Dental Neck

by Regina
(River Vale, NJ, USA)

My husband has been a practicing dentist (gen'l) for 44 years. He has now had an MRI of the neck. He has never been T-Boned or had trauma to the neck or head. Current MRI show Luschka hypertrophy with foraminal encroachment from C4 through T1. C4 through C7 has bulging and herniation with cord contact C4 through C6.

He has no arm tingling or hand numbness.

He does have tightness bilaterally through his shoulders. He is currently doing PT for his lower back but not the neck.

Will PT of the neck help him? Are there any procedures or exercises that he can do to alleviate the tightness which comes and goes? We have an second appt. with the Orthopedist in 2 days. Years ago he did acupuncture which was the only solution. Chiropractic from a DO did nothing to help him.

Dear Regina,
Thank you for your interesting letter. Firstly let me say that DO and DC in the States are two quite different professions; I can't answer for whether osteopathy did or didn't help.

Firstly, there's a sense that these degenerative changes are like grey hair part of normal aging. I have many elderly patients with dreadful looking spines on x-rays and scans who have stiffness and intermittent discomfort but nothing serious.

Yes, certainly physical therapists and chiropractors work daily with patients with patients with aging spines. One does need to tread warily obviously, as with all patients really, especially if there is a suggestion of cord pressure; this can cause far distant signs seemingly unrelated like a weak ankle.

A good place to start is just with a weekly massage of his neck and shoulders, and some gentle exercises; you can find some at Chiropractic Help.

I get the impression that your husband is not having great difficulty with his neck; some gently conservative treatment in my book is what is called for; in Hippocrates' words, first, do no harm.

I hope this contributes.

Dr B

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