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Neck pain, tingling arm, weakness. MRI found disc osteophyte complex. What does this mean?

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Hi, I am 39 years old and have had neck pain for the past few weeks with tingling down my arm and a weakness in my left arm. On MRI they found disc ostephyte complex at C4/5 to C6/7. At C5/6 level abut the right and left traversing nerve root central canal stenosis at C5/6. What does this all mean and how may it be treated?
Posted Sat, 14 Apr 2012 in Brain and Spine
Answered by Dr. Geeta Sundar 27 minutes later

Thanks for the query.

The MRI findings suggest cervical spondylitis. The changes occur either as a part of aging or due to repeated stress on the neck leading to
- Bony outgrowths in the spine that press on the nerves;
- Thinning of the cushion (disc) between the vertebral bones;
- Prolapse or pushing out of this disc
These changes can lead to pressure on nerves and even the spinal cord that runs between the vertebrae.

I can relate your symptoms of pain, tingling and weakness to cervical spondylitis.

Treatment is by immobilisation with a custom fitted collar and drugs to reduce inflammation in the initial stages along with traction. Some other methods of relieving pain like XXXXXXX wave diathermy may be tried. And in cases that does not improve the symptoms, surgery in the form of microlumbar discectomy/endoscopic spinal surgery to relieve pressure is entailed. Lately artificial discs are being used to replace the damaged ones.

Surgery is performed only if there is beginning of paralysis or 6 months of non-surgical treatment does not help.

You seem to have had a surgery for lumbar spondylitis and right knee replacement too. I think you need to go on a supervised exercise program and check your calcium, vitamin-D and bone density status too. A competent orthopedician would be able to streamline the tests and guide you with appropriate treatment to you.

Hope this satisfactorily answers your query. Please accept this answer if you do not have any further queries. Should you have any do get back to me, I will be glad to guide you further.

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