Friday, February 20, 2009

Degenerative Diseases of the Cervical Spine

Degenerative Diseases of the Cervical Spine

X-Ray results are in for Mom. She does have a lot of changes in her cervical spine.
Her discs in her neck are virtually gone and the bone spurs all up her neck and because of the collapsing discs she has some pressure on the nerves in the spinal canal.

The cervical spine consists of the top 7 vertebrae of the spine. Doctors often refer to these vertebrae as C1-C7, with the "C" indicating cervical, and the numbers 1-7 indicating the level of the vertebrae. C1 is closest to the skull, while C7 is closest to the thoracic (chest/rib cage) region of the spine.

Neck pain as a result of spondylosis (i.e., a degenerative change) is relatively common. The pain may radiate, or spread, into the shoulder blade or down the arm. Patients may have an arm complaint (such as pain or weakness) as the result of nerve root compression from a bone spur.

That is what they found in Mom. The pain is something that will stay with her and they are amazed that she has not broken something. She has fell three times in the past 6 months and I am doing everything to keep her safe.
The problem is her dementia is so bad that 5 minutes after I talked with her today to tell her what they found she had forgot. She must use her walker all the time and that is something that we are just not able to get her to do.
Dr said that if her neck and shoulders are that bad then her hips and knees and wrists and ankles are the same.
Bless her heart, we are going to try the pain pills twice a day and heating pads that the Dr said will help a lot. I just need to get her to remember and that is such a challenge.
If it were not for the dementia then the recommended treatment would help.
She needs to be on a heating pad when she sits and that is something that I think I can do for her. I am going to pin the heating pad to the back of her chair and her computer chair (she loves to sit and work jigsaw puzzles on the Internet.)
BUT She goes outside in the yard without her walker and that is where she fell the first time. There may come a day this summer that we need to put a child gate on the deck so that she cannot come into the yard without me or Dad knowing.
She is not happy with that, but it is something that the home health care workers and the Dr thinks would help keep her safe.
Otherwise, she is in good health and if we can get her to remember the walker and control the pain with medicine we might be able to get the pain down to a dull throb.

Girls, I know that some of you have had to care for your parents at the end of their lives, and I know that there are many people that are going through the same thing as I am, but that knowledge does not help some days and some days it is just so hard. I see her hurting and being so restricted in her movement and it just hurts my heart.

I would love to be the daughter that gets to come and visit and take them to dinner and laugh and talk and then go home and not have to watch them day to day, but this is not about me, it is about my Mom...... Just remember her when you pray and ask God to help her mind, so that we can help her.
Love you gals a LOT!!!!!!


Back Through Time said...

Many prayers go out to your mom and you. You both need strength through these times. I am so sorry to hear of your mother's pain.

ktwalden said...

You will be in my prayers also. That same Spirit that can touch your mom's body can comfort her daughter's mind and soul, too. But you already know that...

Sometimes a caregiver's load can weigh heavy, but remember you are not alone...

MelanieJoy said...

Bless her heart...and yours. I'll be praying. You take time for yourself too..even if it's something small. Take care. Hugs!!

Linda said...

Dear Denise, I'm feel so bad for your mom, I hope the meds help ease her's hard seeing our parents grow older but it is a blessing you are there. Take care of yourself and you all are in my thoughts and prayers..hugs, Linda

Anonymous said...

I get angry when I see the elderly in pain, shouldn't be!! I am praying for you and your family, Take care of you. love you:)One day at a time.

Mary said...


I feel that it is my duty to take care of Mom as well. She lives alone and that scares me a little sometimes. She is getting forgetful and we're talking about her selling the house. I'm not sure what's going to happen.

I'm so sorry that your Mom has all of these problems. I will remember her in my prayers. Pain is not a fun thing and could contribute to her dementia.


Donetta said...

There is always duct tape...

Thought a laugh would do you more good.
giggle giggle .

"Just Me - NC Beth" said...

Denise, I am praying for you and your mother...

