Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

MRI & Symptoms Please Help

I need help understanding my MRI report "Please"  

(I've had on going problems ever since a neck fusion at C5-C6 that was done in 1995)

Here is what my Radiologist report says from this year.

C3-C4: There is left posterolateral/lateral protrusion only mildly narrowing the neural foramen on axial T2*weighted Image #4

C4-C5: The disc is moderately narrowed with minimal anterior intervertebral osteophyte formation, minimal bulge, and mild bilateral uncovertebral osteophytic neural foraminal narrowing. 

C5-C6: There is anterior discectomy with interbody fusion mass appearing united without ventral extrathecal defect. 

C6-C7: There is minimal central protrusion not approaching the ventral spinal cord on Image #18 

C7-T1: Unremarkable. 


1. C5-C6 anterior discectomy with interbody spondylodesis appearing satisfactory. 

2. Mild to Moderate C-4-C5 chronic degenerative disc disease. 

3. Shallow left posterolateral C3-C4 protrusion. 

4. No definite neurocompressive lesion is identified. 

I'm not sure what all of this means. Does anything here look like it could be the reason for my symptoms? 

I'm having problems with neck pain, shoulder pain (mostly in the middle of my upper back), burning sensations at times, headaches (mostly the base of my neck), off balance, constant vertigo (swaying rocking sensations), The vertigo rocking sensations are the worst symptoms (not dizzy spinning vertigo) besides the pain, pins & needle sensations, at times I'm having electric shocks going through my body (I feel like they start from my head/neck area then travels on down my body, constant inner vibrations in my lower legs and feet but, sometimes the vibrations are all over. Other symptoms off & on just too many to remember.

May 2012 of this year, I went to see an ENT to see if he could find a reason why I'm having balance, ringing in my ears (Bilateral Tinnitus), vertigo and pain problems. I've had them for many years and have lived with them until they have become too much to tolerate and I'm looking for answers as to what is going on. My ENT (which is the 1st time I've been to one) the other Doctors in the past have all been Nero Doctors. Anyway, he had me go have a VNG test done in May. 

The VNG test results: 

IMPRESSION: Left Hypofunction

My ENT Doctor then sent me to have an MRI of the Temporal Bones to rule out any tumors. He also ordered a MRI of my Cervical Spine with and without contrast. 

The Temporal Bones MRI were normal. He just said that I have Left Hypofunction of the nerve in my left ear. He said that I don't have Meiner's, BPPV nor any other inner ear problems that would explain all my symptoms. 

I'm so confused and don't know where to go from here. Can anyone please help with some much needed advise.

Very sorry for this being such a long post. I just found this forum and am new here.

Thank you,



  • First let me say welcome to spine-health. Have a look around and you will find others whom are having issues getting a diagnoses. As to your question of reading your MRI, none of use are doctors and would be really unfair of us to comment. we could give you reason to worry over something when in fact it is not true or vice versa. As far as your symptoms go, typically the only reason a cervical patient would involve the legs is if you have myelopathy, which means you have contact with the cord, which there is no mention of in your image reading.

    If I was in your shoes, I would visit with a spine specialist and see what they have to say about your MRI. It is not uncommon to have what is called adjacent disc disease failure, from a fusion at another level. When they fuse one level it does place more pressure on the adjacent levels. Your doctor needs to do a exam, and then use the mri to make a clinical diagnoses. As far as the remainder of the symptoms they may suggest that you see a neurologist as well.

    A tool you might find helpful is the dermatone map. It is a detail of the nerves coming off the spinal cord and which parts of the body they serve. As to the dizziness, other members have reported, but I am not sure as to what the results of that was. Read some of the threads and you might find what they were told.

    Just thought I would stop by and welcome you to spine-health. If I can be of any assistance in the future don't hesitate to pm me. Take care and keep us posted.
  • Tamta, thank you for the reply and the welcome. I did make an appointment to see my Nero. Surgion in 2 weeks and thought I'd post questions as to what the Radiologist medical terminology means on my MRI before I go see my Doctor.

    This same Nero Doc that I have an appt. with also did a lapindectomy (? spelling) on my L5-S1 lower back 3 years ago in 2009. He gave me a injection the 3rd month and the 4th month after surgery near the surgery site to relief the surgery pain in my lower back. I was a little worried about that but I'd say after 6 months I hardly felt anymore pain and was completely healed a year later. I'm so happy I had the L5-S1 surgery that so many people told me that I'd regret doing, glad I didn't listen to them and did what I thought was best for me.

    The C3-C4 has me a bit concerned, there's not much about that disc's symptoms on the net. I did read several posts where others were having vertigo (the rocking / swaying kind) which they also had problems that showed up on their MRI's with the C3-C4 disc but no one ever followed up to post once they had surgery on their C3-C4 disc if it got rid of the moving / swaying vertigo or not. This is the worst symptom I have. I've had this for so long that I just want it to go away and can't find the reason for it. Very frustrating!!

