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Spinal Cord Disorders Message Board

Spinal Cord Disorders Board Index

Thanks so much, Sammy! All you guys' support and quick replies sure has helped me a lot! That makes sense as to why they would've only ordered one. The only concern is, if my back is hurting me WORSE than my neck, although the difference is my neck hurts constantly and my back only hurts periodically, plus the fact that I had a broken neck before, I guess that's why he chose that. Oh well...

I got the DVD of my MRI yesterday and ended up downloading some medical viewer software onto my PC and was able to review everything in the MRI, all slides and player. After you all told me that a herniation can also cause spinal cord compression, I started looking through online MRI images of what a herniation looked like. Jenny's recent post on another message thread talked about how the MRI images worked, how the "white" and "gray" areas are distinguished from each other and what should be seen in the slides, what you would look for. Along with the images and her description I was EASILY able to see 3 herniated discs in my neck: C3 & C4, C5 & C6, and C6 & C7. The first pair appears to be compressing the spinal cord white matter, but not deep into the gray matter; the second pair (C6 & C7) compresses the spinal cord more than the previous pair, but the disc itself is out of control, just AWFUL! The disc is bulging like a fat pancake on both sides, looks abnormally large and thick. CRAZY looking. The third pair is not pressing against the spinal cord, but the disc itself appears to have "spillage," like the "gel" is leaking out over the C7 vertebrae. I looked at these results and couldn't BELIEVE that I was just DYING from pain! My MRI herniations were much clearer and worse than any MRI online images I used to compare. Of course, that was all I could really see; I didn't have any point of reference for identifying cysts or tumors or anything, but I at least know I have this. I don't know how in the world nonsurgical procedures could fix that one crazy disc. And if you have some that are starting to actually compress the spinal cord, wouldn't they want to fix them surgically before they really start getting out of control, especially with all of these other symptoms that I have going on: headaches, hyper-reflexivity, periodic loss of muscle control, constipation, respiratory problems... Could all these other systems occur when only the spinal cord "white matter" has been compressed and the "gray" matter has not? I feel if all of these symptoms seem like a lot from just two indentions in the white matter. I would think what I would really be feeling is in complete pain, maybe lots of pinching, but not all those other symptoms. That's why I wanted them to look at my back too before deciding which area is worse, because my back hurts much worse than the neck does when it "flares" up. I just don't want to go in for surgery for my neck and then later find out that my back was much worse, or I have a tumor back there.

Anyway, all this worrying should stop on Weds, doctor's appt to go over the MRI reports with me. I'll keep you posted!
Oh, and one more question: From C3 all the way down to the end of the scan, ending on the 9th vertebrae, the white matter appears almost connected to the actual vertebrae, like there is no "black outline" separating the vertebrae from the "white line" like it is everywhere else. And it's only on the middle of each vertebrae. Does that make sense? Also, there are some little white dots on 3 of the vertebrae, and the discs from C2 to C6 are almost black. You can't see the "gray" middle and the black outline like you can C7 on. And finally, this is the scariest thing that I hadn't noticed until today, where the brain stem connects to the spinal cord at C2, there is a white, very vague "circle" behind the spinal cord that appears separate, like it's behind the outline, pressing up against my C2 vertebrae. I can't find anything like it in any of the MRI images I'm seeing online. And when I look at the "brain stem down" slides from up above, there is one point, right after you see the brain stem, like the third slide, where the bottom part below the spinal cord on the slide, like where all the "masses" are above your brain and underneath the spinal cord (there are two masses of whatever that is on each side with a split down the middle), where one of the masses appear much larger than the other and the line is crooked. I wish I knew more about what each thing represents in those types of slides than the side to side ones. I know I'm not describing it well. Anyway, does this sound normal? Should everything be equal size on each side looking down? In one image in particular, you can see the vertebrae, the spinal cord, and below that the black Y shaped black part. On each side of the Y are two round things, who knows what, but I'm sure they're supposed to be there. However, on this image, one round thing is much larger than the other and the Y "leans" to the side where the round thing is smaller. I know this imagery is not very helpful, but I don't know how else to describe it. I didn't pay much attention to these images because I was only looking for spinal cord compression, not at anything else, that is, until I noticed that faint white mass behind the spinal cord at C2. I'm now freaking myself out! HELP!!!

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