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Please help me understand my mri results.

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Old 05-11-2013, 08:39 AM   #1
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Please help me understand my mri results.

Can someone please explain my MRI results below? I am a 51 yr old female and was in a car wreck a month ago and have been having back, shoulder, neck, arm and leg pain. I get electrical shocks in my left elbow and in my legs. I'm having cramping in both legs and burning behind my right thigh.

1. C2-3 developmental fusion anomaly.
2. Slight posterior slippage of C3 on C4, C4 on C5, C5 on C6 accompanied by posterior disc bulges impressing upon the thecal sac and/or slightly containing the anterior surface of the spinal cord and resulting in mild narrowing of the central spinal canal particularly in the sagittal dimension. In addition, there is mild ligamentum flavum infolding impressing upon the dorsal surface of the thecal sac particularly at the C5-6 level and contributing to narrowing of the central spinal canal.
3. C6-7 disc bulge impressing on the thecal sac with slight narrowing of the central spinal canal particularly in the sagittal dimension.
4. Unconvertebral joint thickening and disc space narrowing contributing to mild C5-6 and left-sided C6-7 cervical foraminal narrowing.

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Old 06-14-2013, 05:20 PM   #2
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Re: Please help me understand my mri results.

I'm sorry to hear you're suffering from the effects of a bad car accident. Unfortunately, I am not a radiology technician and even if I were, it would be near impossible to fully give a diagnosis without seeing the MRI film. But from my knowledge from college, I would say you have some SEVERE neck issues which will can cause issues from your shoulders down. This would include numbness, tingling, and other loss of sensation issues. You are still in a healing stage of your initial injury and it can be awhile before you see improvement of your symptoms. Any narrowing of the spine can take a long time to heal.

I'm not sure when you are up to seeing your doctor, but make sure that you keep an open dialog with your medical team about what you feel and how you feel.

If you're going through hell, keep going. -Winston Churchill

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Old 06-14-2013, 07:25 PM   #3
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Re: Please help me understand my mri results.

Are you seeing a spine specialist? This could be either a fellowship trained orthopedic spine surgeon or a neurosurgeon whose practice is limited to the neck and back. Your neck problems are sufficiently complicated that I would encourage you to not waste time being treated by a pain management doctor or a PCP. Even though the two specialties I mentioned have "surgeon" in the title, all conservative treatment methods will be tried, with surgery only considered as a last resort.

It is difficult to tease apart which findings are a result of the accident and which you already had prior to the accident, as many things mentioned are the type of thing that comes with living -- "wear and tear."

Almost everyone shows some bulging discs by the time they reach a certain age. The spine begins the aging process in our it is not uncommon to have a disc bulge in the 30s or 40s.

One thing that is helpful to know is that radiologists use specific adjectives almost as a ranking system, to indicate approximately "how bad" a problem is. They are: minimal, mild, moderate and severe. Minimal and mild generally mean that problems are worth noting but will just need watching and perhaps some conservative treatments like a course of physical therapy or oral medication. Moderate can go either way and severe means severe!

You will note that you have slight disc bulges at a number of levels and there is what I assume is spondylolisthesis. This is where one vertebra slips over the top of the adjacent vertebra, often causing some instability at that segment. Yours is occurring to the posterior side...and the report doesn't indicate to what extent. This, along with the disc bulges, serves to create some narrowing of the central canal. If something is pushing into the central canal it can cause nerve irritation or compression, which can result in pain that you can feel at the site, or radiating out to a limb or body part....(If you are curious, you can look online for a "dermatome map" which will show you which area of the body is innervated by which spinal nerve.)

If you go to a spine specialist, he/she will be able to correlate the findings of the MRI to what is found on physical exam, a basic neurologic exam and from listening to your description of your symptoms and their impact on your day to day living. In your case it is difficult to judge just how serious your issues might be. It may be that a course of physical therapy and perhaps a couple epidural steroid injections will resolve the problems...I hope that is the case for you.

You will find that there are members with cervical spine issues that post on the "Spinal Cord Disorder" board. You might find someone there who could provide more information.

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