Spine Cervical

I have spinal stenosis that mostly affects my neck. The doctor says it's just another sign of aging. But what exactly is going on back there? He mentioned degeneration. What's breaking down?

Spinal stenosis is the term used to tell us there is a narrowing of the spinal canal. The spinal canal is a tube-like opening through which the spinal cord goes from the brain down to the bottom of the spine. Usually, there's plenty of room in the spinal canal for the cord.

I was having some numbness in my fingers and dropping things. So I went to see my doctor who diagnosed me with cervical OPLL. Right now, it's mild. But I'm worried it might get worse. Should I have surgery to nip the problem in the bud, so-to-speak?

Cervical OPLL refers to ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament. Ossification means the ligament becomes hardened from bits of bone forming within it. The posterior longitudinal ligament (PLL) is located inside the spinal canal along the back wall of the canal. It runs down the spine from top (cervical spine) to bottom (sacrum). The spinal canal is the round tube formed by the vertebrae where the spinal cord is located.

Timing of Surgery for Patients with Cervical OPLL

Ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL) of the spine is common as we get older. Treatment for this problem remains a hot topic in orthopedics. Should everyone be treated conservatively without surgery? If surgery is done early, will it prevent worse problems from happening later?

I was very relieved to wake up after a neck fusion without any hoarseness or loss of voice. They warned me many times that this could happen. I guess I'm wondering how I lucked out?

Luck may have something to do with it, but certainly, your surgeon's skill and expertise had a large part in the results. Most likely you had an anterior (from the front) fusion. The risk of hoarseness, loss of voice, and dysphagia (difficulty swallowing) are greater with the anterior approach.

I am a newly graduated nurse now working in a large trauma center. The social workers tell me not to believe what patients say during the intake interview. They say that when it comes to car accidents, if it wasn't the patient's fault, they will report much higher pain levels and deny a previous history of neck or back pain. Is there any truth to this that you know of?

The accuracy of health histories after car accidents has long been under suspicion. Ever since a pilot study showed that what patients reported about their past medical history and what the medical records already on file showed were two different stories.

My sister had a neck fusion and now tells me she has weakness and a heavy sensation in her arms. They call the problem myelopathy. Will this ever go away for her?

Myelopathy refers to any problem affecting the spinal cord. this problem may be caused by pressure on the spinal cord after trauma or related to degenerative processes in the spine.

Sometimes myelopathy is a symptom of an unstable cervical spine. Surgery is needed to fuse and restabilize the affected segment. Myelopathy present before surgery is a known risk factor for a greater chance of problems after surgery.

Nationwide Study of Multilevel Cervical Fusion

This is the first nationwide study to look at the results of multilevel cervical spine (neck) fusion comparing an anterior approach to a posterior approach. Anterior refers to fusion from the front of the spine. Posterior is done from behind the spine.

Patient History After Car Accident Doesn't Match Up With Medical Records

An accurate patient history after motor vehicle accidents is important when planning the best and most appropriate treatment. Anyone with a prior history of neck or back pain may need a different approach. Social research confirms that anyone with a psychologic profile, history of alcohol or other drug use, or mental illness will likely need special attention.

I've been getting joint manipulation for a neck problem that developed after I slept in the wrong position for too long. Sometimes it seems like it's helping. Other times I feel better for a few days and then it goes right back out again. What do you recommend for patients like me?

There's plenty of evidence from research that joint manipulation is an effective treatment for positional neck pain. But there is more than one way to perform a thrust manipulation of the involved spine.

My grandmother had a compression in her neck that her doctor said was myelopathy. Why did it affect both her hands and her legs at the same time?

The spine is where the nerves go down throughout your body. At each disc level in the spine, some nerves branch out to reach different parts of the body. The higher up the nerves branch off, the higher part of the body they control.

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