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Thread: Friend needs help with spinal problems

  1. #1
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    Friend needs help with spinal problems

    I have a friend with the following description below and am trying to find information to help him.

    44 yrs old married male, excellent health, physically fit. Professor. L-handed. No family history of osteoarthritis or other degenerative musculoskeletal disorders.

    Onset in Fall 99 of severe radiculopathy, pain extending from L cervical region to L fingertips, primarily ring and small fingers. Occasional cephalgia (1-2x/mo). X-rays showed some deterioration of intervertebral discs, c4-5 and c6-7. Symptoms recur, usually after using L arm.
    Fall 2003-symptoms worsened to include R arm (worse on L arm), pain in upper thoracic region, numbness and tingling in upper thoracic region. Nerve conduction study found some slowing on L side, some on R (but little).
    Summer 2003-loss of much sensation in L thumb and forefinger and some in other L fingers. Pain in L arm and L shoulder, hard to move.
    Fall 2004-Pain continues (2-4 on a 10 pt scale). Had an MRI.

    Patient has not seen a surgeon yet. He is doing NSAID, ice, rest, PT exercises, TENS (not that helpful), and glucosamine supplement (just started).

    Had MRI of the cervical spine.
    1)At C6-7, there is an annular tear and a moderately large broad-based left paracentral to parasagittal disc protusion extending into the left lateral recess and proximal neural foramen with resulting paracentral and left lateral recess stenosis and marked left neural foraminal stenosis particularly pertaining to the proximal portion of the foramen.
    2)At C4-5 and C5-6, there are small annular disc bulges and mild posterior osseous ridging without frank central canal stenosis. There is moderate right neural foraminal stenosis at C4-5 and mild right neural foraminal narrowing at C5-6.
    3)At C3-4, there is a small central annular tear and disc protrusion without frank central canal or neural foraminal stenosis.
    4)Levoscoliosis and slight reversal of the normal cervical lordosis.

    Hopefully someone here can help me with these questions:
    1)How bad is his condition?
    2)What is your diagnosis and treatment?
    3)What other options are there, and the risks and benefits?
    4)Should he consider surgery, and if so, what kind? If he defers surgery, what are the risks in the future?

    Thanks,
    JYang

  2. #2
    I would urge your friend to see a neurosurgeon immediately. Who ordered the MRI? Why is he not getting medical treatment? It sounds like he has a very significant ruptured disc that is compressing spinal roots or possibly even the spinal cord. The longer this compression continues, the less likely he will improve after decompression surgery.

    No one can make a diagnosis on the internet, and as a nurse I cannot diagnosis medical problems, but this would be my advice. I hope that Dr. Young will also give some advice here.

    (KLD)

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