    Also where is says: C-4-C5 chronic degenerative disc disease.

    What does "CHRONIC" degenerative disc disease mean?

    Thanks again!
  • I think I posted to you on another thread you have going too...

    Degenerative Disc Disease is really not a disease...it just refers to the changes in one's spine as they age. This happens to pretty much everyone over time. Some people have symptoms...some do not. About 85% of the time the symptoms go away on their own or with non surgical intervention.

    As we age, our spinal discs break down, or degenerate, which may result in degenerative disc disease in some people. These age-related changes include:

    The loss of fluid in your discs. This reduces the ability of the discs to act as shock absorbers and makes them less flexible. Loss of fluid also makes the disc thinner and narrows the distance between the vertebrae.

    Tiny tears or cracks in the outer layer (annulus or capsule) of the disc. The jellylike material inside the disc (nucleus) may be forced out through the tears or cracks in the capsule, which causes the disc to bulge, break open (rupture), or break into fragments.

    These changes are more likely to occur in people who smoke cigarettes and those who do heavy physical work (such as repeated heavy lifting). People who are obese are also more likely to have symptoms of degenerative disc disease.

    A sudden (acute) injury leading to a herniated disc (such as a fall) may also begin the degeneration process.

    As the space between the vertebrae gets smaller, there is less padding between them, and the spine becomes less stable. The body reacts to this by constructing bony growths called bone spurs (osteophytes). Bone spurs can put pressure on the spinal nerve roots or spinal cord, resulting in pain and affecting nerve function.

    So, obviously no one is a Dr. here or can diagnose you....but it doesn't look like there is anything "severe" on your report as that is when they usually go towards surgery. Anything mild or moderate can be helped non surgically...

    I've had 3, two-level, cervical fusions as well as have severe herniations right now but am not doing any more surgery unless there is a direct threat of paralysis...

  • Firstly CHRONIC degenerative disc disease ; Lovetotravel gives a pretty good description of what degenerative disc diseas is. Chronic means that it has been going on for a long while.

    As for your MRI report and symptoms, I will share a bit of my experience:

    "I'm having problems with neck pain, shoulder pain (mostly in the middle of my upper back), burning sensations at times, headaches (mostly the base of my neck), off balance, constant vertigo (swaying rocking sensations), The vertigo rocking sensations are the worst symptoms (not dizzy spinning vertigo) besides the pain, pins & needle sensations, at times I'm having electric shocks going through my body (I feel like they start from my head/neck area then travels on down my body, constant inner vibrations in my lower legs and feet but, sometimes the vibrations are all over. Other symptoms off & on just too many to remember."

    I have cervical spondylosis throughout my neck, from C3 to C7.
    At C3 and C4 I have compression of my spinal cord and it looks like I will be having a 2 level ACDF before long.

    From C4 to C7, I have compression of the nerve roots causing cervical radiculopathy which shows as all sorts of pains, numbness, tingles, twitching, burning pain and shocking in my hands, wrists, arms, shoulders and neck. I also get the same pains, tingles, burning, pricking and shocks in my toes, feet and ankles. I have started getting sciatica in my right buttock and sometimes down my right leg as far as my outer calf. (I wonder if this sciatica is being caused by problems in my lumbar spine. I had a lumbar fusion of L4/5 with decompression nearly 2 and a half years ago.) Sometimes my balance seems 'off' but not all the time. Sometimes when I am out walking, it feels like I am on a boat trying to walk straight. If I am out with my husband I often seem to 'drift' into him!

    My most debilitating problem is severe and very regular headaches which I have been told are caused by the higher level of my neck, particularly C3.

    A very strange symptom I have every morning in bed as I wake and start to move is an involuntary stiffening spasm in both legs, causing my right foot to turn inwards very strongly. I also sometimes get this around my abdomen and it causes my back to arch right up off the bed. I also get this when standing up after sitting for a long while. Apparently this is called spasticity.

    I also have so many symptoms in so many areas that my neurosurgeon team wondered if they were all coming from my neck. They referred me to a neurologist to rule out MS and other conditions. I have just heard from the neurologist who considers that all my symptoms could be caused by the cord compression in my neck. My MRI in October 2011 and also October 2010 both show compression and indentation of my cord. I also have brisk reflexes in my arms and legs.

    I hope that this helps you. It doesn't seem that your report indicates any compression on your cord. I am not sure what a VNG test is. I am sorry that you are still having pain in your neck. Have you had it since your fusion in 1995 or did you have some years without pain before it arrived.

Sign In or Register to comment.