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Does spinal stenosis cause cognitive problems?
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Does spinal stenosis cause cognitive problems?

I have spinal stenosis at C5 and C7 the neurosurgeon says it's bad because it's blocking fluid around the cord and causing numbness in my feet.
I get these headaches every day, when they are bad I can't think and have problems remembering. I am a 46 year old male and I guess I can expect some loss due to aging. But how do I know if I also have Alzheimer's?
Do headaches cause cognitive and memory problems?
Can the spinal cord being squeezed affect thinking?
Could it just be my anxiety causing me to forget things?  
Thanks for any help.
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I am 51 and have basically the same issues with my neck, especially headaches. I dont believe it causes memory or cognitive problems. Let's face it, we arent going to be as sharp as we used to be, and, when you have to deal with pain, especially headaches everyday, you just cant concentrate. The headaches often take over your life and your mind and it is just difficult to concentrate.
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My name is Katherine,  I have been diagnosed, with Autonomic Nerve Disfunction, Orthostatic Tremors and Cervical Spinal Stenosis.  YOU asked the question about Cognitive problems and Spinal Stenosis.  I will say this... I do not have Alzheimers.

As of right now  I am off work and do not see me going back to work for a long time.  that being said let me tell you about some of my symptoms that I have been having over a matter of years before I found out about my diagnoses.  

I trembled all the time.  Have got to the point that it is just a mental and physical chore to write a check.  I have had cashiers run out the door of the store just to have me finish filling out the check because I forgot to either sign my name or put in the amount.  I set down to write and excuse for my child for school and it takes me at least five or six times because I put the wrong date down or mess up on spelling  simple words over and over again.  the other day I was on the computer and reading and I couldn't read simple sentences. it was only words to me..  as far as pain went.. well I am in my late 40's so that just come with life right..."Wrong"   ok with that being said.

Now I have suffered with doing things like this for years but it had gotten alot worse in the past four months.   so it took me having one, of what I call my spells, to end up in the hospital and them trying to tell me that I was crazy.  welI, I wasn't crazy...

My spell that I called them was this.  It would start out like a small headache then i would get an upset stomach, then I would get really faint, blood pressure would go up and then I would go into a total body breakdown.  I would shake like I was freezing, I could not stand, I could not walk, I could not talk, could not hold anything like a pill or a glass of water.  this would last for hours.  Then it would go away. and then it would start up in a couple of days, a week or what ever.  the only thing that would not go away was my disorientation, which effected my train of thought and causing cognitive problems and the ringing in the ears.  I know this sounds like alot. I told my husband that if I wasn't crazy before all this I will be by the time this is all over with.  

I guess what I am trying to say is this.  I have Cervical Spinal Stenosis, From the looks of it I have had it for a long long long time...  Yes it is that bad.  I have been reading about it and everything that my body has been doing is due to this condition.  I myself beleive that do to the severity of my Spinal Steosis it has brought on the other two conditions I have. My Neurologist have run every test to be thought of. and medications are helping with my blood pressure and my tremors.  I know that I will have to so something about my neck because if I don't It is only going to get worse.  

If you are feeling that something isn't right, do not allow yourself to think that it is because you are getting older.  It could be something very rare and you keep looking for a doctor who is willing to do the MRI's and the bloodwork  and what ever other test to be run.  If I had of listened to my Family Doctor I would be on nerve pills and antidepresant pills and high blood pressure pills (which by the way would of made my conditions worse).  I would have never found out. I would be walking around like a zombie right now.  

The table tilt test was the one that found my Autonomic Nerve Disfunction. and the MRI of my spine is what found my Spinal Stenosis.  and the way my body was acting when my neurologist seen me told him that I had the Orthostatic Tremors.  

All I am saying is this.  when you are having these cognitive problems pay attention to other things like  what is your sitting and standing up blood pressure?  What is the temperature around you?  Are you to hot?   Do you feel generally weaker? Just listen to your body then find a doctor who is willing to listen to you.  

