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Spinal Cord Disorders Message Board

Spinal Cord Disorders Board Index

Hi all. Thanks to the Gods at Google, I just found this board. I am hoping that you kind souls can help a clueless newbie interpret her MRI results and determine if I should stress out or not. I have three weeks before I go back to my specialist, but I am so impatient I had the tech read my MRI results to me over the phone. So please tell me if this means I have anything to worry about:

"There is small disc protrusion and uncovertrable joint with hypertrophy from C5 - C6 and from C6 to C7.
There is Moderate central canal stenosis. Also, moderate left and mild right neural and foraminal narrowing at the C6 and C7."

I'm sure there is more, but that's the what I got from her today. I really just want to know what in the heck is going on with me and what can I expect my doctors to do next.

For background purposes, here's my story thus far..... In Feb last year I started having shoulder and neck pain. Shoulder actually got to the point of being frozen at times. I brushed it off as bursitis, thinking it would go away when it warmed up. It didn't. In May, I saw my primary doctor and she ordered an X-ray, then an MRI. I was told I had a torn rotator cuff and to go see an orthopaedic surgeon. This doctor spent a whopping 15 minutes with me. He read my MRI and talked with me, and I did a few exercises for him to demonstrate my lack of mobility. He didn't suspect a rotator cuff tear, but the fluid build-up around the shoulder concerned him a little, so it was off to physical therapy.

PT was actually good, but much longer than anticipated. They suspected poor posture was the real culprit, so I did a total of 6 months of reconditioning, core training, and stretching. After a while, my progress plateaued though, so no more PT. It wasn't three weeks before the pain returned with a vengeance. Back to the OS, who sent me to a Physical Med and Rehabilitation doc. Thank goodness! I think we may finally get to the bottom of this now.

I have a fairly consistent burning sensation at the base of my neck and neck pain. The pain spreads to the tops of my shoulders and I have intermittent tingling and coldness in my left hand. My spine sort of locks up regularly (feels like a big knot right in the middle) and my neck muscles get really tight. My left arm weakened again quickly after all the hard PT work I did to strengthen it! I have a lot of tender points, particularly in my upper back area and around my shoulder blades. And even throughout the PT I've had stiffness and limited flexibility with my lower back. I have used a heating pad as a crutch most all summer and fall, gave it up around Christmas, and as the pain is flairing up again, I'm craving to get it back (and trying not to - I've heard it's not really good for me).

My new doc wanted me to go back to PT, but only to a McKenzie certified specialist. Problem is that there are just a few in my area and I just took a brand new job in another city, so I commute 4 hours per day 3-4 days/week. Making it to these folks' office during "business" hours has been impossible. I really want to go back to my old PTs, as they were great people, know me and my problems, and have perfect hours for my crazy schedule. I will probably be in the doghouse big time when I go back to the doc, but I have been trying to keep up with my limited exercise routine.

My problems haven't been enough to make me stop my life activities yet - but they've definitely slowed me down and made life uncomfortable. I show horses in the spring/summer. I'm not ready to sacrifice that hobby and don't want another uncomfortable summer.

Will someone please help me interpret my MRI results? Any similar problems out there? Any advice at all? :) Thanks!

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