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What kind of doctor....possible bone spurs in neck???
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What kind of doctor....possible bone spurs in neck???

Hi, I've been living with a literal pain in the neck for about the last 10 years.  My first symptom started about 10 years ago when sleeping I would start to cough.  It was as if I was tilting my head back and causing something to put pressure on my esophagus.  Then I noticed a tightness in my neck.  It felt like a lump in my throat.  By the way, I have had severe whiplash and other neck trauma from hockey and mt. biking in my early 20's.  I was never diagnosed with any problems.  I did a battery of tests to include:  endoscopy, barium swallow, MRI's, asthma tests, and acid reflux.  All of which came back negative, except for the asthma test which claims I have asthma, but I never really have any problems that I know of, but I failed the PFT test.  I do a lot of cycling and racing and do notice I have a higher heart rate then most guys, but that could be normal though.  The baruim swallow was the only thing that produced anything.  The doctor said it took a slight detour, but was nothing to worry about.  After all these tests nothing I just gave up and have been living with it until recently.

I have been going to a sports medicine doctor for some other injuries and told him about my past neck problems because now I have been getting mild headaches.  My neck and throat muscles also can get tired I carry on a conversation for more then an hour.  He took an X-ray and noticed the damage in the neck.  He said there was definite trauma there.  This I already knew.  Anyways, he ordered another MRI and this time it came back with these results, herniated discs in the c-3, c-4 and c-5, c-6 regions.  I think that's what he said.  That was about four months ago as I didn't go back to see him until yesterday for more shots for my other injury.  I was little upset with him for taking so long to get me those results and his nonchalant attitude about my neck pain.  I was expecting for him to at least refer me to somebody, but he never did.  It was his nurse who finally had to call me back with the results.  

So I finally went back for these other injuries and brought up the neck pain again.  He basically started rambling off that nothing was the matter until I brought up the c-3,c-4 herniated discs.  Then he said wait and left the room so he could get all the results and read my history again.  He just happened to have a spinal doctor shadowing him since he is one of the few doctors who does PRP therapy.  This doctor actually had a bit more insight as to my problem and said I could have bone spurs.  Which is what I had thought all along and kind of surprised no other doctor could come up with this diagnosis, unless maybe it never turned up on X-rays until now.  

This leads me to my question.  My sports medicine doctor is trying to refer me to a gastroenterology doctor.  Is this who I really need to see for this?  I just don't see him doing anything and possibly refering me to someone else.  I don't want to waste my time as this has been going on for so long and I finally have some X-rays and MRI's to back up my pain in the neck.  
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Avatar_f_tn
Do you have copies of the x-ray and MRI reports?  Perhaps if you post the clinical findings we would be able to provide more direction for you,  A gastroenterologist, however, is not going to address bone spurs in your cervical spine.
You need a consult with either an orthopedic spine specialist or a neurosurgeon.  The former is appropriate if your disc herniations are small and are not compressing the nerve roots or effacing the spinal cord.  If the nerves are involved, the neurosurgeon would probably be the specialist to see at this time.
Best wishes ----
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Avatar_n_tn
I didn't think the gasto. doc would have been correct as I don't seem to have any acid reflux, other swallowing problems or digestive problems.  I will try to get copies of the reports and post them.  My biggest problem it the lump in my throat and swallowing.  Also wondering if that's affecting my breathing since I do a lot of cycling and can't get my airways to fully open.  The headaches are there, but at this point would consider them secondary.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi. I agree that with bone spurs you need to see and orthopedic or neurosurgeon. I have the same problems with my neck as you do. I also used to continually feel like I had a lump in my throat and I had an esophageal stricture. I went to a gastroenterologist and had an endoscopy and he stretched it and I haven't had any problems since. It feels so much better without the lump always being there. Good luck.
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Avatar_n_tn
can anyone tell me what kind of procedure one would have done to remove these bone spurs in the c-3 to c-5 regions?  i was told they would go from the front of the neck.  is this considered a routine procedure or a major surgery?  is it outpatient?  what is recovery like and should i notice a big difference once removed?
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Avatar_f_tn
The procedure is a surgical one done under general anesthesia.  They make an incision in the front of the neck and move aside the trachea, esophagus etc and are then able to visualize and operate on the spinal column.
The surgeon will examine the vertebrae and the vertebral discs that exist between each set of vertebrae and remove the osteophytes or bone spurs that are compromising the nerve roots.  It may be necessary for the surgeon to remove the discs  if they have herniated and are putting pressure on the nerves.
The extent of the procedure would depend on the overall symptoms being experienced and the amount of degeneration of the bones themselves.
It is considered to be one of the more frequent surgeries done by neurosurgeons to alleviate neck problems associated with disc herniations, osteophytes and spinal stenosis.
The length of hospital stay and the recovery period would be dependent on the extent of the surgery -- ie how many levels of the spinal column were done.
I had an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion C4-C7 with titanium plating and screws, was in the hospital for two nights and then home without problems.  The majority of my symptoms of neck, shoulder, arm pain and numbness of my hand and fingers was gone within 3 hrs of the surgery itself.  Only minor problems with shoulder discomfort due to the positioning on the OR table, but well managed with muscle relaxants.
Consult an ortho or neurosurgeon, have them review your films and determine if surgery would be beneficial.  You will know more then about your options.
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