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New Here. Need help with MRI Report please!

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,670
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:28 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Hello. I’m new here. First of all, I would like to apologize for the length of this post, but I would appreciate any comments/opinions/help you can offer.

About 7 months ago I woke up with severe pain in my left shoulder, shoulder blade and arm. The pain became less severe for a while, then progressed to the point that I started having numbness and tingling in my little finger and ring finger. Now the pain in my shoulder blade and arm at times is excruciating. I’ve been to physical therapy, which only seemed to make the pain in my shoulder blade worse. I’ve had an EMG and nerve conduction studies, which showed some nerve irritation in the shoulder blade and neck area. (The upper arm and shoulder/lower neck area is where the EMG was done.) I recently had an MRI and would like to share those findings here and get some feedback.

Findings: There is degenerative disc desiccation at all levels with multiple levels of spondylosis. The spinal cord maintains a normal MRI appearance and the craniocervical junction demonstrates some low lying cerebellar tonsils. These do not qualify as a Chiari I malformation.

C2-3: Degenerative disc desiccation with no disc bulge or protrusion. There is some right sided facet joint hypertrophy. The facet joint disease creates moderate right neural foraminal stenosis. The left neural foramen and spinal canal are patent.

C3-4: Degenerative disc desiccation with a very small broad based posterior disc bulge with bilateral uncovertebral joint hypertrophy. There is a mild component of spinal canal stenosis as well as moderate to severe bilateral neural foraminal stenosis. There is no focal disc protrusion.

C4-5: Degenerative disc desiccation with a small broad based posterior disc bulge with bilateral uncovertebral joint hypertrophy, right greater than left, and right sided facet joint hypertrophy. The spinal canal remains patent. There is minimal narrowing of the left neural foramen but moderate to sever stenosis of the right neural foramen. There is no focal disc protrusion.

C5-6: Degenerative disc desiccation with broad based posterior disc bulging and posterior end plate spurring which is somewhat asymmetric to the right. There is also bilateral uncovertebral joint hypertrophy. These changes create mild spinal canal stenosis and severe bilateral neural foraminal stenosis.

C6-7: Degenerative disc desiccation with broad based posterior disc bulging and posterior end plate spurring and bilateral uncovertebral joint hypertrophy. These changes create mild spinal canal stenosis and moderate to severe bilateral neural foraminal stenosis with no focal disc protrusion.

C7-T1: Degenerative disc desiccation with an asymmetric broad based posterior disc bulge. This is greater on the left side as compared to the right and creates severe left neural foraminal stenosis. The right neural foramen is widely patent. The spinal canal shows only minimal stenosis.

If you made it to the end of my post…thank you. I know that none of you are doctors, but I find that people who have experience with these kind of issues tend to be more helpful in explaining what all this means…sometimes more so than doctors, obviously, or I wouldn’t have to ask for help with my MRI report on this forum. Thanks again for your help. -- L



  • Okay, I am no physician but I have had a similar report.

    Spondylosis = arthritis
    Stenosis = presure on the spindal cord

    The wierd thing is that you have no disk protrusion where the stenosis is. It may be that you are like me and just have a narrow spinal column. Only a NS can answer that one.

    Bascially it sounds like a lot of degeneration of the disks and bones in your neck with arthritis and maybe some nerve pressure which could be causing the arm pain.

    Find a good neurosurgen and maybe a physical therapist. Check with your physician to be safe.


    The information provided by members of Spine-Health should never be considered as formal medical advice. It is recommendations based on member's personal experiences only. This can vary from person to person, so do not take comments as medical rules. Edited by moderator Paulgla
  • Hi there,

    Just thought i'd add to melswartz glossary:

    neural foraminal = where the nerves enter and exit the spainal canal. Bialateral means there attributing it to both left and right sides.

    From my experience, the docs pay more attention to moderate and severe... but each doc is different and of course it depends on your own history.

    Good luck!
    L4-L5 fusion 1998; ACDF C4-6 2008; DDD
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,875

    For a Spine-Health Site introduction, Click on :

    Welcome To Spine-Health

    If you have any questions, feel free to contact (PM) any one of the Moderators here Priestess , Bruce , Paulgla, DiLauro

    The Spine-Health Web site offers so much more than these Member Forums.
    Check the various tabs at the top of the Spine-Health page and you will find so much that is offered here.

    Please remember that all information you receive from members on this forum is NOT
    formal medical advise. You should always consult with your doctors.

    To get back to the Forums, you can always click on Forum Home

    Please feel free to contact me at rdilauro@gmail.com or send me a message
    For starters as you mentioned, members here are not formally trained in the medical professional. MRI report readings are extremely difficult and even many seasoned medical professionals will have different views on the same MRI
    As far as what ANY Spine-Health member can say, look at your MRI report as:
    Mild Hopefully PT and Medications can help here and hopefully there is no signs of immediate requirement for surgery
    MediumThere are some problems that need to get addressed. How that is done is up to your doctor. It could be one of the many conservative treatments that are available
    Severe Something is serious. You definitely want to get second or third opinions on this

