I am a 41-year-old female. I recently had an MRI of the cervical spine. I am trying to understand the results. The Impression is as follows:
"Cervical spondylosis, with abnormality at multiple levels. This includes moderate spinal stenosis at C5-C6. Borderline spinal stenosis is identified at C6-C7. Neural foraminal changes are noted bilaterally at multiple levels as detailed above, most significant at C5-C6."
The report states that there is narrowing of the spinal canal at the cervical level (neck region). The cervical spine extends from C1-C7 and narrowing is visible at multiple levels more pronounced at the C5-C6. Neural foramina are the openings where the nerves come out from the spinal canal. If there is narrowing of these openings it can compress on the nerve and cause symptoms like pain or weakness of the part innervated by the nerve. The compression needs to be removed for the symptoms to resolve.
Therapy for spinal disorders can be conservative (non operative) and surgical (operative) management. Non operative therapies are ultrasound application, spinal traction, transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation and spinal injections. I would advise you to discuss various options with your doctor and initiate the right therapy.
There are many arguments against ultrasound for spinal stenosis, which is contraindicated. The reason is simple. Vibration causes increased inflammation. If there is no pain, no therapy or treatment is indicated. Electrical nerve stimulation is also used, but primarily to relieve pain for lumbar spinal stenosis. The idea is that the body can only transmit one pain signal at a time. Transdermal lidocaine patches, applied for no more than twelve hours at a time will help, as well as judicious small applications of medical grade DSMO directly over the cervical area (a very powerful anti-inflammatory agent). Otherwise NSAIDS are recommended. Axial traction is a treatment easily and inexpensively done. It should be for short periods (five to ten minutes) several times a day, with sessions separated by at least an hour, with range of motion exercises through the limits of pain. Spinal injections work, but they are inappropriate because they cause disc degeneration in the long run. A short period of oral prednisone while beginning axial traction is often prescribed. Often stenosis develops years following a sudden flexure injury of the neck, other times the cause is idiopathic (i.e. unknown). Good hydration is helpful as well as exercises to improve muscle tone. These include isometric exercises. Placing the palm of hour hand against your forehead for forcing your hand against your forehead for thirty seconds, Then working your way around your head at about thirty degree intervals. Sit-ups, with your hand behind your neck are also helpful. You may have to obtain a soft cushion (inflatable) to use when in an automobile or train that "bumps" up and down. If there is pain opiates are contraindicated. The pain comes from glial cell stimulation, which opiates do not work on.
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