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    Degenerative Spondylosis

    For those of you who might remember, I have been seeing a chiropractor for neck pain. Last Saturday, I got a cervical series of x-rays taken on my neck and got the following report back from the radiologist:

    "5 images of the cervical spine demonstrate straghteninig with loss of the cervical lordosis [Ed. Meaning, the natural curve supposed to be in my neck isn't there]. This often reflects muscle spasm. There is slight spurring at the C4-5 level from the posterior margins of the adjacent vertebral bodies and sligiht narrowing of the C5-6 disc space. The spurring at the C4-5 level does extend into the neural foramina on the right slightly [Ed. This means that bone has grown in my spine along the openings where nerves/arteries/veins come out].

    Impression: DEGENERATIVE SPONDYLOSIS"

    My chiro says I don't actually have that condition, but there are features of it that are present. For example:

    http://www.spineuniverse.com/display...ticle1440.html

    Cervical Spine and Spondylosis
    The complexity of the cervical anatomy and its wide range of motion make this spinal segment susceptible to disorders associated with degenerative change. Neck pain from spondylosis is common. The pain may spread (radiate) into the shoulder or down the arm. When a bone spur (osteophyte) causes nerve root compression, extremity (e.g. arm) weakness may result. In rare cases, bone spurs that form at the front of the cervical spine, may cause difficult swallowing (dysphagia).


    Basically, my neck pain has been caused by this condition. Portions of my spine are developing bone spurs in response to repeated trauma in order to protect those parts of the body against further damage, and those spurs are affecting my muscles and nerves in those regions. While there is no definite origin of the issue, my chiropractor has said that my boxing training is definitely one factor involved in my condition. He says that if I don't take care of the problem now, in my 30's or 40's, it will be so serious that I won't be able to train MA any more.

    In the meantime, my chiro has set me up with physical training lessons to help strengthen those regions and help develop flexibility. He's advised me to use an inversion chair to help uncompress my spine and give my spinal discs a chance to expand and my spine itself an opportunity to assume its natural shape while not under a weight-bearing load. I also recently bought a foam roller that's been helpful for working some of kinks out of my body, and that's been recommended.

    I have not been advised by my chiro or my trainer to stop training MA (though I haven't been training much because of research I've been doing), but the prospect of not being able to do MA ever again has freaked me out some.

    Any advice or perspective would be helpful. Most of my day consists of sitting down, but I do have a lunch break and time after work to do rehab work (the foam roller I bought helps with this). Any product recommendations for a chair accessory to help my spine would help.

    #2
    Steve. I have a C4-5 disc problem too. let's take a look at the read (I hope this was done by an actual radiologist, you have the film done at the hospital right? Not at the chiro's office)

    "5 images of the cervical spine demonstrate straghteninig with loss of the cervical lordosis [Ed. Meaning, the natural curve supposed to be in my neck isn't there]. This often reflects muscle spasm. There is slight spurring at the C4-5 level from the posterior margins of the adjacent vertebral bodies and sligiht narrowing of the C5-6 disc space. The spurring at the C4-5 level does extend into the neural foramina on the right slightly [Ed. This means that bone has grown in my spine along the openings where nerves/arteries/veins come out].

    Impression: DEGENERATIVE SPONDYLOSIS"
    Spondylosis is really just arthritis in the spine. It sounds like you have had some disk injury at 2 levels C4-5 & C5-6. Your spurs are posterior spurs, these are the most common. These spurs formed in an attempt by your body to heal itself. What happens is that when a disk bulges, it pushes on the posterior longitudinal ligament. You then have calcification between the ligament and the bone because the body tries to stabilize itself. In order for this degeneration to be visualized, your injury had to of happened probably over 6 months ago.

    Do you have any "radicular pain"? This is pain that radiates down into your arm(s). Numbness or tingling?

    When a disc is injured, you have different gradiations of severity. If the nucleus breaks through the annulus, it's really serious. You would have the above symptoms.

