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is my cervical spine fixable??

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,321
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:24 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
“MRI Cervical spine done on 23/6/2008

Cervical spondylosis with marginal lipping is noted most at C5/6 level. No discrete focal bony lesion or abnormal marrow signal intensity is seen. Mild decrease in vertebral height of C5 and C6 is noted. Rest of the cervical vertebrae shows normal vertebral height. The vertebral endplates appear preserved. Loss of cervical lordosis with no abnormal anteroposterior slip is noted.

Los of bright T2 signal suggestive of desiccation of intervertebral disc is noted at multiple levels from C2/3 to C6/7. Mild disc space narrowing is seen at C5/6 level.

At C3/4 level, posterior disc bulge with mild anterior thecal sac indentation is noted. No definite cord compression is associated. No significant neural foraminal narrowing is seen.

At C4/5 level, mild broad based right paramedian disc protrusion with right anterior thecal sac compression and mild right anterior cord indentation noted. Mild right neural foraminal narrowing is noted.

At C5/6 level, moderate broad based central to right paramedian disc protrusion with anterior thecal sac compression and mild anterior cord compression is seen. Mild left neural foraminal narrowing is noted.

At C6/7 level, mild broad based right posterolateral disc protrusion is noted. No definite cord compression is associated. Moderate to severe bilateral neural foraminal narrowing is noted.

The cervical cord appears normal in size and signal intensity. No abnormal cord expansion or intramedullary signal is seen. No evidence of myelomalacia is seen. No abnormal intrathecal mass lesion is seen. The cervico-medullary junction is unremarkable. No cerebellar tonsillar herniation is seen.

Cervical spondylosis with marginal lipping most at C5/6 level.

Desiccated intervertebral discs at multiple levels from C2/3 to C6/7. Mild disc space narrowing at C5/6 level

Posterior disc bulge with mild anterior thecal sac indentation at C3/4 level. No definite cord compression associated.

Mild broad based right paramedian disc protrusion at C4/5 level with right anterior thecal sac compression and right anterior cord indentation.

Mild broad based right posterolateral disc protrusion at C6/7 level. No definite cord compression associated.

Mild right C4/5, mild left C5/6 and moderate to severe bilateral C5/6 neural foraminal narrowing.

No abnormal cord signal or evidence of myelomalacia demonstrated.”

Those are the words on my report. Doctors are saying that the only way for me to fix my problem is to get a surgery, which is very high risked. Besides that, they said there is basically nothing that can help me. All they told me to do is to not let the problem get worse. I obviously am not a doctor and I don’t understand most of the report, but may you kind people out there let me know if my case is really that serious where there is no way to treat it. Or may I have some suggestions on my next step. By the way, I am 50 years old.



  • what surgry is he planning? i had my c1 c2 fused and that is a really risky area.

    u came to an awesome place for help. the people here are great.

    are u having any symptoms??
  • first welcome to spine health. glad you found us. ;)
    we are not in the medical profession to read your mri and findings. all information we give is strictly personal. not medical.

    please feel free to check out our back/neck surgery fourm. it has alot of useful information in there.

    here is a link that describes herniations of the cervical disk and surgery :


    what type of dr
    a neurosurgeon specializing in the spine or a orthopedic spine specialist??

    what type of symptoms do you have and for how long??

    when at dr tells you , you need surgery for the spine, and there is nothing else that can be done , you trust this dr and they come very highly recommended. then most likely they are right.

    if you are unhappy with what they have told you always always seek out a second opinion if able.

    also if pain is taking over your life then yes surgery is usually the last resort.
    if the issues can be taken care of with alternative treatments as in injections, therapy etc drs usually try that first before suggesting surgery.
    if your case is to the point where those things will not help thats the only option they will give you.

    spine surgery is tricky, matter of fact any surgery comes with risks. alot of the risks outweigh the good these days.
    i had a cerivcal fusion back in 04. i was also told nothing could be done but surgery. injections would mask the pain but i also had a large herniation. pressing on the spinal cord. so my gait was off (walking) headaches non stop, numbness and tingling down my left arm, and i did not have full movement of my neck.
    am i glad i had surgery ?? you bet ya. it was the best thing i did for my neck.
    does everyone have great outcomes? no.
    is there sucess stories??? yes

    so in the end its up to you and your dr.
    you have to weigh the pro's and cons.
    like if your symptoms are going to get worse like they said that is a huge con. as you do not want any type of permanant nerve damage to happen.

    if you stay with us, we can help you through the process and get you through the toughest of days. o:) o:) o:)

    sorry for being so long. i wanted to try to cover as much as i could, and if you do stay i am the queen of writing long posts while drinking my coffee and letting my med kick in. i am on a limit of to how much medication and typing i can do on here :$ :$ =)) =)) =)) =)) =))
    inside joke :d :d

    can't wait for you to tell us a bit more about yourself.
    how your injury occured, if it happened over just a period of time.
    what type of symptoms you have been living with etc.. ;)

    take care
    terri o:) o:) o:)
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  • Hi and welcome,

    Terri gave you some good advice. You told us what the MRI said but not what lead you to have the MRI. What are your symtoms, how much pain are you having and how long has it been going on.

