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flattening of cervical spinal cord from bone spurs

Spine Health | Last Active: Mar 14 4:31pm | Replies (9)

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Darn, I just lost a draft! I very much appreciate your comments. It is a sad state of affairs when a doctor leaves a patient hanging in not explaining what it says. The use of patient portals can make this worse but to me the benefits of those outweigh the drawbacks.

When my MRI's have shown cord compression by diameter, I have looked at the normals only to fall back and feel it was somewhat useless as everyone is so variable. What mattered was the radiologist saying it was abnormal for me. In the MRI that my comment came from, there was a entire paragraph of what was going on. Basically, one disc "fell" under the one above it. I had a sudden upshot of pain when I traveled. I had been warned by the infectious disease doctor that those symptoms could mean the MRSA came back. When I returned home I went to the ER at my primary's recommendation. No, I wasn't showing MRSA and a cervical x-ray was "normal". But I did contact my surgeon's office to tell them what happened and my surgeon looked at the x-ray and didn't agree with the ER physicians. He ordered that MRI. I so very much wished I could have told that arrogant ER doctor that my pain was legit and he was wrong. I do have after images as that surgery failed to exclude all of my cervical pain and he repeated an MRI in 2023. That radiologist reported a fusion which had never been done, but my surgeon reads his own reports. I have unfused vertebrae sandwiched between fused vertebrae. The artifacts from the hardware make it very difficult to get a clear image. That's something you might want to know. The surgeon either ordered the study done on a specific MRI machine or used a different software protocol or both in order to tone down the artifacts. Despite that, it's possible this is why a radiologist thought he saw fusion hardware where there wasn't any. Even with two courses of physical therapy, I continue with issues in my neck. And you've likely seen that I now I have lumbar issues. I don't think I will be as agreeable to lumbar surgery. When I had my revision ACDF from the MRSA, they also used screws in the back of my neck and that was far more painful than the original frontal surgery. If the before and after MRI's would be helpful for learning I would gladly upload those for you and I have two sets as well-one for each surgery. First was C5-7 and second was for C3/4. I was the unlucky one who inherited my mother's bad arthritis-neither of my sisters have it like I do.

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Replies to "Darn, I just lost a draft! I very much appreciate your comments. It is a sad..."

Thanks for your description. I have seen MRIs that show prior fusions with hardware where there are dark areas, like cast shadows that kind of obscure those levels, and I can understand why it may look confusing when 3/4 is fused, 4/5 is not, and 5/6/7 is fused. If you do want to upload images, you are welcome to do that as long as identifying information is removed (names, birth date, medical facility, etc ) I do understand what you mean by your description, so it's your choice.

My surgeon also told me that cervical operations through the back of the neck are more painful and longer recoveries than a frontal approach. That goes through a lot of muscle that you use to hold your head up.

Not to make excuses for an arrogant doctor, but anyone can make a mistake, and his job is in emergency care is extremely stressful. With emergency visits and patients with extremes of fear and/or pain, that doctor will receive the wrath of patients who are upset and scared. I thanked an ER doctor once when I was there for a breathing problem, and that is what he told me that they rarely get compliments. One of the spine surgeons I consulted was pretty arrogant which I did not appreciate. He also was one of five spine surgeons who missed my correct diagnosis and he wouldn't take time to answer my questions. I did not hire him for the job.

I would be hesitant about a lumbar spine surgery too and recovery from that is difficult because the spine is bearing most of your body weight there, and then there is loss of spine mobility and that can affect normal movement like walking. My surgeon told me the best way NOT to need his services was to maintain core strength to support the spine. I get a great spine and core workout by riding my horse, just at a walk because I have to compensate for the horse's movement and I am moving my back and pelvis like I am walking, but with weight in the stirrups. It makes me really strong and supports my spine from the bottom up, so my neck is better supported and my posture is better.

Good posture that supports the spine is preventing wear and tear that may be caused by bad posture and the uneven pressure that it puts on the spine. Arthritic bone growth in the spine can happen because of extra pressure, so when a disc bulges, it can put more pressure on one side of a vertebrae bone. It's also common that with aging, that the vertebral "endplates" get a bit of a protruding edge on them, and those edges on the endplates may start fusing vertebrae if the disc between them collapses. Discs do loose moisture with age and get thinner and elderly people loose height this way, and also by bending of the spine.

It really does come down to a benefit to risk comparison and the expectation of how things will be different after a lumbar surgery. I'm sure it is a difficult decision to make.