    The loss of lordosis means your muscles are in spasm, this is because the body is stabilizing, you need to try and get the muscles to relax.

    Now, I want to correct you on one thing, where you said:
    The spurring at the C4-5 level does extend into the neural foramina on the right slightly [Ed. This means that bone has grown in my spine along the openings where nerves/arteries/veins come out]
    That's not right. The neural foramina is the "hole" that your spinal cord is in. The read said it shows spurring into the neural foramina on the right. A plain film x-ray can not show soft tissues, you you can not know from this if there is thecal sac involvement. The hole that nerves/veins/arteries travel out of is a different hole. If there was degenerative arthritis in that area, you would see the word "stenosis" Stenosis can be congenital or acquired, as well as accellerated.

    Anyway, don't freak out, but you do have to take care of your neck. Get a cervical pillow if you don't already have one. ProPillow is a good one, and I just got a new one over the weekend made of "memory foam" that they called a "contour Pillow" at Walmart, and I like it. You need to go to a neurologist to get checked if you have the numbness and tingling, and I suggest you stop with the Chiro if that is the case. You need to get on anti-inflamatories and maybe some muscle relaxants and pain killers for a little while, until you can rehab your neck. I take glucoseaminesulfate. Avoid rotating your neck, don't twist it, you can move it in circles gently, but you should try and restict your stretching to front and back.

    Get a hand towel, fill it with rice and sew it up in a tube. You can throw this in the microwave for 1 minute and it makes a nice cheap hot pack.
    “We are surrounded by warships and don’t have time to talk. Please pray for us.” — One Somali Pirate.

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      #3
      As I said in the first paragraph, the report was the one by a radiologist. The clinic I went to specializes exclusively in medical imaging, and was recommended to me by my chiro (who hasn't seen the x-rays yet, but will tell me if he thinks there's anything else worth adding to the diagnosis).

      I don't have any numbness or tingling or pain outside of the area to the left and right of my neck near where it junctures with my shoulders, and somewhat dorsally along that point.

      I actually have a regular memory foam pillow (4lb density) and memory foam mattress topper, but I'll look into that. I'm also looking into portable lumbar supports for my office and car seats (since literally, almost every waking hour of mine involves sitting). I'm already on a glucosamine/chondroitin/MSM combination certified by consumerlabs.com as being a reputable brand and having the reported amount of substance in the pills. I don't have any muscle relaxants, but I do have plenty of Advil. I also have a reusable hot pack plus a velcro holder for it to go in.

      I'll definitely look into cervical pillows. Thanks, Mantis. My chiro is willing to write prescriptions for these items so that I can use my FSA account to pay for them.

      -EDIT-

      Wait a second, is this what a cervical pillow is?

      http://www.abed.com/pillows_foam.html



      I have those already, if that's the case.
      Last edited by Judah Maccabee; 3/14/2006 11:44pm, .

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        #4
        I'm glad to hear that you don't have any radiating pain, that means that you probably do not have any nerve root involvement. The next test you could have is an MRI, but since you don't have the symptoms, it might be a waste of money. That test cost over 1000 usually, it would show the soft tissue and extent of the problem.

        It sounds like you are doing everything you need to be doing so far. Posture is very important, and you do want to stop the spasm, because that's just going to make things worse IMO.
        “We are surrounded by warships and don’t have time to talk. Please pray for us.” — One Somali Pirate.

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          #5
          I figure that after a period of time (a month or two), if my symptoms aren't getting better, consulting an osteopath (D.O.) or orthopedist and getting an MRI would probably be the next step.

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            #6
            You may have to see one of those guys to get good anti-inflamatories and muscle relaxers.
            “We are surrounded by warships and don’t have time to talk. Please pray for us.” — One Somali Pirate.

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              #7
              When I first read the name of this thread I thought it might've been another name for a nerve condition my dad had. His was called Spondolitis Torticolis (sp?). His condition meant that his head would turn by itself - in his case to the left and down. His was pretty bad, but some people with the condition have their head go up which would be hell.

