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doctor says arthritis...

autumnjoyaautumnjoy Posts: 55
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:41 AM in Arthritis, Osteoarthritis
but my MRI doesn't mention it at all.

i recently started going to my doctor for pain in my neck and between my shoulder blades, also a deep aching in my arms, and also numbness in my fingers that's been constant for almost 3 months.

he first ordered an X-ray of my cervical spine, and i was told it was normal.

he then ordered an MRI of my cervical spine, which showed mild diffuse disc bulging in C4-C8, and moderate neural foraminal narrowing at all levels, the worst at C7-8.

the report also mentioned degenerative disc disease.

i had my follow-up appt w/ him today. he said i have arthritis in my spine, which showed to be moderate in nature, and also mentioned the narrowing.

is everything on my MRI report considered arthrits without directly mentioning the word? i've seen the report and it does not mention arthritis anywhere.

i'm really confused. can anyone help me understand this better?


  • I hope you get a second opinion. My first MRI showed facet joint arthropy(arthritis) and is usually present when there's a bulging or herniated disc as there's inflammation around the disc to allow for the bulge/herniation. My seond MRI showed no herniation 19 months later and didn't mention facet joint arthropy and I have mild DDD. Please see another Dr. for another opinion. 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
  • RangerRRanger on da rangePosts: 805
    Hi again autumnjoy,
    If your Dr is telling you it is indeed arthritis you need to be referred to a
    rheumatologist. In my opinion and experience with severe osteoarthritis in my spine and throughout my entire body my rheumatologist has helped me in so many ways. There are several types of arthritis so proper diagnosis is also very important. Hope you find your answers to your discomfort and all goes well for you. If I can offer any advice please PM me.
    Take care,
  • The facet joints in the spine are synnovial joints, just like other synnovial joints in the body such as the knee, etc. As such, they are subject to arthritis.

    "Arthritis" is one of those words that is really a catch-all or umbrella for all the sub-categories of arthritic diseases...and is used in a generic way to mean an inflammation of one or more joints. (disease ending in "itis" means inflammation of -- like pancreatitis in the inflammation of the pancreas, etc.)

    Often the radiology reports from imaging tests such as CT scan and MRI do not specifically mention arthritis, but there are certain conditions that imply that arthritis is present....Neural foraminal narrowing is one of them. You can read the definition at the glossary on this website:


    This and the diffuse disc bulging at various levels are both conditions that are indicative of an arthritic process.

    Are you being treated by a spinal specialist or did a family doctor send you for testing? If it was a general practioner-type, you might want to take you time to find a fellowship-trained spinal specialist. This can be either an orthopedic spine surgeon or a neurosurgeon who devote their practice to issues of the neck and back....(not a general orthopedist). You will get the most accurate diagnosis and plan of treatment from one of these specialists.

  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,875
    First thing is to determine if you have

    Osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease)

    Rheumatoid Arthritis (auto immune disease)

    Arthritis generally happens as we get older. But there are other situations that can change that course.

    1- Trauma, Accidents, etc
    2- Surgeries
    3- Genetics

    I beleive the hardest thing to deal with is that once it starts taking control, it seems to happen so rapidly and there is not a lot we can do to stop it.
    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
  • i really appreciate the clarification you've all provided.

    i know it it would have to be osteoarthritis, because he specifically said it wasn't rheumatoid arthritis. he ran a rheumatoid panel on me, and i was negative for it.

    i recently talked to my grandmother, and she has bad osteoarthrits throughout her spine. she said my mom (deceased) had it too, so it must run in my family.

    the doctor i'm seeing is a family practioner. i defrinately agree that seeing a spine doctor would be very beneficial, but unfortunately, i am without insurance right now, so i am going to have to "shop" around to see if there is a reasonably priced one that would look at my films, and atleast give me an opinion.

    my family doctor is atleast sympathetic to my pain, and will help with pain medicine, but i don't think he thinks my pain could be coming from back, and i totally do. he thinks that the pain and numbness in my arms and fingers is maybe caused from carpral tunnel. he also said he thinks maybe something more "peculiar" may be going on (his word). like what?

    i've been diagnosed with carpral tunnel in both hands, and this doesn't feel like that.

    maybe if i was seen by a specialist, my family doctor would take his opinion in to account. i know he would be willing to treat me, i just want him to be treating me for the right thing.

    so is osteoarthritis very progressive? i'm only 34, and hate to think of the many years of suffering i may have.

    sorry for the long post, and thanks again for your replies......... Autumn

  • Hi Autumn,

    There's a sticky in the insurance section of the forums, see this link:


    Hope it helps, let us know how it turns out.

  • thankyou so much for pointing out that thread to me.

    i was able to get my recent mri, ultrasound, and bloodwork through a local hospital's "charity" care, because of our low income.

    i will have to do a little bit of research as to whether i would be able to see a specialist there.

    i also live less than an hour away from the University of Louisville, which has a teaching hospital, i believe.

    thanks again for posting that info, i truly appreciate it.

  • Hi back Autumn,

    My pleasure, hope you'll be able to be seen soon and get some help in resolving the pain.

  • Your report may have referred to spondylitis or spondylosis.
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