Orthopedist | Orthopaedic Surgery of the Spine Questions Orthopaedic Surgeon

Should I be concerned?

20 years ago I had severe pain in my neck and shoulder MRI showed a bulging disc at c6. PT helped and from then on whenever I felt pain I'd do the stretches and go on. A month ago severe pain in neck and shoulder. X-ray shows some narrowing and some bone spurs. Dr prescribed meloxicam and fleril. That didn't help much but it helped when I wore a cervical brace. The pain is minimized but now my arm, hand and fingers tingle a lot when I move my arm or bend my neck. I have also had 2 instances when I lost bladder control and Thursday I fell while walking for no known reason. When my shoulder hurts the pain now goes around the entire edge of my scapula, from mid-back to my lower ribs. I had an MRI and am scheduled for a steroid injection.

Female | 63 years old
Complaint duration: 1 month
Medications: levothyroxine
Conditions: Hashimoto, osteoarthritis

4 Answers

I suggest going to physical therapy as prescribed by physician. Consult with a neurologist as soon as you can regarding your symptoms as some neck conditions could be correlated to injuries in the spinal cord as well.

I am glad to hear you have had an MRI. That will help determine whether there has been a progression in the spinal stenosis or neural foraminal encroachment, requiring surgery.


Donald Massee
Sounds like you have significant degenerative disc disease and possible "short pedicles." MRI definitely needed and, depending on what that shows, surgery may be indicated.
All the best.
The most imminent issue is your C-spine, not your shoulder. If the narrowing in your C-spine is enough to cause myelopathy (loss of balanance and loss of bowel/bladder control), a consultation with a spine surgeon is recommended. If it is just pain and change in sensation, injections are very reasonable. In my practice, when I see someone who had acute weakness from c-spine issue, I send to spine surgeon.