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Cervical arthritis

Catrin2012-01-05 19:22:25 +0000 #1
Oh man, I am not happy about this, but you know, that is life. Due to my recent injury my doctor ordered an x-ray, and thankfully found no sign of fractures in my neck (yayyyy!) They did, however, find moderate arthritis (which he called degenerative disc disease, or is that something else?), which might well explain why my neck strain is taking so long to heal. They also want to do a bone density test as there were apparently signs of that problem in the x-ray as well.

They strongly want to do an MRI to make certain that there aren't other issues, they seem concerned that some of my pain is nerve...which means that I should get the MRI...well, the hospital will simply have to take payments.

I just can't get my mom out of my mind. She has terrible osteoarthritis in many parts of her body, but it is worse in her cervical spine...Hopefully I won't really take after her in this department
goldfinch2012-01-05 19:27:38 +0000 #2
I have cervical spinal stenosis which is the narrowing of the spinal column that causes pressure on the spinal cord, or narrowing of the openings where spinal nerves leave the spinal column. Mine is caused by arthritis. It caused three things--pain in the neck and shoulders when riding long distances on my bike, numb fingers in my left hand, and a weak left arm. I pursued physical therapy to strengthen my upper body to help make up for the fact that I have a bad neck. The exercises have helped a lot and I can't ever back off of them or I have a problem.

I was told that I probably have 5 years of upright bike riding left. And I may have to ride more and more upright as time goes on. This is one reason I jumped on buying my Madone this year, when I was going to wait until spring. I don't want to lose winter riding in Texas this year.

My only advice is that if PT is recommended do it and do the exercises religiously. What a difference it has made for me. I've read that exercise is the best thing for arthritis and keeping it up is vital.
Catrin2012-01-05 20:03:49 +0000 #3

Originally Posted by goldfinch


My only advice is that if PT is recommended do it and do the exercises religiously. What a difference it has made for me. I've read that exercise is the best thing for arthritis and keeping it up is vital.

Thankfully I've become accustomed to regular and rather intense strength training. I am going to have to let my trainer go soon though, at least for a time

He is going to help me develop a couple of workouts to help me until I can, hopefully, hire him again. His experience and knowledge is amazing, and he is great with baby boomers, athletes or not.

Thankfully my riding position is already quite upright outside of the mountain bike, and it isn't too bad there. I understand the very best we can do with arthritis of any kind is to strengthen the supporting muscles and joints.

My MRI is Thursday, and I have to get a bone density exam as well. My doctor seems concerned that there might be some disc problem even though I don't seem to have the traditional arm issues...and while I really can't afford the co-pay for the MRI it seems prudent to make certain. They will simply have to take payments

At least we will have the benefit of knowing exactly what is going on. I know there is SOME nerve impingement, but that has been there for years...
indysteel2012-01-05 20:32:30 +0000 #4
Catrin, I sure hope that the MRI doesn't reveal any serious issues related to Degenerative Disc Disease. I think it's important to note--perhaps with the hope of allaying some of your fears--that most people develop some degree of degeneration in their spine as they age. It doesn't necessarily lead to significant problems.

This: might provide some helpful information. Of course, I'm not trying to dismiss your fears; only trying to keep them in perspective for the time being. Easier said than done, I know. I remember how upset I was when I heard the word arthritis with respect to my hip. Hang in there. Keep us posted as to the MRI and BD scan.
Catrin2012-01-05 21:17:55 +0000 #5
Indy - thanks for the link. Interestingly enough most of what I've found on the internet is in reference to the lower back, not the neck - but of course, the spine is the spine. That is likely more common.

I am just talking myself out of a funk related to this - at least they said "moderate" osteoarthritis rather than "advanced". They have also called in an anti-inflammatory into my pharmacy so hopefully that will help the neck strain as well. At least the MRI will show if I have true whiplash (damaged ligament) or just a pretty strong neck strain involving muscles only.
Catrin2012-01-05 20:12:31 +0000 #6
MRI in the morning, I reluctantly agreed to it. As active and stubborn as I am, I figured we had better figure out if I've any nerve problems (my doctor is a bit concerned about this) in my neck. The cost of the MRI is better than finding out the hard way... At least there isn't a co-pay for the bone density test.

There is still swelling on the sides of my throat and some muscle spasms, but the neck strain is starting to feel a bit better. Then again, I started taking muscle relaxers 4 days ago...but I choose to believe my neck is calming down...but I won't stop the drugs just yet

I still have the goal of mountain biking before the snow flies...hopefully we will have a LATE snow this year
Roadtrip2012-01-05 20:56:17 +0000 #7
Thinking of you Cat.

Catrin2012-01-05 20:36:57 +0000 #8
I got the call today from my doctor's office on the results of the MRI for my cervical spine....

degenerated disks (C5, C6)

bulging disk

bony protrusion pressing on a nerve

The word "surgery" was suggested...but apparently there is an injection therapy that might work to shrink the protrusion (how would that work?) Obviously there is much to be considered, and I see my doctor next Wed morning.

They found other things as well, but my brain pretty much had shut down by that point. No wonder my neck has been bothering me in recent months, and here I thought it was stress



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