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Back Problems Message Board

Back Problems Board Index

Welcome to the board. It is frustrating to have to wait for an appointment to find out what is wrong with your back. I'm sure you know members are not doctors, so keep that in mind as you read. More important than the MRI results is the information that will be gained when the spine specialist correlates it to what he finds upon physical exam, basic neurologic exam and listening to your symptoms.

He will be able to tell from looking at the two sets of MRIs how much your DDD has progressed. This is something I cannot tell from the report.

Basically the thoracic area looks pretty normal with the exception of two small disc bulges which are causing some stenosis in the central canal. Stenosis is a narrowing in a passageway used by nerves to exit the spine. Stenosis primarily occurs in the central canal and in the neural foramen, which occur at each vertebral level.

As you already know you have degenerative disc disease throughout the cervical area. From C2 to C6 there is disc osteophyte complex which is causing some stenosis in the central canal but the foramen are OK with the exception of C5-C6. At this level, the facet joint is showing signs of arthritic changes and is enlarged...which is causing the opening of the foramen on both the left and right side to be narrowed. (This results in the nerves getting irritated or squished.) This is probably the segment that is causing most of your pain. (The report does not indicate specifically that there is nerve compression.)

Disc osteophyte complex is a form of disc degeneration. It is often the result of "wear-and-tear" in the neck. A series of bone spurs form on a number of vertebrae, causing a narrowing of the space around the discs. This presents a problem if the osteophytes put pressure on the nerve roots or press into the spinal canal and put pressure on the spinal cord.

Then there is a bit of scoliosis in the cervical spine that curves off to the left. I can't say what effect this may have as it is not described in any more detail.

Hope this helps tide you over until your appointment!

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