Cervical Spine MRI

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Anonymous (not verified)
Title: Member
Cervical Spine MRI

I am a 29 year old female. When I was 18 I was in a car accident where I hit the windshield (yep, stupid me not wearing a seat belt for the first and last time). I never had headaches or migraines before until the accident and they just seem to keep getting worse and lasting longer. I have tried a few different meds for the headaches/migraines, but nothing seems to be working to well for me yet. The neurologist I am seeing is also a headache specialist. I started seeing a chiropractor in March, but stopped last month because of the pain I was having in my neck that I didn't have before. Now my neck won't pop to the left side any more, my right arm and shoulder gets pain in it, and sometimes my neck will catch. I am worried about how much worse my neck and headaches/migraines will get. I had an MRI of my cervical spine. My neurologist looked at my report, but didn't explain anything and made it seem like I had nothing wrong. I have been having constant headaches and migraines. Could this be the cause? Could you explain these results for me and who I would need to see about these results? There may be some minimal disc spacing desiccation and disc space narrowing at mid cervical levels. There is effacement of the anterior subarachnoid space at all cervical levels. T1-weighted imagining suggest posterior annular tearing and some disc bulging at C3-4, C4-5, and C5-6. Axial imaging confirms thumbnail central disc bulging at C3-4 effacing the anterior and posterior subarachnoid spaces at this level. Dural diameter is between 8 and 9 mm suggesting central spinal stenosis. At C4-5, some subtle right paracentral disc herniation is seen with only minimal deformity of the anterior thecal margin. Central and right paracentral disc protrusion is seen at C3-4 and C4-5 as described. A focal central stenosis at C3-4 is seen. Anteralateral deformity of the thecal sac is seen at C4-5. What do you think? Thanks

allicat2000's picture
Last seen: 1 year 6 months ago
Title: Member
Joined: 06/27/2008 - 9:13am
Welcom and I agree

Hi Jenn, I also agree with Paul, My CT report looks really scarey but my symptoms are only for one level on the left. I agree see a Neurosurgeon and discuss sypmtoms with him and they will explain the report to that.

carlygirl (not verified)
Title: Member
Our situations are similar!

Hi Jenn! We have SO much in common it is scary. I am 33 years old and was in a bad car accident when I was 18. I was sitting in the front passenger seat of a Toyota p/u and we t-boned another car during a blizzard. I wasn't wearing a seat belt either and it the windshield with my head. I shattered it, and completely punched out whole the size of a silver dollar. My forehead was slashed up as was my left eyelid. I had to get numerous stitched. I still have the scars today.

While I don't have a big problem with headaches I do have a big problem with my cervical spine. I had been having neck pain for about a year before I finally got an MRI which showed a large herniation at C4/5 and bulging at C5/6. I have been thru meds, PT, cervical ESI (which didn't help). I am now seeing a physiatrist and am hopeful she can help me with trigger point injections, traction, etc. I am scheduled for an EMG next week to check for nerve damage.

I know exactly how you feel and what you are going thru. Welcome and feel free to PM or email me so we can commiserate. Smile

E. J. (not verified)
Title: Member
MRI Reads

Jenn, read yor post, I had a somewhat similiar read on my mri, various bulges and spurring, at different levels in the cervical spine. One problem is we never know anymore who is reading and dictating the results of the mri, So much is out sourced anymore. What I am trying to say is you may have had your mri in New York City and the physician that read it and dictated the findings may have been in Korea or India with a hundred to do that day. How well did he look at your films,who knows. I agree with Paul, It would be a good idea to find a spine specialist and let him look at yor films, mine that read mild to moderate bulging at c3-4,4-5,5-6,and 6-7 when read by a good spinal reconstructive surgeon turned into mild at 3-4,4-5 and severe at 5-6and 6-7 with exhuberant spurring at those levels. in closing, that meant I needed a c5-7 acdf with cages and hardware. Do yourself a favor and find a good specialist to give you another exam and opinion.

amoola8813 (not verified)
Title: Member
Jen You make want see

You make want see another doctor and take all your films to that doctor. If the doctor you are currently seeing isnt answering your questions, and you are not confident in his/her work, the I would suggest seeing a different doctor, NS or OS who specialize in the spine. Neurologist dont always know the spine that well. I had a conversation with two neurologist about 9 months ago, was explaining my symptoms and test I had had done up to that point and how I still had pain usually a consistent 5. The two didnt understand why a back brace would just fix everything. They had their little brains wrapped around me having scoliosis and kyphosis. It was frustrating, I felt like I knew more about the human spine than the both of them put together. This is only my opinion, but I would see a different doctor, especially if the one you have now isnt explaining things or talking to you.

dilauro's picture
Last seen: 2 hours 25 min ago
Title: Moderator
Joined: 06/16/2008 - 9:41pm
MRI Readings

Hi Jen,
Like the others have said here, its always important to get second readings of your MRI reports. Each doctor can see things slightly different and may have different analysis of each test. What you want to get is detailed information about your MRI in terms that make total sense to you. Then you want confirmation from more than one pair of eyes that they are seeing the same thing.
First time I read a MRI report, I thought they were going to take me in for Emergency surgery that very moment! They reports can be very scary. I've tried and tried over the past 20+ years to figure out how to read MRI reports. Now that you can get them on CD's, I've even compared reports from one to another. I gave UP! MRI analysis is for the professionals only!

Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Moderator
I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences.

jenn2947 (not verified)
Title: Member
Update-Cervical Spine MRI

I went to my Primary doctor to ask his opinion on the result and the neurologist. He will be sending me to physical therapy first to see if that will help and to get the range of motion back in my neck. He also said when and if I need to see another specialist, it would not be the same one. YEAH!!! If physical therapy doesn't work, then we will go on with something else. A friend told me that P/T would be a waste, but I am just glad to be doing something about it now. My arms seem to be hurting more often. Has physical therapy helped anybody with similar neck problems?

Last seen: 5 years 3 months ago
Title: Member
Joined: 06/26/2008 - 10:19pm
MRI of C-Spine

Hi Jenn, I agree with the others, you can't go just by what the MRI reports say. The surgeons look at the actual films, not the reports. I asked the ortho spinal surgeon who saw me a question about something in the report. And he answered that he never even looks at the reports. He reads his own films and doesn't care what the radiologist says. A neurosurgeon or ortho spinal surgeon will take what he sees in the films and evaluate that with your particular symptoms.

The first thing my PCP did was send me to PT. It did help somewhat. I got improvement in range of motion, but it didn't do much for the pain. Although the hot packs, electrical stim, deep tissue massage, and all those are very pleasant. I imagine if the PT doesn't help you, your PCP will send you to either a surgeon or a pain management program. Good luck and come back and post as to your progress. Marti