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Spinal Cord Disorders Message Board

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For over a year now I have had progressively worse neck pain. My right arm is constantly tingling and burning. I have noticed that for the last 2 months I have had wierd symptoms like losing bowel control, feeling lighheaded, nausea, vomiting, and feeling like I am hung over in the AM. I havent told my Dr yet of these new symptoms but finally had an MRI last week and the nurse called to inform me I have right flattening of my spinal cord due to degenerative disc disease as well as arthritis. When I asked questions she really didnt have answers only that I have an appt with a specialist and they will answer my questions then. What does it mean my spinal cord is flattend? I am concerned now wondering if all these wierd symptoms are b/c of my neck pain. Any info is very appreciated. Thank you.
I would strongly suggest that you immediately tell your Dr. of those symptoms.

There are different terms used by radiologists to describe the level of contact a disc or growth may have with the spinal cord; impinge, flatten, or displace. They can mean something or nothing.

I definitely wouldn't let those symptoms fly under the radar.

Only your physician will know whether they are significant or unrelated.

I hope you feel better! :wave:
I 've been seein a dr. for a while for neck etc.......she has had me on ever kind of medicine I believe. But a chiropractor told me the same thing about the flat spine.............. I am miserable every day...almost. neck is always tight and stiff, using the computer is the worst!!! Also my shoulders and upper back get sharp knivelike pain in them, now my wrists and hands. Dangit! What did the Dr. do for you? Or anyone reading this who might know something......BTW Hope your feeling a lil better. :)
I also had severe cord flattening for about a year and a half before surgery. Like you I had the same symptoms and none of the pain meds or relaxers worked. I saw both a NS and orthopedic. My NS retired so I went to the orthopedic spine specialist for surgery. He did a ACDF C4/5. Needless to say if you have read the posts on this site some of us still have many of the same pains as pre surgery. I am told it takes time to heal. Your MRI showed both bone and tissue causing the stenosis, not good. Not ever going to be good. Bone doesn't go away. Go to a NS immediately with MRI in hand.
Sorry to hear about your pain...I strongly agree w/"Backinthesaddle"....Go to a NS immediately with MRI in hand.
Or maybe a neurologist, definitely not a family need to get to a specialist.
I had weird pain for about 6 months too...numbness/tingling, muscle spasms.
MRI showed 2 herniated discs compressing spinal cord...I had an ACDF w/fusion done last Friday on C-5/6 and C-6/7.
Make sure you keep a daily record of symptoms and rate your pain on a scale of 0 to helps to share with others going thru the same thing!....
Here's hoping to a better day tomorrow!
Like the others have stated,these are some pretty ominous symptoms that would or could suggest something that needs much quicker attention.did this nurse tell you just exactly what in the heck is causing the flattening?this would really be the most important info for you to know about really.something is obviously pushing or comprssing a specific area of your cord and you need to find out just what that something is.this would be the part that would be considered the 'affected or problem"area.You really do need to report these symptoms to your docs office possibly toady if you can.just call them and ask tospeak to their triage nurse and ask what you need to do.

honestly,your symptoms do not sound good to me atall and could indicate something possibly major somewhere along your spinal cordor column.I have some of your symptoms and i have some pretty heavy spinal cord damage left behind froma surgery to remove a cavernoma from the inside of my spinal cord.

this nothing to mess also need to know what is in the full rad report on that MRI.get a copy of it for your own files along with any other medical records that you all ready have in your file and any new stuff that is generated from now on.this truely is the beat way to try and stay on top of things.I had to start doing this just to keep me from going crazy,since i have five seperate specialists I have to see for many different unrelated medical problems.

you NEED information and also to connect with your NS asap to dicuss your overall condition.these new symptoms are just not ones to mess with.

good luck and please keep us all posted here as to whats up.marcia
I was diagnosed with 5 herniated discs in Feb 2002, one of which I have now had surgery on twice. I saw my MRI scans and I could clearly see the point at which the particularly bad disc squashed the spinal cord to the point of cutting it off, explaining why I could not stand upright and had no feeling down the back of one leg.
One of the things that has been impressed upon me throughout my 4 years of treatment has been that if at any point I begin to suffer and loss of bladder or bowel control, however minor, I must immediately contact my doctor as this can be the first sign of something very serious.
Please mention these new symptoms you are having to your doctor asap and don't risk further damage which may not be reparable.
I also agree with the previous posters.I too had a flattened spinal chord.NS told me if it hadn't happened slowly over the years that I would be paralyzed.He told me even a fall could potentially paralyze me.That kind of statement gets your attention.I had ACDF over a year ago.Best decision I ever made.I felt twice as good just one hour after recovering.Tell the NS EVERYTHING. Every little thing you may not think is important might lead him to a totally different procedure.You could not cook a dish without knowing what all the ingredients do to it,so don't leave any symptom out.Let the doc determine if its important or not.Good luck.And be sure to search around for a good NS,don't just troll the yellow pages.My two cents.
Well I saw the spine specialist today. he said my MRI is most concerning. My spinal cord flattening is due to arthritic changes and the only treatment is probly going to be surgery. My spinal cord is being compressed on the C4-C5 level. He is sending me for an EMG study and I am starting PT until the EMG report comes back and that will determine what we will do. My neck is also deformed. Almost completly straight with a backwards curve. I am so concerned now b/c I am only 26 years old! What will I be like in my 50's. I also have had a low back flare up. i had an L5-S1 laminectomy last year and now he says my L5 disk is alot thinner and I could be in agonising pain later if I dont get my weight under control as I am overweight. AHH! This is so much to take in. Thanks for listening!
I know it's disheartening to face surgery, but at least you have a clearer picture of what is going on...that's how I felt anyway....I knew something was wrong...had been to my family doc twice since the pain started in Oct. of 2005, only to have him tell me it was arthritis and I should take ibuprofen...took it into my own hands and scheduled an appt w/an orthopeadic doc who referred me to a neurosurgeon.
Get between the ortho and the neurogsurgeon (3 week wait for appointment) I began having all-over body numbness and tingling (this was after doing 4 weeks of PT and only getting worse), so my ortho told me to got to the ER.....the ER doc was a family doctor & he asked if my family doctor was aware of what was going on--I said no..I didn't have much confidence in his abilities to diagnose spinal problems.....this guy had the gall to say "Well, we really can't help you here...I'm going to do a few blood tests to get the ball rolling for your family doctor....maybe he has a few tests up his sleeve that will get to the bottom of this"
Six days later, I was having emergency surgery as my spinal cord was being severly compressed.......
Sorry to be so long winded.......I also had an experience with PT that I need to share

