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  • could anyone tell me what is wron with my c6 and c7 disc please

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    Old 01-21-2012, 10:42 PM   #1
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    wallj007 HB User
    could anyone tell me what is wron with my c6 and c7 disc please

    Could someone please help me. I have had my arms and my hands going numb and hurting. I went to the doctors and he did a test on me and said i had carpolltunnel. He also sent me to get a MRI and i have no clue what it mean.It says
    c2-c3 no significant posterior disc bulge ,central canal or neurforaminal stenosis
    c3-c4 small left paracentral disc protrusion without significant central canal or neuroforaminal stenosis
    c4-c5 no significant posterior disc bulge ,central canal or neurforaminal stenosis
    c5-c6 right paracentral disc protrusion which is indenting on the thecal sac.No significant neuroforaminal stenosis
    c6-c7 large central disc protrusion which is causing severe central canal and bilateral neuroforaminal stenosis
    c7-t1 no significant posterior disc bulge ,central canal or neurforaminal stenosis

    1. Large disc protrusion at c6-c7 which is causing severe central canal and bilateral neuroforaminal stenosis
    2. disc pritrusions at c3-c4 and c5-c6 as described above

    Could someone please tell me what is going on with me.Is this real bad or is it something that is going to go away..

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    byoung6 (01-27-2012)
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    Old 01-22-2012, 11:50 AM   #2
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    Re: could anyone tell me what is wron with my c6 and c7 disc please

    The disk between your C6 and C7 vertebrae is protruding backward into your spinal canal. The disk may have ruptured, or it may just have been squeezed out by pressure on the spine. Have you suffered any trauma, or perhaps engaged in some sports or exercise (e.g. yoga) that might have affected it?

    The radiologist says the protrusion is "large", but doesn't give a measurement. He also says it is "central", which means it is coming straight back, that is, the protrusion is not lopsided to one side or the other.

    This protrusion is causing "severe" (flashing red light, here) "stenosis" (narrowing) in your spinal canal. While you do have some leeway in the canal due to the spinal fluid, there's a good chance your spinal cord (floating in the spinal fluid inside the canal) is being pressured, or even indented.

    At this level, your C7 nerves leave the spinal cord from each side and go down into your arms. The C7's innervate a number of arm muscles, and specifically the middle finger. When they leave the spinal cord, they pass through a bony opening called the foramen (or neuroforamen). A disk protrusion, if it's big enough, or lopsided, can push into this opening and narrow it (neuroforaminal stenosis). If it pushes enough, it will affect the C7 nerves. Your problem is a bit unusual in that the disk is affecting you bilaterally.

    You may or may not have carpal tunnel, but at least the doc who said you had it was careful enough so that he sent you for a cervical MRI. While some/all of your hand symptoms may be due to carpal tunnel, they may also be due to your C6-C7 problem.

    To answer your questions....

    - It PROBABLY will not go away

    - It MAY be bad. From what the radiologist says, the foraminal stenosis is very likely causing some/all of your arm/hand problems. Whether or not your spinal cord itself is affected has been left unanswered. Since the radiologist can clearly see if the cord is indented by the protruding disk, he SHOULD have said something about it, but that's not something you can count on with radiologists. Do you have any symptoms lower down, specifically in your legs? Abnormal sensations, numbness, clumsiness? If so, you very likely have a cord problem at C6-7, and if you do, you need to fix it surgically.

    The operation for fixing your problem is the ACDF, where the surgeon comes in from in front, removes the C6-7 disk, replaces it with shaped donor bone (artificial disks have been used, but that's another discussion), then clamps it all together with titanium plates. In a few months, your C6 and C7 vertebrae will grow through the matrix provided by the donor bone, and you will be "fused".

    You also have an incipient problem at C5-6. It probably is asymptomatic now, but since it is indenting the thecal sac (spinal canal), as long as you are getting a C6-7 ACDF, the surgeon might well recommend doing C5-6 at the same time.

    These ACDF's are pretty routine surgeries. Getting both levels done would probably result in a 1/6 loss of cervical range of motion.

    If you DON'T get the ACDF(s) done, you may be risking permanent spinal cord injury (myelomalacia). Something to consider, if a doc wants to try "conservative" treatment for a few months.

    Please keep in mind that all of the above is from an interested and semi-informed amateur, and should not substitute for consultations with GOOD medical professionals...

    Last edited by WebDozer; 01-22-2012 at 11:55 AM.

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    byoung6 (01-27-2012)
    Old 01-27-2012, 03:47 AM   #3
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    Re: could anyone tell me what is wron with my c6 and c7 disc please

    Web dozer is right - I had similar pains in both arms nearly three years ago. It took 6 months to get a proper diagnosis. MRI showed that bone was pressing on my spinal cord. I had ACDF at C6/7. It is routine and although it sounds scary it was in fact no problem and is not to be feared. However nearly two years after surgery I am reliant on Gabapentin as the damage appears to be permanent or at least that is what I have been told. My advice is to get a diagnosis - MRI is the best and get the surgery done asap. My surgeon told me he was trying to protect my future - could not guarantee that damage had not been done to my spine but without it even worse damage could have occurred. Just wonder if there is a better drug than Gabapentin as it is not full proof and using a keyboard hurts however much I take. Good luck.

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