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Spinal Cord Disorders Message Board


Spinal Cord Disorders Board Index


Make sure your neurosurgeon is a spine specialist. That is, that they have specialized training in spinal medicine and limit their practice to conditions of the spine.

It is certainly true that the surgeon will take symptoms, your clinical exam and all diagnostics into consideration when coming up with a treatment plan. I do understand the desire to know what may be going on as soon as possible however.

At L5/S1 you have an annular tear which means that the outer covering of the spongy disk between these two vertebrae has broken open and the disk material may be leaking. This could be significant as that material is known to be an irritant to the spinal cord and nerves so it is *possible* that some of your sciatica-like symptoms are due to this.

The rest of your lumbar spine seems to be "normal". It is not uncommon for there to be some amount of degenerative arthritis (spondylosis) as we age. There is some mild narrowing of the neuroforamina which are the exit holes for the nerve roots to come out at each spinal level. The degree of narrowing (stenosis) is usually graded on a scale of minimal, mild, moderate and severe. As the degree increases so does the likelihood of the actual nerve root or spinal cord being compressed. In general "mild" means a low likelihood of compression, and many Drs will interpret that as normal.

AT c6/c7 you have central canal stenosis (narrowing) where an arthritic bone spur is narrowing the space for your spinal cord to about 9mm at that level. It is difficult to say if that is responsible for any of your symptoms or not. To give you an idea, the average spinal cord diameter is somewhere between 7.5 and 8mm at that point. It is possible however, as in my case, that some amount of spinal cord compression is occurring (with movement for instance, the spinal cord can take up more space) but that is something you'll need to discuss with your spine specialist. If compression occurs this may result in a disease process known as cervical spondylotic myelopathy. Some of your symptoms such as positional unawareness and bladder/bowel issues match CSM symptoms but that doesn't mean that's what you have. It is certainly something I would discuss with the spine specialist when you see them. You also have some other arthritic changes narrowing the exits for the nerve roots at this level to a moderate/severe degree. This could explain some of your upper body symptoms such as the arm tingling and upper back pain, but again, you'll need to discuss with the spine specialist.

You have some more minor nerve root exit narrowing at c4/c5, c5/c6.

Overall, I'd say (and I'm not a Dr, just a guy with lots of spine issues that reads a lot :)) that at least some of your issues are caused by your spine. That is a good reason to go to your spine specialist so that they can do further evaluation and suggest treatment. From what I see, I would expect them to suggest conservative treatment as they did with me (my MRI is worse).

Good luck and let us know how your appointment goes...
[QUOTE=ChuckStr;5360586]Make sure your neurosurgeon is a spine specialist. That is, that they have specialized training in spinal medicine and limit their practice to conditions of the spine.

It is certainly true that the surgeon will take symptoms, your clinical exam and all diagnostics into consideration when coming up with a treatment plan. I do understand the desire to know what may be going on as soon as possible however.

At L5/S1 you have an annular tear which means that the outer covering of the spongy disk between these two vertebrae has broken open and the disk material may be leaking. This could be significant as that material is known to be an irritant to the spinal cord and nerves so it is *possible* that some of your sciatica-like symptoms are due to this.

The rest of your lumbar spine seems to be "normal". It is not uncommon for there to be some amount of degenerative arthritis (spondylosis) as we age. There is some mild narrowing of the neuroforamina which are the exit holes for the nerve roots to come out at each spinal level. The degree of narrowing (stenosis) is usually graded on a scale of minimal, mild, moderate and severe. As the degree increases so does the likelihood of the actual nerve root or spinal cord being compressed. In general "mild" means a low likelihood of compression, and many Drs will interpret that as normal.

AT c6/c7 you have central canal stenosis (narrowing) where an arthritic bone spur is narrowing the space for your spinal cord to about 9mm at that level. It is difficult to say if that is responsible for any of your symptoms or not. To give you an idea, the average spinal cord diameter is somewhere between 7.5 and 8mm at that point. It is possible however, as in my case, that some amount of spinal cord compression is occurring (with movement for instance, the spinal cord can take up more space) but that is something you'll need to discuss with your spine specialist. If compression occurs this may result in a disease process known as cervical spondylotic myelopathy. Some of your symptoms such as positional unawareness and bladder/bowel issues match CSM symptoms but that doesn't mean that's what you have. It is certainly something I would discuss with the spine specialist when you see them. You also have some other arthritic changes narrowing the exits for the nerve roots at this level to a moderate/severe degree. This could explain some of your upper body symptoms such as the arm tingling and upper back pain, but again, you'll need to discuss with the spine specialist.

You have some more minor nerve root exit narrowing at c4/c5, c5/c6.

Overall, I'd say (and I'm not a Dr, just a guy with lots of spine issues that reads a lot :)) that at least some of your issues are caused by your spine. That is a good reason to go to your spine specialist so that they can do further evaluation and suggest treatment. From what I see, I would expect them to suggest conservative treatment as they did with me (my MRI is worse).

Good luck and let us know how your appointment goes...[/QUOTE]
I really appreciate you taking the time to explain :) I will keep a list of my symptoms and talk with the specialist at my next appt which is in a couple weeks. This eases my mind, I will get back to the post as soon as I get answers from him.

Thanks again!





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