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Spinal Cord Disorders Message Board

Spinal Cord Disorders Board Index

Hi all. Wow, just had a followup with my neurosurgeon/spinal surgeon to go over an MRI after a wreck in November 04. It was significally worse from MRI of cervical area from one year ago. Specifically C4/6, C5/6 stenosis (congenital) and disc degeneration and herniation. mild flattening fo the cord. C4-5 neural foraminal narrowing secondary to protrusion and uncovertebral hypertrophy. Radiculopathy. CONFUSING!

My doctor told me to email him questions about the surgery he is recommending which is a fusion of C4/5/6 (front the front). One comment he made really freaked me out. He said if I virtually had no spinal fluid around 3 of the disks (therefore no margin for error) and if I was in a front end collision with air bag deployment with whiplash type injury, I could be paralyzed from the neck down. Do I take that dead seriously? Anyone?

After started doing online research (including reading this board), I started thinking back to other weird symptoms which have resulted in my having a fairly thick medical folder over the last 10 years. Can any of these be related to the congenital cervical stenosis and degeneration? Here it is. Let me know what you think. (sorry its long!), Oh, by the way, I just turned 51.

1. At age 37ish I developed bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome and even though the nerve conduction test wasn't conclusive, my orthopod did release surgery on both wrists.
2. At about the same time I also developed the electric pins and needles and numbing of outside of arms down into my pinky and ring fingers which indicated to him that I had ulner nerve compression, so I had 1 carpal and 1 ulner done, then 3 mos. later, had the other arm done. Seems to have worked.
3. At age 39 I suddenly developed extreme weakness in my legs (especially my left). So bad that I had trouble walking, had to lift my leg with my hands to put it in the car, drug my toes scuffing up my shoes. Also had extreme fatigue and tremors in hands. My doctor sent me to SW Medical Center in Dallas where I lived to be tested for MS. Had MRI, and other neurological tests. They couldn't figure out why I was having problems. As far as I know there wasn't an MRI done of my neck, just my head and back. I had trouble (and still do) closing my eyes with arms out and walking an imaginary line. I fall over. I can't remember exactly how long this lasted or what precipitated it. Seems to have just happened out of the blue. Probably lasted 1.5 years. I also had a chronic fatigue type component where I was so exhausted sometimes I'd have to go home early from work and go to bed.
4. Sometimes for no reason, I'd get really dizzy (loss of equilibrium). Wouldn't last a real long time and I seem to remember noting it happened after I'd been laying on my left side. Hasn't happened in a while.
5. A little bit before this happened, I started getting painful electric shocks down my left leg, through my ankle and into the outside of my foot into the 2 small toes. Went on for awhile. Again, the nerve conduction studies were inconclusive. Now, my left foot outside toes are numb (nerve died?) and I can't "spread" the two small toes apart voluntarily. Bottom of foot under them numb too. I have alot of nerve associated pain in my feet, especially if I'm on them too long, walk too much, or wear shoes that aren't totally flat.
6. I also have alot of "trigger point" pain in my body (bi-laterally). Diagnosed with fibromyalgia about 9 years ago. Alot of fatigue (though doesn't seem as bad anymore until toward the end of the day when I "hit a wall". Extreme fatigue and aching in my neck, upper and middle back, and shoulders. Feels like my head is too heavy and the knob of my neck hurts. Headaches (dull). My shoulders and upper back hurt and my left arm aches and sometimes goes a little numb.
7. I have GERD, High blood pressure and asthma all of which developed at about the same time (about 9 years ago). I went through 2 years of severe bronchial asthma with racking coughing. Hospitalized several times. Still have chronic sinusitis and do alot of hard hawking and coughing which I'm sure thrusts my head forward.
Thanks for your feedback and helping me process this whole surgery thing.
Sorry it took a while, I wanted to correspond but it was hectic and this one may take a little bit. You said C4-6, thats me too, i have mild, at some, moderate at some and severe at some congenital stenosis as well. Disk disease, herniation, i had floating piece, and cord flattening at C5 with lots of esteophyte growth and a misalignment. With a couple places no fluid ring at all. I have foraminal narrowing on the posterior and that was causing the nerve root compression and unbearable, horrible radicular pain on right. I am 46.

I did have the ACDF 4-6 2 level with donor bone and plate. Don't smoke, so cadaver was good for me, and i just followed instructions well.

1. The lack of spinal fluid comment: I don't like any doctor that scares you with stories to make you decide to do surgery. Iam not a doctor, but I went to 2 different specialties, a neruo and an ortho both heavily trained with fellowships, and years of experience, neither tried to scare the bejesus out of me like that. They were focused on the problem and the symptoms. If that were true couldn't that dr. just put you in a brace when you are in the car. Did you get one from that visit? Hm if you didn't doesn't it make you wonder if it was so serious why wouldn't they make you do that!!! I would be suspicious of that bedside manner!

2. Weird symptoms
[B]You Me[/B]
Carpal Tunnel No
Pins and needles in arms to fingers Sometimes
Extreme weekness in legs Yes (for 6 months)
Fatigue in hands No
Balance Yes, I have fallen multiple times
Dizziness Preceeded the 6 months prior diagnosis
Painful electric shocks Yes, little pulses random, make me jump
Reflux Yes
Asthma Yes (onset at age 35)
? Random chest pains, no cause
? Burning arm pain
? bladder nerve problems

See what i mean we are very similar in history. The weakness in my legs, they had trouble at first figuring it out. Also thought could it be MS, it was quick onset and no cause figured out. We did thyroid treatment it stabilized, as did my asthma!! Not just synthroid they had to add a second hormone because it wasn't converting it correctly. AFter researching I found Csping is nerve supply to thyroid, it makes me wonder if it contributed to my problem. The other stuff didn't go away until i had the ACDF.

I have not been this happy or well since spring 2004, if you are a good candidate and tired of the problems find a good surgeon.

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