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Old 10-15-2004, 03:17 PM   #1
Gord
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I'm back.... good news first... I don't have MS, the MRI found no evidence of that so no spinal tap

The not so good news is that he has no definite reason why I have an imbalance problem...

The neuro did say that the MRI did reveal a few areas of my brain that have "small blockages" and that I could very well have a stroke sometime down the line.

Having said all that, I will be following up with my GP on Tues about this...

Oh ya he said I have arthritis in my neck kinda funny cuz I don't have any pain in my neck lol
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Old 10-15-2004, 03:27 PM   #2
Auburn Annie
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Well, congratulations on ruling out MS - no white matter in the brain, eh? The doctor's comment on arthritis led me to this article. Does it apply to you?

*******************************************

Cervical Arthritis Symptoms
Cervical arthritis, also known as cervical spondylosis, is an osteoarthritic condition affecting the upper spine. Osteoarthritis is a form of arthritis where the cartilage in joints begins to wear away because of an accident or because of the natural aging process. In cervical spine arthritis, the vertebrae in the neck, known anatomically as the cervical vertebrae, begin to degenerate, accompanied by degeneration in the flexible disks of shock-absorbing cartilage that fit between them. These changes gradually narrow the space in the vertebra called the foramen. This narrowing causes compression on the nerves leading from the spinal cord in the neck. The nerves become inflamed, producing neck pain that may radiate to the arms.

Cervical arthritis tends to begin between the ages of 30 and 50 as part of the normal aging process; like all arthritic conditions, it may grow worse over time. Nearly everyone over the age of 50 experiences some wear and tear in the cervical spine, but not everyone develops symptoms of cervical spine arthritis. Once the cervical vertebrae and their disks begin to degenerate, a minor injury to the spine (such as that caused by a fall or sudden twist) may provoke symptoms. Cervical arthritis may also begin earlier in life, perhaps as the result of a back injury, such as those experienced while playing football or falling from a horse.

While cervical arthritis tends to affect men more often than women, its symptoms may be similar to those produced by two conditions seen more frequently in women: rheumatoid arthritis (a systemic disorder affecting the synovial fluid in the joints), and osteoporosis (a condition in which many of the bones in the skeleton are weakened and become brittle).

Cervical Arthritis Symptoms

Symptoms may include:

Chronic neck pain, particularly with motion
Muscle weakness, with numbness in the neck and arms, perhaps also the hands and fingers
Tenderness to the touch at the neck itself
Stiffness which limits movement of the neck
Headaches
Loss of balance

Degeneration of the cervical vertebrae can produce several different conditions affecting the spinal cord and nerve roots. Bony ridges, called osteophytes, often develop on the vertebrae as a result of arthritic change, reducing space for the spinal cord and limiting movement of the neck. The facets of the vertebrae (those portions that interlock with each other, forming joints in the structure of the spine) may also show wear and tear.

Occasionally one of the soft disks cushioning the vertebrae may rupture, resulting in a herniated disk. When this happens, there is usually pressure against the spinal cord or nerve roots also. A herniated disk is a distinct problem, however, usually occurring as a single instance, whereas cervical spine arthritis is a progressive, chronic process that waxes and wanes over time. Cervical disc hernias usually result in prominent arm and hand pain rather than neck pain.

About 5-10% of patients who have symptomatic cervical arthritis develop myelopathy, or compression of the long tracts of the spinal cord. This may produce symptoms of weakness, a loss of sensation or of oneís sense of position in space, and incontinence. As strange as it may seem, neck and radiating nerve pain is unusual in these cases.

Diagnosis of Cervical Arthritis Symptoms
If you experience chronic neck pain, your doctor may use a number of different tests to determine whether your condition is cervical arthritis. X-rays show any abnormalities in the bones of the spine, and help determine the amount of degeneration in the vertebrae and their facets. A myelogram with CT (computer tomography) scan provides the best detail of the bone structure of the spine. MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans are sometimes done to get a clearer picture of other structures in the spine besides bone.

If x-rays or other imaging tests show that your particular case is severe (as in the case of numbness resulting from a disk pressing onto the nerves), your doctor may refer you to an orthopaedic surgeon for further evaluation.

Cervical Arthritis Symptoms, Treatments and Options
In most cases patients respond to conservative cervical arthritis treatments that are carefully thought out for each individual. Rest of the neck area is essential. To accomplish this, it may be necessary to consider your general posture, the kinds of pillows you use in bed, and the features of your occupation that affect the condition of your neck.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) such as aspirin, acetaminophen or ibuprofen may be recommended as a cervical arthritis treatment to decrease swelling and relieve pain. Sometimes time-released medication is most effective. While other painkillers may be prescribed, narcotic pain medication is generally avoided. Patients who have a severe episode of cervical arthritis may benefit from a single treatment of a steroid epidural, injected directly into the affected part of the neck. This form of cervical arthritis treatment can often relieve the situation to such a degree that other treatment measures can then be put into place.

