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cervical disc protrusions
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by caynetina, Jan 29, 2003
Hi I'm 33 yrs& have 2 disc protrusions seen onMRI at C5-6&C6-7 both broad based and on the left compressing the corresponding nerves & creating a "severely narrowed neuroforamina".  I have osteophytes that have formed around the area too, and the discs themselves are quite degenerative. I was in an MVA 5 years ago when the neck pain started immediately and over the years progressed into the L arm and thumb,index&middle fingers. I have numbness on&off,spasms,muscle twitching and stiff neck and occasionally both arms are uncoordinated and weak & very bad blade pain.  Reflexes are intact. I've tried for over a year everything conservative & I haven't been working either& nothing has helped it. Most recently another MRI scan showed the discs have not reaborbed at all.  I have about a week of manageable pain and then another of severe pain with numbness etc...My questions are is the twitching in my left arm and sometimes my left thigh related to my neck problem?If my nerves are so compressed why don't I have non-stop the extreme pain and numbness, weakness that I experience about every 3 or 4 days? Wouldn't it be constant?If I leave this for a long time can this cause permanent pain & numbness?  I read about cow bone being used instead of cadaver bone or my own bone, do you know if this is just as successful in a fusion?  I need help deciding whether or not to just take the step towards surgery because it's been so long would I still notice improvement if I go for surgery after this long?  If a disc hasn't reabsorbed in over a year will it ever? Thanks for your time and expertis
Answer:
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by CCF-Neuro-M.D.-JT, Jan 30, 2003
1.For the muscles in the arm - yes. Fasciculations or muscle twitching can be caused by a pinched nerve due to irritation of the nerve fiber. But it's unlikely to be the cause of the leg twitching.
2.With overexertion, certain movements, or changes in position, you may be further compromising an already narrowed canal or space where the nerve travels through, thus causing intermittent pain.
3.Yes, permanent damage is a possibility depending on how severe the foraminal narrowing is and how long you've had it.
4.You'll have to talk to the surgeons about their own particular experiences with different types of bone grafts. Here at the clinic we use cadaver or the patient's own bone.
5.Usually if conservative management for a 6-8 week period has not helped, the foraminal narrowing is severe, and the patient is symptomatic (weakness is the biggest symptom we look for) then we recommend surgery as it's unlikely that it will get better on its own (again,this is if the patient has significant weakness and we've taken all the variable into account). And yes, it's possible that your symptoms will not completely go away after the surgery.  The only thing we can tell patients is that surgery would theoretically prevent further damage. Good luck.
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Member Comments (44)
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by megrod, Jan 29, 2003
I had the similar symtoms but worse.  The first of Sept. I had a cervical diskectomy with fusion (3 levels)I am doing great! I am so glad I had it done.  Your symtoms will slowly go away but it takes up to 2 years for the spinal cord to heal, mine was compressed for a long time.  The only limitation I have is looking up and down but it's alot better then being in pain. I would do it over again if I had to.  You need to find a good Neurosurgeon and start there.
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by lelealu, Jan 31, 2003
I too am having almost exact symptoms...  The pain and weakness are increasing greatly.  I am droping things all the time.  Went to ortho doc and am going to PT, but my R shoulder is "drawing upward" and forward and won't stay down.  When lifting something, as in a pot off the stove, it seems to weigh 3 time as much when spassing it to my right hand from my left...

I have the numb tingling too...  I'm an artist and am afraid I'm losing my art hands rapidly...
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by bear2122, Feb 03, 2003
Does anyone know of a good Neurosurgeon. I have been told
I need a fusion of C3 through C7.  Thanks.
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by caynetina, Feb 03, 2003
Post again whereabouts you live and maybe then someone will read your post and let you know about a good neurosurgeon in your area.  Good luck!
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by bear2122, Feb 04, 2003
It does not matter where he is, I will go there.
I just need to find the best Neurosurgeon I can.
Thanks.
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by caynetina, Feb 05, 2003
Hi again, I was told that Dr. Benzel is great spine surgeon who comes highly recommended at the Cleveland Clinic.  I don't have his address though, just his name.  Good luck!
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by caynetina, Feb 05, 2003
Hi again, follow this link to Dr. Edward Benzel any other CCF doc's.  www.clevelandclinic.org/fhc/staff/solonstaff2.htm#benzel, perhaps you'll be able to choose another doctor from here if you need other areas of expertise beside spine
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by caynetina, Feb 05, 2003
I found the address /telephone number for the Cleveland Clinic.  Perhaps you can contact them directly to get his or another's telephone number and adress:
9500 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland,Ohio   tel (216) 444-2200, again best of luck!