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Back Problems Message Board


Back Problems Board Index


Beckwall.....sorry I didn't see this earlier...most of us cervical folks hang around on the Spinal Cord Disorders board.

You perfectly describe compression of the spinal cord at C6. Were you to sever your cord at C6, you'd be paralysed from the waist down and your hands.

But all you have is numbness and some dysfunction of the nerves as in the balance problems but from what you've said, you can walk and use your hands, although with problems noted. Am I correct?

This is pretty diagnostic of something having contacted your cord and in this case, a good sneeze/cough(even straining to have a bowel movement) can propel a herniated disk into the cord.

This may resolve with time but it sounds as if you will need something done to prevent it from happening again. Believe it or not, your cord can take a lot of compression. Normal thickness is 10-11mms and I was crushed down to 6mms at several levels and got back use and got rid of all numbness with surgery. And one doc told me to wait even longer that it could take more.

I did have one episode where, after riding Amtrak for a day(bumpy!) that my feet disappeared....so numb I could not feel them touching the floor. I had to look at them to make sure they were on the floor. And of course, walking was near impossible. That bumpy ride had bruised my cord. Once the bruising/swelling went down, the feeling returned...well, most of it. They were already partially numb. I suspect you will find the same thing...that it will get better after a while. Steroids reduce swelling in the cord.

Are you finding that you are dragging either of your feet when walking? Are you dropping things you try to hold on to? Have you lost the ability to hold your urine or stool or the converse, can't go? Can you still sign your name?

These are signs of nerve dysfunction that are important.

You have questions, just ask. I not only had severe DDD in my neck that required surgery from C3 to C7 (non fusion surgery for stenosis), 3 months afterwards, I had the ligaments let go(old injury) and I dislocated 5 vertebrae and broke 3 of them and ended up with partial paralysis. Left side was pretty well useless and right side was mixed. Was fused from C3 to T1 and got back 95% of the lost use and feeling.I had all of the above problems I listed as important. And I got all of them back.

So your spine can take a lot and I suspect that you just have a bruise right now but your stenosis is getting worse and will need some treatment soon. But don't panic. You have some good signs too.....you are typing and that means the hands still work(unless you use voice recognition software). I couldn't do that. I couldn't cut my meat or pick up a cup of coffee. Or sign my name.

Your doc is wrong in that no pain doesn't mean no problems. I had no pain prior to my first surgery....I was slowly going numb from the neck down. A total lack of pain can be worse than lots of pain.

Let me know if I can help....................Jenny





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