Physical Therapy Expert Forum
Foraminal narrowing
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Foraminal narrowing

I'm a 39 year old single mother of 2 boys who are 9 and 7. I work full time in an office, casually in a pharmacy and take 2 courses each semester online. 19 months ago, I thought that I injured myself while shoveling snow. Initially, EMG studies in May 2011 showed bilateral ulnar neuropathy which seemed right because I had intense tingling down both arms, ending in the last two fingers. It felt like I had hit my funny bone 24/7.

I've been in physio weekly since June 2011. My physiotherapist felt that it was a problem with my neck. Eventually, in August 2012, I finally had a c-spine MRI which showed moderate foraminal narrowing from C5 to C7, bone spurs at C6-7, mild hypertrophic changes at multiple facet levels and a small, annular tear at either the C6 or C7 (I can't remember which and I don't have the MRI report handy). The chronic pain doctor said that I have the MRI of a 60 year old.

Everything that I do causes my arms to flare up...lifting groceries, riding my bike causes my hands to go numb,  running (I used to run half marathons, now I'm down to 10k runs) causes intense, sharp, shooting pains from my elbows to my hands everytime I have a heel strike, etc. I'm still at physio once weekly and massage. This is becoming very expensive but he does IMS which gives me some brief relief. We had been able to do some very small progressive exercises to try and increase stability and strength but then I had a setback and we had to stop. My PT says that my shoulder blade is not where it is supposed to be and the muscles are consistently tight in the scapular area (right side is worse than left, I'm right handed).

Now I'm having 2 new problems.....it's like a spasticity when I'm laying down...muscle twitches, enough to cause  a limb to move, mostly lower body. It's making sleeping hard. The other...and this is mortifying....urge incontinence....bladder only. I'll be sitting somewhere and all of a sudden, need to urinate intensely. Where I've been in the middle of a meeting and had to rapidly excuse myself. At times, I can't make it to the bathroom without a lot of leaking. I'm scared that it's only a matter of time before I lose complete control of it. I work in a big office and I'm scared to death of this occurring. Are these 2 things related to my medications or foraminal narrowing or just something else that's going wrong in my body?

Should I be continuing with physio or is this it? Is this my new life? Is this as good as it gets because if it is, I'm really disheartened for what the future looks like.
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I am truly sorry for the hardship you are currently experiencing.  I unfortunately am unable to assist you with this situation from an online standpoint regarding physical therapy.  I would only be able to recommend consulting further with your physician to discuss any other interventions.

Best in Health,

JAG
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