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Posted in: Spinal stenosis.

(Caution or Comfort?) c5-c6 spinal myelopathy

Started by 127344420972151... on 12/26/2015 12:17am

I just got diagnosed by a neurologist who referred me to a neurosurgeon for immediate surgery. I have trouble walking, but am pain free. My declining walking and balance abilities have been so gradual that I do not feel the sense of urgency that my neurologist seems to have. Reading other people's posts makes me feel so fortunate not to have any pain. The downside to putting off surgery might be more neurological damage, but maybe risking life in a wheelchair is better than a future (a few weeks of several years) life of pain management. Does anyone think that I should buck my neurologist's advice and just watch the thing drag out without surgery?

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4 Responses


Caution...! I just went through this and it's not an easy decision. a bit about me. 65 yr old widow, I live alone on 5 acres, raise and show 2 breed of dogs and have a boarding kennel and a cattery, also very independent. Two of my children don't live close by, but my son is 30 min. away. I worked as a grocery clerk for over 30 yrs, started in the late 60's. I started having low back and neck problems in 1990, but kept on working. I really don't like going to the doctor and certainly didn't want surgery. I have been seeing pain mgmt. Drs. since 2011. Full spine MRI in 2012, showed lots of spurs and narrowing but not surgical in my eyes yet. I have had about every injection, cold fusion( for s1/s2 joints), and rhyzotomy "s in my neck and lower back,which help. Neck pain along with right shoulder muscle pain over the last three years had become unbearable at times. Having fibromyalgia didn't help either. Kept meds down to minimal, because they all make a person tired and I have chronic fatigue. No matter what I tried, the shoulder muscle pain would never stop, not with procedures or meds. 6/2015, cervical MRI was done because pain had gotten so severe and lost range of motion. This showed C4 slipped over C5, In 7/2015 I scheduled the next cervical rhyzotomy to be done after going through insurance hoops and when my Dr. could do it for 9/17/2015. Not even 2 months later,9/2015, I woke up thinking I had slept on my right arm wrong, it was pins and needles etc. Symptoms were gradual then got worse rapidly, to the point I thought I had possibly had a stroke and went to my GP who ordered another cervical MRI. My neck and shoulder muscle pain were gone,but I started walking spastic in my right leg, both hands were ice cold all day, (right more than left, I'm right handed), finger tips were like electrical outlets sending surges, whatever I touched felt sharp like glass, right arm I could use, but it felt mechanical. I couldn't feel small objects, brush my hair etc with my right arm. Left arm worked, but left hand was not normal almost as bad as right. Started losing bladder control to an embarrassing point. 9/2015 MRI showed that C4 & C5 had decided to move, bruising and pinching my spinal cord. I saw 2 Dr's. both telling me the same as you have been told. They called it emergent and warned that it was very possible I would end up with no control of bowels or bladder and be in a chair. How did this happen,? I asked?. It could have been a cough or turning over in bed to make them move. Very hard decision!!!, who was going to do my chores, do my errands etc for at least 60 days? No riding in a car for 30 days, no driving for 60 days, no lifting more than 3 lbs for min. 30 days.,then 5 lbs for 30 days. No guarantee even with a successful surgery I would get my strength, my hands and arm or my right leg back to normal or my bladder. I didn't like the odds and felt I was damned if I did and damned if I didn't. The stress of it all was enough to put me over the top. So fearful anything I might do in my daily routine would cause more problems. I wore a soft cervical collar all day to support my neck, but symptoms got so bad with electric shocks, finger tips ice cold and not walking right and then my left leg started having spastic movement; I started wishing I had all the severe pain back instead. I finally decided to have surgery which was done 12/11/15. 2 layer anterior fusion , overnight hospital stay.I have no surgery site pain right now, but have new left shoulder pain, right leg still some what spastic, not as bad fingertip electric shocks or ice cold and bladder is better. My right arm and right hand finger control is worse, to the point I can't brush my hair with my right hand or pick something up with just my thumb and second finger, which is so very discouraging. It can take a year or more to heal the nerves and spinal cord and get the functions back, or they may not come back at all. As of now, there is swelling etc, it's only been 2 wks, I need to be patient, but I have less use of my right hand and arm. I was prepared to stay the same or be better, but not to loose function, I'm right handed.. Though glad that at least this problem won't put me in a chair. I guess no instant fix ! My advise; see at least 2 Dr. ( I went to an orthopedic surgeon and a neurosurgeon) listen to your body, (symptoms can be instant or gradual), ask questions, educate yourself about all the nerves and functions that can be affected, don't wait so long or take chances on making things worse and most importantly keep the faith. For me the decision to have surgery was extremely hard, I wasn't afraid of the surgery,but I wanted to be assured the surgery would put me back as I was, and without pain., so I could continue my life as I knew it, but there is no guarantee. Now it's wait and see. I haven't been able to find any literature about the healing process of the spinal cord and nerves that had been pinched after surgery. I do know that spinal cord bruises don't heal like a body bruise, sure wish they did. I constantly remind myself when I get frustrated that things could be worse and to be thankful. Best of luck with the decision you choose.


Thank you Candy. I hope your journey ends well.



I know I am a month behind this post and for both of you I hope i finds you both better then when you last wrote and that things have begun to look up for you both.

I am a spinal cord injury, L3, 8 back surgeries, degenerative scoliosis...I have been fused in my neck C5- C6-7 and from my T3 to my S1. I am a mess to say the least.

Last week while brushing my hair I was unable to lift my right arm. I felt it was from the torn rotator cuff injury I sustained 18 months ago when I fell and broke my right shouder and now I have been told by my PCM that she believes that I am suffering from C6 myelopathy and that it will heal on its own. That it is an inflamation of the nerve. I have severe stenosis in this region, being that it is also fused and recently saw a spinal surgeon who felt there was nothing clinically he could do for me although I had been complaining of severe neck pain for two years.

I do not believe I am going to get better, I can not afford to lose another limb, having an entirely weak lower body is bad enough, I was just about to have surgery on my shoulder in March.

That being said, I can tell you that nerves regenerate one inch per month after the shock period wears off, that can be anywhere from 6 months to a year. It was a year in my case. I am 54 months post injury and I am still healing from what happened to me, still getting feeling back, but there are always gives and takes for healing. And I will save that miserable story for another time.

I wish you all the best of luck and my prayers are with you. I will continue to hope that whatever is wrong with me, it is not as incurable as they make it seem, I do not believe I will want to live any longer if I have to live like that. I have a wonderful husband but he can't deal with having to care for me any more then he does now. He deserves a life at 48.

I remain.....Dawn_living_life.


Hey. I got the surgery on Wednesday. I still can't walk easily. I am managing pain from surgery with opiates and muscle relaxer. I am hoping to go back to work in a month.