Other non-operative measures may include cold compresses to relieve acute pain. Massaging the muscles is also helpful. Avoiding stressful conditions may also help. Your physician may recommend ultrasound or whirlpool treatments. A physical therapist may be able to guide you in performing gentle neck exercises, and will have advice about improving your posture in order to minimize the effects of cervical arthritis.

Positioning of the neck may improve or worsen neck pain. When arthritis is the primary cause of the pain, the neck might be made to feel better in a flexed position. If, on the other hand, this is the result of a motor vehicle injury or a blow, then putting the neck in extension may relieve the pain. Traction is also helpful. A simple method of performing traction is to use the weight of your head as a traction device. If your pain is eased in extension, lying on a bed with your head off the end of the bed will provide eight pounds of traction. Pillows can be placed underneath the knees to avoid stretching and hyperextension of the low back. If arthritis is the problem and the pain is relieved more with flexion, lying on your stomach with a pillow under the pelvis and the ankles with the head dangling off of the bed may be helpful. This provides eight pounds of traction in flexion. Remember however, as this may relieve pain, be careful that you do not fall asleep in this position.

Surgery

Surgery is generally recommended only in more severe cases of cervical arthritis, when the condition appears unresponsive to other forms of treatment. Patients should discuss the possibility of surgery with an experienced orthopaedic surgeon, weighing the likelihood of success in their particular case. Surgical procedures are tailored to the severity of the condition. Sometimes the surgeon can remove a portion of bone, relieving pressure on the spinal cord. Surgery may also be used to fuse some of the cervical vertebrae, remove a damaged disk, or enlarge the spinal cord space by clearing it of bony spurs. Sometimes bone graft procedures are used.
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Old 10-15-2004, 03:29 PM   #3
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Hi Gord. So glad to hear you don't have MS first of all. Also,glad you don't have to go through a spinal tap,if it feels as bad as it sounds,I'm very glad for you.

About the arthritis in your neck,have you ever had the habit of purposely "adjusting" your neck when it gets a little tight? If so that may be the cause. If not,I'd gues it's just from time and use.

I'll pray you never have a stroke,I've seen one and I wouldn't wish it on anybody. Good health to you!



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"A knight of the road,going back to a place where he might get warm." - Borderstone
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Old 10-15-2004, 04:41 PM   #4
charlene
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my uncle has another surgery on his neck in a couple of weeks to help with circulation in his extremities.the blood flow problem stems from the back of his neck and has caused several small strokes...his balance is off due to poor circulation and the strokes, and he's using a walker now. he's 85 tho. a person can have small strokes with little notice of it...it's the big ones that are the problem.
glad you don't have MS - your docs will figure out how to get you balanced again!

Char
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Old 10-15-2004, 07:41 PM   #5
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good news that you dont have MS. hope all tuens out well for you in the future
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Old 10-16-2004, 07:23 AM   #6
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Gord,
Well that is good news. Keep hanging in there.

