Most cervical bulges are the result of wear and tear---the aging process. This doesn't seem fair, considering they can appear quite early. They are incredibly common, and the vast majoriity cause no symptoms at all. Of course, the vast majority of people don't get neck MRIs either. So there's really no association between this and MS.
Disc herniations are much more serious, also likely to cause symptoms. If a disc begins to impinge on the spinal cord, that is a true emergency. Still, this too is not a part of MS, though it's possible that some of the symptoms could be mistaken for MS.
When I had my cervical MRI about 2 years ago, I had 2 discs that were bulging and unfortunately pressing on my spinal cord. Like Ess said, it was an emergency due to once damage is on the spinal cord, it is irreversible. The point of surgery is that is doesn't worsen.
My MS neuro sent me to a neurosurgeon who was "conservative" about surgery. He recommend surgery ASAP, and I went to 2 more opinions who said the same thing.
Anyway, my MS neuro said there are cervical disc bulges in at least 90% of MS patients. (However, like Ess said, the vast majority of people do not get Cervical mri's.) I do think it is an age process, although I was 38 when this occured. I was told I had a congenitally narrow spinal cord.
Thanks for giving me the percentage of people according to your neuro!!
When I had the problem with my arm and neck, it came on out of nowhere. I hadn't done anything strenuous for it to cause me so much trouble. My GP had asked me if I lifted anything heavy or fell or something, and I did not, so where did this come from? I was 37 when it happened, and at the same time, was when i was going through an 8 month span of vertigo/dizziness/lightheadedness, sinking ground feeling, slurring speech, optic neuropathy worsened for six months than got better. noise intolerance and extreme depression, crying uncontrollably.
This is all toooooooo coincidental to me!!!!
Did your MS Neuro think any of your 'ms symptoms' or abnormal reflexes could have been from the spinal cord compression and not the MS?
Were you already dx with MS when you have the cervical neck surgery? and did any of the MS symptoms go away after the neck surgery? (ie numbness, tingling, buzzing, pain down the arm and did the abnormal reflexes get better?)
I remember getting stiff necks and difficulty with moving my head in my 30's. My cervical MRI did show bulging discs that weren't pressing on the spinal cord. I would love to hear if there's a connection with MS because I do think that being in your 30's is a little early for the normal wear and tear of getting older. I am wondering if some problems in the neck area could be due to spasticity in the neck muscles. My neck continues to be an area that is stiff along with other areas.
Thanks for the post. I'm curious to hear from others about this problem.
I was seeing a ms neuro at the time of the cervical MRI, which she ordered. @ that time, we (her and I), were hopeful my symptoms were due to my herniated discs and not MS. (I was NOT dx with MS at this time.)
Had the surgery 1/09, and symptoms worsened about 2 weeks after surgery. (The surgery gave me a flare). Well after another couple months, and another bout of Optic Neuritis, she DX me with MS 4/09.
I was REALLY upset I had the spine surgery, but she assured me I needed to do it. (thought is was a waste of time/healing/money.)
No, the reflexes never got better, but MS neuro said they never would.
It is all sometimes so bizarre to me these things,
Ask away if you have any more questions...
So, I dont know which symptoms are related to the cervical myelopathy (which is what I had surgery for), and what was due to MS. By the way, my neck NEVER hurt, so I couldnt understand how my neck was so bad off, that I needed surgery. It was very strange to me and my family, but I had lots of numbness in my arm/hand. and surgeons all told me this was worse than pain.
I do believe you are onto something about the spasticity in the neck muscles.. I often have trouble with painful stiff neck, and it has lasted for up to a month!
I do hope more people join this discussion, and thank you for responding.
I find it very interesting that you a bulging disc in c-spine 7 yrs ago when I first started having neuro problems c-spine showed bulging disc. No ms though. now 7 yrs later had bad neuro attack and about to have a c-spine t-spine and lumbar ,Neuro feels I have ms in spine mri of brain looked ok according to him. I too am very interested in this. gonna follow this discussion.
no not yet, I saw the neuro on the 18th and after his neuro check on me he went and veiwed my mri of brain and came back in and said he was surprised I had no lesions on the brain, I was happy! then he proceded to say ms hides in the spine and that he feels I need to get these test done :(. He disrecarded that I had c-spine done 6 yrs ago. But never had t-spine done. he said my reflexes are not normal? and when i did toe to toe I would fall to the right and my right leg would tremor so much I couldnt do it. im waiting for his nurse to call with mri and lumber because dr wants all three done same time and she says thats gonna take longer?
