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Spinal Cord Disorders Message Board

Spinal Cord Disorders Board Index

I love that cat avatar too!

Your neck is not good. So let me do a little explaining by level.

C2-3-it talks about facet and uncovertebral joints having "hypertrophy" and "arthropathy"...both mean arthritis and the "joints" mentioned are very small joints on the outside of the vertebrae that connect with the same joints above and below and have to do with stabilizing the spine. In your case, they have developed arthritis and the bone spurs from the arthritis have caused the "foramina" to close up. The foramina are holes on either side of the vertebra that allow the spinal nerves that leave the cord, to go out to the body and when they are closed up by anything such as bone spurs, causes severe pain. They rate the amount of closing by the words...minimal, mild, moderate, severe and obliterated. You have moderate closing up on the left side which might cause headaches and scalp pain.

C3-4-you have that same situation with this level as regards the foramina being blocked but here, you are moderate to severe on the left side and moderate on the right side. This would affect the neck/shoulder area, including some the areas where you are experiencing pain. But you also are developing another problem and that is a herniated disk mixed with bone spurs affecting your spinal cord itself. You have a "complex" of them hitting the lining that covers your spinal cord(the thecal sac) and it has closed up your spinal canal(that holds the cord) to 8-9mms. Normal is 11-12mms. More on the symptoms of cord compression later on.

C4-5-let's start with the foramina again. Bad bone spurs once again are blocking the holes for the nerves. On the left side, it is moderate to severe but on the right side, it is severe with an area of the "hole" "obliterated". That means they can't even see whether it is open or not and the bone spurs even push the cord in a weird way. This is where your symptoms will tell the docs what is going on. Affects the upper arms and shoulder areas and some into the arms. And the cord is affected again by a mix of a herniated disk and bone spurs together pressing on the thecal sac and the cord itself so that your cord is down to 6-7mms.

C5-6-same story here...foraminal closing up in the moderate to severe range on both sides and a spinal cord that is being compressed down to 7-8mms. Along with what is at C4-5, your arms must be in bad pain or going numb. Bet you're losing strength too...and dropping things. C6 goes down to the thumb and index fingers and some of the middle finger.

C6-7-the foramina are again closed up. Moderate to severe on the left and moderate on the right. And they can see the same problem with moderate to severe closing up all the way down from T1 to T4. But no cord compression from here on down. C7 affects the 3rd and 4th fingers and outside of the arm and the C8 nerve(between C7 and T1) affects the little finger and the far outside edge of the arm and triceps muscles.

Your spinal cord is compressed at several levels and can cause strange symptoms like difficulty walking, staggering as you walk, having muscles that don't seem to want to work and you take baby steps. Numbness anywhere in the legs(even the toes). Your arms may not work right and you can lose strength even without the nerve problem. You may lose fine motor function in your hands. You can develop problems with your bladder not working right and you either can't go or you can't hold it. Same for bowel function. If you get bladder or bowel problems, that can be very serious and needs emergency attention. But it may not hurt...but the rest of the nerves hurt enough.

What is happening, is that you are slowly but surely becoming paralyzed and you need surgical intervention to stop the progress. My neck was very similar to yours and slowly but surely, I had less and less pain so I thought it was getting better when in fact, it was getting worse. No pain is a bad sign with this problem.

You need to find the best spine surgeon you can get. If I were you, I'd head to the biggest medical center near to you and find the top spine surgeon, be it ortho or neurosurgeon. You are going to need some pretty big surgery done to fix this....BUT IT IS FIXABLE. Mine was fixed.

And I also had the torn rotator cuff on one side and the partial on the other and the AC shoulder joints needed to be excised and basically my shoulders were a mess. So I had the shoulder surgeries...and then found out about my neck. My pain had been 90% neck all along. Should have had the neck first and then the shoulders. But it was another year after the 2 shoulders before I found out I even had a neck problem when I went numb from the neck down. Fix the neck first.

This is one time when experience counts as well as expertise. Travel where ever you have to, to get the very best spine surgeon you can get. May mean the difference between working again or never working again and being in constant pain.

Good luck.............Jenny(fused C3 to T1)

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