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Back Problems Message Board

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I was hoping someone could help me interpret my Cervical Spine MRI results. My chiropractor ordered the MRI and I'm being referred to a neurosurgeon. I'm overwhelmed by the results of the MRI and would like to have a general idea of the severity of what's apparently going on in my neck.

At C5-6 there is a broad posterior disc herniation indenting the thecal sac superimposed on spondylosis causing bilaterial neural foraminal stenosis. Intervertebral disc space height and signal loss is noted.

At C4-5 there is a central disc herniation abutting the cord.

At C3-4 there is a central disc herniation indenting the thecal sac.

At C3-4 and C4-5 there is moderate right neural foraminal stenosis secondary to spondylosis.

Other findings: normal alignment of all cervical vertebrae, no masses seen, tonsils are above the foramen magnum, cervical cord is normal in caliber and signal intensity, no areas of pathological signal intensity within the bone marrow of the vertebral bodies. Facet joints are unremarekable in 2-3, 6-7, 7-t1.

In mid May, my neck had felt overly tense ... sore neck muscles, etc. I got a massage and felt better for a few hours, then back to the same by that night. 3 days later, my right thumb went numb. Then the inside of my wrist was numb. The area between my wrist and elbow is fine. The outside of my right upper arm is in pain most of the time, especially when on the computer or after using my camera. My right shoulder is sometimes excruciating - I actually was thinking I was having rotator cuff issues because I've noticed the right shoulder pain off and on for six months, but basically ignored it. Now I'm wondering if it's been because of these cervical disc herniations. Also for the past 6 months, I have woken up on a regular basis with my right arm totally asleep (the kind of asleep where you have to pick it up with your other hand - DEAD asleep). It's always my right arm (the arm I'm having problems with now). Is it likely that there's a correlation with my right shoulder bothering me for the past 6 months, my right arm falling dead asleep in the night for the past six months, and now these MRI results?

Also, on my LEFT foot, my two small toes go numb fairly regularly. Not painful, so I've ignored it. Been going on about 6 months.

I began having neck issues when I was 25 years old (I'm 47 now) and began going to the chiropractor. It began with "acute torticolis" (muscle spasms) ... this went off and on for many years. Then one day my lower (lumbar) back went out - chiropractor said I have bulging lumbar discs and is usually able to quickly get it under control and tolerable (therefore he's never ordered an MRI for my lower back). My neck hasn't bothered me in several years until last month (May). The chiropractor began normal treatment - the tens-unit type stuff for spasms, the neck brace that he pumps up to lift the head off of the shoulders, and even did an adjustment to align the discs in my neck, recommending the ice/heat regimen and ibuprofen. After the pain only got worse he ordered an MRI and the results are above. He's sending me to a neurosurgeon. I haven't got a call back for the appointment yet and I'm having a hard time trying to guess what I'm looking at.

I've tried looking up all this stuff up on the internet (spondylosis, stenosis, bilateral neural foraminal stenosis, abutting the cord, indenting the thecal sac, etc.). I also find on the internet all different kinds of treatments, from injections to physical therapy to different types of surgeries. However I am wondering about the "combination" of all of my issues if that makes a difference in whether they'd try one treatment (PT) over another (surgery).

If there's anyone on here that could say, "you're probably looking at PT" or "you're probably looking at surgery" or "they always try this before they do that for your condition" I would be very grateful.

Thank you.

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