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cervical spine issue

Hello - I am new to this so please bear with me. I have been having sever pain in my neck, back going into my arms. I had an mri last week and received the results yesterday. My doc called and wanted to see me right away - i am presently seeing a Rheumatologist. See looked at me and is sending me to pt - if that doesn't work then shots and if that doesn't work, a neurosurgeon. here is the bad part of my mri:

c6-7: Mild diffuse disk bulging in addition to a large left lateral recess/proximal left foramen disk extrusion. The extruded disk measures 8mm in height, 5mm in AP diameter, and 7mm in width. This obliterates the CSF space anterior and posterior to the spinal cord, with the AP diameter of the canal in the midline measuring 7.5mm. There is severe narrowing of the left foramen.

Can someone please help me understand this? Also, is it something to worry about?


  • First let me say welcome to spine-health. Have a look around, as you can see their are many members here with cervical spinal issues. Look around at the some of the videos and doctor written articles which will explain a lot of the terminology. If I was in your shoes, I would see a spinal specialist first to insure the treatment program is right. I can tell you this, that in almost all cases they will try conservative treatment first prior to moving forward with anything else. In most instances the insurance company is going to require it anyway. If you do the physical therapy and it hurts be sure to tell the therapist and if your symptoms get worse. Injections are another course of conservative treatment.

    As far as reading your MRI, none of us here are doctors, just patients, so we are not qualified to explain it. This is the best place for your doctor. We can tell you what we felt or have gone through, as many of us here have gone down this journey, including myself. But don't ignore symptoms your body might be having, and keep in contact with your doctor. Like I said I would see a spinal specialist first to be sure that is the proper protocol for your particular injury. I know it is scary when you read the word spinal cord, but keep in mind that the dura that covers the spinal cord is very strong. Of course when dealing with the spinal cord, it is important to look for things like, falling, not being coordinated, heavy legs and so on. If you look at the videos, and the corresponding articles you will begin to learn a lot, which is important to be very educated about your spine and what is going on.

    Just thought I would stop by and welcome you to spine-health. If I can be of any assistance don't hesitate to pm me. Good luck and keep us posted on how your doing.
  • To me, these are questions you want to sit down and ask your doctors. Ask the questions like - 'what if I do nothing?' 'what if I wait?', etc. If your doctor does not provide answers or does not provide them in mere mortal terminolgy, drop them like a hot potato and when you find another doctor, let them know that you need them to explain things in an understandable way.

    And, get a second opinion. It's customary (at least here in the U.S.) and actually most often expected. There are so many differing opinions and possible approaches to the same situation, you want to make sure that you've done your research so that when you have to make decisions, you feel fully informed.

    I wish you well. There are a lot of good people on here. Once you know what it all means, let us know. It's a pretty supportive group here with LOTS of opinions and suggestions to help you through. :)
    10/26/2012 ACDF C3/4 C4/5 surgery
    No pain; no pain meds - thank goodness!
    04/01/2013 - 5 months + 1 week - FUSED
    Doing some physical therapy for even better range of motion
  • Is it normal to have pain in the back of my head? My head also feels numb and I get kind of like goosebumps in my head
  • Might be a pinched nerve.
  • Can traction be dangerous. After reading some of the posts, knowing that the issue in my cervical spine is severe, I am a little worried about traction and if it could to more harm good.
  • I don 't understand your post. How did the chiropractor get you out of pain? Should I not go for traction? Do you think the pt would know the right way to handle this? My issue is I am up to my annual limit and also my deductible for ins and the year is fastly coming to a close. I need help and I need it now. My pain is unbearable and I haves reached the absolute end of tolerance. This is do scathe.
  • dstevensbobddstevensbob Posts: 18
    edited 11/23/2012 - 3:33 PM
  • I have had this done by a physio on my neck. It's a very gentle process as it tightens and relaxes the chin sling while you lie down.

  • As has already been stated, none of us are trained to give advice about your MRI.
    Hopefully by now, your doctor/spine specialist has discussed your results with you to explain what it means.

    I had physiotherapy for my neck every week. Once we got the results of my MRI scan, he stopped treating me until he got the ok from the neurosurgeon to continue. This was because I had compression of my spinal cord at two levels. The neurosurgeon authorised treatment, which was very gentle facet mobilisation and very gentle 'stretching' of my neck. I was however, told by the neurosurgeon not to let anyone adjust my neck, such as a chiropractor or osteopathist.

    I have just had (3 weeks ago) a 2 level ACDF. Before that I was getting pain in the back of my head which meant awful headaches. I would also get a goosebumps feeling on my head under my hair around the back.

    They had talked about trying injections to help me, but when I saw the Pain Consultant, he said that as it was hard disc and bony spurs that were compressing my cord, injections were not going to help me. I hope that you will get relief from these more conservative methods. :-)

  • I have been going to pt for the last few weeks. Traction, massage, etc. Today, I am experiencing numbness in my face and head, along with the tingling and numbness in my hands. Is this normal, also very bad muscle spasms in my neck and back of head
  • jellyhalljjellyhall Posts: 4,373
    edited 12/07/2012 - 12:09 PM
    I think I would phone your pt or your spinal doctor and ask about this numbness and the muscle spasms.
    It would be better to get reassurance from a medically trained person or let them tell you if this needs to be checked out further.

    Please do let us know how you get on. I wish you luck :-)

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