Mother now has 6 compressed spinal fractures as of this past June, one of those being the C7 which caused great pain and also would cut mother's breathe off...completely!! So scary! She had to be put on major pain meds to get her through it.

I know what you are going through and I truly hurt for you! It is not an easy task, but I know our Heavenly Father will give you the strength that you need as you care for your mother.

Love you, my blogging friend!

Anonymous said...

I'd be lying if I said I know what you're going through. I understand your hurt though and hope it would encourage you to know that it's the sincere and genuine love in your heart for your mother that ministers to her the most. You're the right woman for the job (so to speak). Your heart is in the right place. Perhaps the dementia dominates her mind but she knows the truth in her spirit and knows the love you have for her most definitely.

Annette said...

Denise, shes so lucky to have a daughter like you. I dont know what to say...I'm not in your shoes, but I do know I will left you both up in prayer.
LOVE to you

JC said...

Thank you for sharing this information on your blog. I will certainly pray for you, your hubby, your Mom & Dad. If you would consider emailing her name to me, I'll add her to my church Bible Study prayer list. Thanks again for sharing.

Denise said...

Praying for you, and your dear mom.

Flip Flop Floozie said...

Denise, I so hate this for your mother and also for you too...that long word that you spelled out is what I have also only in the bottom of my spine...I just wish that we did not have to go through these things but with God and the faith that we have in him this is what will carry us through..
I am happy you liked my "FAT" picture..if you would like to have it for your frig just go and copy it!! If you think that would help.;.I would just look and it and say Oh well and go!!

Tammy said...

Denise, sorry it's been a while...I am finding I am always catching up in blogland lately!

But I can so relate to what you're going mom is almost 82 and has a degenerative eye problem, as well as lots of arthritic aches and pains. It's so hard to see our parents in any kind of discomfort...
When I found out my mom could lose her eye sight just a few weeks ago, it upset me SO much...because its MY mom who took care of when I was little and MY mom whom I love.
So, Denise...I totally doesn't matter if others also go through these things, they are our loved ones and we just hurt when they hurt.

valerie said...

I will continue to keep your sweet mom in my prayers.
You are certainly in my prayers as well. I know it must be exhausting for you. I am so thankful she has such a precious daughter who loves her so much.
I was just telling a friend last night how very fortunate I am to have such healthy parents. I am thankful!!!

That's something that your brother was at the game Fri. night. I wish I'd have known and I'd have introduced myself! :) I think it's neat that he stays connected to all the kids like he does.

Take care of you!

Diane said...

I can read the weariness and sadness coming through the lines. My prayers go out to your mom and to you in this hard time.

Chris said...

I pray that you and your DH and your Mom are all cradled in God's protective and healing hands. I pray that your Mom can accept your rules for her safety. Even if she can't remember them~!

Maxine said...

Oh, Denise. Pray I will. I know from experience what you're going through, but as you said, it's your mom and your going through it now and it's very very hard. The Lord grant you His strength, sister. this earthly journey is something, so many trials. His grace through the one you're going through now is my prayer for you.

Mary said...


Still praying for your Mama and hope she and you both have a great week.

Thanks for your comments on my post about Brandon's trip. He did awesome.


Hafts Happenings said...

I will be praying for your mom. I will also be praying for you. I have friends that are in your position and I knwo that can be very difficult!

Angie said...

Oh Denise===this breaks my heart!

I have been so wrapped up busy with my own stuff---I have not checked on you! You are loaded down with life stuff! Big TIME!

I will be praying for you sweet friend!

Sharon said...

Dear heart goes out to you on this.My own mom has been gone 8 years now but she did not enjoy great health...Know I understand at least a little dear friend...Sharon

kansasrose said...

((((hugs))))) my friend. You and your mom are in my devotions. May God give your heart ease and your mother relief from the pain she carries. She is blessed to have you be with her in these difficult years. What a joy and comfort you must be to her. Love you.

Sharon said...

I'm so sorry about your mom! Praying that God will help her and praying for you and the family as well.