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Can you give me some recommendation on Cervical Spine treatments so that I can continue cycling?

Question:
After having a lot of neck pain cycyling this season, then numbness in my left arm, I went to the doctor, then a neurosurgeon, and was diagnosed with "advanced cervical spine disease". My C4-C7 are a mess and the neurosurgeon may recommend a surgery that would envolve removing three disc, bone grafts, and plates.

Cycling is putting extra stress upon my neck, aggravating my symptoms. I would hate to have to give up cycling. A more upright position would help somewhat, but not entirely. Sorry, but no recumbents for me yet!

Anyone had this problem and/or surgery?


Answer:
That's sort of nonspecific- "cervical spine disease" really just means something's wrong with your neck. Are we talking about a arthritic type problem, or some sort of herniation or bulging of the discs, or some other inflammatory process or structural abnormality (i.e., cervical stenosis)?

Your description of numbness in your left arm suggests some compression of the nerve roots where they leave your cervical vertebrae. Where the numbness is in your arm indicates where the compression of the nerve roots is. The flattened-out-craning-your-neck position on a racing bike can certainly aggravate this. Does it affect you much if you stay off the bike?

Have they ruled out symptomatic management, e.g., anti-inflammatory therapy such as a Cox-2 inhibitor (Celebrex or Vioxx), NSAIDS (ibuprofen, naproxen, etc) or even steroids?

After the surgery, what kind of neck mobility are you going to have? Are you going to be able to ride a bike in the standard position?

I'v eknown people who have had surgery to remove a portion of a cervial disc and insertion of a titanium plate. They had good symptomaic relief in terms of the numbness and pain in their arm from the nerve root compression. Some have had other problems like neck pain (usually only for a few months), reduced mobility of the neck (i.e., limited ability to look up). Overall, though, they say they feel better in general.



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