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Brain & Nervous System Disorders Message Board

Brain & Nervous System Disorders Board Index

Hi Dawn...ask any of the folks on the Spinal Cord Disorders board and they will tell you just how much it hurts and that you aren't being a baby.

All of your symptoms are consistent with spinal arthritis. The neck is actually broken down into 2 sections...the cervical is considered C3 to C7. C1 and 2 are different. There is no disk there and C2 actually hooks into C1(which is round) and between the 2 of them, they rotate the head. Mild arthritis can occur but rheumatoid arthritis is usually what destroys those 2 particular vertebrae. Chiari on the other hand, you are usually born with but may not have symptoms for years and years and some never have symptoms. This area needs it's own MRI. Glad it is being done.

Believe it or not, your leg problems are pretty normal with cervical arthritis. It can affect any area in the body from the level of the problem on down. I found out I had neck problems only after complaining of leg stiffness for 2 years and the inability to move my legs forward anything more than a baby step.

The good news IS that your spinal cord is open but needs to be cleared above that. Herniated disks and arthritic bone spurs can compress the spinal cord as well as the nerves that exit the vertebrae at each level. Pressure on the nerves can hurt like hell. Pressure on the cord doesn't hurt but causes a loss of function(muscles don't work like they should) and a loss of sensation(numbness, tingling, electric shocks). Most docs won't operate for pain as pain is a sign of live nerve. It has to be alive to hurt. When they see signs of a dying nerve(loss of function and sensation again)then they operate. Similar signs in the spinal cord are also reason for surgery.

So get your MRI and wait to see what it shows. Pain management is pretty good at controlling the pain from a neck problem and is what is traditionally done until there is reason to operate. I know you want it fixed, whatever it is, but that is not always the best thing to do. Right now, fusions are the typical way to fix it and for most, it is the beginning of more problems. But non-fusion surgeries are now being done and they are better but not widely available.

If you find out it's a cervical spine problem, come on down to the Spinal Cord Disorders board and meet others with the same problems. Great group of supportive folks.

gentle hugs..................Jenny(fused from C3 to T1)

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