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Back Problems Message Board

Back Problems Board Index

Welcome to the board. As I hope you are aware, members do not have formal medical training, so keep that in mind as you read comments. I can give you a general impression of the MRI report you have copied, based on my experiences as a patient. Bear in mind it is just that -- a general impression.

Did you have your entire spine imaged? What symptoms are you having and are they a result of injury?

To begin with, I'll try to tackle the lordosis in the cervical area.

If you look at a diagram of the spine, you will see that there are natural curves. Reversal of the cervical lordosis is a condition in which the neck, when looking from the side, has a forward curve instead of a backward one.

The neck is essentially designed to have a curve that is convex in the front, and concave in the back. This helps to counter the force of gravity, supporting the head. If we lose this curve, we are at greater risk for degenerative changes in the neck. There are various ways this can be corrected.

I'm not going to try to explain the technology behind the concept of signal. But anytime a MRI talks about the intensity of the signal, it refers to how dark or bright the object appears. It is similar to contrast in a black and white photo. The disc between the lumbar 5 and sacral 1 vertebrae has a bulge, which is pushing against the back side of the thecal sac (which is a series of tough ligaments that enclose the spinal nerves). This may be causing the Sacral 1 spinal nerve to be compressed due to this encroachment. A 5mm bulge is not that large and may or may not be a pain generator.

I'm not sure what the "focus of increased signal intensity in the thoracic cord" cord signifies -- it is not necessarily a sign that something is wrong...but the doctor will be able to tell you just what it does signify.

Remember that the MRI is just one piece of the puzzle. The doctor will give you a physical exam, a basic neurological exam and take an oral history. This information will be correlated with the MRI imaging to determine a diagnosis. Sometimes something looks "bad" on the MRI, and yet, the patient has no pain...and vice versa, as don't ever put too much emphasis on any imaging alone.

Nothing that you quoted jumps out at me as being all that bad...but you should find out in a couple weeks when you see the doctor.

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