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Pain at the skull base, spasms, degenerative disc disease, central canal stenosis. Treatment ?

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Practicing since : 1980
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Been having pain at base of scull which is sharp and feels like spasms. It's intense. I have an MRI from 2005 which says i have moderate degenerative disc disease predominately at C5-C6, where there is a diffuse posterior disc osteophyte, which results in mild central canal stenosis and a moderate left neural foraminal narrowing with questionable impression on the exiting left C6 nerve root. Also, mild to moderate degen disc disease at C4-C5 and C6-C7 result in borderline cetnral canal stenosis. Degenerative changes scattered throughout the thoracic and at L5-S1 level with no central canal or neural foraminal narrowing. Back in 2005, a neurosurgeon told me I'd eventually have to have surgery to remove some bone in my neck and that he could see effects of nerve pressure on fingers of my right hand. Does this new type of sharp pain mean the nerve is more affected and I'm heading for surgery????
Tue, 22 May 2012 in Brain and Spine
Answered by Dr. Rajinder Bajoria 54 minutes later

     As your MRI report is six years old ,certain degenerative changes of disc have increased and osteophytes may have also increased in size .As the time passes these changes will go on increasing .So compression of nerve roots leading to pain ,tingling sensation and numbness may appear in the area supplied by that particular nerve. First of all you must get new MRI done to compare it with previous report & extent of damage.If damage /degeneration is more than previous one ,you need surgical intervention to gt you pain is increasing it is giving an indication that you might need surgery.

Hope I have answered your query, I will be available to answer your follow up queries.
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Follow-up: Pain at the skull base, spasms, degenerative disc disease, central canal stenosis. Treatment ? 9 hours later
I"m going to get x-rays this coming week. Will they show anything, or must it be an MRI? Also, are there any options for pain relief other than surgery.

I'm assuming the surgery is very risky and a long period of recovery. Is that correct? Please give me any details you can.

What would the nerves mentioned in the MRI affect?

Answered by Dr. Rajinder Bajoria 13 minutes later

I feel X-ray is not going to help at all, MRI is must in your case . Final line of management depends upon the MRI report. As far as my opinion goes in such cases surgery is the best choice as it not only relieves of sign & symptoms but also improves the quality of life you live. Your fear about surgery is understandable but surgeries have developed a lot way to help the person lead better life. Every surgery has some side effects & complications, as benefit out weigh side effects & complication so surgery is accepted. MRI will help in site of compression & possible nerve involved.

If you are looking for temporary help for pain / alternative to surgery, your doctor gives you ample pain medications, advised complete bed rest and refer to Physical and Rehabilitation Specialist for exercises.

Hope I have answered your question well to your satisfaction. Wish you speedy complete recovery at the earliest.
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