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Neck stiffness. MRI shows anterior enplate spurring, dessicated discs, posterior disc bulges. Suggestions to strengthen back?

My MRI report shows some anterior endplate spurring. They maintain relatively normal height. The discs are desiccated. There is retrolisthesis of C6 on C7. There are posterior disc bulges at the C4, C5, and C6 levels mildly compressing the thecal sac but not the cord. The nerve roots are unremarkable. Impression: Degenerative disc space narrowing with degenerative retrolisthesis of C6 on C7 and small disc bulges at the C4-C5, C5-C6 and C6-C7 levels. I use heat to relieve the pain and it will last a few hours. My doctor would give me an anti-inflammatory drug, but I d like to do it without those kinds of medication if possible. Would keeping my neck at rest with cold packs (or heat ) for a week or two help the healing? (I did that with a heel spur -stayed off my foot for two weeks and used ice and it completely healed my bone spur.) Didn t know if it was better to keep using my neck to prevent stiffness or if I might cause more damage by using it. I do stretch every morning (to be able to function during the day.) Also in the lumbar area my report was : The vertebral bodies mainain normal height. There is grade 1 anterolisthesis of L4 on L5 with midl anterolisthesis of L3 on L4. The conus terminates at T12-L1 and is unremarkable. The disc are desiccated and there is moderate disc space narrowing at the L3-L4 and L4-L5 levels. There is a broad base disc bulge at the L3-L4 level. This with the mild anterolisthesis of L3 on L4 is causing mild spinal stenosis along with some ligamentum flavum hypertrophy . The anterolisthesis of L4 on L5 is causing mild to moderate spinal stenosis along with associated ligamentum flavum hypertrophy. The neural foraminal fat on the left is compromised at the L4-L5 level secondary to the anterolisthesis. What exercises would be recommended and what would be contraindicated? Again, heat has helped and stretching helps immensely. I just need to know what I would need to avoid to prevent a worsening of the degeneration and what I should be doing to strengthen my back. Thanks
Asked On : Mon, 18 Feb 2013
Answers:  1 Views:  488
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Spine Surgeon 's  Response
Welcome to HCM.
You have cervical and lumbar spine problems. These are age related changes in the spine. There always two concern- one local neck /back pain due to disc and facet joint degeneration and arm / leg pain due to nerve pinching. Treatement depends upon your symptoms. We can not reverse the changes or we can not stop the progress however we can definitely delay the progression. I would suggest to continue the neck and back muscle stretching and exercise to strengthen the muscles around your spine. You need to work on your neck / back/ abdominal / gluteal muscles and hamstrings. Consult a physical therapist to strengthen those muscles. Avoid weight lifting as it increases the intradiscal pressure and not good for already damaged discs. Thanks.
Answered: Tue, 19 Feb 2013
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