After 2 weeks of getting worse, they finally put me w/the manager of the PT unit. I happened to overhear another PT say to a it hurting when you do that exercise?..they said yes....the PT said "Don't push's NOT....No Pain No Gain here...your exercises should NOT cause pain.

I am overweight now, but used to be very athletic....when someone says "PT" i think of I really PUSHED to feel the pain.......the head PT guy came back to check on me while I was doing my exercises and I asked him if I was supposed to feel pain..he said "NO!".....thus a lesson learned at my expense...I can't help thinking that if I would have done PT "right", I might have avoided surgery!

Once again, sorry for being long-winded...but I feel as if I share this with others, maybe they'll benefit from my misfortunes!

If you have any questions about the PT or surgery or just want to "vent", please let me know....good luck...and remember in PT "PAIN is NO GAIN"

Mama,i would be very very hesitant to even attempt any sort of actual PT with your current spinal cord status, could end up doing even more damage to it.your cord is being severely compromised right now,and personally,I would NOT do anything right now that could come back to bite you later.your c spine and cord are just too unstable for any PT in my opinion.I would think that any doc in their right mind would not want you even thinking about doing it.why risk it,and it is a huge risk for you right now as the cord is extremely vulnerable at this point,and any wrong move could cause some pretty nasty damage.

i have some rather extensive permanent spinal cord damage from a surgery that was done on the inside of my spinal cord to remove whats called a cavernoma?basically it is a glob of blood vessels that just happened to form there inside of my cord and was most likely there at birth,it just never showed itself til I happened to have an MRI to try and determine which one of my discs were herniated,and it was just sitting there inside the cord right underneath the c c 6-7 was where the herniation was as well.not a good had also bled too.and bled again after my second disc surgery.

Trust me,you do not want to do anything right now that could even remotely possibly cause any affectation of the cord.I would just take things really slow and easy til you find out for sure whats up and it is somehow treated.just be careful,really.

you know,there are alot of folks,including myself who also have that loss of lordosis,or that same loss of the natural curve,thats not all that makes you a bit higher risk for some other spinal problems just because the vertebrae are kind of "stacked" backwards.but overall,when compared to other possible spinal issues,its not really a huge worry.things atill remain pretty stable.but with the extent of your current spinal cord compression,things are probably a bit more at risk,another reason to stay away from PT tiol you have a better idea of the overall stability that is still in the c spine.

I really DO feel for ya having to go thru this much crap at such a young age.its bad enough when you are much older but when you are in the prime of life,its a bit harder to take and deal just have to hang in there and make sure before doing any surgery to obtain a second opinion, need to know for sure just what really IS needed before consenting to actual surgery.before I was going to consent to actually having the cav removed,i actually saw three seperate NSs at three seperate unrelated places.i had gotten two totally different opinions from the first two and kind of needed that tie breaker? I went to the university of MN for that one and saw the head of neurosurgery.he is the only one I would have even considered to do this very risky surgery as he had over thrirty years of experience and knew alot about how cavernomas just are and all of their inherent risks.

If you happen to live near a good university teaching hospital,even if its a few hours away,i would very highly reccomend that you go there for that second opinion.they are just more in tune with the latest medical stuff and newest ways of doing certain procedures,more "cutting edge'type of knowledge and the experience.anytime you are dealing with the actual spinal cord and not just the surrounding vertebrae,you really do need to get the best of the best as far as NSs.i really never felt all that comfortable with the first two NSs I had consulted,and one of them had done my first two disc surgeries,but when I first spoke with doc number three,i just 'felt' i was in the right just need to be taking this all nice and slow.

obtain as much info as possible before consenting to actually DO anything,K? and please do not attempt any PT unless it is very very low key and gentle.find out what they want you to do before you do it and if it sounds like a bit too much,decline to I said before,your spinal cord is very highly vulnerable right now so please don't push things.I do hope this can be easily fixed and you can get on with your life soon.please keep us posted on how things are going.good luck,Marcia
Keep us updated, MamaLisa!

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