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  • What does my MRI results mean

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    Old 01-16-2015, 02:27 PM   #1
    lschwartz04
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    What does my MRI results mean

    Over the past few years I have been to many doctors, the recent one told me that nothing is wrong and that I just need to lose weight. The pain management doctor that I am currently seeing told me that my MRI showed some stuff but that it is normal for adults at age 30 and it is nothing to worry about. I have copies of the MRI's and I do not understand a lot of the stuff they are saying so if anyone can explain this to me I would greatly appreciate it.
    The MRI of the cervical spine with and without contrast says C3/4 is fused congenitally. There is subtle bulging, less than 3 mm in depth, at C3/4, C4/5, C6/7. The central canal is patent at these levels. The foramina are generally considered patent as well, although there is slight narrowing on the left at C3/4 only. Patent central canal throughout the cervical spine. Normal cervical cord signal. No evidence of M.S.
    The MRI lumbar spine without contrast says the patient has a modest 3 to 4 mm posterior disc protrusion at L4/5 along with disc desiccation, and there is mild hypertrophy of the facet joints. I do see very mild narrowing of both foramina inferiorly. The central canal is not compromised. There is similar shallow posterior disc protrusion at L5/S1 with no thecal sac effacement. The central canal and foramina are patent at this level. There is no pathology in the lumbar spine above L4. I am in pain always and have tingling and numbness in hands and feet all the time and it gets worse if I am in a position for to long, I also have pain that radiates down my lower back to my feet. I just want to rip out my spine most of the time. If anyone can explain this to me it would help me out a ton.

     
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    Old 01-16-2015, 11:40 PM   #2
    ChuckStr
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    Re: What does my MRI results mean

    Hello and welcome to the board.

    Here is a bit of spinal anatomy to help with the below descriptions :
    Your cervical spine consists of 7 vertebrae C1 at the top of your neck to C7 at the bottom. Your lumbar spine consists of 5, L1 - L5. Your sacrum is actually 5 fused vertebrae (s1-s5). All of the cervical, thoracic and lumbar vertebrae are separated by spongy discs. The space between L5 and S1 also has one of these disks. Over time, the spongy disks can lose some of their moisture and may actually poke out or herniate. This can reduce the space for the spinal cord (canal stenosis) or the area for the right and left nerve roots that come out between each level of the spine (neuroforaminal stenosis). Pairs of the vertebrae (C3/C4 etc) have joints where they form the spinal canal and each of the nerve root exit holes at each level. Because of the disks becoming smaller etc. these can start to rub on eachother causing bone spurs (osteophytes) to form which can also cause central canal or neuroforaminal stenosis.

    Your cervical spine which would be the cause of your arm/hand symptoms if your spine was the cause at all, is in pretty good shape. You have small disk bulges at c3-c7 but they are only causing any narrowing at c3/c4. This narrowing of the nerve root exits is mild. Even if mild, this can cause problems but the type of problems typically caused would be upper back and neck pain/tingling etc. Not anything with your hands.

    At L4/L5, L5/S1 there is a herniation that seems to be causing very mild narrowing of the nerve root exits. The report mentions that the foramina and canal are patent which means as far can be seen, there is enough room for the nerve roots and spinal cord. It is still possible for that to cause problems however. For one thing, the canal space can reduce significantly when the spine is in extension (bent backward). There can also be movement (which may be more evident on flexion/extension xrays) which causes temporary impacts with the nerve roots.

    So, is the pain/tingling etc due to your spine? It's hard to say definitively. A set of flexion/extension x-rays may help shed light. Also, an EMG (looking at the conductivity and health of your nerves) could uncover peripheral neuropathies such as carpal tunnel and such which could explain your symptoms. I see they mentioned MS in the report. Did you have a brain MRI to check for lesions there? Is the ordering Dr a neurologist? If not, you may want to follow up there first. They could probably get the x-rays and EMG and refer you out to a spine specialist if they thought it was warranted from there. Or, you could take the approach that the radiating leg pain is a pretty classic L4-S1 compression symptom and head to a spine specialist. In that case, it may be more difficult to get answers about what's going on with your hands.

    Good luck and let us know how you get on...

     
    Old 01-18-2015, 02:47 PM   #3
    legallyblondied
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    Re: What does my MRI results mean

    [QUOTE=ChuckStr;5339849]Hello and welcome to the board.

    Here is a bit of spinal anatomy to help with the below descriptions :
    Your cervical spine consists of 7 vertebrae C1 at the top of your neck to C7 at the bottom. Your lumbar spine consists of 5, L1 - L5. Your sacrum is actually 5 fused vertebrae (s1-s5). All of the cervical, thoracic and lumbar vertebrae are separated by spongy discs. The space between L5 and S1 also has one of these disks. Over time, the spongy disks can lose some of their moisture and may actually poke out or herniate. This can reduce the space for the spinal cord (canal stenosis) or the area for the right and left nerve roots that come out between each level of the spine (neuroforaminal stenosis). Pairs of the vertebrae (C3/C4 etc) have joints where they form the spinal canal and each of the nerve root exit holes at each level. Because of the disks becoming smaller etc. these can start to rub on eachother causing bone spurs (osteophytes) to form which can also cause central canal or neuroforaminal stenosis.

    Your cervical spine which would be the cause of your arm/hand symptoms if your spine was the cause at all, is in pretty good shape. You have small disk bulges at c3-c7 but they are only causing any narrowing at c3/c4. This narrowing of the nerve root exits is mild. Even if mild, this can cause problems but the type of problems typically caused would be upper back and neck pain/tingling etc. Not anything with your hands.

    At L4/L5, L5/S1 there is a herniation that seems to be causing very mild narrowing of the nerve root exits. The report mentions that the foramina and canal are patent which means as far can be seen, there is enough room for the nerve roots and spinal cord. It is still possible for that to cause problems however. For one thing, the canal space can reduce significantly when the spine is in extension (bent backward). There can also be movement (which may be more evident on flexion/extension xrays) which causes temporary impacts with the nerve roots.

    So, is the pain/tingling etc due to your spine? It's hard to say definitively. A set of flexion/extension x-rays may help shed light. Also, an EMG (looking at the conductivity and health of your nerves) could uncover peripheral neuropathies such as carpal tunnel and such which could explain your symptoms. I see they mentioned MS in the report. Did you have a brain MRI to check for lesions there? Is the ordering Dr a neurologist? If not, you may want to follow up there first. They could probably get the x-rays and EMG and refer you out to a spine specialist if they thought it was warranted from there. Or, you could take the approach that the radiating leg pain is a pretty classic L4-S1 compression symptom and head to a spine specialist. In that case, it may be more difficult to get answers about what's going on with your hands.

    Good luck and let us know how you get on...[/QUOTE]

     
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