Re: Help understanding neck x-ray & MRI
The neuroforamen is the opening that the nerve passes through. I suppose it's possible for that opening to be impinged upon without the nerve itself being affected. Apparently the doc(s) who looked at the MRI's (other than the rheumatologist) thought so.
Let's say that the nerve is being affected, though. For one thing, the symptoms would be LEFT SIDE only. If that is, in fact, the case, it would seem like a strong argument for radiculopathy and against fibro. Conversely, if you have RIGHT arm symptoms, how could they result from LEFT side radiculopathy?
BTW, the C6 nerve goes down to the thumb and index finger, but not the three other fingers, if that tells you anything.
From my own experience... I have had many cervical spinal problems, and many symptoms stemming from those problems, but PAIN was never one of them. When I did suffer pain, it was post-op, and was centered around reaching, which is when the neck muscles have to be used to hold up the arms. I don't think, in my case, that this was a NERVE problem, but more due to muscle damage/inflammation as the result of the operation. For this reason, I wonder if your neck pain (when reaching) does not originate more in the muscles than the nerves.
Anyway, back to the need for a new MRI. I take it that the radiologist COULD NOT READ the C5-6 level, and was resorting to the X-ray to make his determination of impingement? Is that the "plain film study" he referenced? If so, I don't think you should settle for this. There's a reason MRI's are used for cervical spinal diagnosis and not just X-rays, which are too blunt a tool.
Please keep in mind that all of my pronouncements are no more than the opinions of a self-educated amateur....
Last edited by WebDozer; 08-22-2012 at 06:42 AM.