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I received a copy of my MRI results. Have a few questions.

ZacZZac Posts: 2
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:39 AM in Chronic Pain
Hello everyone. Here is a little background on me. I'm 37 years old and in 2005 I fell 18 feet head first and suffered compression burst fractures of C4, T5, and T6. In 2007 I had thoracic fusion surgery from T3 to T9. That cleared up the kyphosis in the thoracic region, but I am still in pain. I just had MRI's done with dye and here are the results:

Cervical spine: Mild diffuse decreased marrow signal is seen. Modic Type II endplate signal changes are seen at C6-C7 and C7-T1. Vertebral heights are maintained. Marked narrowing of C6-C7 and C7-T1 disc spaces is seen.

C3-C4: Marked right neural foraminal narrowing due to unconvertabral spurring. No significant spinal canal stenosis or left neural foraminal narrowing.

C4-C5: Moderate left neural foraminal narrowing due to unconvertabral spurring. Mild posterior disc osteophyte complex causing mild spinal canal stenosis.

C5-C6: Mild bilateral neural foraminal narrowing due to unconvertabral spurring. Mild posterior disc osteophyte complex causing mild spinal canal stenosis.

C6-C7: Mild posterior osteophyte complex without causing significant spinal canal stenosis. No significant neural foraminal narrowing.

Thoracic spine: Spinal rods and screws are seen from T3 to T8. Significant metallic artifact is seen at this area precluding detailed evaluation. Added artifact is also noted at T5-T6 due to interbody fusion hardware. Visualized vertebral heights are maintained. Normal alignment is seen. Visualized spinal cord appears normal in significant intensity. No significant spinal canal stenosis. No spinal cord compression. No significant epidural scarring causing compression on spinal cord. No disc herniation is seen in visualized portion. **Doc did a great job here**

Lumbar spine:
There is diffusely decreased marrow signal of the included lumbar spine and sacrum. This may be due to red marrow conversion. Vertebral heights maintained. Small focal areas of increased T1 and T2 signal are seen in S1 vertebral body consistent with areas of focal fatty marrow or hemangiomas. Cornus medullaris is unremarkable. Included abdominal aorta is normal in caliber.

No spinal canal stenosis or neural foraminal narrowing is seen. Mild L2-L3, L3-L4, L4-L5, and L5-S1 disc bulges. Mild L5-S1 facet degenerative changes bilaterally. No disc herniation.

My new doctor stated that my lumbar spine problems is simply just arthritis. What is all that talk about diffusely decreased marrow signal and red marrow conversion? I'm not a doctor, but this doesn't sound good to me. I feel like my body is literally falling apart and it seems like there is no hope for pain relief. The doctor is only prescribing me nsaids (trying everyone out first it seems) and is talking of doing epidural injections. I've had trigger point injections before and only got a couple days relief from them which eventually led to my surgery. The doctor also stated that he prefers not to do surgery, but would not rule it out. This is my 3rd time through this and it is just frustrating (first being the time of the accident, then the new doctors at the cleveland clinic for the surgery, and now the doctors at the VA). If anyone has any insight or information to pass my way, I would greatly appreciate it.



  • Are you having lower back/leg symptoms or neck/upper back/shoulder/arm problems? I'm not a medical professional of any sort, but it does seem you have a bit of pressure from osteophytes in your upper spine, which could create some significant pain in your neck and maybe upper back and shoulders. Many of us have minor disc bulges without them causing much pain, so your lower spine doesn't really appear to be much of a problem. Is your pain in your lower back?


    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • I have pain in both my neck and lower back. My neck feels "bunched up" all the time and have pain that shoots down through my arms. My lower back gets extremely painful when standing for 10 minutes and have pain that shoots down my legs. When walking, my feet will go numb and the only thing that helps with my pain is laying down or reclining. I'm mostly concerned about the marrow comments in my MRI. I'm only 37 and feel like I have probably lived the best years of my life already and that it is just going to be downhill from here.
  • Hello Zac,

    I sympathize with you! I know how you feel and I am only 38! I used to get the pain like you describe in your neck and arms, in my neck and arms also. But mine disappeared as suddenly as it appeared! My pain, I believe, was due to tense muscles pinching on nerves in my neck. I had an MRI, X-ray, and even electro-something or other that checks for nerve damage, but nothing showed up. I remember I was given a muscle relaxer medication in pill form, so that could have helped with the pain suddenly disappearing.

    As far as the lower back goes, It sounds like you might have something similar to what I have. I have a grade 2 Spondylolisthesis of L5 on S1 with severe bilateral foraminal narrowing, A L4-L5 posterior disc bulge and mild facet arthrosis. I cannot stand for very long, sit for very long or even walk for very long, before I start getting the pain in my right butt check and then radiating down my right leg into my right foot. It gets so severe I can barely stand the pain at times and the only way to ease it is to lie down on my back!

    I have been going to Physical Therapy to try and help with the pain. At first it was helping, but then suddenly one morning I got a sharp stabbing pain in the middle of my back, my spine felt like it cracked as when a chiropractor is adjusting it, pain radiated up into my left shoulder and radiated down into my left leg. Then both arms went numb. After a few minutes my arm numbness cleared up. Then both legs went numb. After a few minutes the leg numbness cleared up. Ever since then I have had constant pain in my extreme lower back and right butt check and in my right leg.

    I had similar results show up on my MRI. I have Modic type fatty degeneration of the endplates. Which is Fat showing up in the Bone Marrow. I did a Google search and that is what several websites showed.

    The Doctor I am seeing for my back is holding off with surgery because of my weight, 346lbs! She wants me to loose a lot more weight before surgery is considered a safe option. I have lost about 30lbs since June 2010. I just have to get something to ease this pain and then Physical Therapy will help me loose weight and also help improve the pain management because of better posture, better strength, etc..

    I hope you can find something that will help with your pain, and can find out what is causing your pain and then fix it!

  • AngeltannerAAngeltanner Posts: 1
    edited 01/29/2014 - 3:53 PM
    I received my MRI results and I need help in understanding the findings. I would like to do my own research on this before I go to the doctor to discuss this.
    1. Secondary to Red Marrow Reconversion
    2. Correlate with any Clinical evidence of anemia
    3. It's most likely not benign
    4. L-5 - S-1 facet hypertrophy
    5. Bone Marrow signal/fracture: Heterogeneous Bone Marrow
    6. Mild circumferential disk bulging
    7. Facet Degenerative Change
    8. Mild Disk height loss of L-2, L-3 and L-4

  • this thread orginated some 5 years ago, and with the exception of the last two posts, all of the replies are at least three years old now.
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