I hope this helped.  

Katherine

  
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Has your neuro run an MRI of your brain and spine?  Has he ruled out MS?
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I have recently had an mri of my brain and it showed a few white spots.  The neurologist did not think they were indicative of ms, but had me get a cervical spine mri to check for spinal lesions.
I knew I had one disc herniation in my neck, but the mri report shows more than just the one disc herniation. I would like to ask opinions of the report to see if anyone else has had a simular situation.
On report-Findings
There is straightening to fhe cervial spine, which may be secondary to muscular spasm.  Bertebral body heights and alignment are preserved.  Ther is multilevel disc and uncovertbral degeneration.

At C3- central disc bulging leads to a mild central canal stenosis.
At C4-C5, central disc bulging results in a mild to moderate central canal stenosis.
At C5-C6, disc bulging leads to mild to moderate central canal stenosis. There is mild to moderate right foraminal stenosis due to disc bulging and uncovertebral spurring.
At C6-C7, central disc protrusion leads to a moderate to moderately severe central canal stenosis. There is moderaltely severe left foraminal stenosis owing to disc protrusion and uncovertebral spurring. There is moderate right foraminal stenosis due to disc bulging and uncovertebral spurring. There is significant central canal or foraminal stenosis at C2-C3 and C7-T1
Impression-
There is multilevel disc and uncobertebral degneration.
At C6-C7, moderate to moderatley severe central canal stenosis and moderately sever left foraminal stenosis are identified.
Additional degenerative central canal and foraminal stenoses are identifed at C3-C4 through C6-C7, mild to moderate in grade.

I'm sorry for such a long post, but am frustrated. My neuro didn't even bring up my spine other than to say no lesions were found.  I phoned my family doctor and left a message to please review my cervical spine mri.  His nurse phoned me back and said he read it, but it only showed a disc herniation. I said he must not have read the full report, but she said he did read the report.  Am I missing something. I have a disc of my mri  and can see several areas in my neck that do not look right. Parts of the discs are sticking out into the spinal canal. I know I am venting at this point, but if anyone else has any ideas of what I can do please let me know.  I have been having several new symptoms over the last couple of months and am trying to determine the cause.  Thank you
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1394601_tn?1328035908
Can you tell us more about your other symptoms?
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Avatar_f_tn
I'm sorry I wrote so much about myself on your post. I think I got upset after speaking with the nurse. I should have posted this seperately from you post.
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I have had neck pain and shoulder pain for several years.  I used to get severe spasms in my neck that would leave me unable to move my neck for several days. Sometimes I could not even walk without supporting myself on the wall of furniture due to the pain.  I get headaches and pain at the base of my skull. I have been off work since the beginning of September for what is beleived to be chronic fatigue syndrome. My doctor felt ms should be ruled out due to the white spots in my brain mri.  One of the new syptoms (symptoms) I have had started about three months ago. It started in my right ankle. It feels like it is sprained, but is not.  Than I started to get muscle tightening in my right calve which left me with a charley horse feeling that has lasted now for days.  My toes feel like ice cubes most of the time and the bottoms of my feet feel like they are wet, but when I feel them they are dry.  I have started to get nerves jumping all over my body in different areas that last only a second. Syptoms (symptoms) that I have had for awile is in my hands. The fingers feel like they are swollen and the joints are sore.  I see no swelling, but at times can barely bend my fingers. I can no longer carry a purse with a shoulder strap for more than a couple of minutes or I get extreme shoulder pain. My neck hurts almost continuosly and frequently makes a crackling sound when I turn my head.  My upper arms have a strange pain that goes from side to side rather than up or down the arm. My arms, legs, and hands feel weaker than normal. My right knee has been very painful and that pain occasionaly moves to my left knee and than my right knee feels ok. Both of my knees give out on me from time to time, but fortunatley have been able to catch myself before falling. I have times when my balance is off and I feel like I am leaning to the left or right. I also have vision problems (blurry vision) that increases at times. I think I had optic neuritis about a year ago, but was not diagnosed with it.  There are so many symptoms that come and go I think it would take a week to write them all down. Some things come and go and are completley forgotten about until they happen again.  Thanks again for letting me vent, my husband is getting sick of me and really wants me to go back to work. I don't want to sound negative, but am fed up with all of this and think maybe he is right and I should just get over it and go back to work.
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1452231_tn?1289534457
There is more to getting the diagnosis for MS.  Yes you need the MRI for the Brain and the Spine... But the Numerologist will want to do a lumbar puncture to check for different proteins and other things, that I have no ideal what, that will prove once and for all if you do have MS.  That was the thing that ruled out MS for me...  and  I have to tell you it isn't fun but it was worth it.  If you don't like what this doctor is doing then keep searching until you can find one who will go the extra mile for you.  My family doctor told me that I was having a nervous break down and I knew I wasn't so I kept looking until I found a Neurologist who was willing to take time and figure some things out about me.   There are nerve test that can be done like an EMG that will prove nerve damage.  you have a thing called a table tilt test that will prove if your autonomic nerve system is working properly.  So if you haven't seen a Neurologist yet I suggest you check around for a good one and have your doctor refer you to him or her. that is what I did and my Neurologist has been a God send.  
stay in touch and let us know what you find out.

