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C5, 6 & 7 Degeneration
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C5, 6 & 7 Degeneration

Hi. I recently had an MRI done as suggested by my GP. I was told the results were significant degenerative narrowing between C5, 6 & 7. There was no mention of any bone spurring. (?)   I was referred to a Spinal Institute (going next week). I was also prescribed Valium and Vicodan. (which help with the general and shooting pains, spasms etc. but severely depresses me.)  My symptoms are:

Severe spasming around and under my left shoulder blade extending to my shoulder, under my arm, down my bicep to first my inner elbow, then outer elbow and spasming of my forearm with shooting !!! excruciating pain from neck to fingertips which 1st and 2nd digits are tingling and numb. Even over the last 2 weeks my grasp and muscles have weakened to the point of shaking when trying to simply hold a cup of coffee (or shave my legs!) ... Nothing/Everything seems to set it off ... no particular positioning EXCEPT I do notice that its MUCH worse when I lean forward. I also notice (and this is when the severe pain began) that its worse in cold weather (New England and we had a severe cold spell with wind chills in the minus zero range!

I understand that this happens with age (I'm 57) but as result of repetitive movement and lifting heavy objects and/or trauma/injuries.  I work with horses. I trim horses hooves. I'm constantly lifting 50 & 60# bales of hay and bags of grain, shoveling paddocks, raking, and I've had 3 major falls from horses in the last 10 years, two of which I landed on my right head/shoulder on hard ground - separated muscles from my ribs, from my right shoulder blade and tore ligs/tendons/muscles in neck. Last injury just 2 years ago when I landed directly on my butt hard enough to knock off my helmet, I FELT my vertebrae, like dominoes, jam into each other and I broke my left seat bone. So, quite obviously, all of these are causative to my issues.  

Given my "symptoms" what can I expect to hear in terms of the degenerative process?

Thank you.  
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412913_tn?1213498587
You do need to have a comprehensive spine evaluation which should include X-rays and an MRI .
Depending on the severity of your problem a variety of options starting from physiotherapy, aquatherapy, medications and sometimes surgery may be recommended.
Let us know about your results.
13 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
Is there no one who can give me any idea of what to expect with this?  :(
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Avatar_n_tn
Thankyou!  have been on meds and they're somewhat helpful. Have appt. at Spine Institute on Friday.  Will keep U posted.  :)
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Avatar_n_tn
hello doctor..
I have paraesthesia of right shoulder blade and tenderness there as well. and chronic neck pain and shoulder pain. since im a med student the hectic life has worsened the pain and progressed to arms and causing arm weakness as well.
The CT results shows disc bulging between C4-5 and im guessing paraesthesia is caused by a pinched nerve in the right side. Also showed facet joint stenosis. how do i manage this pain as i wanna finish the next 3 yrs of mbbs ? :S:S
AND IM 21 , F :(
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Avatar_n_tn
Findings for C5, 6 & 7 ....

Narrowing between 5 & 6
6 is herniated with bone spurs and narrowing between 6 & 7.

Spine Center = Doc said since meds are helping then keep taking them otherwise surgery.

Would any sort of PT help or acupuncture, or other alternative methods help?

Thank you.
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Avatar_f_tn
I'm from the east coast - if you don't mind me asking, what area are u in?  I have seen a great neurologist in Massachusetts.

I also have constant neck,back pain with muscle weakness & numbness of both arms & legs.

I was told take pain meds until you can't stand it anymore - then have surgery.

I am looking into different herbs, supplements & such to try to help.
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Avatar_n_tn
I had 2 herniated disks in the c4/c5 and c5/c6 area and i had the exact same pain that you had. My injury was caused by a car accident. When i first had my MRI i was seeing an orthopedic surgeon and the first words out of his mouth was "YOU NEED SURGERY". Needless to say i got freaked out. I opted to speak with a neurosurgeon and i felt that warm fuzzy feeling inside. He opted to go to PT and try some other methods such as TRACTION. it didn't work for me but my co-worker who has a similar injury it has helped him.

when the pain go too bad to deal with i opted for the surgery. Needless to say that pain has now gone away. But it has been replaced by another new pain that i'm trying to figure what it is now. It feels spinal or a form of neuro pain because muscle relaxers are not doing the trick right now and it's been 3 years. Since i'm 31 and your a few years older than me one thing to consider is the older you get the harder and longer it is to heal. So in my opinion is if you can put up with the pain i'd do it, until you can't bare it no more and if surgery is the only option after that you'll then have to decide if thats what you want to do.Once you have surgery you'll never be the same.

