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Old 06-08-2012, 01:10 PM   #1
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Cervical disc herniations (3)

I was hoping someone could help me interpret my Cervical Spine MRI results. My chiropractor ordered the MRI and I'm being referred to a neurosurgeon. I'm overwhelmed by the results of the MRI and would like to have a general idea of the severity of what's apparently going on in my neck.

At C5-6 there is a broad posterior disc herniation indenting the thecal sac superimposed on spondylosis causing bilaterial neural foraminal stenosis. Intervertebral disc space height and signal loss is noted.

At C4-5 there is a central disc herniation abutting the cord.

At C3-4 there is a central disc herniation indenting the thecal sac.

At C3-4 and C4-5 there is moderate right neural foraminal stenosis secondary to spondylosis.

Other findings: normal alignment of all cervical vertebrae, no masses seen, tonsils are above the foramen magnum, cervical cord is normal in caliber and signal intensity, no areas of pathological signal intensity within the bone marrow of the vertebral bodies. Facet joints are unremarekable in 2-3, 6-7, 7-t1.

In mid May, my neck had felt overly tense ... sore neck muscles, etc. I got a massage and felt better for a few hours, then back to the same by that night. 3 days later, my right thumb went numb. Then the inside of my wrist was numb. The area between my wrist and elbow is fine. The outside of my right upper arm is in pain most of the time, especially when on the computer or after using my camera. My right shoulder is sometimes excruciating - I actually was thinking I was having rotator cuff issues because I've noticed the right shoulder pain off and on for six months, but basically ignored it. Now I'm wondering if it's been because of these cervical disc herniations. Also for the past 6 months, I have woken up on a regular basis with my right arm totally asleep (the kind of asleep where you have to pick it up with your other hand - DEAD asleep). It's always my right arm (the arm I'm having problems with now). Is it likely that there's a correlation with my right shoulder bothering me for the past 6 months, my right arm falling dead asleep in the night for the past six months, and now these MRI results?

Also, on my LEFT foot, my two small toes go numb fairly regularly. Not painful, so I've ignored it. Been going on about 6 months.

I began having neck issues when I was 25 years old (I'm 47 now) and began going to the chiropractor. It began with "acute torticolis" (muscle spasms) ... this went off and on for many years. Then one day my lower (lumbar) back went out - chiropractor said I have bulging lumbar discs and is usually able to quickly get it under control and tolerable (therefore he's never ordered an MRI for my lower back). My neck hasn't bothered me in several years until last month (May). The chiropractor began normal treatment - the tens-unit type stuff for spasms, the neck brace that he pumps up to lift the head off of the shoulders, and even did an adjustment to align the discs in my neck, recommending the ice/heat regimen and ibuprofen. After the pain only got worse he ordered an MRI and the results are above. He's sending me to a neurosurgeon. I haven't got a call back for the appointment yet and I'm having a hard time trying to guess what I'm looking at.

I've tried looking up all this stuff up on the internet (spondylosis, stenosis, bilateral neural foraminal stenosis, abutting the cord, indenting the thecal sac, etc.). I also find on the internet all different kinds of treatments, from injections to physical therapy to different types of surgeries. However I am wondering about the "combination" of all of my issues if that makes a difference in whether they'd try one treatment (PT) over another (surgery).

If there's anyone on here that could say, "you're probably looking at PT" or "you're probably looking at surgery" or "they always try this before they do that for your condition" I would be very grateful.

Thank you.

Last edited by photogirl65; 06-08-2012 at 01:22 PM.

 
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Old 06-08-2012, 02:18 PM   #2
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Re: Cervical disc herniations (3)

I just stumbled across this site a few moments ago after a very dissapointing appoitment I had with a new ortho surgeon I was hoping for the last month was going to be my savior and help my back pain. He was sooo rude! Told me to get off pain meds before he would even talk to me. UM..I wouldnt be there if I didnt have to take them! What is happening to our healthcare system? Drs dont take time to help, they treat you like a horrible plague if you have a chronic pain condition (I have FIVE) all started from an Auto Accident in 2005 that has ruined my life forever. Recently one last June that made EVERYTHING worse.
Photogirl..you sound like you have ALOT, actually ALL of similiar health problems/symptoms as I do. I would really like to talk to you. It feels good knowing I am not the only one going through this horrible experience. I need a support group! I feel very alone and depressed for the first time in my life. I am 36 yr old.

