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  • MRI of Cervical Spine

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    Old 10-09-2014, 05:57 AM   #1
    Allen852
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    MRI of Cervical Spine

    Hello,
    I'm new to the forum and I had just recently had an MRI of the Cervical Spine.
    I am curious as to what it is actually saying. I am not really understanding the interpretation and I really would like to have a better understanding as to what all of this means.

    I have had really bad neck, shoulder and arm pain which keeps getting worse in the last few months. The arm pain radiates down both arms and my hands and fingers feel numb.
    Is there anything that anyone can see from this MRI that would explain the pain in my neck, shoulder, and both arms that someone can see that I may be missing.
    I must admit that I have no idea what most of the language used actually means so any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Here are the results of the MRI.

    FINDINGS:
    The alignment of the cervical vertebrae appears within normal limits. The vertebral body heights are preserved. There is diffuse disc desiccation and height loss. No abnormal marrow signal is identified.

    The cervicomedullary junction appears normal. The visualized portions of the posterior fossa contents are grossly unremarkable in appearance. The caliber and course at the cervical spinal cord appears normal. No abnormal signal is seen arising from the cervical cord. No intrathecal abnormality is identified.

    C2-C3. No significant disc herniation, neural foraminal narrowing, or spinal canal stenosis.

    C3-C4: Mild posterior disc spur complex resulting in effacement of the ventral thecal sac and mild left neuroforaminal narrowing.

    C4-C5: Mild posterior disc spur complex resulting in effacement of the epidural fat and mild left neuroforaminal narrowing.

    C5-C6: Disc spur complex resulting in mild central canal stenosis and mild to moderate bilateral neuroforaminal narrowing.

    C6-C7: Posterior disc spur complex without significant neuroforminal narrowing or spinal canal stenosis.

    C7-T1: Posterior disc spur complex without significant neuroforminal narrowing or spinal canal stenosis.

    The visualized portions of the soft tissues of the neck and parotid glands appear normal. No abnormality is seen within the visualized portions of the lung apices.

    IMPRESSION:
    Mild diffuse degenerative disc disease, most notable at C5-C6, resulting in mild relative central canal stenosis and mild to moderate bilateral neuroforaminal narrowing.

    END OF REPORT

    Is there anything that anyone can see from this MRI that could be causing my shoulder neck and arm pain?



    When I read it, I am not really seeing much wrong as to the findings that might be causing the pain that I have been having but I must admit I have no idea how to interpret what it is actually saying.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Last edited by Allen852; 10-09-2014 at 06:01 PM.

     
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    Old 10-10-2014, 10:49 AM   #2
    teteri66
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    Re: MRI of Cervical Spine

    Just a couple basic comments on spinal anatomy. I find it helpful to think of the spinal column as a "highway" that carries messages back and forth from the brain to the nerves that control various parts of the body. This system carries signals of sensation and movement.

    At each vertebral level, specific nerves exit the central canal and go out to innervate a specific area of the body. The "channel" that the nerve takes is referred to as a dermatome. You can look online for a dermatome chart to see which spinal nerve innervates which part of the body.

    For example, if I go into the doctor and tell him my great toe is becoming numb, he will know to check out my spine at the L4 (lumbar 4) level...because the dermatome for the big toe is innervated by the lumbar 4 spinal nerve.

    In your case, the report indicates that you have some disc degeneration going on at several different levels, and that it is most noticeable at C5-C6. If you look at the chart you will see that these nerves run across the t of the chest and down the lateral part of the arms, with C6 reaching into the thumb.

    The spinal nerve is affected when "something" presses into it or compresses or otherwise irritates it. The pain can be felt at the level of the nerve in the spine or anywhere along the dermatome path, depending on the extent of the compression.

    There are a number of things than can go wrong with the various components that make up the structure of the spine that can lead to nerve compression. One very common one is a disc herniation. In your case the report refers to a number of levels that have disc spur complex. This is a result of some disc degeneration, where little bony spurs form in an attempt to keep the spine from becoming unstable. It is the body's way of trying to adjust to disc degeneration, but what ends up happening is that the disc becomes too big for its space and it then pushes into a nerve, resulting in the pain you feel radiating out from the spine.

    This might be a good time to mention that radiologists use specific adjectives as a way to tell the doctor just "how bad" an issue might be....all radiologists use the same ratings system, so when you see the following words! you can get some idea too....minimal, mild, moderate and severe. Most of your findings are considered mild...which usually acknowledges that something is going on but nothing too serious...that it can be either watched or treated with conservative measures.

    If the bone spurs become so large that they impact the nerves and cause major compression! You will be told that there is stenosis...which means a narrowing. The nerves have to travel through some spaces that are of a specific diameter, usually sufficiently large to accommodate the nerve. But when something pushes into the space, or when "gunk" builds up and narrows the space, the opening becomes too small, resulting in the nerve getting "pinched." Stenosis is the term for this narrowing....

    While you have some early stages of disc degeneration starting at several levels, yours is the type of report where a patient is sometimes told something like "your MRI looks good...." You certainly do not have anything wrong that would require surgery. Perhaps a course of physical therapy will be recommended, or some oral medications if you are in pain. They will want to watch your cervical area to see if the stenosis becomes worse as you age.

    This is a very basic description that I hope helps you to understand a bit of what is going on. Your doctor will explain what he wants you to know. Good luck!

     
    Old 10-10-2014, 12:34 PM   #3
    Allen852
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    Re: MRI of Cervical Spine

    Thank you very much for your reply and your thoughts on the MRI report.

     
    Old 10-10-2014, 08:40 PM   #4
    teteri66
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    Re: MRI of Cervical Spine

    Feel free to post with questions.

     
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