Thanks and good luck to you also! I realize after I post and then reread how many words I forget sorry about that its very embarrassing! I dont know if my rflexes are hyper he didnt say. I d know when he ran tool over bottom of right foot my toes wen upward and my left foot they turned under, but I didnt ask him why, But the one leg thing for sure I couldnt stand on rt leg without support of left lol. I will be waiting for your results and I pray they are normal.
At age 31 I had an L5 fusion to my S1. They inserted 4 screws with bolts to create a completely artificial replacement. 17 staples down my back. Said it was worse than they expescted. They told me going in the scar would only be 1-2 inches. Big surprise to say the least.
Completely herniated disc they said.
I was running at the gym and could not straighten my leg. no MS diagnosis or even suspect yet. No other symptoms. No reason for thinking it may be caused by something else.
Now, I know I have 3 spine lesions... makes me wonder. Were there some down there, too?
Thats such a sad story! I find it very weird that so many people have bulging and slipped disc with ms! I realize that people have back problems I personally worked somewhat in the medical field for 15yrs and had alot of friends that were nurses and they used there backs alot not one that I can recall had bulging or hern. disc for some reason I always related this to more of a male issue wish i guess is ignorance on my part. but It would be nice if it came back that the bulging discs are my issues I think that would be a much easier fix if and of course i would want the 1 to 2 inch scar. Happy thanksgiving and god bless
I just wanted to add a little something. 80% of the general, healthy population after age 25 has a bulging disc somewhere in the spine regardless of if they have symptoms of it or not. So, I imagine that percentage would go way up in the people who are actually having symptoms and have imaging done.
The most common areas are lower cervical and lumbar. I had never heard the 90% of MS patients number - and it shouldn't have much to do with the fact there is also an MS diagnosis.
We are not nice to our spines - they are build for movement not for sitting or standing. Discs are like water balloons. If you apply a little bit of pressure to one side of it - it displaces the water somewhere else. If you do that all day everyday through poor use, poor posture, and bad body mechanics, then you get bulges without ever having any sort of traumatic injury.
These positions aren't obvious either - people may think they have great posture and this can't be the reason for disc damage, but when I see them I think otherwise - it's subtle, but it can make a huge difference to the structures inside our body.
Thanks everyone who posted..
To ashley, thanks for the info. I know that I put some equal strain on my back for many years especially when I worked for the mentally and behaviorally challenged individuals.
The problem that I am seeing is, I did not have issues with bulging discs during the most physical part of my life. My bulging discs appeared outta nowhere, and I was already out of work, I was already on lifting restrictions from my doc. because of my eyes, and too much pressure could have caused blindness.
I also started to have most of my neuro symptoms during this particular time. It is all too coincidental to me.
Also through alot of the research I have done and the questions I ask, I have noticed that alot of msers have had problems with their back/neck area.
Hmmmm. Interesting discussion. I also have herniated disc in my neck, at the C-5 C-6 level. I have multilevel degenerated disc disease, (whatever that is) and straightening with loss of normal cervical lordosis.
My first issue with my neck happened when I was 30. I had tingling and numbness in both arms and pain. My doctor put me on steroids, which cleared up the problem. Since then, I have had issues with my neck. I had an MRI 5 years ago that said I had a herniated disc. The most recent one ordered by my neuro had the findings mentioned above.
Maybe that is why I have numbess and pain in my hands sometimes. But I also have numbness in my feet, more so than my arms. I do have pain in my neck and upper back often. I take flexeril when it happens and it seems to help.
I'm not diagnosed with anything, but find it interesting that so many of us have these neck problems!
Thank you for your input. I have had an MRI of my neck and showed the bulging discs in the c5/6. I have also had problems in the sciatic nerve on the left side for many years and that is the same side of my hip pain. Not sure what is going on down there, but I also was dx with scoliosis as of 2 years ago. (another issue I never thought I had) lol
I hope people continue to post on this discussion!
