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Narrowing of the cervical and thoracic column
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Narrowing of the cervical and thoracic column

I've been having problems with my neck aching for a few years now.  I finally went to the doctor and an MRI was ordered.  My doctor said it showed severe foraminal narrowing of the cervical and thoracic vertebrae and arthritis with narrowing of canals in the neck.  She talked about possibly having to have surgery.  what does this mean?  What causes this?  Is there something I can do now to prevent worsening of this narrowing?

I also wonder if this narrowing had anything to do with my increasing number of headaches over the past few years.

Thanks,
Diane
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The spinal cord is surrounded by a bony cage that is made up of spine bones called vertebrae which are stacked one on top of another. In this particular setting, foramina is a fancy term that describes the bony passage or hole that the spinal nerve roots go thru as they exit the spinal cord and go out to your various limbs. As we get older, we can get degenerative or arthritic changes (normal wear and tear) in our spine that encroach upon the nerve root.  This means the arthritic chnages are making the passage smaller and pushing on the nerves, thereby irritating them and causing pain and sometimes weakness. Unfortunately, there is nothing that can reverse the changes, but you can take it easy by lifting nothing heavier than a gallon of milk, taking NSAIDS like motrin or tylenol, and perhaps some light physical therapy. Consider seeing a spine specialist (neurosurgeon or orthopedics) and let them review your films. Sometimes, if the cervical disk disease is severe i the neck, that can lead to headaches called cervicogenic headaches. Goo dluck
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