Back pain - syringomyelia or more serious?

Patient

Q: I have a history of Arnold Chiari Malformation and a communicating syrinx (C6 to T3) that did not shrink after posterior fossa decompression for the chiari (surgery was in 2005). I have regular MRIs and I am currently on Tramadol ER 100mg for the pain. I am a moderately active person. I am a teacher and I work in a building without an elevator, so I am constantly up and down the stairs between our classes on five our five floors. I live in NYC, so I walk everywhere. Recently, the pain in my back has been getting worse or not been alleviated when I've taken medication. It extends to my ribs, neck, and-or arms. I've also had some difficulty walking sometimes when I first get up (I'm stiff and my legs are sore). My question is whether or not this is something I should be concerned about. I wonder if I'm just pushing my body too hard, considering the nerve damage. I last had an MRI about 6 months ago and the syrinx was stable.

Doctor

A:   You need to avoid excess physical strain to reduce the burden on your spine and back muscles. The worsening of your symptoms seem to be related to the increased physical activity of your body and in order to manage your symptoms and work and daily activities, it would be beneficial to seek physical therapy or occupational therapy for necessary modifications.

You need to avoid excess physical strain to reduce the burden on your spine and back muscles. The worsening of your symptoms seem to be related to the increased physical activity of your body and in order to manage your symptoms and work and daily activities, it would be beneficial to seek physical therapy or occupational therapy for necessary modifications.


 

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