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Neck pain radiating to shoulders. Diagnosed with bursitis. MRI scan suggests spondylotic change. What could it be?

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Orthopaedic Surgeon
Practicing since : 1994
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Hello: My name is XXXXXXX Spasiano. I have been suffering terribly with neck pain and pain radiating into my bilateral shoulders with pain running down my left arm causing , I havenumbness and tingling in my left hand. At times I have this twisting feeling encompasing my entire left arm. I was diagnosed with bursitis by my doctor's associate roughly 6 weeks ago and was sent for a steroid injection (which hasn't helped). Back in 2009 I was sent for a regular x-ray of my cervical spine which showed a reversal in the cervical lordosis and considerable disc space narrowing at C5-6 and C6-7 with bony proliferation. There was also mild anterolisthesis of the C4 relative to C5 with some associated fact arthrosis. In XXXXXXX 2011 I was sent for an MRI of my cervical spine which showed mild and moderate spondylotic changes of the C4-5 levels, the C5-6 levels, and the C6-7 levels respectively. Now, I'm having the worse pain I've ever had! No one that I've seen for this has sent me for an x-ray or other study to find out what the heck is going on! I'm a 63-year old grandmother who is being physically worn down because of this excruciating pain! Please tell me what I can do to feel better? Thank you! I'm sorry this is such a long query!

Posted Sun, 21 Apr 2013 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 51 minutes later
Thanks for posting your query.
The symptoms you are having are suggestive of cervical spondylosis. These symptoms are suggestive of a vertebral level due to degenerative disc changes. It happens primarily due to degenerative changes secondary to age in the cervical spine.
MRI scan will help in the diagnosis and detect the extent of nerve root compression you are having.

Treatment includes
1. Use of cervical collar helps in immobilisation and brings relief.
2. Medical drugs like pain killers - acetaminophen/ibuprofen and muscle relaxants might be helpful.
3. Methylcobalamin supplements are also recommended for nerve compression symptoms.
4. Cervical isometric exercises are beneficial to maintain the strength of the neck muscles. Neck and upper back stretching exercises, as well as light aerobic activities, also are recommended under the guidance of a physical therapist.
5. Hot fomentation helps in relieving acute symptoms.
6. You can avoid using a pillow.

As you try these measures, I also encourage you to consult an orthopedician for both evaluation and to avail stronger prescription medications (if over the counter medications are not helpful).
I hope this answers your query.
In case you have additional questions or doubts, you can forward them to me, and I shall be glad to help you out.
Please accept my answer in case you do not have further queries.
Wishing you good health.
Dr. Praveen Tayal.
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