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Back Problems Message Board

Back Problems Board Index

Hello SonyTV-
If you are having significant pain and debility, I wouldn't wait a year to see this doctor because the MRI report certainly indicates a spine specialist is what you need and sooner rather than later. As many on this board can tell you, interpreting reports is a tricky business and what sounds so dreadful in a report may not be so drastic once a specialist takes a look. That said, there are few vocab words that are fairly reliable and mean expert attention is needed. Hypertrophy, osteophyte complex, and neural foramen narrowing are all this type of vocab word. Hypertrophy and disk osteophyte complex bulges both have the effect of narrowing the space (foramen) through which nerve branches travel from the spine and out into the body. Deformity of the foramenial space or disk disease that cause disks to bulge or move into this space will both result in impingement or pinching of these nerves. I don't have to tell you that nerves don't respond well to being pinched!
The loss of height and loss of signal (C5-6) are indicators that the disk is diseased and this in and of itself may be a significant source of pain. But along with that, the loss of height means the two vertbrae are coming closer together. This collapse of the inter-vertebral space can also cause significant pain because the space on either side of the spine where nerves branch off will be narrowed as the vertebrae close in on one another. Again, this means nerve impingement.
A spine specialist (whether an orthoped or a neurosurgeon) will have completed a fellowship in spine surgery and will do just that -spine surgery. You owe it to yourself to find a specialist soon. Surgeons who do brain surgery, knee surgery, and hip replacements are not doing spine surgery. Spines are very, very complicated. Even among specialist opinions and treatments can vary widely. But I would be asking a whole lot of questions about this MRI report and I'd be very interested to know how you make out. Best of luck to you- Suzy-Q

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