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Old 01-07-2011, 12:31 AM   #1
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Does an MRI of the cervical spine show C8?

Does an MRI of the cervical spine show a clear image of C8? I'm having symptoms of radiculopathy in C6 but my doc wrote on my lab slip MRI Cervical Spine to rule out C6 radiculopathy. I'm also having major symptoms of ulnar nerve problems in my pinky finger. Will the MRI scan show C8 clearly as well? I looked at a lot of MRI's online and it seems that C8 is sometimes left out of the scan. Am i wrong here?

Any insight would be appreciated. Thank you!

 
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Old 01-07-2011, 01:21 PM   #2
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Re: Does an MRI of the cervical spine show C8?

There's a technical explanation for that missing C8.

There is no C8 vertebra. T

The neck ends at C7 and the thoracic area begins with T1. BUT, between these 2 vertebrae is the C8 nerve.

So you don't see a C8 vertebra but you can see the C8 nerve exiting between C7 and T1.

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

They do make it hard on us, don't they?

 
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Old 01-07-2011, 02:41 PM   #3
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Re: Does an MRI of the cervical spine show C8?

ahhh, thanks Jenny ) You think C8 will be included in it if I ask the tech to make sure? Or does my doctor need to specify on the form C8 as well. I don't wanna make my doc think i doubt his clinical expertise. what do you think?

 
Old 01-07-2011, 03:21 PM   #4
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Re: Does an MRI of the cervical spine show C8?

It should show everything from C3 to C7 and in between and reported on as well. Many show much more but often the radiologist doesn't report on the stuff they don't ask for unless it is significant. Since the C8 nerve is considered part of the neck, it is usually included with the report on C6-7 or C7-T1.

They may not call it that(C8 nerve) but it will be in there under one name or the other.

Part of the difficulty is that in many parts of the world, there is a C8 vertebra and they start the thoracic area 1 below what we do here in the US. So sometimes it's all about where the radiologist was trained. And some medical schools don't call the C8 nerve the C8 nerve. I don't understand why.

So what you look for is any reference to the nerve that comes out below the C7 vertebra.

What I have learned is that most spine docs look at the MRI's themselves and they will see things the radiologists won't. the best person to ask about that particular nerve is the spine doc you see after he has seen your MRI.

As for your radiculopathy, all the nerves to the arm come together at the brachial plexus and they intertwine so what you think may be C8 may not be. I also am having trouble there but my MRI was clear at C8. But there is trouble at C6 and it is affecting the C6 nerve. I am feeling it at C8.

One thing for sure...it is crazy! Trouble at one nerve shows up in another.

Let me know how it goes and what the MRI says if you get the report. I've learned to look "inside " of them to find the real story. After all, I had a cervical CT fail to mention that I had 3 fractures in my neck as they were just "broken bone grafts" so the radiologist didn't mention them to protect the doc.

hugs...............Jen

 
Old 01-07-2011, 04:10 PM   #5
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Re: Does an MRI of the cervical spine show C8?

thanks Jenny! I'll keep you posted )

 
Old 01-09-2011, 11:27 AM   #6
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Re: Does an MRI of the cervical spine show C8?

hi allsmiles. there IS a type of 'crossover effect' actually between that c 6 and c 8 amoung other areas like it only because that c spine just is, even compared to the rest of our spinal, a rather complicated and confusing area for alot of different reasons? one of them is simply unlike the rest of our spinal columns(from the T spine on down) that has TWO pairs of nerves on each side of every single vertebrae, which is one single motor(muscle) nerve and the other a single sensory nerve. that c spine actually only has ONE single nerve for every vertebrae on each side(with that poor lonely c 8 having no vert but definitely there and on both sides too), but they are what are called 'mixed nerves' or "multi nerves" since THESE c spine only ones actually carry BOTH the sensory AND the fine motor(muscle to the hands?)functions all in the one nerve on each side? and NOT the two on each?

and this is where it can get very confusing in simply trying to even begin to explain how you can actually have like what you have with the c 8 innervated fingers(this actually innervates the pinkie and only ONE SIDE of that ring finger not the whole ring?) but can have some median and radial involvement(thumb or the thenar eminence among other fine motor ick, which i also have that damage to myself FROM c 8 nerve damage) when it comes ONLY to the actual fine motor muscles themselves. the stupid c spine nerves simply carry the sensory part per the actual dermatome charts you see? but the actual fine motor(all finger or hand movement functions) are NOT carried upon that same exact nerve. and it does have to do with what jenny mentioned about that 'brachial plexus" and also DO look up what is referred to as the 'peripheral nervous system' too. both of these things tell you how the sensory and fine motor are actually carried.

