Another newbie looking for information, support and encouragement!
I am 59, long-time desk job with lots of computer, phone time, experiencing neck and radiating pain, at times debilitating, weakness in left shoulder and down left arm, for 5+ mos. Pain is aching, or stabbing, depending on position, activity. Seem to drop things more often. Some possible bladder, bowel symptoms, though I have put those down to just getting older.
MRI shows disc osteophyte complex C3-C6. Mild canal and foraminal stenosis, except for C5-C6, where radiologist notes severe left foraminal narrowing.
I assume that it is this is that is putting pressure on the nerve root, causing the pain and weakness through my shoulder, left arm (making left arm functionally fairly disabled - limited range of motion, no golf, swimming, yard work, sleeping on left side, etc, sigh..)? Using NSAIDs for pain, sometimes hydrocodone to be able to sleep at night (worse at night). My sleep is severely affected by the chronic pain.
My question is, with one nerve being impinged due to osteophyte, is surgery the most likely option for relief of pain, regaining function? It seems foraminotomy (?), at least, may be in my future, but do not want to jump to conclusions.
I will see a neurosurgeon in a few days, trying to schedule appt for a 2nd opinion as well, scheduled for epidural injection in a couple of weeks. Below are the results of my MRI - a lot of regular getting-old-rusty-neck-osteoarthritis stuff, but the pinched nerve, left arm pain and disfunction situation is debilitating.
Are there proactive non-surgical things I can do moving forward, to protect my neck from further deterioration? (stretch my neck?) Everything I know to date has been learned from this board - you all are an amazing resource. A few of you, who are so generous in sharing your time, accumulated expertise, and personal experiences have literally become my heroes - you know who you are. Thank you!
FINDINGS: On the sagittal images, there is loss of the normal cervical lordosis. Vertebral bodies remain normal in height. Mild degenerative endplate marrow signal and contour changes are noted at C4-C5, C5-C6, and C6-C7, levels where there is also mild to moderate loss of normal intervertebral disc volume. The craniocervical junction is normal in appearance. The cervical spinal cord is normal in contour and signal intensity.
C2-C3: The disc contour remains normal and the central canal and neural foramina are widely patent.
C3-C4: There is disc osteophyte complex with a superimposed more focal left foraminal disc protrusion. This effaces the left ventral (SF space and in conjunction with facet arthrosis, leads to mild left foraminal narrowing.
C4-C5: Discosteophyte complex effaces the anterior CSF space and leads to mild canal stenosis (mid AP canal diameter of 8 mm). Uncovertebral hypertrophy more than facet arthrosis causes moderate narrowing of both neural foramina, left greater than right.
C5-C6: Disc osteophyte complex effaces the anterior (SF space and leads to mild canal stenosis. Uncovertebral hypertrophy and facet arthrosis contribute to mild right and severe left foraminal narrowing.
C6-C7: Disc osteophyte complex is eccentric to the right and results in mild canal stenosis. Uncovertebral hypertrophy contributes to mild to moderate narrowing of the right neural foramen.
C7-T1: The disc contour is probably normal and the canal and foramina appear patent.
IMPRESSION: Multilevel multifactorial degenerative changes as described above, with moderate C4-C5 and severe C5-C6 left foraminal stenosis.
For anyone that can share their impressions or thoughts, I am extremely grateful. I am used to being very active, and have needed both knees replaced for more than a year (also osteoarthritis). The development of the cervical problems as well leave me feeling pretty "old", but I am determined to regain my functionality and do what it takes to prevent further damage.
Bless you all!