September 17, 2010,
K.W. asks from Rochester, PA on April 14, 2008
Straightening of the Cervical Spine
Hey everyone my name is K.. I have been having alot of neck pain especially in my muscles. I also have been having severe headaches. So I went to the doctor and had an X-Ray done. Well I just got the results and it showed that I have Straightening of the Cervical Spine. Well my question is what exactly is straightening of the cervical spine? And what causes it? Any help anyone can give me would be greatly appreciated. I dont go back to my doctors til the end of the week. So thats why I am asking now so I can get some info before I go back. Thanks for any help in advance.
6.M. answers from Phoenix on September 17, 2010
I just had surgery in March 2010 for spinal stenosis and feel better than I have in years! I knew something was wrong with me and it took 1 year and a half for my doctors to figure out what. At first,t hey treated me like a hypochondriac, but when I started falling all the time and breaking all my toes because I could not control my walk, they began to take me seriously. I felt immediate relief and improvement and I am improving daily. I still have problems with my feet and have been told it may take up to 2 years to fully recover. I had been down to using on my index finger and thumb on both hands, had to be assisted just to step off a curb, and had horrible, horrible sharp, shooting pains in my legs and feet and various parts of my body. I now only have pain in the bottoms of my feet and no longer have headaches, which were a daily problem years before my other symptoms began to manifest themselves. Keep looking online and don't be afraid to be aggressive with your doctor and demand answers. Write down your questions in advance and take notes on his/her responses. One physician told me to stop looking things up on the internet, that it wasn't helping. WRONG! I have an excellent physician, but he can't think of everything. I would look up my symptoms and discuss them and possible diagnoses with him and he would send me to different specialists. I was told by the neurosurgeon after the surgery that in one or two more days, I would have been a paraplegic, that it was THAT close!!! If I had waited for my doctors, I probably wouldn't be here today and I certainly would not be able to type this note! Be proactive in your health care - it can save your life!!!
J.M. answers from Pittsburgh on April 15, 2008
I feel your pain! I have the same problem. Your neck (cervial spine) should be at least at a 43 degree angle on a side-view x-ray, anything less than that is a straightening of the cervical spine. When I had my neck x-rayed, mine was a -8 degree angle, so mine is severe. I was getting headaches daily that were often incapacitating. I have recently started care with a chiropractor that focuses on getting and maintaining a proper arc in the cervical spine.
Personally, I would recommend getting looked at by a good chiropractor rather than leaving your spine up to a medical doctor. From personal experience and the experience of others, most MD's will either prescribe medication to get rid of the pain, not the problem, or suggest surgery, which is often not effective and should always be a last resort.
I go to Dr. Vactor in Cranberry Twp. I saw in your profile that you are from Rochester, so it is not that far for you either, and well worth the trip. I highly recommend him to everyone. I see him, as does my children. If you are interested, I have a free initial consult coupon. Let me know.
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D.P. answers from Pittsburgh on April 14, 2008
Dd you have any trauma to your head/neck area? Like whiplash? I googled it and found this:
Cervical spine disorders account for thousands of visits to primary care physicians each year. The majority of these patients suffer from acute cervical strain or cervical osteoarthritis. Most sprain injuries will recover in two to four weeks with a conservative treatment plan and most cervical arthritis problems respond to medication and physical treatment measures. However, there are several red flags signifying potentially serious disorders of the cervical neck that require diagnostic testing and additional treatment.
Red Flags and Initial Treatment
There are several symptoms that should be considered “red flags” for patients who are suffering from cervical neck pain. These include:
History of recent fall or trauma to the head or neck
Unexplained weight loss
Unexplained fever, especially in diabetic patients
History of cancer
Chronic steroid use
Evidence of spinal cord compression, including severe weakness, hand atrophy, loss of pain and temperature sensation in upper extremities; gait disturbance; or Babinski’s sign.
These symptoms may be a sign of a more serious condition, including infection, tumor, fracture or dislocation. Patients who present with these symptoms require immediate attention and diagnostic studies.
Patients presenting without these red flag symptomss can normally undergo approximately four weeks of conservative treatment options, including NSAIDs, muscle relaxants, physical therapy, home heat treatments, relaxation techniques, and activity modification. If a patient has not seen relief after four weeks of conservative treatment, diagnostic studies and a neurosurgical consultation should be ordered. Patients with pain limited to the neck should undergo plain x–rays to reveal occult fracture, subluxation, pathological fracture due to infection or malignancy, or extensive osteoarthritis. Patients with radiculopathy should have a MRI scan to reveal disc herniation, cervical spinal stenosis, osteomyelitis or tumor.
L.S. answers from Lancaster on April 15, 2008
I have had whiplash four times and I also spend a great deal of time with my head forward (filling out papers, reading, and typing). These types of injuries and over use of muscles can cause problems. I do believe that chiropractic care can help and I also believe that massage is helpful too. I have been seeing a chiropractor for over 20 years and I get massages quite often. Check with your insurance to see if they cover either, some do. You may need to go a few times with in a short ti,e period but then you may never have to go back if the problem is corrected.
You can also try doing neck excercises to help the strain on the muscles.
I am not one to push these types of things but they both have worked for me and I don't get headaches anymore.
M.M. answers from Pittsburgh on April 15, 2008
I'm a big fan of chiropractors. They are able to adjust the spine to where it needs to be. It is more natural than drugs and surgery and I always believe that I would start a natural route prior to getting involved in drugs and surgery. It is worth a shot. I have been going to one for over four years. I used to get migraine headaches and my upper back would hurt really bad. I haven't had any problems since. Honestly. Good luck to you!