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Compressed cervical nerves
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Compressed cervical nerves

What are compressed cervical nerves?  What causes them? I had cervical c5 disc surgery 5 months ago & still in pain & nerve ending tingling all the time.  How dangerous is a mylogram & is there anything better out there than this?
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Dear Cathy:

Comppressed nerves coming out of the spinal cord are as the name implies.  As the nerve exits the spinal cord, they are compressed by either a disc, compressed neural forament, inflammatory response, tumor, infection, etc.  When a nerve is compressed there is altered nerve functioning that can lead to pain (if it is occurring in the dorsal column nerves) or muscle use changes.  A myelogram has some possible bad outcomes, but the neurosurgeon or neurologist or neuroradiologist should explain these to you fully.  When a dye is added to the spinal cord, there can be reactions to the dye, bad needle placement, infections, nerve trauma, etc.  Most of the time the benefits of the myelogram outweigh the risks to the procedure. We usually will try using MRI prior to myelogram.

Sincerely,

CCF Neuro MD
4 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks, I think I will go with the MRI.
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Avatar_n_tn
i recently had a myelogram done ....it was a breeze
no adverse effects whatsoever!
it combined with a mri made diagnosis by my surgeon
very easy .....it plainly showed the dye going all the way
except for two discs in the cervical spine canal
which would not let any dye past
im am 42 years old and it appears my cervical spine canal
has been too small since birth
i have had a long history of neck problems
hoping this is the fix
martin_mcnally58***@****
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Avatar_n_tn
I am 6 weeks post-op; had a herniated disc and a bone spur removed from the C4-C5 space in my neck.  The surgeon used bone from my hip for the fusion--I swear that hurt more than my neck did when I woke up from the anesthesia.

The surgeon did a myogram (correct spelling and name?  the test where nerve impulses are studied and measured) while I was still in surgery. That's one more assurance to him that the pressure on my spinal cord has been effectively treated.  

The myelogram (contrast dye in the spinal column) can give a different "visualization" of whatever is compressing the nerves in your neck.  I followed the recommendations from my surgeon for the neurologist and radiologist--after all, the surgeon is who orders these tests, and he or she should be the most knowledgeable about a team who can do your myelogram properly.  When I had mine done, they were very careful about my position, making sure that my neck was flexed enough to prevent accidental leaking of the dye into the brain.  I sat upright for the next 6 hpours, drinking juice and reading magazines.  It was very comfortable for me.

As for your continuing symptoms, could it be that your neck required a lot of work to fix, so that the tissues there may still be irritable?  Did you have to wait a long time while suffering symptoms before you had the surgery.  For me, because I found the right surgeon out-of-state, it took 16 months from the time I was diagnosed before the insurance company agreed to give me those benefits to which I was entitled.  

Once in a while during my recovery, I feel my fingers tingle,  but my surgeon said to expect sensations like that because my body would interpret the change after surgery as though a limb was amputated.  Those sensations are like "phantom pains," such as when someone has an amputated leg but can still "feel" an itch on that foot.

Hope you're feeling btter soon.  I myself have now been off all of my pain medications and muscle relaxers for about 3 weeks, and feel much better.  I am still somewhat tired (I need an afternoon nap) but my primary-care doc points out that I'm recovering not only from 4 hours of anesthesia, but also 2 years of narcotic pain medication, and over a year of exhausting emotional stress from fighting the insurance company.  Best of luck to you.

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