It's unfortunate that i'm still in pain though. I honestly cannot remember what it feels like to not have pain, it's a daily form of my life now. It flares up and i get frustrated and pissed off and on a normal day it's dull and aching.
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Avatar_f_tn
Have you had another MRI?  Do you have more discs that have herniated?  Or degenerate?  It is possible that some of the non-surgical options that didn't work before might be of help now. Don't give up hope.
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Avatar_n_tn
I have the same exact symptoms. I went to a ciropractor and he straightened out my neck just 2 times and things have gotten much better. He said my spine was way out of alignment. Its worth a shot as it helped me. I was in pain with my shoulder for 3 months before I went and got straightened out.
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Avatar_n_tn
I am 19 and have had the discs between C5 & 6 compressed and fractured 2 vertebrae. I have also rotated 1 vertebrae (L4). I have done this from numerous ski racing accidents over the past couple years. Anyways, I have chronic back pain and my discs will never be the same. They cause really strong shooting pains often and sharp pain throughout my back. I have done numerous physical therapy and massage. It has helped a little bit but only for very short term. So far, the thing that I have found to be most effective is working out your core muscles. I also have a couple of friends who have suffered similar injuries who swear by it too. All it takes is right when you wake up, excercise your core muscles for 10-15 minutes. Sit-ups (on soft surface), crunches, leg lifts, kayakers, bicycles etc. These will probably not feel great at first, and they aren't suppose to. Especially if you don't exactly have a "six-pack". But once you do it for a while (1-2 weeks) you can add new excercises and try new things. The key is to get the muscles around the spine "firing". The most powerful relief for your spine comes with isometric excercises. There are tons of them online. One I suggest for beginning is isometric contraction. You just flex your "inner core" and hold it for about 3 sets of 15 seconds. This will immensly help your pain.  I challenge anyone with back pain to try it. Just 10-15 minutes every day when you wake up. It makes the biggest difference! Good luck to everyone!
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264233_tn?1216345915
sorry to but in but is there a doctor in the house???????

when i try to ask a question in this group it says it is too full to ask a doctor anymore questions.  so what good is this forum if you can not ask a doctor  so therefore i am humbly butting in to ask a question.

i too have degeneration and bone spurs in my c-5 c-6 c-7 to the point of pressure being placed on the spine causing various sides of numbness, dizziness, loss of strength, etc.  i was sent to a spinal and pain clinic and was offered a tx called cervical medial branch block in which cortizon is injected between my vertabral.  but when i mentioned that i have a problem with having low blood platlete cts (along the anemia lines,without having anemia).  i was told that recieving this type of tx could not be done because a person needs to clot up after the tx and that blood floating around this area of my spine could cause paralysis. i said great at least i wont feel anymore of the various symptoms anymore :O).  has any of you all heard of such a thing or is there a dr in the house who could explain to me what my option are and if there is any other  options available to tx my condition???????

sorry for the intrusion.
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205009_tn?1218563328
I have multi level degeneration as well.  Severe to moderate depending on the level.  I am very anit-surgery until the options are better.  A 5 level fusion would leave me very still and I am only 30 so that is just not gonna work for me.
To answer your question regarding options, you certainly have PT options available.  it has helped me tremendously.  I have a couple of exercises I do daily to help keep myself flexible.  I also bought a neck pillow, the memory foam type, and sleep with that nightly as I tend to herniate in my sleep.  I take one muscle relaxer before bed for prevention also.  I work at a desk and get stiff so I take one tylenol 3 daily if I need it.  For full blown herniations I use dilaudid.  If I herniate and have new symptoms i report immediately to the emergency room.  don't self diagnose and don't ignore pain!
Vax-d is a chiropractic option but if you have moderate to severe cord compression as i do most chiro options are out.  
Please email me if you have any further questions or if i can be of help :)
Morgan
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Avatar_f_tn
Did the Spine Center say anything to you about going to a Pain Management physician?  Did they keep you on the Valium?  The Valium could be what is making you depressed (although pain meds can do the same).  There are other things that can be given for the spasms instead of Valium, such as Flexeril and Norflex.  Curious to know if you have had epidural injections or nerve root blocks to help with the pain.  A good pain management physician can give you lots of options, including dorsal column stimulator placement.  I am about your age and degenerative disc disease comes along with our age but when there has been injury, it progresses at an increased rate.  If pain management does not work for you, surgery could be your only option but don't expect with your spine problems to be totally free of pain after any surgery.  When multiple levels are involved, it is seldom that all pain is alleviated with surgery.  Call that Spine Center back and ask to be sent to Pain Management.   Good Luck.
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667923_tn?1266738793
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