Chances of surgery?

Leksie5000LLeksie5000 Posts: 3
edited 02/26/2020 - 1:09 PM in Spinal Stenosis Forum

I’m 36 with a long history of shoulder pain and more recently, neck pain with radicular symptoms. Tingling down my left side, shooting pain down my left side, numb fingers sometimes, burning sensation in toes sometimes. Sore neck. 

My CT showed a number of spurs. MRI referral (querying C6 was made). Report says there is tight  foranimal narrowing at C5/C6 due to a large spur. “essentially complete effacement of the L foramin at C5/C6 with compression of the existing rootlet”. Did not show other compromises and said canal and R foramen are paten. I feel so young for this. Could it be caused by an injury about  the neck and in others’ experiences are they likely to recommend surgery?



  • memerainboltmemerainbolt IndianaPosts: 4,169

    Welcome Leksie5000 to the Veritas Health Forum!!

     Surgery is a big decision. If it were me, I would get a second opinion.

    While you’re waiting for a reply to your first post, please take a few moments to review the Code of Conduct and FAQ section, located under Forum Tools. There you will find important information about posting in the forum and helpful tips for new members.

    Have you visited the Neck Pain Health Center on Spine-health? It has a comprehensive list of neck pain articles you might find helpful, including Common Causes of Neck PainHome Remedies for Neck Pain and Dizziness, and How to Treat a Stiff Neck.  

    Again, welcome to the Veritas Health Forum.
    Veritas Health Forum Moderator

  • Leksie5000LLeksie5000 Posts: 3
    edited 02/26/2020 - 1:08 PM

    Thanks. They haven’t recommended surgery because I haven’t seen the neurologist yet. I’m wondering if it’s likely. It’s a very large spur.

    I agree surgery is a big decision. I wonder though if removing it and widening the foramen would be better at my young age than a lifetime of this sensation only moderates perhaps by steroids. A bone isn’t going to ungrow itself, right? Does complete effacement mean there is no space in the foramen at all? I made a mistake in my earlier post, not right foraminal narrowing - tight - is that the same as severe?

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  • That's a tough question, unfortunately nobody here is qualified to answer, only your doctor can answer it, I will say that in my experience, doctors usually try all conserative treatments before going to surgery.

    Take care and keep us posted


  • Thanks. I am a person of excellent general health so this is very frustrating. My problem first began 3 years ago when my ex was violent to me and wrenched my head around by my hair. I wonder if the bone spur has grown as the body tries to heal. I’ve done a bit of reading and it talks about things like losing weight and exercise to improve symptoms. I’m a healthy weight and quite fit. I’ve tried physiotherapy for my shoulder pain (shows bursisitis) for a long time. I think the bursitis is secondary and comes from the neck. Hope I can get a way forward soon. 

  • Hello Leksie5000,

    My experience has been the same as Chip, that my docs have tried to avoid surgery, trying conservative measures first.  Some insurance companies in US have protocols that have to be followed.  My experience was that I had to go to a rehabilitation & sports doc first.  He tried medications and I tried chiropractor.  Then, I had MRI showing bone spurs and herniation.  I had to try steroid injections first, that did not work.  That doc actually wanted me to try them again at least twice more, but I would not unless he could give me a reasonable explanation of why it might work.  My symptoms and weakness were getting worse when he referred me to surgeon.  In my case, I also had central canal stenosis in addition to the foraminal compression.  Surgeon recommended ACDF C4 to C7.

    I have some lumbar issues now and went to surgeon with my MRI.  For some of my issues, he said to give conservative measures a solid try (issues stem from an injury 6 weeks ago) before surgery.  However, there is one large bone spur that he is recommending I do a minimally invasive procedure to remove it.

    All of that to say that each of us has very different and unique anatomy with very unique issues.  Also, I learned by getting some 2nd opinions, every spine doc has a different approach to what he thinks needs surgical intervention.  So, your doc will be the best to decide what treatment plan is best.  If that does not sit well with you, go get a second, third or even 4th opinion.

    As for my neck surgery, I did not like that my surgeon said I needed 3 levels fixed.  The top level was not so bad and was only giving me mild symptoms.  I went to surgeon #2 who said he could do a 2-level disc  replacement (which I liked).  I went to surgeon #3 who said (like surgeon #1) that I was not a candidate for disc replacement and I only needed to fix 2 levels at this time.  I did not know what to do.  So, I travelled to another city to meet a surgeon who did research on disc replacements.  He explained why I was not a candidate for it (for multiple reasons).  He also explained why he thought I needed to do that 3rd level.  Since he agreed with first surgeon, I went with first surgeon. I had to be on board with what they were going to do.

    Good luck!

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