 
Old 06-08-2012, 02:46 PM   #3
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Re: Cervical disc herniations (3)

I'm so sorry for all your pain. I have not taken any prescribed pain medication. I read on another thread here that a neurosurgeon doesn't care about your pain, because pain means you can "feel" ... They are more interested in what you "can't" feel. I don't know if that's true or not, and I am waiting on my appt with the neurosurgeon, so I don't have first-hand experience yet. I have not had any "injuries" that I know of ... No car wrecks, etc. ... I was a cheerleader and played softball and did gymnastics as a teenager for a long time and I worked out at the gym when I was in my twenties but no remarkable injuries. I don't know what I did to get these problems.

I hope you find a physician who can give you some relief. Sounds like you have a lot going on physically. Don't give up, and have faith that there is someone out there who can help you.

Hang in there.

 
Old 06-08-2012, 03:04 PM   #4
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Re: Cervical disc herniations (3)

Hi Photogirl...I'm Jenny and I'm fused from C3 to T1. Most of the people with cervical problems post on the Spinal Cord Disorders board and the lumbar people post here on the Back Problems board. Believe it or not, there is quite a difference between the 2 problems although it's all the same spine.

Your MRI isn't that remarkable by our standards...cord compression in the neck is fairly common. The thecal sac is the membrane covering the cord that holds the spinal fluid in around it. So you get thecal sac compression before you get cord compression. In your case, you have both....2 levels of thecal sac indentation and 1 level where the disk is abutting the cord itself.

However, the cord in the neck is about 11-12mms wide and you can still function well with it compressed to half that normal thickness.....I know...I was compressed to 5-6mms and working full time before my surgery. Was a shock to me for sure!

So although you have some major problems developing, you probably don't need surgery at this time. But I am wondering if there is any kind of reference to the actual width of the cord or if there are any words such as "minimal", "mild", "moderate" or "severe" in the report as those words have actual meaning to them with regards to the compression on the nerves or spinal canal.

Why don't you come on down to the Spinal Cord board and say hello and meet others with similar problems, some facing surgery, after surgery or in the waiting game.

hugs.................Jenny

PS....I had surgery on both shoulders before finding out it was my neck that had problems!

Last edited by jennybyc; 06-08-2012 at 03:07 PM. Reason: forgot

 
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Old 06-08-2012, 03:13 PM   #5
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photogirl65 HB User
Re: Cervical disc herniations (3)

[QUOTE=jennybyc;4995489]Hi Photogirl...I'm Jenny and I'm fused from C3 to T1. Most of the people with cervical problems post on the Spinal Cord Disorders board and the lumbar people post here on the Back Problems board. Believe it or not, there is quite a difference between the 2 problems although it's all the same spine.

Your MRI isn't that remarkable by our standards...cord compression in the neck is fairly common. The thecal sac is the membrane covering the cord that holds the spinal fluid in around it. So you get thecal sac compression before you get cord compression. In your case, you have both....2 levels of thecal sac indentation and 1 level where the disk is abutting the cord itself.

However, the cord in the neck is about 11-12mms wide and you can still function well with it compressed to half that normal thickness.....I know...I was compressed to 5-6mms and working full time before my surgery. Was a shock to me for sure!

So although you have some major problems developing, you probably don't need surgery at this time. But I am wondering if there is any kind of reference to the actual width of the cord or if there are any words such as "minimal", "mild", "moderate" or "severe" in the report as those words have actual meaning to them with regards to the compression on the nerves or spinal canal.

Why don't you come on down to the Spinal Cord board and say hello and meet others with similar problems, some facing surgery, after surgery or in the waiting game.

hugs.................Jenny

PS....I had surgery on both shoulders before finding out it was my neck that had problems![/QUOTE]Thanks Jenny ... I have posted also in the spinal section. The only place it mentions "moderate" is where I listed above for the stenosis. No reference is made on the report about mm's or anything ... Perhaps I can assume its not remarkable enough to mention. So I am probably looking at physical therapy and not surgery at all ... ?

Thanks again, Jenny!

 
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