I am wanting to know what are the complications of cervical spinal stenosis to the rest of the body, for example, can it cause referred pain elsewhere in the body in the early stages then progress to more severe and worrying complications.
My sister was diagnosed with congenital cervical stenosis about 2 years ago, she had no pain but varying degrees of neurological difficulties. She eventually had 3 discs removed and a cage put in and fusion.
I am just worried at the moment because I am having increasingly strange symptoms like violent twitching of various parts of my body, cramping in my arms, pins and needles in my forearms and hands when I twirl my hair or rest my head on my hand, pains in my neck and shoulders, the feeling of falling to one side when i am not, tripping and stumbling whilst walking and so on.
My sister said that she had the same symptoms and to get checked but its hard to get an mri unless you have £800 pounds.
All this started with shoulder pain in 1991 which I was told was RSI, never checked, scanned or xrayed and chronic low back ache and has progressively got worse over the years. In 93 I had my son who was 9lb 10oz, that made my back pain worse. In 2002 i had a minor rear end shunt in my car and my back pain got worse and i was told i had whiplash by a&e. Ever since the symptoms have just got worse and worse and after talking to my sister i am increasingly worried.
Any advice please or info would be gratefully recieved, thank you
Hi, I thought your name seemed familiar, sorry to hear you're having problems and haven’t been feeling well.
Yes, unfortunately Cervical Stenosis can cause all the things you mentioned, although I'm not absolutely sure about the twitching. There is Cervical Stenosis, which is basically caused by the narrowing of the canal, and Cervical Myelopathy which involves the spinal cord.
Symptoms from cervical spinal stenosis without spinal cord compression are usually limited to neck pain and symptoms from nerve root compression. They include things like tingling, numbness, itching and burning in the upper extremity. And these symptoms can gradually progress to clumsiness, weakness, or numbness in the hands or fingers.
When the spinal cord is involved it’s called Myelopathy, and it can be cause by several things including stenosis, herniated discs, bone spurs, etc. Depending on the severity, the symptoms can be clumsy or weak hands, leg weakness or stiffness, neck stiffness, pain in shoulders or arms and unsteady gait. In addition to hyperreflexia and spasticity of movement and even incontinence, so when severe, it can be pretty serious.
It’s really difficult to know if you have this, because with the exception of your feeling of falling, and the tripping and stumbling most of these symptoms can be caused by other disorders in the neck as well. You didn’t mention pain, are you having much, is this effecting both of your arms and hands?
That was a very serious procedure your Sister had, has she fully recovered? Do you think that your condition might have a congenital component as well? What is the criteria and or the requirements for you to have an MRI? Because you need a scan and a diagnosis in order to stop the progression of this, whatever it is.
Anyway, I hope feel better and I’ll give you a link to a PDF file explains about Cervical Stenosis and goes into the various options for treating it. It’s a little simplistic, but I think you might find it helpful.
You were asking about pain, yes I do suffer pain in my neck, stiffness, aching and cracking and crunching. I have tender spots in both shoulders parrallel to the collar bone and my left shoulder in 1991 was diagnosed as having RSI but injections and physio haven't helped, it still feels like it is going to pop out of the socket when I lift it away from my body or above my head.
The criteria for an MRI here is £800 for a particular area eg cervical or thoracic etc, or you practically have to beg and cry and be branded a neurotic woman.
There is a very strong history of spinal problems with my moms side of the family, exactly what they are I don't know coz I am not very close to them.
I'm just getting a bit concerened coz my sis said that her problems progressed really quickly, and I feel this las 12 to 18 months things have gone downhill rapidly. I put it down to holding myself wrong after an achilles debridement and re-attachment in Feb 2009, which still hasn't resolved. Basically, i'm scared to go to the docs and i am conveniently forgetting to make an appointment hoping it will go away.
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