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What does MRI of T spine mean?

ileneiilene Posts: 140
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:40 AM in Upper Back Pain, Thoracic
I had ACDF C5-6 on Aug 24, and have been having increasing pain in what feels like a different nerve root. Long story short my surgeon gave me the results of my MRI's of both my C and T spine when I was in the office last, he said all was normal. He implied that any pain I was having in a different was muscle pain, or not real, and just the nerves healing from the surgery. Basically he told me not to bother him again, and he would see me at my next post op visit. I decided to make an apt with a local neurologist, and just got a copy of my MRI's, the Thoracic MRI report is below, does anyone know what all this means? I am in a lot of pain, and as much as my neck is getting better with PT, other areas are hurting much more.

T2/T3 level. There is a broad posterior disk osteophyte complex. There is no significant central canal stenosis or contact with/deformity of the cord.

T3/T4 level. There is a broad posterior disk osteophyte complex. There is no significant central canal stenosis or cord contact.

T5/T6. There is a small sentral disk protrusion impressing upon the tecal sac, coming close to and possibly contacting the cord

T8/T9 There is a left central disk protrusion impressing upon the thecal sac, but not definitively contracting the cord or causing significant central canal stenosis.

Impression: Multilevel thoracic spondylosis as described. Small central disk protrusion impressing upon the thecal sac, coming close to and possibly contracting the cord at the T5/T6 level.

Thanks for any help you can be.



  • I am not a doctor and do not think it would be proper to attempt to read a MRI on this site, however, I will say I also had cervical disk surgery in 2008 and am currently under going chiropractic therapy for the thoracic area.. This was due to the muscles getting lazy and clumping togeather during neck and lower back injury recovery. I know the pain your referring too and it could very likely be caused by the muscles in the upper back and not by the t-spine itself. The MRI references some possible issues at the T5/6 area, but it may be something your surgeon it not too concerned with right now or even in the future.

    I would see your regular doctor and maybe see if he would have you see a chiropractor for thoratic muscle release therapy.

    CAUTION - My chiropractor I see was referred by my primary doctor with my surgeons approval to work on ONLY my thoratic area and NOT too do any neck or lower back adjustments.
  • Hi Ilene

    Sounds like t5/6 is your problem area - maybe. That is an area that they won't operate on until you are completely disabled. That is as deep as you can get in the body.

    If what I have read is correct there also isn't alot that PT or other therapies can do. Maybe some injections if they can get in there.

    Sounds like you have degeneration through the whole area. Alot of core strengthening would probably help. I was talking to someone about this on Christmas. She has gotten alot of mid-back pain relief from gym exercise like sit-ups and stretching.

    I would go to a neurologist anyway. Sometimes surgeons dismiss you because they can't or won't do anything.

    Good Luck and let me know what happens.

  • It's difficult to know if the surgeon is being sincere, or just trying to dismiss you.

    Maybe someone in the surgery sub-forum has had similar symptoms, and can tell you if they resolved after healing.

  • Hi I want to add the same thing happened in my T4 T5 area of my spine. I ended up in the Hospital with severe chest pain and could not breath because the T 4 protruded my lung because how the herniated disc in my T4 level was inflamed. I was in the Hospital for 7days to recover. Then I get out my doctor retires and so I move and where I move to I see a Nero Surgeon and he says, all the doctors lie in California and nothing is wrong with me. I am like what!!! I was in the Hospital for seven days what the heck are you talking about! I had an MRI too and the guy was like well I think MRI's are always wrong. Man right away I went back to my primary care doctor and told him I want a second opinion. I am going tomorrow to a spinal institute hoping I get a doctor who listens and will help me in this situation. Doctors forget they work for us we do not work for them.

    I hope and pray you get the help you need and please do not give up...:)
  • Hi Ilene,

    How are you feeling?

    Have you seen the local Neurologist who gave you the results of your MRI report?

    As Kris was saying, I have found aqua therapy to help with stretching and walking. When I first started aqua therapy (4 months post op and was in the process of weaning myself off of my brace) it was too much for me at that time. I revisited doing aqua therapy over the summer and it now feels really good. You can get a noodle, wrap it around your back and hold onto the front parts, and just float. Once you are used to the floating, you can also do the bicycle leg rotations. Walking in water seems to provide support around my back and it feels really good. If you can sit in a hot tub afterwards for 10 minutes, it's like a perfect ending to your aqua therapy.

    I hope you are doing better and have adequate pain control.

  • First I want to thank everyone for their responses, and good wishes, they are very much appreciated.

    I think the whole issue with my T spine hit me with as a big shock, but I am coping better then I was when all this "new" pain started. I did go to the ER thinking I was having a heart attack, was admitted, heart was fine, and then the pain started all over again while I was being discharged, I had trouble breathing, all of which I assured the nurse first and then the doctor was from the pain. I had brought my MRI pictures and report with me to the hospital, so neurology was called, and I was later told the pain is not from my heart, but from my T spine, and that the shortness of breath was from the pain, since taking a deep breath made the pain worse, I stopped taking normal breaths. He felt the nerves are inflamed more because of some of the exercises I was doing for my C spine, and he was probably right, since I have stopped all exercises, and have not had chest pain since. I made an apt with an orthopedic doctor my pain management doctor
    recomended and will see what he has to say.

  • Hi my friends,

    Well my MRI showed two herniated disc's in the T7 T8 T9 and T1o section. My doctor said oh he does not think that had to do with my chest pain and my feeling like my chest was being crushed and I could not breathe. I am like what? This is the second worst episode. I was frustrated because I was told it was then this guys tells me it wasn't and within six months I have another disc herniate to cause even more chest problems... I am living daily with pain in my chest and feeling as if it is being crushed.How can I continue like this? I ma suppose to see a Vascular surgeon on the 25th because the TOS is also way out of control.

    Well the best to all of you.
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