Cervical stenosis: Leg weakness

Posted by candrgonzalez @candrgonzalez, Aug 25, 2019

Hi. I’m 59 years old female with chronic neck pain. I have been diagnosed with cervical stenosis and a bulging disc. I am very concerned because I get leg weakness and loose my balance. Has anyone have this leg problem? I just started seeing a pain management Doctor and he said he is going to treat me with some neck injections.

@candrgonzalez

Hi Jen. Do you have balance problems due to cervical stenosis? Do you do okay sometimes with your balance? or is your balance always off? Thank you.

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@candrgonzalez I do have balance problems, not all the time, it comes and goes. No doctor has ever said it was because of cervical stenosis. My husbands balance is much worse than mine, he has it nearly all the time. Sounds like we need to question our Doctor. Thank you.

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Hi. The Pain Management I went to see says that my legs problem is from Cervical Stenosis but I am not sure.

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@candrgonzalez

Hi. The Pain Management I went to see says that my legs problem is from Cervical Stenosis but I am not sure.

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@candrgonzalez You owe in to yourself to get an evaluation from a spine specialist and MRI imaging that shows the current condition of your spine. Doubt can be a very loud voice inside your head and fear is right there with it, but don't let them decide your future because they don't know what they are doing. I was pretty scared when I saw the first spine surgeon and saw my imaging and I knew then that I would need surgery at some point even though he said it didn't look that bad. I also knew how my symptoms related to this because I paid attention as it all developed over a few years and it continued to get worse until I had surgery. It can be shocking to get this kind of news and a spine problem can sneak up on you. With stenosis, if another injury like a whiplash were to happen, you are at a greater risk for injury and paralysis. The pain I had all over my body from spinal cord compression is called funicular pain. There is no diagnostic test or proof that can be done prior to decompression surgery for it, but the evidence is that spinal decompression cured all that pain for me. I knew that would be true for me and it was. A surgeon can't give you a guarantee that their procedure will relieve pain, and the goal is to prevent further damage. I was a patient who was scared of major surgery, but I knew I didn't want a wheelchair in my future along with problems with bowel or bladder control. If that starts to happen, it becomes an emergency situation to try to save your spinal cord function. Your neck is the connection of everything in your body and all that can be damaged from cord compression. Spine surgery did not hurt as much as I though it would, and I chose not to take pain medicine and I could manage just fine. I was careful and rested a lot and was in a neck brace for 3 months by my own choice because I didn't want hardware and foreign materials attached to my spine and it was done with just a bone graft. A lot of surgeons may not offer that choice, but my Mayo surgeon did that for me and I healed beautifully. I did everything I could to prepare myself health wise and emotionally and it all worked and I conquered my fears and changed my life. You will need to advocate for yourself and make educated choices. It is best to take control of this now while you have time to be evaluated and can find out about what your options are, and to chose the doctor you trust instead of who ever is assigned if this becomes an emergency situation. I think your pain management doctor's opinion about your legs is correct.

Here is some literature about another case that talks about leg pain and muscle loss in the arms and shoulders.
http://europepmc.org/articles/PMC3836946

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Just following up on the post by @jenniferhunter. I had some much weakness in my left hand (my dominant hand) that I could not pick up or grasp anything without dropping it. I play the cello and was no longer able to play. I had been seeing Dr. Ahmad Nassr at Mayo-Rochester for lumbar spine issues but he had noticed the cervical stenosis and radiculopathy on an MRI. I had cervical spine surgery at Mayo on April 19, 2019 so I am now four months post-op. The weakness in my left hand has decreased and I am back to playing the Cello. The surgery and recovery were not as painful as I feared. I live in Pennsylvania and flew home a week after my surgery. Dr. Nassr and his team were wonderful and I highly recommend him.

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@bernese53

Just following up on the post by @jenniferhunter. I had some much weakness in my left hand (my dominant hand) that I could not pick up or grasp anything without dropping it. I play the cello and was no longer able to play. I had been seeing Dr. Ahmad Nassr at Mayo-Rochester for lumbar spine issues but he had noticed the cervical stenosis and radiculopathy on an MRI. I had cervical spine surgery at Mayo on April 19, 2019 so I am now four months post-op. The weakness in my left hand has decreased and I am back to playing the Cello. The surgery and recovery were not as painful as I feared. I live in Pennsylvania and flew home a week after my surgery. Dr. Nassr and his team were wonderful and I highly recommend him.

