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Spinal Cord Disorders Message Board

Spinal Cord Disorders Board Index

Fasciculations aren't really a concern. I was told that they were due to nerves being "****** off" which I think means irritated. Also, like you, not one of the spine surgeons I saw mentioned these muscle twitches as being a concern. But, after surgery, my muscle twitches went from almost constant prior to surgery, to less than 1-2 times a day immediately post op, and are now completely gone. I think these are more a barometer of what is happening, because there are a lot of benign conditions that cause twitches, and there is really no harm in them by themselves.

I'd say yes it is normal to get varying type of improvements from the conservative measures you describe. However, the real concern in what you describe as continued problems are the weaknesses in your arm that correlates exactly with the EMG findings of a C6 radiculopathy, and the heaviness in your legs is a very concerning sign of spinal cord compression. The nerve roots in your legs are down in the lumbar region, so unless you have compression in that region, the heaviness has to be coming from spinal cord compression in your neck.

I'll also tell you that of all the things you describe, pain from a surgical standpoint is the least relevant. The fact that pain has cleared up with some of the conservative measures might feel good to you and even lead you to think you won't need surgery, but pain isn't why surgeons operate. The primary reason for that is that insurance companies won't pay for spinal surgery to stop the pain because the efficacy is rather poor, so when the treatment is expensive and the outcome is 50/50, insurance companies won't pay for you to have surgery. But you have things much more serious going on than pain.

The strength can really be hard to measure and quantify. The reason is that due to the nerve root compression, the muscles can become spastic, and produce unnatural strength sort of like getting extra voltage from your nerves that control the muscle. So this is some type of artificial compensation happening, that will come and go as you are experiencing.

I was at the end of my tour of doctors when I was told frankly that the loss in strength in my arm might be irreversible, and the difficulty walking that I began having from the "heaviness" in my legs might also be irreversible, and that the longer I went without having surgery to correct those problems, the higher the probability became that they were in fact irreversible. That is why doctors are supposed to move you to surgery sooner than later. If you look at the data on myelopathy, the outcome of surgery is best in patients who have had symptoms less than 1 year prior to surgery.

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