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MRI results and possible diagnosis questions

TashaisinpainTTashaisinpain Posts: 10
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:41 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Here is what my MRI says:
Cervical Spine MRI
Findings: mild loss of the normal cervical lordosis. C5-6 disk space is mildly narrowed.

C3-4 and C4-5 minimal annular bulge without canal or foraminal stenosis
C5-6 small diffuse disc osteophyte complex 3mm in AP diameter indents the sac without canal stenosis. Sac AP diameter is 10mm. The ventral surface of the cord is slightly deformed adjacent to the disc, although there is CSF between the disc and cord. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing.
At C5-6 there is a small diffuse disc osteophyte complex indenting the sac and mildly narrowing the foramina, without central canal stenosis. The ventral surface of the cord is slightly deformed at this level, although CSF surrounds the cord. Elsewhere, there are more mild degenerative changes.

My question is this.....in your opinion, will surgery be required? If so, what kind? Am I correct in understanding that there is a compression of the spine? And if so, is this dangerous?

Thank you for any help!!~ It is much appreciated!


  • None of us are qualified to say whether surgery might be necessary, or not. This website has some excellent, informational articles written by spinal specialists. I am providing a link to one on cervical stenosis which goes into treatment options.


    Particularly if you are new to the wonderful world of back and neck problems, it is very important to learn all you can about your issues. It makes communicating with the doctor much easier and then you are able to better participate in treatment choices.

    Did your general practioner order the MRI or are you working with a spinal specialist?

    I am not qualified to answer your questions about spinal cord compression. I do not know at what point it becomes a problem requiring surgery. These are answers you must get from your spinal specialist.

    As you move forward with a diagnosis and treatment plan, many more questions will come up that we will be able to help you with! So post often and remember to look at the various articles, videos, etc. on the website, too.

    Good luck.

  • YOu will find that treatment is based primarily on your pain and symptoms. Then they look for a likely cause. So what looks bad on a report may not be causing you problems and will probably be left alone.

    You should keep a log of your pain or other symptoms like loss of strength or tingling. Then when you go to the neurologist or orthopedist you can tell them what you are experiencing.

    I can't tell you how important it is to be honest with your doctor. You need to understand what is happening to you and this and other sites are helpful. Just be careful not to try to diagnose yourself and then possibly create symptoms that go with what you think you have.

    Also take your time. You are entitled to more than one visit with your surgeon and the good ones will tell you to go home and think about it and come back. You are also entitled to a second and third opinion.

    As you get more info you might want to share how this started for you with the forum. Sometimes similar experiences will trigger responses from people who have gone through this already.
  • Let me just apologize now for the long post...I haven't had anyone to talk to about my neck problems and I have read a lot of the posts here and truly appreciate everyones compassion and caring.

    I have always had issues with my neck and shoulders but have always blamed it on stress. I am 37 and am the proud mom of a 19 year old daughter and also the grandma of a beautiful 3 year old granddaughter. I have always been a single mom. So, yes, I have a little bit of stress!! lol

    In my adult life I have always battled with tight muscles in my neck and in my shoulders. Two years ago I fell down the stairs and broke my left leg. I broke both bones and also had a break in my ankle. The surgeon said surgery would take about an hour. After 4 hours, my husband was freaking out! When the Dr. actually got in there he found that it was a lot worse than he had expected. He stopped counting the breaks after #8. I was off work for about 8 1/2 weeks. I have 2 metal plates and 10 screws in my leg. You would definitely think that after a fall like that my neck and shoulders would be messed up, but it was messed up way before that. I had actually gone to urgent care the night before my fall due to neck issues. They told me it was stiff neck and gave me painkillers and muscle relaxers. So ultimately after the fall I kind of forgot about my neck.

    After my fall my ortho recommended I see a Rheumy to get a bone scan because I was once again hurting in my neck and shoulders. I just thought it was hurting now because of my unbalanced walking and having to use the walker. The rheumy diagnosed me with fibromyalgia. For 2 years she Dr'd me for it with not one single xray. I then sought another Dr. to see if perhaps she could find something because I just wasn't getting any better. She gave me the same diagnosis and different meds. My last visit with her I was taking 1200 mgs of Gabapentin, trazedone, celexa, and anywhere between 2400-4800 mgs of ibuprofen a day for pain. My last visit I sat right in front of her crying because I hurt so bad. She looked at me and patted my hand and told me we would eventually figure it out. Enough already!! I felt she had judged me based on age, weight, and appearance. She had touched my shoulder and had the nerve to tell me she "didn't feel anything wrong". I was so hurt I cried all the way to work. I felt so misunderstood...and also very hopeless.

