that's effective.

I was curious how they ruled out the cervical area of the spine as a source of many of your symptoms, including dizziness.

Are you seeing a neurologist, neuro-surgeon or orthopedic doc?

I'm not very familar with cervical back problems - but for lumbar problems- some posters here had MRI's which did not show torn or herniated discs- although they existed. A discogram - & other tests were necessary for some of these posters - to finally reveal the problem. It seems that those with Sacroiliac joint problems even had a tougher time determining their dx & had to be very interactive & persistent with docs to finally get to the source of their pain - must be difficult to dx or one of the last things some docs look for? [img][/img]

The info below lists some of the symptoms of cervical issues - some of which you mention - & I've previously read that sweating, shaking, insomnia can also be cervical symptoms.

You probably have already done much research on Cervical spinal issues - but the following is info from Dr. Jho. I've seen his name on this board in the past - from one of the posters who was impressed with him - altho I'm not sure if he had any personal medical experience with him. We're not allowed to post web sites or email addresses on this board - they are very strict about that- but if you do a search from google - putting in "Cervical Dr. Jho" - the site I quoted the info below from may be of interest to you.
TYPES OF CERVICAL DISC HERNIATION: Although the term "disc herniation or herniated nucleus pulposus (HNP)" has been commonly used for cervical disc disease, the displacement of the nucleus pulposus is not always the cause of cervical disc disease. Cervical disc herniation can be categorized into three different types: (1) a soft disc herniation that involves herniation of the nucleus pulposus through a tear at the annulus fibrosus, (2) a hard disc protrusion that is bone spur formation, or (3) a combination of both. When soft disc materials of the nucleus pulposus herniates out through a tear of the annulus fibrosus, it is called "soft disc herniation" because the herniated disc material is soft in its consistency. However, without a tear or defect at the annulus fibrosus, symptoms of cervical disc disease can still occur due to bone spurs (or overgrowth of bone spicules) developing over time at the edge of the vertebra which compresses the nerve root or spinal cord. This is called "hard disc herniation" because it is made of bony spurs. A combination of both conditions can occur as well.

CLINICAL SYMPTOMS: Symptoms can be categorized into three different groups. The first group of symptoms include neck pain, pain between wing bones, scapular pain, posterior head pain, difficulty in neck motion, and dizziness, especially when the neck is bent backward or turned to the side. These symptoms are thought to be produced by local compression of the ligaments and the surrounding anatomy. The second group of symptoms include pain along the shoulder, arm and hand, numbness in the hand and fingers, and weakness of the arm (radiculopathy). This second group of symptoms is produced by compression of the passing nerve root. The third group of symptoms includes numbness in the arms, torso and/or legs, difficulty in balance, gait disorder, clumsy spastic legs, and difficulty in bowel and bladder control (myelopathy). This third group of symptoms is caused by compression of the spinal cord.

TREATMENTS: Disc disease in the spine is one of the common problems that people experience. Treatments consist of conservative treatments and surgical treatments. Conservative treatments include physical therapy, chiropractic manipulation, nerve block, steroid treatment, pain medications, etc. When symptoms do not improve with conservative treatments, surgical treatments have to be considered. Current conventional surgical treatments fall into two different types: (1) anterior discectomy with bone fusion, and (2) posterior foraminotomy. Anterior discectomy and fusion will sacrifice the spinal motion at the herniated disc level. The posterior foraminotomy technique avoids bone fusion but often does not efficiently eliminate the herniated disc materials. In order to overcome drawbacks of the current conventional surgical treatments for cervical disc herniation, a new surgical treatment called “anterior cervical microforaminotomy (Jho procedure)” was developed by Dr. Jho. END QUOTE

There is also an interactive pain chart on the web- sorry I can't recall the web site- that shows which disc causes pain in which part of the body.

OK, concerning my back problem - it was sciatic pain (no back pain then) - constant aching/burning pain thru butt & calf pain. We tend to forget pain (altho we think at the time we never will) - but I recall mine was worse by the end of the day (after sitting at my desk for 8 hrs). MRI showed lft herniation of L5/S1 & bulging of L4/L5. My signature tells the 'rest of the story'! Years before the leg pain, I had slightly left sided internal pelvic/groin pain when sitting. That may have been IBS (colon's on the left) or early disc herniation pain. (I recall asking a doc yrs ago if that pain could be sciatica - & he said "NO. Usually sciatic pain is on the OTHER side") ???????? [img][/img] I hope he's learned since then that discs can herniate from more than one side. [img][/img]

As far as treatments for herniated discs - the general consensus is to try conservative methods first - before surgery as last resort. I've heard of some people being helped by Physical Therapy or the McKenzie method of exercises - positioning the disc material 'off' of the sciatic nerve I believe. Others
say the epidurals help- but some not til the 3rd one. Others say the epidurals were a waste of time/money/pain & didn't help. Others have tried nucleoplasty - still others - the endoscopic-micro-discectomy -which only requires a tiny entry point. Problem with that is there may be fragments or more extensive problems that cannot be seen thru such a minimal opening.

Microdiscectomy (a little more invasive than endoscopic microdiscectomy) is considered one of the less invasive/extensive surgeries - & has a high success rate. Certainly less invasive than fusion & ADR. Some people breeze thru the micro-d recovery time (as long as they follow post-op rules so as to not reherniate, etc.). Others have lesser recoveries - sometimes because they waited too long & suffered permanent neurological damage from the nerve being compressed too long. I believe I have scar tissue which is causing a few problems- but the constant leg & butt pain at least are gone. The groin pain when sitting & occasional zap of left/back side of calf pain appears occasionally - again- probably scar tissue related.

You probably already know this- but felt I should throw it in - 2nd & even 3rd opinions are important - both to help you feel secure in your course of action -& to ensure the best dx/care. Once a course of action has been chosen - of course - it's important to find the VERY best doc for the job. (just have one back!)

I know this was long - but I hope it helped with some of your questions. If there's something more specific you'd like answered- pls ask - I ck the boards less often these days (7 mos post op) - but I'll ck back in a few days.

Also, the Spinal Disorders board here is a good place to find more info on cervical issues if you haven't had a chance to ck over there - you may want to.

Best of luck - keep your spirits up :) - & please let me know if you're getting answers from your docs.


Mar 2003:Micro-Discectomy w/Hemilaminectomy L5-S1
Prior to that 4 mos of Sciatic pain; left side
Herniated Disc L5/S1
Bulging Disc L4/L5
08/20/03: At 5 mos post-op: Requested PT - (had to convince doc)Now completed 6 wks PT. Results: Back & abdominal strength MUCH better - to prevent future back injury. Stretching exercises help temporarily but next morning - incision area seems just as tight, same tugging feeling when leaning forward of pressure, restriction through-out post op. Concerned this is scar tissue adhering. Looking for appropriate Doctor to help me confirm this & appropriate treatment for it - if treatment's available. Continuing exercises @ home.

[This message has been edited by TexMich (edited 10-18-2003).]

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