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Thank you for the reply. I will get the results of the MRI and get a CT Scan to get the best overall analysis of the problem. I'll post the results when I get them.

I know I have a slight bulge in my C5 / C6 area, but I've known about that for years. This new situation is way up in the base of my skull / back of my head.
Here are the results of the MRI. I am certain that my problem is higher up in my skull. I have pain and snapping in the back of my head. I understand that I have issues lower down on my neck, but I don't feel they are related to this issue. The cracking and other issues were not present prior to my surgery, and the bulging etc would have been there way before my surgery. My unlearned opinion of course.

RADIOLOGY REPORT

FINDINGS:

MRI of the cervical spine without contrast.
CLINICAL HISTORY: Neck pain.
COMPARISON: None.
TECHNIQUE: Coronal T1, sagittal T1, sagittal T2, sagittal IR and
axial gradient recalled images of the cervical spine were obtained.
FINDINGS: The cervical vertebrae demonstrate normal alignment,
stature and marrow signal intensity. Incidental left-sided C5
inferior Schmorl's node is present. Disc height and hydration well
maintained at all levels. The cervical spinal cord appears
intrinsically normal. Craniocervical junction and visualized
paraspinal soft tissues appear normal.
At C2-C3, no significant abnormality identified.
At C3-C4, 0.1 cm annular disc bulge is present which effaces anterior
subarachnoid space without cord compression or central canal
stenosis. Mild right foraminal stenosis is present secondary to
uncovertebral and facet spurring.
At C4-C5, no significant abnormality identified.
At C5-C6, 0.3 cm posterior disc ridge complex deforms the ventral
spinal cord and combines with posterior ligamentous hypertrophy to
narrow the AP diameter of the canal to 0.8 cm, consistent with
moderate stenosis. Moderate bilateral foraminal stenosis is present
secondary to facet and uncovertebral spurring.
At C6-C7, 0.2-0.3 cm broad right-sided disc protrusion abuts the
right ventral spinal cord without mass effect or central canal
stenosis. This protrusion also encroaches slightly upon the right
lateral recess. No significant foraminal encroachment is seen.
At C7-T1, no significant abnormality identified.
CONCLUSION:
1. C5-C6 moderate central canal and bilateral foraminal stenoses, as
described above.
2. C6- C7 0.2-0.3 cm right-sided disc protrusion, as described above.
3. C3-C4 degenerative disease and minimal annular disc bulge.
Thanks again for the reply.

I understand the issues with the c5 c6, but my main concern is the snapping/cracking. It is audible to others, happens every time I turn my head from left to center/right, is causing dull pain / headache in the back of my head and is driving me crazy. It is almost unbearable. Is there anything I can do about it????

I really don't have any pain in the lower area of my neck. Maybe I have some stiffness, but no pain. The major problem is the cracking.

Also, my CT results were sent to my Spine Ortho as well as my Primary Care Doc. My Primary doc told me that the c5 c6 area is still an issue with the ct, but no real mention of the upper area of my neck. He seemed to imply that the CT focused more on the neck, but not the upper area / back of my head where I feel the problem lies.

I'm desperate for an answer. I have an appointment with my ortho spine doc on Tuesday, but I didn't feel he was very 'hands on.' He didn't do much in terms of examining me the first time I saw him.

Is there a type of neck doctor I should see that may have more experience or more insight as to what this cracking may be???

Thank you so much for your insight and help.

I've never had to deal with anything so frustrating in my 37 years. This is worse than a bad headache...at least those go away at some point...this is constant.
Well, I don't have any pain at all other than the irritation that the cracking / snapping creates. I was fine the day before my rotator cuff surgery. Once I woke up from surgery I had a very stiff neck and this audible clicking. I can't imagine I have RA. I know I have that issue with my c5 c6, but that is probably related to my failed attempt at a back flip when I was 10 years old.

The cracking in my neck happens when my head is either up-right or tilted to the right. When I tilt my head to the left and turn my head it does not click. If I'm laying down and raise my head and turn it I get the worst click. It does sound like it could be tendon related.

I had an MRI and CT and would hate to have to pay again for another one. It seems to me that if they imaged the wrong area they would redo it. I told them where my problem was, base of skull, and the MRI and CT were of my cervical and don't seem to have targeted the correct area.

Anyway, I know I have c5 c6 issues, but the snapping was a result of something that happened in surgery and just want to identify it and fix it. Before the surgery I was running 3 times a week, exercising and in great shape with no neck pain.

I do like the suggestion to see a Neuro Surgeon. I may take that route.





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