    Now for the disclaimer......I am not in the medical field and the opinions I give are just that my opinions. Having said that and having read your report I don't think its sounds to terrible but then I don't know how you are feeling. The thing is at our age (I'm over 50) you are going to see some of the degenerate changes in your spine. However since you went to a doctor I am sure you are having some type of pain as well. I am also wondering about referred pain in other areas, for instance do you have pain or numbness in your arms and hands? These are the type of things that push us into surgery in an effort to prevent additional damage and/or correct existing problems. Right now it looks like you don't have a lot of spinal cord compression (which is a good thing) but it also looks like it might be coming in the future so doing something now could prevent additional problems. Ok........maybe I'm not being a lot of help so I will suggest reading information about the cervical spine and not just the forum posting to help you better understand what is going on in your neck. I tend to do a little too much research and my doctor likes to tell me to stay off the internet [( but he knows that is not likely to happen. I go into his office with typed up lists of questions and sometimes even pictures that I printed from my MRI disk. Yesterday I had a post surgery xray to see if fusion has started after my surgery and I made them give me a copy of the xray. First I had 3 people in the office tell me no but I ended up leaving with my copy (guess I don't take no for an answer).

    Good luck to you,
  • Many many thanks to those who replied!!! about my injury. I am a business man with over 100 pages of reports to read. I need to sit and read them, which probably takes about 4 to 5 hours everyday. Besides that, I actually had a car accident before all this neck pain. I got hit from the car behind me. I went to the doctor and they told me to stay in town for 3 weeks for treatment as they found that my neck has gotten straight due to the impact from behind. They said the neck is suppose to be curved? But due to my busy schedule, I had to travel around the world so I went off to work after the first half of the treatment was completed. I don't know what it means, but they said that my neck bones has changed shape in a way. Yes i am starting to feel so numbness in my arms. Actually I have seen a few doctors and some said that surgery would be a very risky option and some just said that surgery is not an option because its too risky. Oh, and when I came back from work and tried to continue with my treatment, it just seems like it won't get better, so i quit the treatment. Feeling regret for that. I guess I shouldn't have left to work two years ago when I had to have 3 weeks of treatment. Since I can't go back in time, I need to see what kind of things I can do to fix my neck. So I hope those information might give you guys some more ideas of how I should act. But really, many many many thanks for everyone's help and blessing!
  • Welcome to Spine Health. Sorry that we can't have more answers for you, most of the time we tend to wind up asking more questions than we can answer. The questions are so we can get a better idea of what happened and then relate similar situations.

    I suffered a whiplash incident 25 years ago and it has upended my life in just the last few years. The initial MRI on my c-spine never looked horrible or even that bad, but MRI's are only one diagnostic tool available and can lull people into a false sense of security, even many docs it would seem. A good diagnostician will take into consideration as many signs and symptoms as possible before reaching any conclusion. Even then, as many on this board will tell you, the surgeon really doesn't know just how bad things are until actually during surgery.

    If your docs have put all of that together and come up with the recommendation of surgery, then it is something not to be taken lightly. You ultimately have the choice as to whether to have surgery or not.

    C-spine surgery is quite frightening and risky. All spine surgery carries with it a great amount of risk. Just as you said that you can't go back in time to the 3 weeks you needed to stay for treatment, once you have spine surgery, there's no turning back and no resets or instant replays.

    Write down all these questions that are going through your mind and take them with you when you go to see the doc.

    Best wishes,

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  • hey
    i can relate to you. i was diagnosed with os odontoideum after a spinal cord injury. i was given a choice for surgery---> "u can continue to be a walking time bomb and be easily killed by another fall or we can fuse the bones and u can resume a normal life"

    great . . .i took the surgery. however, i was unaware of the risks, healing process and pain. no one told me i could be healing for a year and off work for 10 months.

    i really have to stress that i was unprepared for my first surgery. they released me home from hospital and did not give me much direction or insrtuction on how to take care of myself.

    overall . . . i am glad i had it done. after eight weeks post op i feel great.

    write down all your questions and be sure to ask about recovery, wearing collar, activity, procedure and back to work. these are many things that i stressed over and finally after round two i was ready.

    still recovering but no regrets except for not preparing myself better the first time around.

    u will find great support here.
  • Whatever you do, see a chiropractor FIRST.

    I am 50+ years old. When in 6th grade I had hip surgery including the placement of pins.

    My hip has always bothered me but it was manageable, until May 2007. I started three months of physical therapy but got no relief. I had a total hip replacement ("THR") in September 2007 but experienced pain identical to the pre-surgery pain. I had three more months of PT, then my surgeon said my problem is with my back. After the MRI, he said they'd hafta go in to fix it but first I had to try the shots. I got two epidural injections which brought NO relief so I opted not to have the third one.

    I made weekly visits to a massage therapist for a couple months...Nothing. Then (at $150/hour, not covered by insurance!!) I started going to a rolfer for an hour a week for nine weeks...Nothing! (that is, nothing besides my husband griping cause the credit card bill kept going up!)

    I've spent LOTS of money on "toys" like lumbar stretch; sacro wedgy; foam therapy rollers; theracane; just all kinds of stuff! All tolled, with the toys and the copays and the noncovereds I prolly have spent enough money to bail out the Big Three automakers!

    *LOL!* Okaaay, so not even close but I've spent so much money that my marriage has suffered.

    At any rate, with all the monies spent, totally depleted sick/annual leave days, angry coworkers (they hafta cover when I'm not at work), and a whole slew of other things, I am still none the better than before my THR.

    Well, lonnnng before I opened my vein to pay for treatments, etc., a coworker suggested and almost BEGGED me to go to her chiropractor.

    Now that I am at the absolute end of the road I am seeing a chiropractor. I know I have a "long, long way to run" but I've been seeing the chiro for about two weeks and can already tell a noticable difference. I wish to God that I had STARTED my journey with the chiropractor!

    So, my unprofessional but very personal advice to you is, whatever you do, see a chiropractor FIRST.

    May God BLESS and KEEP you!!
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