    The best advice is to go back to your doctor and have them explain in detail what the MRI report is saying. Let them describe what action plan they are going to take, and if surgery is a possibility, understand the pros and cons of having surgery or not.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Thanks for the welcome and for the comments on my post. I've had several weeks of physical therapy which only made my pain worse. Any type of electrical stimulation they used on my neck and shoulder area took me days to get over. The electrical stim seemed to irritate the nerves in that area. I've seen an orthopedic doctor but not a neurosurgeon. My ortho doc ordered the PT, EMG and MRI. He also had me purchase a saunders home cervical traction device. I declined the epidural steroid injections. After reading about those, I just don't want to go there. I will certainly check out the information on the Spine-Health Website. Thanks again for your help. -- L
  • any updates on how your doing lollibelle?
  • I saw a neurosurgeon in May and he wanted to send me to a pain management doctor for epidural steroid injections...something I don't want to do. I'm afraid of the injections, but I'm also afraid of surgery. The pain in my neck, shoulder and arm is quite severe at times and I'm still comtemplating what to do next. At the moment, I'm just trying to cope the best I can by taking Advil and Ultram during the day and Soma early evening or bedtime. I'm sure I'll eventually go to the PM doc to discuss pain management options other than cervical steroid injections.-L
  • I've had epidurals and the 2nd and 5th one seemed to help as well as lyrica and cymbalta. I understand of fear of injections in your neck but if your sedated it's not so bad. I had lumber injections though. I hope you find relief with the meds. www.chirogeek.com is a helpful website as well. Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • Your MRI findings describe degenerative disc disease and arthritis, from my layperson's understanding. We share the same basic diagnosis and I've had pain similar to what you describe. For me, it was EMG testing (which showed nerve entrapment) which provided the definitive diagnosis for the surgeon and which then justified surgery.

    I haven't read everyone else's replies yet but I would encourage you to try the epidural injections. I had two and they were a piece of cake (and I do not like needles!) They give you light sedation (or make it optional, usually) and the only discomfort is briefly when the medication is actually injected because it causes pressure around the nerve and that creates momentary pain. But you don't even feel the needle go in and with sedation you can be dozing peacefully through most of the 10 minute procedure. The injections did nothing to help me but they do help very many people and I believe most surgeons require them before even considering surgery.

    2009 Foraminotomy C6-72010 PLIF L4-S1Multi RFA's, cervical inj, lumbar injLaminectomy L3-4 and fusion w/internal fixation T10-L4 July 17Fusion C2-C5 yet to be scheduled
  • The injections are not so bad. You will do fine. Remember it takes a little pain to get rid of pain. Your MRI looks like you have facet joint disease which is arthritis. After you injection ask your doctor how many anti inflams you can take a day and have him prescribe you some. I have that and my doctors have me on napraxen 550mg double strength two times a day. You cant take it before the injection for 2 weeks.
    2005-ACDF with Corpectomy at C3-C-5.
    2006-L4-L5 diskectomy.
    2009-Cervical laminectomy at C3.
    Steroid injections series x 4.
  • I have a lot of the same pain as you are describing now along with pain in both legs now...I wish you the best of luck.

    Please help me understand MRI Report thanks.

    C2-3 essentially normal

    C3-4 There is DDD w/spurring and a bulge eccentric to the right. These changes are causing at least mild flattening of the thecal sac and mild-moderate narrowing of the right neuroforamen.

    C4-5 There is moderate DDD w/ a minimal bulge and uncovertebral spurring. There is at most slight flattening of the thecal sac and neuroformina.

    C5-6 There is fairly prominent loss of disc height and disc signal. There is extensive right-sided uncovertebral spurring w/ possibly associated disc material.However, I mainly believe this is a spur. This abuts and flattens the right ventral surface of the spinal cord and is causing mainly severe right neuroforminal narrowing although there is fairly prominent central canal stenosis as well. The left neuroforman is atleast moderatly narrowed.

    C6-7 There is fairly prominent DDD w/ uncovertebral spurring and a disc bulge, more prominent on the right compared to the left. The CSF space is nearly completely effaced but no spinal deformity. Moderate central canal and bilateral neuroforminal narrowing.

    C7-T1 There is a minimal bulge and hyperthrophy w/o significate mass effect.

    No acute bony changes present there are a few scattered hemangiomas.

    Lumbar spine

    L5-S1 Normal

    L4-L5 Normal

    L3-L4 Normal

    L2-L3 Normal

    L1-L2 There is a small focal central disc herniation superimposed upon a mild to moderate circumferential bulge. There is also mild to moderate narrowing of the disc space. These changes, plus minimal facet hyperthrophy, are at most causing slight flattening of the ventral surface of the thecal sac. Also some small osteophytes.

    Thoracic Spine


    1. T 7-8 Tiny central disc herniation which abuts w/o distorting or displacing the spinal cord

    2. There are a few scattered hemangiomas

    3. No acute bony abnormalities are identified

    myleopathy, spinal osteoarthritis, ACDF on C5-6 & C6-7 on 12-16-08 no relieve yet, heart cath 08/01, 09/2008 as well, suffered mild cardiac infarction @ 24 yrs old, hystrectomy due to cervical cancer on 08/2005.

    *by the way I am only 32 years old.

    Please help had ACDF on C5-6 C6-7 surgery on Dec. 16th 2008 still in alot of pain. I actually feel worse now the before my surgery. This is MRI was done before my surgery. Loss insurance coverage since don't know what to do. Taking no pain meds and the pain is killing me both physically and mentally. Any Suggestions and what does this MRI report findings really mean???
  • Thanks everyone for your comments on epidural steroid injections. The pain from the needle is not really what I fear. I've read that there is a higher risk for complications with cervical ESI vs. lumbar ESI. I know the more serious complications are rare, but the benefits don't seem worth the risk...especially when so many people on this site and others I've spoken with in person said the injections weren't helpful.

    Rebecca, I'm so sorry you've had so many health problems at such a young age. I hope you are able to find relief. - L
  • is there someone who can review my MRI, CT, X-ray. Can I upload it. thanks
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