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Spinal Cord Disorders Message Board

Spinal Cord Disorders Board Index

The first thing is to take note of the adjectives, as radiologists use a fairly standard set: minimal, mild, moderate and severe. The definitions that I would put on them are:

minimal - there, but barely noticeable

mild - clearly noticeable, but unlikely to be problematic

moderate - borderline problematic, refer to symptoms

severe - DO something about this!

At the C3-4 level, you have bone overgrowths (osteophytes/arthropathy) coming into the spinal canal from in front (disk osteophyte complex) and the side (facet arthropathy). This narrows the spinal CANAL a little, w/o affecting the spinal CORD. Note that the cord is cushioned within the canal by cerebrospinal fluid, so you have some leeway for the canal to be narrowed but the cord to remain unaffected. Apparently, none of the bone overgrowths are impinging on the foramina (the openings in the front/side of the spine through which pass the peripheral nerves after they leave the cord).

At C5-6, you have a slightly bulging (but apparently not herniated) disk that has reached the spinal cord and is slightly flattening the front (ventral) side. While the radiologist doesn't think it's a problem, my amateur's opinion is that ANYTHING that impinges on the cord MIGHT be a problem.

At C6-7, note that the foraminal narrowing may have reached the "moderate" level. If this were symptomatic, the giveaway would be symptoms in the right middle finger.

I don't see anything here that would cause left arm numbness, but it does sound like you have a nerve blockage. Could it be in the shoulder (affecting the whole arm) or in the elbow (affecting the forearm)? Is it movement or position related, or does it come out of the blue?

As for the neck pain, once again, I don't see it. Is it on one side only? High or low?

One warning about radiologists' reports: sometimes they are just awful. If this report is all your doctor saw, it's not surprising he didn't react. Could you have a surgeon - or, at least, an orthopedist - go over the images?

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