Don't give up... you know your body.. listen to it.  
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Honey, if you haven't been seen by a "big city" (as in Chicago, IL or larger)  TEAM of specialists, including a rheumatologist, neurosurgeon, diagnostician and a pain specialist who cares about treating pain, not just making bank on repeated procedures, you need to NOW. You have severe impairment and need action yesterday! Given insurance companies make you go through several steps in most cases before they'll even approve surgery, which is what you will most likely need, the sooner you get going on this the better. DO NOT TRUST A SMALL TOWN DOCTOR/CLINIC WITH YOUR HEALTH DECISIONS--EVER! I say this as a degreed health care professional who has been where you and others commenting here are. I know it's hard to travel when you have brain fog and horrible pain, but you only have one chance to get this right. When you are dealing with the cervical spine, messing that area of your back up messes everything BELOW it up too. If you already have osteo.... bone spurs to put it in english ... forming, this has been going on too long. You need to restore circulation of blood and spinal fluid to your spine and brain and as I said before the sooner the better. Then start playing online video games--challenging ones! It's excellent brain therapy!
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I have genetic spinal stenosis.  It covers about 15 inches of my back starting about my mid-shoulder area and continuing down my back.  I am 5 foot 3 inches tall so thats most of my back.  The cell growth is pretty continuous in thickness for the 15 inches.  I am on 180 mgs of ms contin time released daily.  My legs still have nerves that jump, which muscles relaxer only help some.  Now my brain is spacing out and I forget things often.  If I stand for two or three minutes I will fall.  If I sit my to long my hips feel like they will pop out of their joins.  My lateness problem is my neck which grinds and swells around three of my neck disks.  This all started happening when I was 45 and the neurologist said it was not going to get any worse then.  The first Neurosurgeon went wanted to take six of the back of my disks out leaving with just the front parts.  The last two Neurosurgeons said they would not operate too bad of case.  I live in constant pain I begin my day at about a 4 or 5 and end my day at about 7 to 9 scale of pain.  I have been looking at all options except for this surgery removing the back six disk and leaving with just the front parts.  If anyone out knows of something please email me at ***@****.  I am to young to be ssdi and want to return to work.
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Lydia
I have the same symptoms as you. Do you learn anything more.
I am being tested by ucla in the future to determine if I have ms.

Would love to hear from you.
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Avatar_f_tn
Lydia
I have the same symptoms as you. Do you learn anything more.
I am being tested by ucla in the future to determine if I have ms.

Would love to hear from you.
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