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Possible Cervical Stenosis, what should I do to prevent it from getting worse?

hazyhhazy Posts: 3
edited 01/10/2019 - 6:24 PM in Neck Pain: Cervical

My question is that I most likely have Cervical Stenosis (awaiting
MRI but it makes a lot of sense), this is all brand new and scary to me, and so
what would you have like to have known when you first got the diagnosis that
would have benefited you at the most starting out with treatment and questions
for the Doctors?



I am 33 year old man (34 next month) who is pretty active; I
go the gym several times a week and I’m in decent shape.


My Timeline:

I sit at a desk all M-F 9-5 and over a year ago; near the
end of the day I would get this small burning sensation in the top of my spine.
I didn’t think much of it as soon as I got I would get up and leave for the day
and it was gone. I would get this every couple of weeks and it never seemed
like a big deal (stupid now I know).

About 6 months ago, the trap muscle on my right side
starting to become swollen. For months, I started to massage and stretch it
myself to no avail.

About 2 Months ago, I set up an appointment with my doctor
but he was away on vacation so I met with his physician's assistant. She prescribed
ibuprofen and icing for my shoulder and set up a follow-up appointment with my
doctor in January. The icing and ibuprofen didn’t do much.

Last Thursday, I met with my doctor who made me get an X-ray.

I worked out with a new personal trainer who I spoke to
about my shoulder injury and he did a movement assessment. He noticed that my
ears are about an inch too far away from my shoulders and he thought that might
be causing my shoulder problem. He gave me a program and I worked out pretty
hard on Monday and Tuesday.

Monday, I had minor pain in my shoulders, first time in a
while (I had none over Christmas).

Tuesday morning, the doctor called me to say I have possible
narrowing of the neck discs and we setup an MRI for next Tuesday and PT is
scheduled for Jan 24th. I read up what that was and I was petrified.
I instantly figured I needed to fix my posture but later in the day the pain in
the top of my spine came back. I went home and iced/heated it and it went away.
But I started to feel tingling in my right hand (I actually had noticed this
before but it was so minor I ignored it).

Wednesday, I figured that my bad posture was causing the
narrowing of my discs so I spent the day pushing my head back so it is more in
line with my shoulders. The pain yesterday became intense, so bad I had to go
home and lie and the floor heating and icing my spine, pain went away pretty
quickly. Last night I had tingling, in both arms, both legs and even my
testicles. I’m absolutely petrified I did something yesterday that has done permanent
damage and I feel sick over it. I’m hoping it’s just a flare up from my


So today I have tingling in my both arms, both legs and my
testicles, very little pain though. I’m working from home alternating sitting
at my desk for 30 mins and lying on the floor for 30 mins. Last week, I was
mostly fine and didn’t even have neck pain, this week it feels like my life has
changed forever.


From what I read, cervical issues don’t cause tingling
anywhere other than the arms, correct? I getting a full spine MRI Tuesday which
should catch anything else, right? I’m hoping it’s just anxiety that is causing

The pain has gotten worse this week but it’s treatable. The tingling
has gotten much worse or I have just really noticed it but my any measure its
worse today. How much of this is reversible long term without surgery?


Any general advice that would be beneficial at the start as I’m
struggling right now to cope with the diagnosis?

Thanks in advance!

Edited by Liz Spine-health moderator To remove link



  • nutcase007nnutcase007 United StatesPosts: 918
    hazy - It is good that you are getting medical evaluations and diagnostic work.  Please do not panic.  By focusing on your pain, it will only exasperate your pain.  From my own experience, making sudden changes in behavior often confuses the medical evaluation by any spine specialist.  What is done is past history.     
    Be forthcoming with your history with any spine specialist and let them do their work.  I'm not implying that you don't get informed of your condition, but from my own experience, we often over think our case and often convince ourselves of the worst possible case.  I not implying that you don't try icing or heat while waiting for tests or any evaluation. 
    As long as you still have control of your arms, legs and basic body functions, you are likely not going to be considered an emergency.  I hate to say that, but that is reality.  If you do start losing control of body functions, then you should get some urgent care or ER evaluation. I've been there, done that of all the items I've just cautioned you about. 
    I know it is a lot to absorb in your emotions right now.  Most of us on this web site have panicked with our first neurological pain.  We are here to support you and please continue to update us as you go though the diagnostic phase.
  • dilauroddilauro ConnecticutPosts: 12,099
    edited 07/19/2019 - 1:55 PM

    As nutcase007 implied, try not to self diagnose.   You will only get  yourself more worked up. It does sound like you have gotten yourself thinking too much of what it could be .  Dont jump the gun and start thinking about surgery and what that could do.  Let the medical professionals take all the diagnostic tests and make their formal diagnosis from there.

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  • Thanks guys.

    My anxiety is getting the best of me and im definitely overthinking things. I'm not going to change my behavior and just lie down and ice/heat my neck when in pain till i know more. 

  • dilauroddilauro ConnecticutPosts: 12,099
    edited 06/19/2019 - 3:00 PM

    Thats great.  Yes, until you get your formal diagnosis, just take it a bit more cautious.  

  • sounds like many of us here, but yes, anxiety can increase a lot if minding the symptoms in an extreme manner. I know it is scary. sighs...we all have gone through all of these things....I have something similar...have not even started a new PT since I have not followed up with the pain management doctor.

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  • Got the MRI pushed up and had it last night. Presume I’ll get the results on Monday.

    But the pain is becoming more frequent and the symptoms are getting worse. My right shoulder has been swollen since Thursday.

    Last night was the first night I had to get up several times in the night to apply an ice pack so I could sleep. But the scariest part is I’m waking up several times and each time my left hand is completely numb, this happened once in the last couple of nights but several times last night.

    Should I consider going to the ER?

  • Just noticed my X-ray results from last Thursday in the mail. I have mild neural foraminal narrowing at right C4-C5 and C5-C6.

    This is the first time I’ve seen these results. If I knew this I wouldn’t have panicked so much. I’m angry now about the lack of communication for my doctor where I was left to my own devices to panic and self diagnose.

    Fingers crossed I didn’t make it any worse.

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