Cervical neck pain


Q: Recently have had what i though were severe muscle spasms in my upper right and left back and neck. after the last one i continued to have ocassional tingling and numbness in my left arm but no pain and was fully functional. 5 days ago another spams came on and i finally got an mri which indicated several bulging discs between c3 to c7 this one being the worse: C5 6 underlying broad based posterior disc bulging protrusion, with superimposed age indeterminate herniated nuclear material disc extrusion components on the left moderate sized and to a lesser extent the right upwards of moderate sized posteriorly posterolaterally, each approximating the respective lateral recesses and foraminal entry zones worse on the left. moderate overall central canal narrowing in part anatomically without frank cord impingement. minimal posterior cord displacement. Probable minimal underlying uncovertebral joint degenerative changes. Mild-moderate left and mild right entry zone foraminal encroachment . Clinical correlation to both c6 nerve root distributions suggested. i am unable to understand any of it and my dr. says that the neurosurgeon will explain when i see them next week. is anyone able to translate this for me? I am in a lot of pain now and basically afraid to move.


A:    The spasms, tingling and numbness in your left arm as you described, along with the results of your imaging study MRI indicate a  cervical nerve compression (from C3 to C7, being worse at C5-C6), but it would be also important to rule out inflammation of the peripheral nerves at the level of the arm and hand. In the younger patients, cervical radiculopathy may be a result of a disc herniation (bulging discs) 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 same described before for the cervical spine applies to the lower back in terms of cause of pain and numbness in the legs, same causes, different spinal level. The treatment strategy usually includes: physical therapy program aimed to reduce pain and inflammation, and the use of anti-inflammatory drugs (“Motrin”, “Aleve”), also a re-education of 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.

Related Q&A

Q: 23 y.o. female had lower right back pain for about 1 year following a burning pain from bending over (I thought it wa...

Q: Hello, I'm Adriana, I just received MRI results of my brain, I'm 40 yrs old, suffer from migraines, tension headaches...

Q: Hello I got liked in the chest 4days ago ( accident ) in the middle of the chest next to my left breast actually Righ...

Q: Hello, I had thoracic back pain (dully/achey) on my right side. This past Feb that lasted through May along with som...

Q: It began about three months ago. I would have lower back pain for a day and it would go away. Then it would happen a...


Dr. James Obaji M.D.

  • 247 Reviews
  • Family Physician

Dr. Suneel Sharman M.D.

  • 190 Reviews
  • Family Physician

Dr. Pat Golden M.D.

  • 169 Reviews
  • Cardiologist

Dr. Kunaal Jindal M.D.

  • 112 Reviews
  • Plastic Surgeon