I've been diagnosed with bilateral foraminal stenosis at C4-C5, C5-C6 and C6-C7. My MRI report also states that "disc/spur impinges on the right aspect of the cord with some impingement on the exiting nerve root." My internist advised PT, which I did for about 6 weeks with mixed results. When I added weights to the strengthening exercises, the symptoms returned. The therapist also did 1 traction treatment and since then, the pains are more severe. I was advised then by my neurologist to stop all PT in the hopes that everything would calm down. She told me that PT can actually make nerve impingement worse. Is this true? Could acupuncture help at this point? Wish I could get consistent advice to form a treatment plan. Thanks for any advice.
The bilateral foraminal stenosis is a tricky condition. The bulging discs are impinging on the foramen. This gives us an idea about the severity of the disc bulging. Usually, traction should help disc bulging which is mild to moderate.
Have you discussed a surgical treatment option with your neurologist?
Thanks for the answer - I have a consultation with a neurosurgeon next week. Hopefully I will get a confirmed diagnosis. My neurologist felt that PT and then pain management would be the cautious way to start and that the pains in my legs wouldn't necessarily be caused by the cervical stenosis - pains in the arms, yes. Any advice?
It is necessary to consider the effects of disc protrusion on the cord as a whole. The upper limb symptoms can be explained by the compression of the nerve roots. Other parts of the disc compress the outer layers of the cord. This can produce lower limb symptoms. There is a "U" shaped distribution of symptoms due to cervical cord compression. The "U" stands for the pattern of limb involvement. Usually it starts with one arm, then the lower limb of the same side, then opposite lower limb and finally the remaining upper limb.
Usually it only one cause behind many symptoms. The lower limb symptoms in your case need to be explained, if they are not due to the cervical disc bulging.
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