or you could also simply have something impacting that c 8 itself with nerve root irritation from things like stenosis within the formen it runs out of, or even if there are bone spurs from the above it or below it vertebraes that can in certain ways, also impact nerves below the affected vertebraes as well. the MRI 'should' show it if its esp within a foramen?

just exactly, and i mean exactly, what ARE your overall symptoms that you have going on with ANYTHING in that hand? any sensory OR esp fine motor(can be little spasms that come and go or weakness in flex and extension movements with fingers stuff like that?) the one good thing about how these nerves are just set up tho is that they ARE simply pretty simply tracked back to their real kind of 'base of operations" simply with good neuro evals done by good NSs and what actually shows up on your MRI too? but unfortuently not everything thatr CAN be wrong will always actually 'show up' on any given MRI for alot of different possible reasons. this IS when your actual symptoms really play a bigger part? and EMGs can also very much pinpojnt actual nerve flow velocity issues that would indicate 'something' just IS impinging a particular nerve, but only with more significant sensory loss or bigger indications of definite fine motor functions being affected? the EMG is great for that.

but my c 8 nerve among others was pretty severely damged from within the actual spinal cord level during a surgery i had to have done ON my spinal cord back in 2003. i DID actually lose 8 of the fine motor muscles then as well as sensory losses in BOTH of the last two fingers and the middle too. the middle one tho came back with full sensory within about a month but the last two fingers are still somewhat affected with 'some' insane sensory wierdness but i do now have feeling back? but the really insane way the nerves just are in that c spine and being really highly different(and the 'mixed part') than any other part of our spinal is what i really wanted you to know about.

trying to actually find ANY really good info using only 'the c 8 nerve,let me tell ya, ya don't get much. using the ulnar nerve or the peripheral nervous system or brachial plexus images really WILL show you exactly how this all simply runs. it has roots and rootlets too right AT that spinal level then it goes into trunks, cords divisions then the terminal branches that end up down into our hands. but you can usually follow the labels ON each nerve with most diagrams that have the images? this seriously explained ALLL of my left hand damage in a huge way to a T. thankfully my NS managed to spare the right hand, big whew. i will try and get back here tomorrow if i can tho. i hope this at least helped you some to even begin to understand the whys of certain things? there just IS a underlying connection in certain ways from the c 6 to the c 8, which you CAN see if you just look up the images. it will show you the 'hows'?

and any 'good' MRI that gets done as a "rule out" like yours just will be, will also include not only that full c spine, but usually also gets in the first few T spine segments as well. i have had to have ten seperate c spine MRIs since 01 and every single one has had included what i just explained to you, so that c 8 and the T 1 WILL also be included since its just "in" that brachial plexus too? alot of 'what will simply 'show up" on any given MRI has more to do with 'specifics to a real finding" and are usually some type of an actual 'follow up" MRI that is relooking more as in a monitoring mode at an older finding/monitoring? but i would be pretty certain yours would include everything up there esp if this is actually your first ever c spine MRI.

just when IS your MRI scheduled for? marcia
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3-22-01,herniated C-6-7
11-20-01,placement of hardware for failed fusion
9-22-03,removal of cavernous hemangioma that was inside spinal cord. Neuro damage to L hand L leg and R leg.

Last edited by feelbad; 01-09-2011 at 11:34 AM.

 
Old 01-09-2011, 10:06 PM   #7
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Re: Does an MRI of the cervical spine show C8?

WOW. thanks marcia for all the detail and help on your post!!! it's been extremely helpful! I unfortunately have been dealing with Worker's Comp on this issue so it has been extremely slow progress in getting authorization for lab tests. My doctor has ordered both an MRI and xray of my c spine, i'm just waiting on approval by the ins company. it's been pretty much a waiting game for the last 2 weeks (

I'm experiencing severe trapezius pain and numbness in my upper extremities. Particularly my pinky and ring finger. I'm getting achyness in my middle finger/index finger/thumb area and achyness up my arm but no numbness like I've been getting in my pinky region. My dr ordered an MRI to rull out c6 radiculopathy but i'm concerned that it may really be c8 and i wanted to know if the MRI will still show c8.

Would you be able to tell me why you think sometimes things just don't "show up" like you said on an MRI? is this why you had several MRI's done?

Thank you!!!!

 
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