    Then a light bulb went off! After work I went to the urgent care where I had had such an awesome experience and told him what was going on. He told me based on my age, weight and frame its easy for Dr's to overlook my symptoms. He ordered an MRI and also scheduled an appt for me at the OSU neck and spine center. After the MRI results came in, he also wanted me to see a neurologist. My neurologist appt is scheduled for Feb 9th and my neck and spine appt isn't until late April. I know, I know, I know....patience Grasshopper, but I hurt so very badly and want to get better now, not later.

    My symptoms are: neck pain from the top of my neck to my shoulder blades, shoulder pain down to my finger tips. My arms are heavy and are constantly falling asleep. I can't sleep due to my arms going to sleep and being numb all night long. I feel as if I am always sleeping on a cement floor. My fingers tingle and are numb as well. My muscles spasm and are tight in my neck and in my shoulders. This seems to occur more on my left side. I don't know if this is part of my neck problems or not, but my bowels seem to shut down sometimes. I mean literally just stop moving.

    Please forgive me for such a long post....I really did try to keep it short!!~ I would appreciate anyones response....I don't feel so alone after finding this site. I thank you all for that!!~~
  • I love your comment - patience grasshopper lol. I too was misdiagnosed as having fibromyalgia. After two years, an MRI was finally ordered and my neck was found to be a mess. I have had great success with my neck fusion. I am not saying that is what they will recommend for you, but certainly want you to have hope that your problem will be diagnosed and treated. It does sound like your neck is possibly the source of your symptoms.

    Best wishes,

  • Ahhhh finally....someone who speaks my language!!~I know the people in my life love me, but I get so tired of that ....."ahhh, you poor thing" look. And the blank stare as they try to grasp what I am going thru.
    My husband (I just got married in August!!) is so good with me. He does an absolute fabulous job of trying to understand and is so patient with me.
    I just want it to be fixed. The burning in my neck and shoulders is so bad somedays that I can barely keep it together.
    I realize I am at the beginning, new Dr's, new tests, and new treatments. I'm just afraid of another misdiagnosis.
    Thank you for your kindness! I will keep posting and asking questions.
    Could you tell me a little about your situation? What happened, and what treatments have you received?
  • I'm sorry it's rough all you've been through. Have you tried acupuncture yet for your pain? I can't interpret MRIs but hope you wouldn't need surgery at this point. I hope you're feeling better soon.
    Did your Primary Doctor let you know his opinion yet?

    I agree with what the Urgent Care Doctor said to you and I'm glad I worked so many years at a Specialty women's hospital that women are more often overlooked because their symptoms are not so clear cut and may be overlooked especially at a young age. 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
  • First let me say Hi and welcome to spine-health. You will find many here who are going through or who have gone through what you are. Have a look around and be sure to check out all the literature written by doctors on neck pain. You may want to take the key words out of your MRI and put them in the search feature at the top of the page. Also check out under the FAQ section preparing to meet with a spine specialist. When you meet with the doctors right all your questions down, be as prepared as you can be. Keep in mind the doctors are extremely busy and so if you maximize your time with them, hopefully you will have a good outcome and all questions answered with a plan.

    Below is a link to a video on cervical radiculopathy. Although, I can't say for sure if your pain in your arms is coming from your neck it is possible. But watch the video and see if any of those pain patterns follow yours.

    Just thought I would stop by and welcome you to spine-health. If there is anything I can do don't hesitate to pm me. Take care.

  • I know it is very hard to walk into a doctor with a notepad but it is the best thing. You need to have your questions ready AND you need to write down the answers. Otherwise you will get home and not remember what he said.
  • Charry....I have stopped going to my Primary Dr and am dealing specifically with my Urgent Care Dr because at this point I trust him more!! He is so caring and "feels" my pain, ya know?

    My question is this: I was prescribed prednizone for inflammation and had a severe reaction to it. Needless to say I found I am allergic to it. My face swelled, airway constricted and my face was on fire! The steroid injections that I have read about, do they contain prednizone or anything related? I wonder if I will have the same reaction???? Any thoughts would be appreciated.

    Kris-NY...you are absolutely right. I will be walking in there on the 9th with notepad in hand, questions ready. Thanks for the advice to write down his answers. I really will foget by the time I get home, or at least forget anything but the bad stuff! lol

    tamtam--thanks for the link....it really does help.
  • I'm sorry to hear of your bad reaction to prednisone. I hope you're feeling better now. I know your Dr. would take precaution with any injections they do for you. Hopefully your Surgeon will have a plan of action for your needs. It's good if you're able to bring in a paper with your questions and to put the answers down. Even having someone to go with you may help. I hope they're able to alleviate your pain and symptoms. Keep us posted on how you're doing. 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
  • Can anyone tell me if they or anyone you know has had an allergic reaction to the injections?
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