I first found out I have cervical disc herniation when I was 36. My last cervical mri shows I have cervical disc herniation, cervical straightning, multi level disc herniation. Several discs are protruding into the spinal cord. I recently went to a chiropractor to ask him if he would review my mri because I wanted to know if the symptoms I am having in my right ankle and leg might be caused by my spine. I was suprised when he said he didn't think the spinal problem was causing the pain in my ankle, numbness and tingling in my foot and leg.
I am currently experiencing symptons that would
indicate MS. I have tingling in my hands, a fallen arch sensation to my left foot, general fatigue (all the time). Glare from even the dimmest lights, tinitus(worse In right ear), v v v mild spasticity above my knees, in my hands and neck.
I have other symptons but what really concerns me is that I have had numerous "normal" results in all tests, including brain MRI, but is have just had an MRI ofmy C spine. The results showed something to do with bulging neck discs and originally my GP, young and rubbish, suggested I may need to see a neuro-surg or orthopaedist!!!!! My GP then called mw later to advise me that I should see a neurologist! Now I don't know what to think or feel! I have been back and forth for 6 months ti the gp and ae. I
Have nit slept well for 5 month and am now considering something very drastic.
You may not realize this but you have posted onto an older thread that many people will not stop and read.
I am so sorry you are going through these problems - 5 months of bad sleep can make us think all sorts of crazy thoughts. I hope you will talk to the professionals and let them know how you are feeling and what you are thinking.
Are you seeing a neurologist? Specifically it would be good if you could see a neurologist who specializes in MS. They are best for this process.
I hope you will start a new thread, introduce yourself and your problems/concerns to the people here. They are great and will have lots of ideas and support for you.
Wow, 5 months is a long time to go through this. I still wonder if my cervical disc bulges have to do with MS is some way. I am not dx'd with MS, still going through tests and stuff, but my bulging discs appeared to act up during what I would think was a flare for me.
Hope you can get some answers with some relief!! The pain is excrucitating!
I would go to any type of doc. just to feel better, :)
I had been diagnosed with MS back in November 2009, then with sarcoid in 2010,
this year my health took a really fast downhill turn, while in Phoenix, i sneezed and my back hurt like you would never believe, so i went to the emergency room, and there they did an x-ray and a MRI of my back and to be on the safe side they also did an MRI of my neck,
I was totally shocked by what they found, 5 compression fractures of my spine L1 through L5
they also discovered i had cervical sponylitic myelopathy, cervical degeneration disk disease progressive neurological deficits, with severe compression of my spinal cord
I had to have emergency surgery C4-6 anterior cervical diskectomy, fusion and plating
what was supposed to have been a two day stay in hospital turned into a 28 day stay, probably due to my back problems, they stuck me in an TLSO brace to help with the pain in my back,
the strange thing is all my symptoms disappeared, after the surgery, and i was seen by a new neurologist, after studying all my previous MRI's and all the other tests i had done
he declared that i did not have MS but that the problem all along was a severe form of cervical sponylitic myelopathy,
I am so happy that i do not have MS, though i am now having some problems with the post surgery, with pain in my left arm and tingling in my left hand, i feel this may just be due to the healing going on,
but it sure makes me wonder just how many people actually have the same problem, and really do not have MS at all
I am saddened to think that all the clues were there, and they were ignored, looking through my medical records, Cervical spondylitic Myelopathy was mentioned several times, but was never acted on, it makes me sadder still to think if i had not sneezed and broken my back, i would have ended up paralyzed,
Just thought i would share my story, and the happy ending (hopefully)
My Cerical Spine and neck MRI showed C-5, C-6 Mild Disc Bulge Annulus. I have neck and shoulder numbness, some lower back pain,painful leg spasms at night along with some pain in legs during day, Bladder does not empty completely resulting in other bladder problems, Fatigue starting in afternoons, tired legs during the day, trouble taking full breaths.
The thing is most people having bulging disks and do not know it. Unless you have symptoms most people only find out accidently through a MRI. Also it could be a secondary symptoms. May be MS makes you walk differently and that puts stress on your back so you get a bulging disk. I have two bad disks. They give me little trouble I have not gotten them checked out.
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