Bill
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Old 10-16-2004, 11:59 AM   #7
Janice
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This is one of those good news/bad news things. What a relief that you donít have MS, but very frustrating that they havenít pinpointed the problem as yet. Keep hanging in there, Gord. As long as they continue eliminating the truly devastating possibilities, anything else can be dealt with.
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Old 10-16-2004, 03:41 PM   #8
Gaby
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Gord. Thinking of you.
(Donít know about you, but I still feel twenty-five and sometimes get sooooo annoyed about getting old.)
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Old 10-17-2004, 11:58 AM   #9
searam
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Fabulous news, Gord! Could you possibly be suffering from vestibular, an inner ear desease? That cause imbalance and is very treatable, or so I hear.
Oh, well, glad to hear you're better! I better stick to playing guitar and not doctor!!!
Sean
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Old 10-17-2004, 01:53 PM   #10
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Great to hear that you don't have MS.
Hope they find out what causes your problem.
Im sure a new set of symbols may help!
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Old 01-06-2005, 02:10 PM   #11
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Gord,
I've just registered today. I found your post because I did a search on "radiating nerve pain" on Google. I also have arthritis in my neck, which I was not aware of until I had an auto accident about five years ago, and went to a chiropractor and had x-rays...he mentioned this as an aside. Good that you don't have MS. But those two things together made me feel compelled to mention that there is the possibility of 'Lyme disease'...and before you blow this off, listen to what I have to say. I've been suffering from chronic fatigue like symptoms for over 15 years and after many doctors I finally got a diagnosis--late stage Borrelia aka chronic Lyme disease. I've read 5 books on the subject and now am in a Lyme support group here in Houston hearing other peoples stories. I've heard that the slow growing Borrelia spirochete has an affinity for the neck area. It was first recognized as a disease in the '70s, and first named 'Lyme arthritis' by a study group from Yale University as Lyme arthritis, because the study was started in response to two concerned Connecticutt women calling the Connecticutt Health Department...and they discovered a 'cluster' of 'juvenile arthritis' cases in and around Lyme, Connecticutt...39 I believe...of what is supposed to be a very rare disease (juvenile arthritis). I am friends now with a lady who believes she has had Lyme disease for over 30 years. Twelve years ago she was told she had MS...five years ago, she was diagnosed with Lyme disease, but only because she continued to search for answers and asked to be tested. The irony is that there is no definitive test for Lyme disease. The FDA approved tests rely on the detection of antibodies to the organism...and due to the nature of the illness, they are often wrong, depending on the stage of the disease when the blood is taken. The Western Blot from IGenX in California seems to be the best of these. Chronic Lyme is a very political issue. It seems that mainstream medicine almost totally denies its very existence. But there are a few brave physicians out there who persevere in treating people with this illness that can manifest in so many different ways in different people. Usually these doctors are the ones who know first hand, because they suffer from the disease themselves. I believe chronic lyme to be a widespread problem and largely unrecognized. I would encourage you to read about it. There are many good books out there, the one by Denise Lang being very good, as is the one by Karen Vanderhoof Forschner. And if you discover that you do have this disease, beware of the traditional approach of heavy doses of IV antibiotics to 'cure' you. My personal opinion is that in the late stages of the disease, they are often not effective and can cause problems themselves. I am currently investigating a variety of alternative therapies which I hope will be successful. I hope you don't have lyme but I think there's a chance, and you should investigate.
Jan
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Old 01-06-2005, 04:07 PM   #12
Sheryl Klein
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Hi Gord,

I just found this thread, I'm so glad you don't have MS, I don't know what other symptoms you have, other than imbalance -- is it dizziness or imbalance? Could be inner ear infection. If you're taking a couple of different pills, it could be that they're incompatible. Another possibility is anemia (it made me dizzy when I was in my 20's). Also, something simple -- dehydration can make you dizzy. A lot of people don't drink a sufficient amount of water. So.... anyway, my thoughts are with you!

Sheryl
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Old 01-06-2005, 05:22 PM   #13
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quote:Originally posted by Sheryl Klein:
Hi Gord,

I just found this thread, I'm so glad you don't have MS, I don't know what other symptoms you have, other than imbalance -- is it dizziness or imbalance? Could be inner ear infection. If you're taking a couple of different pills, it could be that they're incompatible. Another possibility is anemia (it made me dizzy when I was in my 20's). Also, something simple -- dehydration can make you dizzy. A lot of people don't drink a sufficient amount of water. So.... anyway, my thoughts are with you!

Sheryl


I find I have an imbalance problem when I drink a sufficient amount of wine.

Cathy http://www.cathycowette.com

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Old 01-06-2005, 06:50 PM   #14
charlene
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Cathy,
so YOU are who I caught it from!
lol

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Old 01-07-2005, 07:40 AM   #15
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quote:Originally posted by charlene:
Cathy,
so YOU are who I caught it from!
lol



No, not me. I think the wine we had in Saratoga was tainted.

Cathy http://www.cathycowette.com

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Old 01-09-2005, 03:59 PM   #16
Aime_41
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quote:Originally posted by Sheryl Klein:
Hi Gord,

I just found this thread, I'm so glad you don't have MS, I don't know what other symptoms you have, other than imbalance -- is it dizziness or imbalance? Could be inner ear infection. If you're taking a couple of different pills, it could be that they're incompatible. Another possibility is anemia (it made me dizzy when I was in my 20's). Also, something simple -- dehydration can make you dizzy. A lot of people don't drink a sufficient amount of water. So.... anyway, my thoughts are with you!

Sheryl

Gord,
So happy for you, that it is not MS. The inner ear issue is another avenue to persue.
Besides an infection, there is Meniere's
Disease that causes dizziness, balance problems, nauseau, etc., etc. It can be very debilitating. Hope that all goes well for you.




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Old 01-09-2005, 06:21 PM   #17
Sheryl Klein
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dizziness.... hmm.... OH -- you could be pregnant!! LOL
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Old 01-09-2005, 09:11 PM   #18
Gord
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Pregant?? Ya right :P
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Old 01-09-2005, 09:17 PM   #19
Sheryl Klein
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Made ya laugh!
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