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@bernese53 I'm so happy for you I love music my whole family if musical so I know how important this is for you .I am in Calif. now near my son but lived around Pittsburg all my live . Pa is still home for me

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@lioness

@bernese53 I'm so happy for you I love music my whole family if musical so I know how important this is for you .I am in Calif. now near my son but lived around Pittsburg all my live . Pa is still home for me

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Thank you….I am an amateur musician but playing the cello brings me such joy!

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@bernese53

Just following up on the post by @jenniferhunter. I had some much weakness in my left hand (my dominant hand) that I could not pick up or grasp anything without dropping it. I play the cello and was no longer able to play. I had been seeing Dr. Ahmad Nassr at Mayo-Rochester for lumbar spine issues but he had noticed the cervical stenosis and radiculopathy on an MRI. I had cervical spine surgery at Mayo on April 19, 2019 so I am now four months post-op. The weakness in my left hand has decreased and I am back to playing the Cello. The surgery and recovery were not as painful as I feared. I live in Pennsylvania and flew home a week after my surgery. Dr. Nassr and his team were wonderful and I highly recommend him.

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@bernese53 I'm so glad you can play he cello again! I had a similar problem in that I couldn't hold my arms up or control their movement which I need to do with precise control because I am an artist. When you get what you love doing back from a surgeon who fixed your spine, it's a true gift. I pretty much feel the same as you about Mayo and my experience there. It completely changed my life for the better. It's my happy place and inspires me. It will keep getting better. Playing your cello is good therapy and music heals. Thanks for sharing your story with me. When you are cleared for physical therapy, you might want to try myofascial release to loosen your surgical scar tissue. Here is our discussion with lots of info. I do MFR and it has helped me. I also have thoracic outlet syndrome, and MFR helps that. https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/myofascial-release-therapy-mfr-for-treating-compression-and-pain/

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@jenniferhunter

@bernese53 I'm so glad you can play he cello again! I had a similar problem in that I couldn't hold my arms up or control their movement which I need to do with precise control because I am an artist. When you get what you love doing back from a surgeon who fixed your spine, it's a true gift. I pretty much feel the same as you about Mayo and my experience there. It completely changed my life for the better. It's my happy place and inspires me. It will keep getting better. Playing your cello is good therapy and music heals. Thanks for sharing your story with me. When you are cleared for physical therapy, you might want to try myofascial release to loosen your surgical scar tissue. Here is our discussion with lots of info. I do MFR and it has helped me. I also have thoracic outlet syndrome, and MFR helps that. https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/myofascial-release-therapy-mfr-for-treating-compression-and-pain/

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Thank you for the information about MFR. Mayo is my happy place as well. It has such a calming, peaceful atmosphere.

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@candrgonzalez

Thank you so much for the information. I'm glad your doing well. After reading your information I realized that our symptoms are very similar. I have noticed some loss of muscle and I do get some pretty bad headaches. I also feel like I don't know how to walk. I have not told my Dr about my muscles because I really did not realized it until I read your note. Thank you so much. I'm going to call Mayo ASAP. I hope they take my insurance. Best wishes.

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Hi. Called Mayo in Florida (where I live) and unfortunately they don't take my medical insurance. Had 3 injections on my neck, feeling a little better (about 10%). Hope to improve a little more with each passing day.

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@candrgonzalez Glad your feeling better I'm going in for back injections on the 9th and talk with the Dr. see if there is anything he can do for my fracture. I'm sure each day will be better

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I had decompression and fusion surgery. five years ago at age 75. The unexpected result was that it relieved my leg tingling, problems walking, and balance issues. Unfortunately the surgery caused injury to a nerve, and now I have pain and tingling in my left hand and arm.

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@sandytoes14

@candrgonzalez I do have balance problems, not all the time, it comes and goes. No doctor has ever said it was because of cervical stenosis. My husbands balance is much worse than mine, he has it nearly all the time. Sounds like we need to question our Doctor. Thank you.

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Hi Jen. As of today my balance problem and pain is better. Maybe the neck injections helped? But now I have an issue with loosing muscle. I started to lose weight and went to see my PCP and Pain Management (lost 7 pounds- I'm very slim so 7 pounds is very noticeable for me) and the Doctors tell me is from loosing muscle because of my back issues (pinched nerve on neck and low back). Have you had muscle problems? I am very concerned about this.

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