Dear Ask The Doctor: Im having numbing and pain feelings in both of my three fingers furthest away from my thumbs and arms when i work or run. I had a MRI and it said C3 and C5 had mild uncovertebral joint hypertrophy. What does this mean? and what should i do? Im in the army so i dont want to be put out for it if i can help it. i had to wear body armor alot 80lbs in Iraq.
Dear Patient: The results of your MRI correspond with degenerative bone changes that are causing possibly a nerve compression and your symptoms of numbness and pain in your upper extremity correspond with the segments affected and supplied by the spinal levels involved. . In the younger patients, cervical radiculopathy may be a result of a disc herniation or an acute injury causing impingement of an exiting nerve. In the older patient, cervical radiculopathy is often a result of spinal canal narrowing from bone (osteophyte) formation, decreased disc height and degenerative changes due to aging process. The treatment strategy usually includes: physical therapy program aimed to reduce pain and inflammation, and the use of anti-inflammatory medication (“Motrin”, “Aleve”), also a re-education of your habits and posture to improve quality of life. You should be independent in a stretching and strengthening program and continue with these exercises under the periodic supervision of a physical therapist initially and then completely on your own. Patients whose condition fails to improve with a comprehensive rehabilitation program and selective injections should be presented with a surgical evaluation. Often, patients should show progressive improvement over the first 6-8 weeks with conservative treatment. If there is no significant improvement in this time frame, consider a surgical evaluation.