4 Sep 2010
Hi jibyrd, I can understand your concern re whether or not you are doing something to exacerbate your back problems. Although I am not a Dr. and MRI's are at best, tricky, for lay people to completely understand, a couple of things stuck out in yours. Words to always look for are "significant" "degenerative" "moderate" and in your scan, the sentence regarding your "nerve root entrapment" being greater on the right and suggesting possibility of it worsening. This is why they told you to come back if you had loss of bowel control, which would be a symptom of nerve being affected in some way and it sounds as if it is close to being a possibility. Anything involving nerves should be referred to a neurologist in my opinion. Stenosis is narrowing of the spine, which I too have at my neck, yet seldom have any neck problems anymore.
Now years ago when i was doing work that involved using my neck, which was working w/cerebral palsy children and elderly adults in home settings and took alot of lifting and moving what was more or less "dead weight" around to different positions, I had alot of aches and pain in my neck. At this point in my life, i have serious osteo problems, possibly osteporosis with the arthritis too, was hoping just to have the osteoarthritis or the osteoporosis, although neither is great, but i can have surgeries that will help me, I need a complete hip replacement on rt. side and will eventually need the left, also, my knees are getting bad and I need an ankle surgery to repair a ligament in my left achilles tendon area. So I am not getting around as I would like to be and have to take pain meds in order to simply get out of bed. Since this answer is marked as being "conversational" I did not go back over some of the other things in your MRI and see exactly what they meant, but if it is enough for you to know that YES, activity that you ordinarily do, if you are a fairly active person, could certainly add to your pain and I worry about the numbness being the beginning of a nerve problem, then hopefully this answer has helped you. I am a fan of chiropractic care and also acupuncture, but not when nerves are involved. So please, get yourself into a neurologist, ask your Dr. to reccomend one and if he doesn't feel it necessary than find one yourself, see if you can get a referral from a friend or read biographies of various neurosurgeons on the web and take your MRI in to him/her and see what they say. If, for some reason, they are not concerned about the nerve root entrapment, I would have to tell you to get to an osteopathic surgeon next, which maybe you already have, but I do know that I have many disc problems and stenosis of the spine and since my activity is so limited now (not by choice, believe me), I have much less pain in the back area and virtually none in my neck now, which used to be almost paralyzing.
Try to keep in touch and let us know what you find out, i am curious as to what another doctor will say, so often doctors simply figure they have given you the info and then send you on your way, it makes no sense, so we really have to be our own advocates when it comes to things not feeling right, we know our own bodies much better than any one else could. Good luck and hope to hear from you again in future. Take care and, if possible, slow down a bit, okay?