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  • ChelB
    Member
    Post count: 8

    Dr. Corenman,

    I had an MRI 2 weeks ago with the following results:

    The craniocervical junction is unremarkable. No significant disc herniation seen at the c2-3 and c3-4 levels. At the c4-5 level, there is a large broad based central and right paracentral disc herniation noted attentuating the ventral thecal space and impinging on the exiting nerve root and causing some narrowing of intervertebral foramina on the right at this level.

    At the c5-6 level there is a very large broad based herniation extending posteriorly and causing compression of the cord with the AP diameter of the spinal canal reduced to approximately 5 to 6 mm at this level, There is some increased signal in the cord suggestive of myelomalacia.

    At the c6-7 lever, there is a moderately large central and right paracentral disc herniation also noted attentuating the ventral thecal space and abutting onto the ventral aspect of the cord. The cord is tilted slightly to the left.

    The neurosurgeon that I saw recommended 6 weeks of physical therapy and traction. I just had an EMG test done this week and the neurologist thinks that herniations as large as mine will not resolve without surgery. She told me a fall or accident could be very bad. Needless to say, I am terrified. Also, my blood pressure is through the roof – 158/80 the last time it was checked. I have asked my primary to send my information to a different doctor for a second opinion. Do you think it will take long to get in to the second doctor? Should I be scared? I have 2 young children. I want to be fully active in their lives.

    Thanks,
    Michele

    Donald Corenman, MD, DC
    Moderator
    Post count: 8468

    You have significant narrowing of the spinal canal with some evidence of cord injury from this compression, especially at C5-6. The neurologist is correct in thinking that a bad fall could cause you further injury to the cord. In my opinion, cord signal change necessitates consideration of surgery to prevent further cord injury.

    Blood pressure can increase from genetics, pain or stress. This increased pressure should be controlled with medications. Get into your primary care doctor to get this under control.

    You should be OK until you see the second surgeon as long as you do not place your neck at risk (skiing, mtn biking, ect…) or take a blow to the head.

    Dr. Corenman

    ChelB
    Member
    Post count: 8

    Thanks so much for your reply. I have an appointment this Monday with my primary and I will talk to him about my blood pressure. I forgot to give details about myself earlier. I am 38, mother of a 7 year old and 4 year old, work full time at a desk and up until now, very active. I ran 3 half marathons last year, a 15K, and plenty of 10 & 5 K’s. I also was working out with kettlebells and had worked up to a 25 lb bell. If I need surgery, will I ever be able to go back to the level of running I was at? I am currently registered for a half in June and a 15K in July. I probably won’t be doing those, will I? I can live with that if I know in the future I can return to it. Will I be able to return to kettlebells and incorporate some strength training back in? I miss both so much.

    Donald Corenman, MD, DC
    Moderator
    Post count: 8468

    If you had surgery in the near future, you should be able to run the both races that you mention in my opinion. You also should be able to return to gym workouts without restriction.

    Dr. Corenman

    ChelB
    Member
    Post count: 8

    Dr. Corenman,

    I saw my 2nd neurosurgeon this week. He said the only way for this to get resolved is with surgery. He also told me I shouldn’t run again…that it is too much on the spine. He told me I should find exercise that has less impact than running. Part of me understands this and part of me doesn’t want to believe this. If I were to pick up running again after surgery (which he said he would do ACDF on c4-7), would I really be putting myself at risk to herniate discs above and below the fusion? Obviously, this is not what I want to do. In the big scheme of life, I have two kids that I want to be healthy for but I am having a hard time with the thought of never running again. I enjoy it with every fiber of my being. If you could shed some light I would be so grateful.

    Thanks.

    Donald Corenman, MD, DC
    Moderator
    Post count: 8468

    If you had a surgery (ACDF) at C4-7, I would agree that running should be curtailed. Biking, swimming, gym workouts and skiing would be OK in my book. You might find that cycling will fill that need. You would be amazed what a hard 40 mile climbing ride would do for you.

    You could continue running but there is a toll to be taken on the discs above and below a three level fusion. Don’t forget that your genetics predisposes you to degenerative disc changes.

    Dr. Corenman

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