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spinal cord atrophy
Does anyone know the symptoms and signs of spinal cord atrophy?  Craig is getting horrible lower back pain and spasms when he gets his legs stretched.  As his legs are lifted, he can feel lots of discomfort in his lower back.  I was wondering if the spine is getting atrophy.

The only thing I could find is axonal loss in spinal cord atrophy.  I was wondering if there are actual symptoms.

Thanks,
Elaine
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338416 tn?1420049302
Has Craig had an MRI of his thoracic spine recently?  If so, take a look at the films.  On the T2 MRI films, you'll see parallel white lines, one a little ragged looking, usually at the dorsal (back) of the spinal cord.  The cord itself will look shrunken in places, and you won't see any bony protrusions that would cause stenosis.

The symptoms of spinal cord atrophy are really basically what happens when your back nerves don't work right - bowel and bladder symptoms, and cramping (spasticity) in all the affected limbs below the lesions, including the back muscles.  There would also be a lot of muscle weakness in the legs, and probably also the abdominal muscles, depending upon the lesion location.

Anyway, this all sounds absolutely horrible, doesn't it!  Ordinarily I wouldn't know all this stuff off the top of my head, but I've been having a lot of the above symptoms lately, so it's been on my mind.  I've also been looking a lot at my MRI films, and trying to make educated guesses based upon what I'm seeing.  It looks to me like spinal stenosis and/or spinal atrophy, and at least two lesions.  

I won't know if I'm right until after my neurology appointment tomorrow.  So take everything I say with a grain of salt!  If you do take a look at my profile, ignore Thoracic #1 - it's just a really good example of why you shouldn't try to read your own MRIs!
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195469 tn?1388326488
I get the exact pain when I am laying flat on my back and someone goes to lift my legs. (A doctor, usually...LOL)  it causes excrutiating back in my lower back.  I do have bulging disks in the lower spine and thoracic spine that are causing emproachment on the spinal cord.  That is my only guess for the pain, when the leg is lifted.

I do have an MS lesion in my thoracic spine but also some disks there that are causing a slight narrowing of the spinal space...hence mild spinal stenosis.  I wonder if the same thing can be causing Craig's pain?

You know that I am just a layperson, guessing at all of this.  With you being a nurse, you probably know much more than I.

I send you and Craig my continued hugs and prayers, dearheart.

Heather
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195469 tn?1388326488
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195469 tn?1388326488
I am sorry I did not answer your question directly about the spinal atrophy.  I just don't know.  I am sorry....
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198419 tn?1360245956
Hi Elaine -

Oh my gosh, I hope it's not the case.  I will see what I can dig up on the topic for you and Craig.
Adding on prayers that it subsides,
ttys,
Shell
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338416 tn?1420049302
Well, my doc says my MRI doesn't show any lesions, just mild degenerative spine disease and stenosis.  I guess that explains the irregular marks on the right side of the spinal cord.
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