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Spinal Cord Disorders Message Board

Spinal Cord Disorders Board Index

Your MRI is complicated, but far from terrifying. For starters, the radiologist does not see cord impingement due to the herniated disks. The disks are being pressed upon from in front, but they have not lost their leeway in BACK, because the posterior CSF has not been pushed away (effaced). From this, the radiologist is INFERRING that the pressure on the front of the cord is not yet serious.

You do have a number of foraminal problems. The foramina are the openings in the front-sides of the spinal structure through which pass the peripheral nerves after leaving the cord. SEVERAL things can impinge upon those nerves, and you may have them all. You have the herniated disks, which may be pressing into the foramina. You also have osteoarthritis (bone overgrowth) of the uncinal ridges on your vertebrae and of the facet joins on the sides of the spine. The radiologist, unfortunately, is not clear as to which of these things are narrowing the foramina. Maybe all of them.

I think that you need to get serious about this and stop avoiding doctors because they MAY be wrong some times. You need to carefully catalog ALL of your symptoms, and then talk to a NEUROLOGIST (not a neurosurgeon) as to which may be caused by spinal problems (and which problems may be causing them) and which are unlikely to be spinal in origin. There's no reason that someone with spinal problems might not have other unrelated problems.

When you have a catalog of symptoms, locations and possible causes, then you can talk to a surgeon aout what he might do. If you don't take charge this yourself, there are all too many surgeons who are happy to do unnecessary operations, and you'll be the one who pays.

FWIW, I think you definitely need cervical surgery, but I think you might get away with one or more less invasive surgeries (like foraminotomies) for the time being, and avoid 2- or 3-level fusions, which some surgeons would want to do.

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