Cervical Spinal Stenosis
I have been having pain in my right shoulder/arm for over a year. I also have been having upper back pain and pain under my left breast/rib area (that pain has been going on for over 5 years). I had a cervical MRI in October 2018 and it shows stenosis, bulging disks, and bone spurs. Here is part of the MRI report that my doctor gave me:
1. C3-4: Posterior marginal osteophytes most pronounced on the RIGHT with mile stenosis RIGHT lateral recess zone. Uncovertebral joint osteophytes on the RIGHT with mile stenosis of the RIGHT foramen.
2. C4-5: Slight posterior annular protrusion and marginal spurs on the LEFT. No significant stenosis.
3. C5-6: Mild posterior annular protrusion and endplate spurring most pronounced in the lateral recess zones LEFT slightly more so than RIGHT mildly narrows the lateral recess zones bilaterally. Central AP diameter of the canal 8.2 mm.
4. c6-7: Disc mildly narrowed with Modic type II signal in the endplates. Mild disc protrusion. Central AP diameter of the canal 8.1 mm.
I was sent to physical therapy and have been going twice a week since October. The shoulder pain is somewhat better and I now have much better range of motion in my shoulder (still can’t really put my hand behind my back). The upper back pain is actually worse and is now radiating into my upper chest/pec area, sometimes on the left and sometimes on the right. That area is even very tender to the touch when I’m having pain. The below left breast/rib pain seems slightly worse as well. It also comes and goes and very often is extremely uncomfortable at night and sometimes have to sleep half sitting up (I’ve been using a bean bag as a pillow to prop myself up.
My doctor didn’t seem very concerned about the MRI results and said I should get good relief from PT. Here’s my issue – I’m going on 4 months of PT and not seeing as much relief as I’d hoped and today I was doing some “Googling” about stenosis and read that normal AP diameter should be approximately 17 mm and anything below 10 mm is called “absolute stenosis” – mine is 8.1 mm and 8.2 mm. That seems like more than “nothing”.
Should I see someone else about this issue? I don’t want to jump right to seeing a surgeon, but I’m not sure who I should see – or should I just go back to my PCP and ask her these questions?