              Anyway, i've got some neck issues myself - I have an S curve in my neck which means it's really stiff a lot of the time and chiro hasn't seemed to fix it as yet alas.

              Hope you get your issue sorted out as neck problems really suck.
              Wheels within wheels in a spiral array...

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                #8
                Wow, let's share...

                I recently went to the docs with increasing numbness, tingling and pain in my arms that stretched down to my little fingers.

                Doc took an x ray and determined that two of my vertebrae had compressed slightly and trapped a nerve or something (i dont know, I dont speak bloody Japanese.)

                Anyway, good news is im getting the best therapy ive ever had and I feel like I have a new pair of arms... (you know the way you get used to a persistent pain, but then when it goes away, it feels awesome? I realised my arms had been hurting for 2 years...)

                Anyway I have traction therapy for my neck, where I sit in a chair and a device pulls my head up gently, and at the same time, electrical pads stimulate my shoulders and back muscles. Then I have laser therapy, followed by this weird gun that vibrates wherever you press it.

                Incredibly it cleared up about 90% of my pain in one or two sessions.

                If you can get hold of them, use shippe... I dont know what they are in English... cold, sticky pads that leak some kind of menthol-feeling stuff into your body and relax your muscles and nerves.

                Hope you get better mate, look after yourself, you've only got one spine! (Unless you are the predator, then you have loads of spines. Clipped onto your belt.)
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                  #9
                  Originally posted by Mr_Mantis
                  ProPillow is a good one, and I just got a new one over the weekend made of "memory foam" that they called a "contour Pillow" at Walmart, and I like it.
                  Now that I've had the Walmart "Spa Sensations Memory Foam Contour Pillow" I have to revise my thoughts on it.

                  It sucks.

                  My neck and upper back have been killing me for weeks and I'm blaming it on the pillow. I can't sleep on my back with it at all. It pushes my head up too far. It's only good for lying on the side.

                  I ordered a Pro pillow today on the net. I can't wait for it to get here, and I hope they still make them like they used to. I'll let you know.

                  Edit: I got it at Target, not Walmart.
                  Last edited by Mr. Mantis; 4/09/2006 10:25pm, .
                  “We are surrounded by warships and don’t have time to talk. Please pray for us.” — One Somali Pirate.

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                    #10
                    I just got a prescription for a generic version of Flexeril 5mg(muscle relaxant) and Diclonefec Sodium (a prescription NSAID).

                    I'll report on how that stuff works as well.

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                      #11
                      Flexeril makes me pass out, lose all bodily functions, etc. I don't like it, have to plan on vegetating if I take it.
                      “We are surrounded by warships and don’t have time to talk. Please pray for us.” — One Somali Pirate.

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                        #12
                        It knocked me pretty hard the first few days.

                        I seem to have adjusted to the drowsiness ok, though.

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                          #13
                          My sister, who lives with me has ankylotic spondylitis. She went fro 5 foot 2 to 4 foot 9.

                          I don't wish that on anyone.
                          Originally posted by Sifu Rudy Abel
                          "Just what makes a pure grappler think he can survive with an experienced striker. Especially if that striker isn't following any particular rule set and is well aware of what the grapplers strategies are".

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                            #14
                            Just for the record, five weeks ago I was diagnosed with a cervical disk protrusion of the 3-4 vertebrae. I posted about it here
                            Martial Arts and Philosophy: Beating and Nothingness
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                              #15
                              Originally posted by DAYoung
                              Interestingly, I have not been prescribed anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxants, or pain killers.
                              Hmmm. Strange. I'd expect your doctor to at least suggest it in the treatment plan. The meds help.

                              Anyway, for anti-inflamatories, I like Daypro. I think it's one of the safest, even though, I don't think any anti-inflamatory is good to take over long periods of time. For muscle relaxers, I like Skelaxin. It doesn't wipe me out like the Flexeril.
                              “We are surrounded by warships and don’t have time to talk. Please pray for us.” — One Somali Pirate.

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